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Edwards, Cheney Split Debate Polls

Senator John Edwards beat Vice President Dick Cheney 41-28 percent of "uncommitted voters" who viewed the debate, with 31 percent saying it was a tie, in a CBS News Poll conducted by Knowledge Networks immediately following the debate. The poll concluded that "Edwards also greatly improved his standing among the uncommitted voters. Cheney made more limited gains."

Cheney beat Edwards 43-35 among RV viewers, with 19 percent saying it was a tie in an ABC News Poll conducted by TNS after the debate. One cautionary note in the ABC News report on the poll: "One factor is that more Republicans tuned in 38 percent of viewers were Republicans, 31 percent Democrats, the rest independents." Nonetheless, the poll showed a 1 point gain for Kerry-Edwards in the WH horse race among the poll's respondents following the debate.


Edwards had some good moments, as did Cheney. Overall, Cheney did a better job of fulfilling his role in this debate, which was to go on the attack in a way that Bush couldn't or wouldn't last Thursday. Oddly, he drew as stark a contrast between himself and Bush than he did between himself and Edwards. There is nothing surprising about the fact that the verdict seems evenly split as to who won.

The real lesson from this debate is that John Kerry really is the right man for the top of the Democratic ticket. Edwards has flawless populist instincts, but it is clear that he simply does not possess the gravitas to be president. Had John Edwards been the Democratic nominee, November 2 would be nothing more than a formality by now. BC-04 would have disemboweled him by now, and he would not have been equipped to challenge them. His closing statement last night was reminiscent of Bush's last Thursday: a warmed over recitation of his stump speech's applause lines. He had obviously rehearsed his material on foreign policy, but he did not command respect on the subject as Kerry did last week. He was better on domestic issues, thankfully. His illustration of BC-04's priorities regarding health care ("They're with the drug compainies.... they're with the insurance companies...) was excellent. But overall, he failed to close the deal.

So far, Kerry has proven to me that I was right all along in my belief that he was the only one in the Democratic primary pack who had a chance to defeat Bush. The Bush campaign would have savaged anyone who got the nomination. The test was whether the nominee had the wherewithal to fight back and prove he was the better man. Kerry has done that in these last few weeks, and goes into the final stretch stronger than Edwards, Dean, Lieberman, Gephardt or any of the others could have.

HaHa, Tooooo Funny, CBS???. Yeah, We know CBS picked a sample from its CBS Evening News audience.

If you're looking for fair minded perspectives consider:

ABC News' Poll Shows 43 percent think Vice President Cheney won debate, only 35 percent think Edwards won. (ABC's "Special Coverage," 10/5/04)

NBC's Tom Brokaw: "Dick Cheney Reminded Me Of George Foreman, Kind Of A Slow Gait, But A Powerful Right-Hand When He Unleashed It In A Number Of Areas As He Went After The Kerry-Edwards Ticket." (NBC's "Special Coverage," 10/5/04)

MSNBC's Ron Reagan: "This Time, I Think The Chattering Classes, And I Include All Of Us Among Them, Will Come Out On The Side Of There Was A Stature Gap There, And It Was To Cheney's Advantage." (MSNBC's "Hardball," 10/5/04)

MSNBC's Chris Matthews Calls The Debate Between Vice President Cheney The "Howitzer" And Senator John Edwards The "Water Pistol." (MSNBC's "Hardball," 10/05/04)

MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell: "I Think Dick Cheney Did Awfully Well, At, First Of All, Putting John Edwards In His Place. Saying That I Have Been Presiding Over The Senate, And I Didn't Meet You Until Tonight. Talking About His Not Having Been On The Job Was Pretty Devastating." (MSNBC's "Hardball," 10/5/04)

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough: "I Tell You, Tonight, No Doubt About It, Edwards Got Obliterated By Dick Cheney. This Is The Most Surprising Part. This Debate Actually Turned In Cheney's Direction When They Started Talking About Domestic Issues. I Thought Cheney Handled The Foreign Policy Issues Very Well." (MSNBC's "Hardball," 10/5/04)


Check this from today's L.A. Times:
"Less than two hours after the debate ended, aides to Edwards and Sen. John F. Kerry distributed a photograph from the Feb. 1, 2001, National Prayer Breakfast showing Edwards and Cheney standing side by side.

"Congressman Watts, Sen. Edwards, friends from across America and distinguished visitors to our country from all over the world, Lynne and I are honored to be with you all this morning," Cheney said, according to a transcript.

Kerry-Edwards aides also pointed to news articles from January 2003, when Edwards escorted the newly elected senator from North Carolina, Elizabeth Hanford Dole, onto the Senate floor for her swearing-in by Cheney."

