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October 15, 2004

A Clear Choice
President Bush and John Kerry in Tempe, Arizona

George W. Bush delivers a speech on Social Security at the Rancho Cucamonga Senior Center in California, during his 2000 campaign. Bush outlined a plan that would allow workers to invest part of their payroll taxes in private accounts. (AP/Eric Draper)

The candidates spent the first two debates sharpening their differences on the war and terrorism. This week, they concentrated on domestic issues. If you waded through all the facts and pseudo-facts they threw around, you could get a clear idea of their philosophical differences -- and find some clues about the way the rest of this campaign is likely to go.
Paul Gigot
Paul Gigot
"Sometimes in presidential history, debates have mattered. Sometimes they haven't. Did these matter? And if so, how did they re-shape the campaign?"
Susan Lee
Susan Lee
"Bush was petulant, then agitated, then goofy, while Kerry was excessively dignified or haughty. I would rather sit next to Bush at a dinner party than Kerry. And I was a little puzzled that Kerry pulled away so strongly after the debates."
Daniel Henninger
Daniel Henninger
"This is turning out to be the valium election. People are anxious about Iraq and they're anxious about the economy. Both candidates have spent a lot of their time trying to make the electorate anxious about the other guy."
Dorothy Rabinowitz
Dorothy Rabinowitz
"I think people have not noticed how combative Kerry was, while George Bush gave a fair imitation of Mr. Roger's neighborhood from time to time, sounding sunny and cheery."
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TRANSCRIPT: Presidential Debate, October 13, 2004

TRANSCRIPT: Presidential Debate, October 8, 2004

TRANSCRIPT: Vice-Presidential Debate, October 5, 2004

VIDEO EXCERPTS: Presidential Debate, September 30, 2004

TRANSCRIPT: Presidential Debate, September 30, 2004

ARCHIVE: Paul Gigot Commentary

ARCHIVE: Susan Lee Commentary

ARCHIVE: Daniel Henninger Commentary

ARCHIVE: Dorothy Rabinowitz Commentary