FYI, here’s Debra Saunders‘ attempt to respin the debate — the first RNC plant I’ve seen. Nothing new here, just the same old “flipflop / didn’t support the troops” stuff: if Kerry doesn’t support Bush now, why did he support him then? (Rimshot). Her big point:
“But when Kerry attacked Bush on Iraq, he unwittingly crafted a grand argument against himself.”
It’s true that a lot of people do blame Kerry for supporting Bush’s fraudulent and disastrous war, but it really doesn’t seem that Bush supporters should go there.
I doubt that this is the best that the Republicans can do, so we should be keeping our eyes open. And we should keep reminding people that Bush lost the debate because he’s spoiled, whiny, uninformed, and incapable of functioning outside his bubble. And because his showpiece issue, the Iraq War, was promoted with lies and turned out horribly.
UPDATE: The Chronicle also has its version of the “Debates don’t really matter” spin:
“But Republicans and some independent pollsters, many of whom conceded that Kerry had a stronger night than Bush, expressed doubt that the debate would significantly erode Bush’s advantage in the polls. They noted that initial assessments of debates are often short-lived. In 2000, for example, two of the three polls conducted immediately after the first Gore-Bush debate showed Gore the victor, though narrowly, over Bush. Within a week, the conventional wisdom was that Gore’s sighing and hyper-aggressiveness had hurt his standing.”
In other words, the Republicans are relying on the ability of their media plants to make people forget what they saw with their own eyes. That worked last time — we can’t let it happen again.
Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard says the same things: “it won’t wear well” and “Kerry contradicts himself”.