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United States presidential election debates, 2004

United States presidential election debates, 2004

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The United States presidential election debates were held in the 2004 presidential elections
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

. Three debates were held between Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 incumbent
Incumbent
The incumbent, in politics, is the existing holder of a political office. This term is usually used in reference to elections, in which races can often be defined as being between an incumbent and non-incumbent. For example, in the 2004 United States presidential election, George W...

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 and Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 candidate John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

, the major candidates, and one debate was held with their vice presidential
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 running mate
Running mate
A running mate is a person running together with another person on a joint ticket during an election. The term is most often used in reference to the person in the subordinate position but can also properly be used when referring to both candidates, such as "Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen were...

s, incumbent Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

 and John Edwards
John Edwards
Johnny Reid "John" Edwards is an American politician, who served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina. He was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004, and was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.He defeated incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth in...

. All four debates were sponsored by the non-profit
Non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...

 Commission on Presidential Debates
Commission on Presidential Debates
The Commission on Presidential Debates began in 1987 by the Democratic and Republican parties to establish the way that presidential election debates are run between candidates for President of the United States...

 (CPD), which has organized presidential debates since its establishment in 1987.

The vice presidential debate was held on October 5 at Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University is a private research university located in Cleveland, Ohio, USA...

. The presidential debates were September 30 at the University of Miami
University of Miami
The University of Miami is a private, non-sectarian university founded in 1925 with its main campus in Coral Gables, Florida, a medical campus in Miami city proper at Civic Center, and an oceanographic research facility on Virginia Key., the university currently enrolls 15,629 students in 12...

, October 8 at Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named for George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all fifty U.S. states and more than 110 nations...

, and October 13 at Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

, ahead of the November 2 Election Day
Election Day (United States)
Election Day in the United States is the day set by law for the general elections of public officials. It occurs on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The earliest possible date is November 2 and the latest possible date is November 8...

. Different moderators
Master of Ceremonies
A Master of Ceremonies , or compere, is the host of a staged event or similar performance.An MC usually presents performers, speaks to the audience, and generally keeps the event moving....

 and debate formats were used in each debate.

An alternative was proposed by the Citizens' Debate Commission
Citizens' Debate Commission
The Citizens' Debate Commission is a nonpartisan American organization, formed in 2004, that was established to sponsor future general election presidential debates....

, but was not carried out. There were several third-party
Third party (United States)
The term third party is used in the United States for any and all political parties in the United States other than one of the two major parties . The term can also refer to independent politicians not affiliated with any party at all and to write-in candidates.The United States has had a...

 candidate debates also held independently from the CPD-sponsored debates. The debates were the latest in a series of presidential debates first held during the 1960 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1960
The United States presidential election of 1960 was the 44th American presidential election, held on November 8, 1960, for the term beginning January 20, 1961, and ending January 20, 1965. The incumbent president, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, was not eligible to run again. The Republican Party...

 and held every four years since the 1976 election
United States presidential election, 1976
The United States presidential election of 1976 followed the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal. It pitted incumbent President Gerald Ford, the Republican candidate, against the relatively unknown former governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, the Democratic...

.

Participant selection


According to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the predetermined criteria for selecting candidates to participate in its 2004 presidential debates are based on evidence of eligibility (as defined in Article Two of the United States Constitution
Article Two of the United States Constitution
Article Two of the United States Constitution creates the executive branch of the government, consisting of the President and other executive officers.-Clause 1: Executive power:...

), evidence of ballot access
Ballot access
Ballot access rules, called nomination rules outside the United States, regulate the conditions under which a candidate or political party is either entitled to stand for election or to appear on voters' ballots...

, and evidence of electoral support based on national public opinion poll
Opinion poll
An opinion poll, sometimes simply referred to as a poll is a survey of public opinion from a particular sample. Opinion polls are usually designed to represent the opinions of a population by conducting a series of questions and then extrapolating generalities in ratio or within confidence...

s.