Apparently Cheney ain't there all that much himself. As the LA Times article pointed out: "Although Cheney is the Senate's presiding officer, he actually sits in the chamber only on rare occasions, such as to break a tie vote and to swear in new senators."

Isn't it odd that the audience was skewed heavily Republican (38%), but the support for Bush/Cheney was at only (51%) before the debate? Does this mean that the Republicans watching the debate were less likely to support Bush/Cheney? It just seems strange that a heavily Republican group was floating around the national average... Maybe there has been a bigger shift to Kerry/Edwards from the first debate than has been obvious in previous polls? Or maybe that 38% of Republicans felt they really needed to see something good to make them feel better about their ticket?

Re: MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell and Cheney never meeting Edwards at the Senate. According to NPR this AM, Cheney typically goes to the Senate on Tuesdays to host a lunch with Republican senators - that's the only reason he's usually at the Senate. Hence, it's unlikely he'd have ever met Edwards .

Leave it to cable news to accept this at face value.

> If you're looking for fair minded perspectives

"Fair minded perspectives?" Um, I have been watching both halves of the blogosphere and (unlike the first debate) there seems to be no consensus this time. So let's call it a draw. I hear the CBS poll probably featured too many Dems while the ABC News poll comprised predominantly GOP viewers.
As an aside, Friday's debate may well be a pivotal moment in this race. Last week's big surprise was "Shrub's" stammering, unconvincing performance. Brad DeLong thinks this may indicate two things --

The benign conservative explanation is that "Shrub's" mangled syntax was due to the fact he a) wants to be macho & plain spoken in order to appeal to "real Americans", b) he simply wasn't used to having to justify his decisions in a debate-like setting because he normally surrounds himself with yes-men.

The liberal theory is his problems can be attributed to c) the fact he knows he has screwed up big time in Iraq and is afraid a majority of voters will find out before the election, or d) his debating or even mental skills may actually have greatly deteriorated due to some medical condition!

Point d) admittedly sounds far-fetched [I have not seen "Shrub's" supposedly eloquent performance against Ann Richards in the 1994 Texas debates, though, so I can't verify the accuracy]. But I think there will be lots of pressure on the President in the next debate. His appeal is now almost entirely based on the myth that he is a "strong, decisive leader" who knows what he is doing plus the caricature of Kerry as a flip-flopping incoherent wimp. What happens to the race if the debates reveal both perceptions to be mostly GOP spin/hype? Answer: "Shrub" will be toast since voters then will judge him based on his actual first term accomplishments in 2001-04 which [unlike Reagan's and Clinton's] are mostly negative. He simply cannot afford to say things like this again:

"In Iraq, no doubt about it, it's tough. It's hard work. It's incredibly hard. It's - and it's hard work. I understand how hard it is. I get the casualty reports every day. I see on the TV screens how hard it is. But it's necessary work. We're making progress. It is hard work. You know my hardest, the hardest part of the job is to know that I committed the troops in harm's way and then do the best I can to provide comfort for the loves ones who lost a son or a daughter or husband and wife."


both debate polls had very small samples, i would'nt look too much into it.

I must have been watching a different debate, because I thought Edwards clearly won. Cheney had no answer for why he voted against MLK's birthday, for the deficit, not letting drugs in from canada, ect.... I could go on an on. He especially had no answer for why He as head of Haliburton did bussiness with sworn enemies of the USA, and the corruption of Haliburton.

I think the republican spin that cheney won is ridicolous.

I had seen it as roughly a draw myself. I'm encouraged today, though. I saw an interesting report from Andrew Sullivan noting that the ABC poll also suggests that Edwards won among the independents. With the 'Pubbies declaring Cheney the winner and many Democrats calling it a draw, the numbers have to be the independents favoring Edwards for the overall results to end up as they are.

Cheney probably rallied the Republican troops (witness the irrational exuberance of Smooth Jazz), but Edwards likely drew the edge among those key independents. Good news. Now, to keep the Republican spin machine from winning the day. I'm glad that the pictues of Cheney with Edwards are out. That's a trivial issue, but Cheney played it big and can now be shown to have been deceptive.

Omar, you are not alone.

When, in 2000, Al Gore mistook one disaster visit for another and claimed he had been out with James Lee Witt, he was blasted as an outright liar. Cheney's claim that he had never met Edwards falls in that same category. Dems should capitalize on it as a symptom of their larger issue of shading the truth, to put it charitably.

A quick spin around the news coverage and editorials tell me it was a draw. But if forced to pick a winner from the media coverage, it was Edwards by a nose.

Edwards was sharper and more focused. He made his points and was largely unmoved by Cheney's attacks.

