Second Presidential Debate-KE04 Spin
Washington University in St. Louis - St. Louis, MO -
October 8, 2004

Steve Elmendorf, Deputy Campaign Manager:
"Kerry did a terrific job.  Bush was weak, angry, defensive.  I though on Iraq in particular he didn't have anything new to say from what he said last week.  And you know you think he would have had--  Kerry took the questions to him hard and he didn't really have anything new to say.  I mean he can't defend his position.  So I thought it was a great performance."

Tad Devine, Senior Advisor and Strategist:
"I thought John Kerry had a sensational night tonight.  I think he was the clear winner.  I think he demonstrated again to the American people he's got the capacity, he's got the character, he has the strength to be our next president.  I think he dealt with some very important issues tonight.  He pointed out the differences he has with the president in respect to Iraq, profound differences in terms of the president's policy there and what John Kerry would do.  He pointed out to the American people that John Kerry has a plan for health care, a very detailed plan.  The president does not.  I think he spoke powerfully to issues that people care deeply about like stem cell research for example, where there are very legitimate and important differences of opinion, but where John Kerry stood up and I think very powerfully connected with people on the basis of his beliefs and his values and I think that was an important moment." 

Mike McCurry, Senior Advisor:

"...that he was up to the task of being commander in chief.  He went toe to toe with the president on foreign policy and beat him decisively.  Tonight's debate will be remembered for the domestic portion, the things about jobs, health care, energy independence [reporter "environment"], environment.  He went toe to toe with the president again and beat him decisively again on those.  I think when you look at again, coming back to who's going to decide this election, when you look at the independents and the swing voters, these are people who by and large have said okay, we've heard enough about Iraq, we know where you both stand.  What we really want is we want to know where you are on getting good jobs and keeping good jobs; how are you going to get health care under control.  They got nothing from the president."

General Tony McPeak (USAF, Ret.), Former US Air Force Chief of Staff:
Question: "Is there anything from your military career that's prepared you for the experience of spinning?"

"Zero.  And I don't enjoy it much.  I'm not good at it and I hope this is my last night of having to do it.  I'm only involved in this because I feel so strongly that this administration has taken us down the wrong path, has ruined our position in the world.  This administration has been a disaster for us internationally.  We simply have to replace them and we're lucky that we got a guy as good as John Kerry who has bubbled up through the system and is going to be the guy to move him back to Crawford, Texas."

: How did you come to be so involved in the campaign?

"I started writing op-ed pieces and giving speeches against the impending war in Iraq before the intervention.  And that's about the time I changed my political registration.  I was a registered Republican in Oregon; I'm now a registered Independent.  But I actually was reached out for by the Kerry people after--  I was active in John Dean's campaign [reporter: "Howard Dean"], Howard Dean's campaign and then Kerry beat his brains out in Iowa so I went back to Oregon and the Kerry people called and said would you like to come aboard.  I met with Kerry, talked to him, got to know him a little better, decided he was the real thing, and that's when I plunged into this thing here, but you know it's not a natural thing for me and I'll be delighted when it's over."

Question: Are you getting better?

"No.  I don't want to get better.  It's not my line of work."