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Bob Novak's Debate Blog: Round 4

Editor's Note: Nationally syndicated columnist Robert Novak is providing a view from the right on the third presidential debate through this blog. Follow along as he shares his observations and send us your own by typing them in the "Share Your Comments" box to the right.

Did Kerry forget?

CNN's Robert Novak
• Audio Slide Show: Debate history
• Formats

Posted: 10:34 p.m. ET

Kerry must have forgotten stem cell research.

No need

Posted: 10:32 p.m. ET

Can we be spared this maudlin stuff about the wives at end the last presidential debate? By bringing up his mother, Kerry is playing every heart string now. This was a question and answer period that we really did not need. Can you believe that Kerry got through this debate so far without mentioning stem cell research?

Talking about Laura

Posted: 10:31 p.m. ET

Bush's answer to the wife question is good.

Bush responds

Posted: 10:30 p.m. ET

For once, Bush responds to the McCain gambit by Kerry.

McCain, again

Posted: 10:28 p.m. ET

I thought maybe Kerry could get by one debate without mentioning John McCain, but he couldn't.

Tough question

Posted: 10:27 p.m. ET

The 9/11 question was really a tough question by Bob. Schieffer gave a question right into the gun rack of Kerry's campaign points.

Turning questions

Posted: 10:26 p.m. ET

Kerry turns a question about faith into a liberal statement on the school system.


Posted: 10:25 p.m. ET

Bush's religion answer is an eloquent and sincere response. Kerry had to be sure that he got the Native Americans in.

Bush on religion

Posted: 10:23 p.m. ET

Bush's answer on religion will go over to Americans who go to church but not to those who don't.

Bush's nature

Posted: 10:22 p.m. ET

By nature, Bush just likes to be positive, and he gets away from attacking Kerry.

Answers in education

Posted: 10:21 p.m. ET

Bush answers every question by talking about education.

Presidents and NAACP

Posted: 10:20 p.m. ET

Bush is not the first president not to meet with the NAACP as Kerry claims.

A perfect liberal

Posted: 10:19 p.m. ET

Kerry is being a demagogue. The assault-weapons ban was not a decision by Bush but by Congress. On affirmative action too, Kerry is a perfect liberal.

Wait a minute

Posted: 10:18 p.m. ET

Did Bush make a mistake in saying that Kerry voted against the use of force? Kerry for some reason did not dispute it.


Posted: 10:16 p.m. ET

Bush looks wishy-washy on the assault-weapons ban.

Blundered then, avoiding now

Posted: 10:15 p.m. ET

Kerry blundered in the first debate by talking about a global test, and he avoids it now.

Global test

Posted: 10:14 p.m. ET

Bush brings up the dreaded global test again.

Going back

Posted: 10:13 p.m. ET

Kerry goes back on any question regarding national security to the need for alliances and multilateralism.


Posted: 10:11 p.m. ET

Does Kerry's populism get tiresome?

Too negative?

Posted: 10:10 p.m. ET

Kerry is so relentlessly negative that it may be detrimental to him.

Dodging the question

Posted: 10:09 p.m. ET

Bush dodged the question on Roe v. Wade.

Minimum wage, or education?

Posted: 10:08 p.m. ET

That is a poor answer by Bush to respond to a minimum wage question by talking about education. It looks like Bush is equivocating on minimum wage.

Liberal litany

Posted: 10:07 p.m. ET

Kerry is going over the whole liberal litany, every liberal issue, and he may not even realize he's doing it.


Posted: 10:05 p.m. ET

Is there any doubt that John Kerry is a liberal?!

No challenge from Bush

Posted: 10:03 p.m. ET

Bush should have challenged Kerry on amnesty again but he didn't.

Kerry on amnesty

Posted: 10:02 p.m. ET

Kerry came out for amnesty.

How will Kerry respond?

Posted: 10:01 p.m. ET

It's going to be interesting to see how Kerry responds to the amnesty question, which is a very unpopular position.

Bush's immigration program

Posted: 9:59 p.m. ET

Bush's immigration program is dead in the water in Congress.

Bush on the defense

Posted: 9:57 p.m. ET

This a good answer on taxes by Bush but he's on the defense an awful lot.

Social Security reform

Posted: 9:56 p.m. ET

Kerry is saying he will not consider any Social Security reform.

Non-responsive on Social Security

Posted: 9:54 p.m. ET

That is a non-responsive answer on Social Security by Kerry. Let's see if Bush effectively rebuts it.

