Presidential Debate-Spin
University of Miami - Coral Gables, FL - September 30, 2004

P R E - D E B A T E   S N I P P E T S   F R O M   T H E   S P I N   R O O M
Bush-Cheney '04

Jim Dyke, RNC Communications Director
Reporter: What does President Bush need to accomplish tonight, and what does Sen. Kerry need to accomplish?

I think President Bush needs to reinforce the accomplishments that we've seen over his administration--his commitment to fighting and winning the war on terror, which are obviously points he's very comfortable with.  I think it's also important in that mix to remind people that he's always said the war against terror is a hard fight but that it's an important fight and we need to keep fighting it. 

I think the challenge for Sen. Kerry will be to try and square the round table or round the square table in his various positions that he's taken--11 different positions on Iraq, a new one yesterday; eight different positions on the $87 billion that he voted against after saying that it would be irresponsible to vote against it.  I think he has a lot of explaining to to and I'm not--he's obviously a stunning debater, having started debating back in prep school through college at an Ivy League school and through 20 years in the United States Senate.

Josh King, New Orleans, LA
Well personally and as a Naval officer in studying Naval history and the history of war I don't think you can classify any war as a pretty war.  I think being able to do what we did in practically 3 weeks without harming countless numbers of innocent people--I mean it was by and large a fantastic effort by our sailors and our troops, our Marines to go in theres and do what a whole nation wanted to do and the problem is that voice doesn't get out.  Upon returning back from 10 months in the Persian Gulf on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, we returned to a ticker tape parade in Everett, WA, which is our home base, and the most tell-tale sign that we had done the right thing was about 15 to 20 Iraqi-Americans who had nothing but joy and tears in their eyes thanking us for doing the job that we did and accepting the criticism but following through to help them when they couldn't help themselves.  And the movement is to get those guys to where they are trained and they can take care of themselves to start the fledgling democracy, which is probably the hardest thing to do.

Reporter: Have you been out there on the stump supporting President Bush?

No, no I haven't.  I was a ship-driver on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln; I was driving the ship when President Bush gave his speech, met him briefly, and have had ties to the Bush campaign but I haven't been out campaigning actively until today.

Kerry-Edwards 2004

Tad Devine
Reporter: What does President Bush need to accomplish tonight, and what does Sen. Kerry need to accomplish?

I think President Bush has to explain the record of the last four years.  Why did this country lose a million jobs under his leadership.  Why are we in a mess in Iraq today that's costing America $200 billion, over a thousand lives, and every day Americans are being kidnapped and beheaded all across that country.  Why have five million Americans lost their health insurance in the last four years and why is this country going in the wrong direction.

And I think John Kerry needs to explain to the people of this country where he intend to lead America, how his policies will be different.  What he can do about the mess in Iraq, what he can do about our economy.  So I think that's really what's going to happen in this debate and the next two debates for president.

Reporter: The Bush people keep saying that their top item is that Sen. Kerry has to explain his 11 positions on Iraq.

Sen. Kerry needs to explain what to do in Iraq right now, what to do with the mess that's been created by George Bush's policies.

Reporter: Does he need to explain his--

No, he's had one position.  He supported the authorization of the use of force in Iraq, but he deeply regrets what the president did with that authority.  Unfortunately every step along the way the president made mistake after mistake and now we find ourself in a tremendous quagmire in Iraq because of the president's mistakes.

Joe Lockhart
(same question)
I think he's [Kerry] got to demonstrate that he's got the strength and judgement to be commander in chief and I think he's got to tie Bush down to his record, something that he hasn't done...

Reporter: How about President Bush; what does President Bush have to accomplish tonight?

I think that's tough.  I mean he can either come clean and admit his mistakes and sort of fess up and tell the country the mitigating circumstances and why he should be re-hired or he can continue to not face reality.  Either way it's a tough position.

Kristen Breitweiser a couple events in New York City with Sen. Kerry and I just got back from the Midwest with Sen. Edwards and the Northeast with Sen. Edwards.

Reporter: So are you basically introducing them?

My whole point, no, I'm speaking to the audience to discuss with the the battle that the 9/11 familes had with the Bush Administration to try and get a 9/11 Commisssion established.  Because apparently there's a misunderstnding on behalf of most of America.  They think that President Bush supported a 9/11 Commission.  He didn't.

Sen. Bob Graham
...who are going to benefit from these big tax cuts, Mr. President, are you and me.  And Bill Clinton has done a very effective job talking about Bush's tax cuts in the context of what it means to him as today a very wealthy man.  Saying, you know, I'm making $9 million a year; I don't need to have a tax cut.