"If there's ever been a more important debate, it doesn't come to mind," says Peter Jennings.
True to the hype, Bush winks his way across the stage, looking paralyzed by nerves. Kerry stoically swaggers in, doing his best to look presidential. He appears to have been using white strips.
"Freedom is on the march!" Bush chirps within seconds of the start of festivities, armed with a disingenuous smile. Sounds like debate number three is going to be something of a retread.
Soon, the president sounds out a big word for us. "That's kind of one of those ex-agg-er-a-tions!" he tells us, speaking very slowly, and something tells us he's wrong.
Bob Schieffer tries to catch the boys off-guard with a question about the shortage of flu shots. Bush quickly declares that the shortage is the fault of a company in England. Wait, isn't England a friend of freedom?
Is that a glob of white spittle in the corner of the president's mouth? Did Kerry really just compare Bush to Tony Soprano?
This might not be a retread after all.