Editorial: Cheney, Edwards show how to debate

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 6, 2004

A vice presidential debate isn't, by name, as exciting as when the big boys take the stage. The vice presidential candidates don't get the same exposure, and don't always have the chance to make an impact in the election.

So will it matter?

This debate was far better than the first presidential debate. A key difference started with the placement of the candidates on the stage. Sitting next to each other, the more informal style allowed the candidates to interact and show some passion about the issues.

Edwards started out on the attack. Citing some of the same examples Kerry did, he refused to let viewers believe the current president has a decent plan for Iraq.

Cheney, a skilled debater whose performance belied his experience, did his homework. Time and time again, he called Edwards' "facts" misrepresentations and provided his own evidence.

While Edwards often got off-track and re-answered previous questions, Cheney had no problem taking less than the allotted time to make his points.

But will it matter?

Will it matter that Dick Cheney won the debate?

Cheney showed why many think he's the brains behind the current administration, and Edwards had no answers for the attacks on his absence from Senate voting (although these kind of attacks are nothing new in a presidential race).

Edwards didn't get destroyed by any means. He showed that he has a personality, even if he doesn't stray from the safety net of Kerry's sound bites.

But none of this changes much. As Jay Leno's "Jay-Walking" shows us, some people don't even know who the vice president is, let alone pick their ticket based on the second in command.

At the most, this will serve as an equalizer between the two tickets. After the last debate, Kerry rebounded in a big way. But no one's in the hole right now, in terms of public opinion, and Cheney made up for Bush's bumbling last Thursday.

Bush and Kerry have some catching up to do. Their running mates showed them up last night, in terms of energy, passion and preparedness. Hopefully, this will force the presidential candidates to carry on that same standard into the next two debates.

Opinions are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of their members. They are Brett Fera, Caitlin Hall, Susan Bonicillo, Andrea Kelley, Nate Buchik and Evan Caravelli.