Cheney was evasive, often not answering the question asked. He also seemed to become bored and grumpy as the debate moved on. Like he got tired.

I thought Edwards was cool as a cucumber and gave Cheney a Southern Style roasting complete with the apple in the mouth. His repeated use of "I want to make sure that people hear this correctly" was an excellent approach that really connected with viewers.

Edwards didn't call Cheney out on ALL his lies because as an experienced litigator, Edwards knows that in a deposition it is better to lock a person in on his "testimony" then to push back and give them a chance to weasel out of it. Then, when you are in trial you hit them with the lie in front of the jury, and their credibility is shot. Case in point: He rattled Cheney with the Halliburton sequence which prompted Cheney's angry attack about "never saw you until I met you on stage tonight" which we know is false.

Cheney proves his irrelevance
By Thomas Oliphant, Globe Columnist | CLEVELAND
October 6, 2004


Candy Crowley: "Probably for John Edwards the best moment was when he turned to Cheney and said, you know Mr. Cheney, I don't think Americans can take another four years of this administration. Sort of a rendition of Ronald Reagan's famous line of are you better off. That clearly was one that he had been waiting to deliver'.


Tom Brokaw: "John Edwards, for his sake, you could see the folksy court room style that he had that was so successful for him as he played out against what he says is more of the same of this administration, suggesting to the American people that it was time for change."

Wow! Amazing how the spinners can impact the popular conscousness. I was a debater and extemporaneous speaker in high school and college. If I had been judging this debate, I would have scored it an overwhelming victory for Edwards. I thought he was incredibly good.

Cheney got in some heavy blows but he seemed mean and nasty in doing so. It terms of appearance, articulation, charm, clarity, logic, and truthfulness, I thought Edwards ran the table.

I was particularly pleased to see Edwards call Cheney on his constant lies and distortions. I believe that this is very important for several reasons. First, it is objectively true. Cheney has been misleading the public and distorting the record throughout the campaign. Second, Kerry and Edwards need to point out the lies in order to take some of the sting out the B/C concerted efforts to smear their character and integrity. Third, by pointing out the distortions, Kerry and Edwards can make an effective back-door character argument against Bush and Cheney.

Bush's strongest asset is the majority perception that he is a strong and resolute leader. By pointing out that B/C have engaged in character assasination against K/E; and more importantly, by pointing out that they are continually misleading the public, K/E can assail Bush's character. Does a strong, resolute leader need to play fast and loose with the facts? Does Bush have the international credibility to clean-up the mess in Iraq? I hope that in Friday's debate Kerry will follow Edwards lead and directly challenge Bush for his evasions, distortions, and lies.

Why isnt anyone talking about the biggest whopper of them all?

Cheney said to Edwards, "The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11."


On Dec. 9, 2001, Cheney said on NBC's "Meet The Press" that "it's been pretty well confirmed that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack." On March 24, 2002, Cheney again told NBC, "We discovered ... the allegation that one of the lead hijackers, Mohamed Atta, had, in fact, met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague."

He is on tape and transcript many times having pointed out that exact "connection". Bushies may think flip-flopping is bad, but i think lying straight to our faces is much worse.

You all could spin this to your hearts' content, but it was a standing 8 count that should have been stopped after round 2. Edwards was halting, bumbling, incoherent, and had to admonished by the moderator for violating the rules more than once - When Libs like Tom Brokaw, Timm Russert, Andrea Mitchell & Chris Matthews called it as a Cheney drubbing of Edwards, no amount of DNC spin or Dems hijacking of on-line polls while chnage things.

Moreover, While you all are patting yourselves on the back over Senator "Gone's" performance, the President just skewered Kerry in Wilkes-Barre, PA - Ouch!!. It has not been a good day and a half for the Kerry team.

Someone correct if I'm wrong on this, but isn't the point of a debate -- in clasic terms -- is to control the tempo of the debate? Is it not to keep your opponent on the ropes, responding to YOUR points and critiques? If so, I think it was clearly a decisive win for Edwards. Cheney was forced to come back, time after time, to Edwards' pounding based on the Bush record.

Though Cheney's claims and spin sounded devestating, they really only 'pinged' the audience that makes up the GOP base. Not the fence-sitting voters. If anything, Cheney came across defensive and nasty. A "turn off" no matter how you slice it.

Joe Scarborough declares that Cheney dominated. Rush Limbaugh agrees. Damn, I guess it's all over. Give me a break. Edwards gave as good as he got against the much more experienced Cheney.

