Jim Geraghty The Kerry Spot:
This was the single most devastating one-sided drubbing since Lloyd Bentsen smacked Dan Quayle all around the stage in 1988.
If I ever need to sue somebody, I’ll call John Edwards.
If I ever need somebody killed - like, you know, terrorists trying to kill my family - I’ll call Dick Cheney.
Cheney is hitting a very soft pinata, defending doctors and attacking lawyers on medical malpractice.
Michelle Malkin scores it for Cheney and gives us this priceless quote via Dennis Miller on the Jay Leno Show.
Hugh Hewitt was live blogging and scoring round by round. Hugh believes that Cheney clearly won it and that it was more damaging to Kerry than Edwards. Hugh was a lonewolf last week when he said that the first debate was a big win for President Bush, but he's got this one about right .. although he gives Edwards way too much credit.
John Hinderaker (aka hindrocket), over at Power Line had a brief appearance on NBC last night and weighed in with this analysis:
So Cheney's assignment tonight was to puncture the media-driven Kerry boomlet by bringing the conversation back to the issues, the facts and the arguments, especially on foreign policy.
Cheney did that, and more. I scored the first Presidential debate like a boxing match with a ten-point must system. There were no knockdowns in that match. Tonight there were two. The first was when Edwards kept insisting on the fraudulence of the Iraq coalition by claiming that the U.S. is bearing 90% of the expense and suffering 90% of the casualties. Cheney responded, in part, by pointing out the absurdity of Kerry's claim that he will build a broader alliance while at the same time assailing the war as the wrong war at the wrong time, etc.--but please send troops. He also criticized Kerry and Edwards for skipping Prime Minister Allawi's appearance before Congress and then attacking Allawi afterward.
But the most devastating blow was struck when Edwards still wouldn't give up, and came back with the 90% casualty figure. That was when Cheney, addressing Edwards as an adult admonishing a foolish child, pointed out that our most important ally in Iraq is the Iraqis, and that by refusing to include the Iraqis' many casualties in his numbers--so as to be able to claim that almost all the casualties are American--Edwards denigrates the sacrifice of our Iraqi friends.
Edwards knew that Cheney was right, and it took him a while to regain his composure.
The second knockdown was when Cheney criticized Edwards' lackluster record as a Senator, noting that he had missed 70% of the meetings of the Intelligence Committee, of which he was a member, and that his home-town paper had labeled him "Senator Gone." That was good. But the devastating conclusion was Cheney's observation that despite the fact that as Vice-President he regularly presides over the Senate, he had never met Edwards until he walked onto the stage tonight. This fact blew me away; I wouldn't have thought it possible. It blew Edwards away, too.
M³ comment: Yep, Cheney fired a major sabot round right through the gut of the prissy AWOL senator.
Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters, was also live blogging and had this to say:
I think that the first half of the debate had the most resonance, and I think Cheney tromped on Edwards all night long, but especially during the first half. Edwards spoke well but only in slogans. Cheney came across as knowledgeable and thoughtful, almost as an independent analyst. Edwards couldn't break out of his stump speeches. There was no indication of independent thought. Almost anyone familiar with the Kerry/Edwards website could have sat in for John Edwards in this debate.
I saw little of the Edwards charm, and instead saw much more of the plaintiff's attorney making opening arguments and accusations. If he connects on a personal level on the stump -- and I've seen that on TV before -- he sure didn't do it tonight. The only times I saw a hint of it was when he complimented Cheney on his love of family and the very beginning of his closing statement when he talked about his dad. Then he buried it by claiming that America is a flickering light in danger of going out.
More analyses from The Corner. Jonah Goldberg, Kathryn Jean Lopez (aka K-LO and KJL), Rich Lowery and Kate O'Beirne, among others, share their thoughts and insights.
The Monk's summary posted earlier is in good company.