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Scoring the VP Debate

Last week's presidential debate seemed instantly to be a Kerry win. Tonight's vice-presidential version? I watched it with the same people with whom I watched the debate last week and we agreed: a draw for John Edwards and Dick Cheney, but a miserable failure for host Gwen Ifill. Her questions were at times ridiculously specific:

Vice President Cheney, there have been new developments in Iraq, especially having to do with the administration’s handling. Paul Bremer, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority gave a speech in which he said that we have never had enough troops on the ground or we never had enough troops on the ground. Donald Rumsfeld said he has not seen any hard evidence of a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Was this the fruit of a report that you requested that you received a week ago that showed there was no connection between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Saddam Hussein?
Yet at other times her questions were mushy and pointless:
[Y]ou both just sang the praises of the tops of your ticket. Without mentioning them by name at all explain to us why you are different from your opponent.
Ifill misspoke on multiple occasions and at one point had to be corrected by Edwards about whose turn it was to respond. Surely we can do better than this when it comes to debate moderation.


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