The Trunk, Mrs. Rocket and I had the extraordinary pleasure of watching the final Presidential debate at the Minneapolis Hilton, with a cheering, raucous crowd of around 700 Patriot radio station listeners. The Hilton donated the space, and fans of the Northern Alliance turned out in force to celebrate and cheer on President Bush. I confess that I’ve never watched a Presidential debate in an atmosphere so reminiscent of a pro wrestling crowd, and I did my best to help fire up the gathering before the debate started.
My verdict: a sensational performance by the President. He was even stronger than in the second debate, which raises the question of what was going on the first time. The exhausted, halting look that Bush had then is long gone, and Bush’s supporters could hardly have hoped for a better performance than he delivered tonight.
For me, the defining moment came near the end, when moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS asked the candidates an open-ended question about religion. Bush’s answer was perfect: straightforward, inclusive, heartfelt. When Kerry’s turn came, the contrast was astonishing. To call him a deer in the headlights would be an insult to America’s deer population. After 15 seconds, it was clear that he would have been better served to pass.
I don’t know who is still undecided in this election, but I assume that anyone who has yet to make up his mind will decide on the basis of some pretty fundamental issues, not the fine points of legislation. If that’s the case, the President won some votes tonight. I have no idea what the polls will show over the next few days, but make no mistake: President Bush mopped up the floor with John Kerry tonight.
Here is a photo of the ballroom at the Hilton tonight, packed with conservative activists:
And the photo below shows the Northern Alliance table. From left to right, King Banaian of SCSU Scholars; Mrs. Rocket; the Trunk; Captain Ed of Captain’s Quarters; Mitch Berg of Shot in the Dark; Craig Westover of the St. Paul Pioneer Press; and Brian Ward (St. Paul) of Fraters Libertas.
It was a great night for the forces of truth and justice; it seemed that way in a sea of Patriots, anyway.
UPDATE: One more thing–on the way out, a guy from the Bush campaign stopped us and said, “Bob Schieffer was fair tonight–that was you guys’ doing. Because you exposed Dan Rather, he had to come across as fair.” Is that right? Beats me. But if we played a small part in leveling the playing field, great.
FURTHER UPDATE: The suggestion that Bob Schieffer was fair has met with some disagreement from readers; Hugh Hewitt takes the opposite view.
Craig Westover has written to note that he is an independent contractor who writes a column for the Pioneer Press, not an employee of the newspaper.
And Robert Champion says, “Looks like someone else married up!” I think he means me. That’s true, Robert, but sadly, Mrs. Rocket has no equity interest in the ketchup industry.
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“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
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