The second presidential debate: Paging Mr. Gore

By Jake Tapper

By Salon Staff

Published October 13, 2000 7:10PM (EDT)

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I must have watched a different debate, because in the one I saw Bush was a fact-free, thought-free lightweight, and Gore seems wonderfully mean in his faux agreements and niceness. Maybe too subtle for pundits and public alike, but he won my vote (finally).

-- Ron Ladouceur

I have been actively pushing for Bush, more out of disdain for Gore than love for the Shrub, and thought that Bush won the first debate handily. However, I thought that Gore did an excellent job last night, from the snazzy tie to the quasi-legitimate attacks on Bush's healthcare record in Texas. Bush held his own, and did well with foreign policy, but I would have called this a close tie, with advantage to Gore. Maybe it's because Gore sounded like a Republican during three-quarters of his responses, including a guffaw inducing embrace of free-markets! It's pretty much over for Gore now, barring photos on the New York Times of Bush snorting coke in the bathroom before the debate.

-- Dick Fitz

Why is Bush's snorting all through the debates, which is disgusting, going unremarked upon in the press when it made such a big deal of Gore's sighing?

I'm bewildered.

-- Julianne Ruetz

For all his ease and confidence, there was one Bush moment last night that made me tense: When they talked about hate crimes legislation, Bush referred to the men who tortured and murdered James Byrd. He made his case against any "enhanced" punishment up by asking, "And you know what's gonna happen to them?"

I thought for sure Bush was going to drag his finger across his throat. He was a little scary in his glee.

Did that spook anyone else?

-- Kathleen Parr

It has been said numerous times that women are siding with Gore. Well, not this woman! My motto is, W. stands for women, I'm voting for Bush/Cheney come this November. Gore has done nearly nothing for the past eight years, I want a change in administration. I haven't even seen Gore for the past eight years, now all of a sudden he wants to be president, God forbid.

I am not happy with where America is today, in fact, I'm disgusted. I believe this reflects upon our leadership in America. Integrity and pride of our country has diminished. We have reached a point to where there is virtually no right and wrong morally in America; now, people do what "feels good" at the moment. Bush will bring integrity and morals back into America -- we're ready for a change!

-- Debbie Hammond

Gore performed badly in last night's debate, but to compare him to "a henpecked husband" and to call him "rhetorically emasculated" is gratuitous and sexist. The man does poorly, he is overly polite and accommodating, so he must be like ... a woman. How original.

-- Sara Ferguson

Your review of last night's debate rightfully accuses Bush of glossing over his own position against gay and lesbian rights. You then describe Gore as pointing out Bush's extremism and siding with Lieberman on some sort of civil recognition.

Why would you ignore the beginning of Gore's response, in which he agrees with Bush that "marriage should be between a man and a woman"? The same Gore that has called homosexuality "abnormal" is, seemingly on reflex, constantly written off as the social liberal on this issue. In actuality, "some sort of civil recognition" is as much a gloss as Bush's meaningless "equal rights, not special rights" nonsense.

Did Gore realize how he sounded condemning gay and lesbian marriage not a full minute after invoking the name of Matthew Shepard to court the anti-bigot vote?

-- Bob Dickson

Salon Staff

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