Participants must have appeared on enough state ballots to have at least a mathematical chance of securing the Electoral College
United States Electoral College
The Electoral College consists of the electors appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election...

 majority needed to win the election. While several third-party candidates met the eligibility and ballot access criteria, none had the support of at least 15 percent of the national electorate based on the average of five selected national public opinion polling organizations. The criteria also specified that invitations to the CPD's vice-presidential debate would be extended to the running mates of the candidates participating in the first presidential debate.

Only President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 George W. Bush and U.S. Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 John Kerry met the CPD selection criteria for any of the presidential debates. As a result, only Vice President Dick Cheney and Senator John Edwards met the criteria for the vice presidential debate.

On October 1, 2004, the Arizona Libertarian Party (AZLP) filed suit against the Commission on Presidential Debates and Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

 in the Superior Court of Arizona for Maricopa County
Maricopa County, Arizona
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*73.0% White*5.0% Black*2.1% Native American*3.5% Asian*0.2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.5% Two or more races*12.7% Other races*29.6% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

 regarding the staging of the third presidential debate. They contested that the debate, to be held on the grounds of and partially funded by a state university
State university system
A state university system in the United States is a group of public universities supported by an individual state, or a similar entity such as the District of Columbia. These systems constitute the majority of public-funded universities in the country...

, constituted an illegal in kind
Payment in kind
Payment in kind refers to payment for goods or services with a medium other than legal tender ....

 campaign donation
Campaign finance
Campaign finance refers to all funds that are raised and spent in order to promote candidates, parties or policies in some sort of electoral contest. In modern democracies such funds are not necessarily devoted to election campaigns. Issue campaigns in referendums, party activities and party...

 because it excluded Michael Badnarik
Michael Badnarik
Michael J. Badnarik is an American software engineer, political figure, and former radio talk show host. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 elections, and placed fourth in the race, behind independent candidate Ralph Nader...

, the Libertarian candidate. (Only Bush, Kerry, and Badnarik had ballot access in Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

.) In the complaint the Arizona Libertarian Party alleged that ASU was "making a donation to two individual campaigns [Bush and Kerry] through the Commission on Presidential Debates as a conduit, in violation of the Arizona Constitution's
Arizona Constitution
The Constitution of the State of Arizona is the governing document and framework for the U.S. state of Arizona. The current constitution is the first and only adopted by the state of Arizona.-History:...

 prohibition on making gifts or donations to individuals or corporations."

Superior Court Judge F. Pendleton Gaines III issued an order to show cause
Order to show cause
An order to show cause, in most Anglo-Saxon law systems, is a type of court order that requires one or more of the parties to a case to justify, explain, or prove something to the court. Courts commonly use orders to show cause when the judge needs more information before deciding whether or not to...

 for the president of ASU and for the director of the CPD to appear in court for a hearing on October 12, a day before the scheduled debate. Gaines denied a restraining order
Restraining order
A restraining order or order of protection is a form of legal injunction that requires a party to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts. A party that refuses to comply with an order faces criminal or civil penalties and may have to pay damages or accept sanctions...

 on the grounds of laches
Laches (equity)
Laches is an "unreasonable delay pursuing a right or claim...in a way that prejudices the [opposing] party" When asserted in litigation, it is an equitable defense, or doctrine...

 and that there was a sufficient public purpose for the debate, but also ruled that the AZLP could continue to pursue damages for any violations to their constitutional rights.

The Arizona debate nonetheless proceeded on October 13.

On October 8, at the second debate at Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named for George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all fifty U.S. states and more than 110 nations...

, Badnarik and another third-party nominee, Green
Green Party (United States)
The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

 candidate David Cobb
David Cobb
David Keith Cobb is an American activist and was the 2004 presidential candidate of the Green Party of the United States .-Career and political activities:...

, were arrested in a civil disobedience
Civil disobedience
Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power. Civil disobedience is commonly, though not always, defined as being nonviolent resistance. It is one form of civil resistance...

 action after crossing a police line outside the debate venue to protest their exclusion from the debate. Badnarik said he was attempting to serve the order to show cause; both candidates were released after being ticketed for trespassing and refusing a reasonable order from a policeman.