Kerry gets daring

Posted: 9:53 p.m. ET

Kerry is trying to play the fiscal conservative here. Very daring.

Nice answer

Posted: 9:52 p.m. ET

That is a very good answer on Social Security by Bush.

Bush picking up the pace

Posted: 9:49 p.m. ET

Bush was off to a slower start tonight, but I think he's hit his stride and he's outdoing Kerry at the moment.

Bush should address lack of answer

Posted: 9:48 p.m. ET

Bush should point out that Kerry did not answer Schieffer's question about where the money would come from to pay for health care.

Where's the answer?

Posted: 9:46 p.m. ET

Kerry is not answering the question how to get the money to pay for his massive health care plan.


Posted: 9:45 p.m. ET

Kerry says his proposals are not always under his name?!

No rebuttal

Posted: 9:44 p.m. ET

Kerry is factually incorrect. Getting drugs from Canada was illegal before Bush took office. And Bush is not rebutting it.


Posted: 9:43 p.m. ET

Kerry turns every single position into an attack on the Bush administration.


Posted: 9:41 p.m. ET

Bush is really well organized on this health care answer. Buggy and horse days?!

Right on

Posted: 9:39 p.m. ET

Bush's health care answer is an excellent answer.


Posted: 9:38 p.m. ET

Bush's chuckles are not so good.

So far

Posted: 9:37 p.m. ET

This is Kerry at his gaffiest.

Off topic?

Posted: 9:36 p.m. ET

What does this have to do with the question.

Faux pas

Posted: 9:35 p.m. ET

Really bad that Kerry brought up Dick Cheney's daughter.

Nice work

Posted: 9:34 p.m. ET

That was an excellent answer to a "gotcha" question.

Picking up

Posted 9:33 p.m. ET

A little action!

No response

Posted: 9:30 p.m. ET

He did not respond to the misstatements by Kerry on the taxation of corporations.

Sister Souljah

Posted: 9:28 p.m. ET

That's Kerry trying to give us the Sister Souljah answer. Let's see how Bush responds -- he could really knock it out of the park. George just got caught smirking.

Kerry negative

Posted: 9:26 p.m. ET

Kerry is almost entirely negative, much more negative than Bush.

What's the score?

Posted: 9:23 p.m. ET

They better step up this debate or they will lose viewers to baseball games.

More definite

Posted: 9:21 p.m. ET

That's a pretty good answer but Bush should have been more definite on how Kerry is not raising enough revenue to pay for his spending programs.

All smiles

Posted: 9:20 p.m. ET

Kerry is smiling and that's not good.

How will Bush respond?

Posted: 9:19 p.m. ET

This is all balderdash and it will be interesting to see if Bush can respond to it.

On the attack

Posted: 9:18 p.m. ET

Kerry is almost entirely negative. He can't answer a question without attacking President Bush.

Kerry overpowering

Posted: 9:17 p.m. ET

Kerry seems to be overpowering Bush so far.


Posted: 9:15 p.m. ET

Flu vaccine production has nothing to do with the health care system.


Posted: 9:14 p.m. ET

This answer is a disaster for Bush, because he uses the "we", taking responsibility for the flu vaccine mess when he doesn't have to. But he has tried to recover by going on to tort reform.

Search for bin Laden

Posted: 9:13 p.m. ET

Kerry misrepresents the search for Osama bin Laden every time and Bush never adequately rebuts him, as he should.

Nuisance quote

Posted: 9:09 p.m. ET

Everybody guessed that Bush would use the nuisance quote as soon as possible.


Posted: 9:08 p.m. ET

This is a rerun of the first debate.

Wait a minute

Posted: 9:06 p.m. ET

I thought this was supposed to be a domestic debate.

Gearing up for the debate

Posted: 8:38 p.m. ET

I think what President Bush has to show is that John Kerry is not the ideological moderate, fiscally responsible centrist that appeals to middle class voters and, at the same time, avoid appearing to be unpresidential.

Sen. Kerry, on the other hand, has to appear smarter, more knowledgeable, but certainly not more liberal than Bush.

An author and former newspaper writer, nationally syndicated columnist Bob Novak participates in two of CNN's political public affairs programs, giving a perspective from the right: "Crossfire" and "The Capital Gang." He also helms CNN's "The Novak Zone," a weekly interview feature.

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