While the rivals meet Thursday in Florida, they're reviewing the issues and studying potential debate answers in different parts of the country — Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and Kerry in the battleground state of Wisconsin.
On Monday, both men accused each other of a lack of clarity on Iraq. In a campaign stop in Iowa, Bush portrayed Kerry as indecisive on the war, and Kerry accused the president of "still trying to hide" from voters the extent of what remains to be done in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the two campaigns sparred with dueling television ads emphasizing the same ideas.
Debating Debates: How Important Are They?
My mind is already made up and the debates don't matter to me. I think I'd rather go to the endodontist for a root canal than have to listen to Kerry drone on and on and on try to impress us with his nuances.
It is my opinion that the debates will be good for Kerry. It seems to me that the president had one big goal in Iraq and that was to get even with Hussein for his dad. Because after Hussein was caught everything else just seemed to stop except for our boys getting killed and decapitated every day. Bush is doing practically nothing to end this war. We need a multination force to surround and clean out the area and get it done. I also believe Syria is aiding and abetting the enemy and probably has Hussein's weapons. We need to cut off the borders on all sides of Iraq.
While the debates are an exciting part of any election, these particular ones will only demonstrate Kerry's intelligence (or lack of) and indecisiveness. It's going to be like watching Sugar Ray Leonard (Kerry) going up against Evander Holyfield (Bush).
The debates are not important to me because I know who I am going to vote for.
It will, however, be good for undecided voters to view the candidates at the same time. They will see the deep contrast between an arrogant opportunist who will say anything and a wonderful president who is very relaxed and confident.
I will not watch any debates because you cannot trust what any politician says. You must check their record. Bush is a Sissy and Kerry is a traitor. I do not intend to cast a vote for president.
Carson City, NV
The consensus that the debates will determine the next president is pure hogwash. President Bush can stumble on the stage, fall flat on his face in front of the podium, insult the audience and the Pope and break wind in front of the microphone and it still wouldn't matter. Most of us have decided who we want to be President and it sure as heck isn't Kerry.
These upcoming debates don't mean all that much to me. I've seen all I need to see. I wasn't expecting a Desert Storm-esque war in Iraq and I know that if Kerry wins, He and his wife will be the wealthiest couple ever to bring "chump change" to the White House.
Shelby Twp., MI
Not going to matter. Very few undecided. Very few will watch. If Kerry has a war/Usama plan, where did he get it? Who are his trusted advisers who will help him put this together? Who will lead the charge on enlarging the Coalition? Madeline Albright, Jimmy Carter, Wes Clark, Howard Dean, James Carville? Oh my God, it is scary. Need details.
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