Monday, October 04, 2004
Did John Kerry try to pull a fast one in the debate?
The latest story circulating about is that John Kerry may have used a cheat sheet during his triumphant debate last Thursday evening against President Bush.
Although there seems to be some confusion over the ramifications of such an act, an act we can only speculate upon at the present moment, let's try to be clear about what's at stake here.
This isn't just a 'breaking of the rules' we're talking about. If it was an innocent object in question, nobody will care and we'll move on to the next debates with the polls tighter than they've been for weeks.
However, if these were in fact cheat sheets, not only might people's perceptions of the debate performances alter, but serious questions about John Kerry's integrity would have to be raised as well.
Let's take a step back here to take a look at what's happened so far.
Earlier today Drudge posted an item speculating about the existence of cheat sheets in John Kerry's hands as he approached his podium at the beginning of the debate. The story was first broken, apparently, by the Daily Recycler. It's been making the rounds in some corners of the blogosphere since. Let's not forget, these are some of the same people who recently caught Dan Rather trying to use badly forged documents against the President.
The rules clearly stated that bringing in any foreign objects during the debates was forbidden. They were allowed previously inspected materials, such as paper and pen, to be waiting for them already on the podium as they walked in. I don't think crib sheets in one's pockets falls into that category.
Let's take a look at the evidence.
In images provided by zombietime.com, although you have to take a close look, one can clearly see that Kerry has pulled out an object from his jacket that looks flat, is light-coloured, at least several inches wide, with a straight edge at the top.
Here's an image right before Kerry, already appearing to hold something, places his hands over the podium.
Now, in this next shot, Kerry has his hands over the podium, with an object now hovering beyond the top of the edge of the podium - where there was no such object previously.
An even better video of the moment can be glimpsed at here (you need QuickTime).
A few seconds after the mysterious object appears over the podium John Kerry is seen unfolding a piece of paper as he settles down for the beginning of the festivities.
This is what Kerry was supposed to have waiting for him at the podium.
At the very least, it looks pretty suspicious, don't it?
Well, this is what someone associated with the Kerry campaign had to say about the idea that Kerry might have snuck a cheat sheet into the debate, as reported by Drudge:
A top Kerry campaign source explained to the DRUDGE REPORT late Sunday how Bush supporters were once again trying to distract. "Kerry did not cheat," said the
"This is more lies from Republicans, who are hoping for a quick change of subject away from the president's performance, and the new polls."
When pressed on the fact that even brandishing a pen from his jacket would have violated debate rules, the Kerry staffer laughed, adding, "See you at the inauguration, Drudge".
There is certainly the possibility that Kerry brought something innocent with him into the debates. Maybe a handkerchief, with a very, very straight edge to it. Maybe he didn't even need to look at them during the course of the evening. Or something else. But this reaction from the Kerry camp is curious. It's more reminiscent of Dan Rather's hit-job on Bush than it is an act of a team that believes itself to be the next to occupy the West-Wing of the White House. If it's a silly breaking of the rules, then why not admit to it? If it's false perception, then why not clear the air? Instead, ridicule and mockery are the order of the day at Camp Kerry. Rather curious for people who have made a living depicting Bush as someone with integrity issues.
I am one who doesn't think this is a matter to be laughed at and dismissed.
We have John Kerry appearing to bring something to the debates against the rules. It looks like a piece of paper which he unfolds only seconds later. He brought in this object concealing it as though he were cheating on a high school exam except, in this case, the onlookers are millions of Americans and people worldwide watching one of the most important events in a very important race for the Oval Office. He goes on to perform well in a debate in which he is perceived as articulate and knowledgeable. In comparison, mind you, Bush is seen as fumbling for facts and searching for answers. Would he have appeared that way without a cheating opponent, if the allegations prove to be true?
Think about it. If he did bring in a cheat sheet for the debate, one of the resulting 'searing' images will be that of John Kerry, while having his back turned away form the viewing audience, sneacking in an aide he felt he needed to compete with an unsuspecting and innocent opponent. Would the American people accept this kind of behaviour from a man who wants to call himself President of the United States? We'll see.