Cheney was monotone, inanimate, and emminently forgettable. He may have rallied his base (witness this morning's weirdness from Smooth Jazz) but he lost undecides. The poll he quotes (ABC) actually showed Kerry gaining a point on Bush post-debate. So much for changing the tide. Cheney's remark about never having met Edwards before is going to haunt him when the photos of the two men standing side by side begin to circulate the news. It's the kind of clear lie that our image-oriented electorate can grasp in a second.

Both parties are able to walk away with a few victories.

Cheney's two flat-out lies ('I never met Edwards before tonight', and 'I never said there was a connection between Iraq and 9/11') are just the type of gristle our press corp enjoys chewing on. They are easy to refute, uncomplicated, and come with pictures and video. Look for that to get a little air play.

Cheney came across forceful and reasonable (I absolutely think he's the best liar in government). Edwards attempted to dent his crediblility, but was not effective enough to give the Bush faithful a moments hesitation. Cheney showed us WHY he is still on the ticket. That said, I don't think he (Cheney) gave the press corp much to chew on. His zingers are likely to backfire, and his rhetoric was uninspiring and largely a repeat of campaign ads.

Edwards did all he had to do - hold his own against a sitting vie president, and reiterate John Kerry's positions in a positive light. He did not curtail the Kerry momentum, and indeed, may have strengthened it among the independents.

Good point Coldeye, Smooth Jazz is ignoring the fact that the undecideds and independents preferred Edwards. I guess Republicans need to grab for something to mantain the fantasy world they live in.

Smooth Jazz, your overcooked hyperbole betrays your desperate anxiety about where this race is going. Edwards was "halting, bumbling, incoherent"?!?! That's about as true as Cheney saying that he never made a connection between Iraq and 9/11. Which debate were you watching through your red-colored glasses?

We all know that if Edwards has a weakness vs Cheney it's the "gravitas gap." Are you trying to tell us that you think Cheney beat Edwards on style?! Puuh - LEEEZE. I will say, however, that since Cheney is already universally seen as a dour, secretive curmudgeon, the irony is that I think he can be as unfriendly as he cares ("Your record, Senator, is pretty undistinguished") and, on some level, get away with it, since that's what people expect anyway.

On content I would call it a draw, and give Cheney credit, given the thorough lack of material he was working with (i.e. the accomplishments of his administration). Both got in some awfully good jabs at the other. Both of them did a good job of continuing the momentum of the attacks on their opponents. I highly doubt anybody's mind will be changed by this debate.

> You all could spin this to your hearts' content, but it
> was a standing 8 count that should have been
> stopped after round 2. Edwards was halting,
> bumbling, incoherent, and had to admonished by the
> moderator for violating the rules more than once -
> When Libs like Tom Brokaw, Timm Russert, Andrea
> Mitchell & Chris Matthews called it as a Cheney
> drubbing of Edwards, no amount of DNC spin or
> Dems hijacking of on-line polls while chnage things.

Don't be ridiculous. There is no need for "DNC spin" as long as prominent conservatives such as Sullivan and NRO's Jay Nordlinger think Edwards failed well.
"Beauty is in the beholder of the eye" and it seems different demographic groups judged the debate differently. I have seen numbers which suggested conservative white males overwhelmingly favored Cheney's performance, while Edwards did well among independents and women.
Surely Smooth Jazz does not think *HIS* opinion is the only one that counts?


I think Cheney edged Edwards in the first half of the debate when dealing with foriegn affairs. However, I think Edwards out performed Cheney on domestic issues. If you're going to talk about one-liners, I think Edwards did better than Cheney on that too. Lines like "Mr. Vice-President, I don't think this country can take four more years of this Adminstration" are more effective than "I've never met you before this debate", especially since the latter is a lie.

I think Edwards did best in his closing statement. Call it a stmup speech if you like, it was a pretty effective story that got the message across. It personalized the issues. Cheney rambled on very shortly about the economy, then started talking about (of course) Iraq and the vaguely talked about progress there.

If you were looking for someone to feel safe with on foriegn policy issues, such as Iraq, then Cheney was your man. But if you wanted someone who spoke passionately about the issues that the people of America are most concerned about, like health care and their children's future, then Edwards was your man.

For the most part, I think it was a draw. I'm waiting for Friday when Kerry rips Bush's "Getting Owned by Big Business Society" to shreds.

tony wrote:

Cheney probably rallied the Republican troops ... but Edwards likely drew the edge among those key independents.

Posted by tony at October 6, 2004 09:53 AM

You are correct.

Bush did so poorly that Cheney looked refreshing by comparison. Cheney lies as he always does, but this time, the lies get more coverage and exposure.

Either he's gotten senile, which is possible, or he was lying about meeting Edwards. Besides, sooner or later someone is going to discover (any day now) that Cheney was rarely IN the Senate, and certainly not presiding over it.