Presidential debates memorandum of understanding


A memorandum of understanding
Memorandum of understanding
A memorandum of understanding is a document describing a bilateral or multilateral agreement between parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. It is often used in cases where parties either do not imply a legal commitment or in...

 (MOU) between the Bush 2004 campaign
George W. Bush presidential campaign, 2004
This article is about the presidential campaign of George W. Bush, the former President of the United States and winner of the 2004 Presidential Election. See George W. Bush for a detailed biography and information about his full presidency, and George W. Bush presidential campaign, 2000 for a...

 and the Kerry 2004 campaign
John Kerry presidential campaign, 2004
The Presidential Campaign of John Kerry, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and the nominee of the Democratic Party challenged Republican incumbent President George W. Bush in the U.S. presidential election on November 2, 2004. Ultimately, Kerry conceded defeat in the race in a telephone call to Bush...

, covering in minute detail all aspects of the presidential candidate debates held between the two candidates was created. It was 32 pages long and dated September 20.

The Citizens' Debate Commission
Citizens' Debate Commission
The Citizens' Debate Commission is a nonpartisan American organization, formed in 2004, that was established to sponsor future general election presidential debates....

 (CDC) and others were instrumental in getting the campaigns to publish the MOU in advance of the debates. One of the commissioners of the CDC, George Farah, has written about the earlier debate MOUs in the 2004 tome No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates.

Schedule


Three presidential debates were scheduled by the Commission on Presidential Debates:
  1. September 30 at the University of Miami
    University of Miami
    The University of Miami is a private, non-sectarian university founded in 1925 with its main campus in Coral Gables, Florida, a medical campus in Miami city proper at Civic Center, and an oceanographic research facility on Virginia Key., the university currently enrolls 15,629 students in 12...

    , with questions from moderator Jim Lehrer
    Jim Lehrer
    James Charles "Jim" Lehrer is an American journalist and the executive editor and former news anchor for PBS NewsHour on PBS, known for his role as a frequent debate moderator during elections...

     of PBS
    Public Broadcasting Service
    The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

    ;
  2. October 8 at Washington University in St. Louis
    Washington University in St. Louis
    Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named for George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all fifty U.S. states and more than 110 nations...

    , in a town-hall format moderated by Charles Gibson
    Charles Gibson
    Charles deWolf "Charlie" Gibson is a former American broadcast television anchor and journalist. He was a host of Good Morning America from 1987 to 1998 and 1999 to 2006 and anchor of World News with Charles Gibson from 2006 to 2009....

     of ABC
    American Broadcasting Company
    The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

    ;
  3. October 13 at Arizona State University
    Arizona State University
    Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

    , with questions from moderator Bob Schieffer
    Bob Schieffer
    Bob Lloyd Schieffer is an American television journalist who has been with CBS News since 1969, serving 23 years as anchor on the Saturday edition of CBS Evening News from 1973 to 1996; chief Washington correspondent since 1982, moderator of the Sunday public affairs show Face the Nation since...

     of CBS
    CBS
    CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

    .


One vice-presidential debate was held:
  • October 5 at Case Western Reserve University
    Case Western Reserve University
    Case Western Reserve University is a private research university located in Cleveland, Ohio, USA...

    , moderated by Gwen Ifill
    Gwen Ifill
    Gwendolyn L. "Gwen" Ifill is an American journalist, television newscaster and author. She is the managing editor and moderator of Washington Week and a senior correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, both of which air on PBS. She is a political analyst, and moderated the 2004 and 2008 Vice...

     of PBS


Originally, the CPD specified that the first debate would be focused on domestic policy
Domestic policy
Domestic policy, also known as public policy, presents decisions, laws, and programs made by the government which are directly related to all issues and activity within the country....

 and the third focused on foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

. Those terms were changed in an announcement by the CPD on September 24, after it had reviewed the terms of the MOU. The CPD agreed that foreign affairs and homeland security
Homeland security
Homeland security is an umbrella term for security efforts to protect states against terrorist activity. Specifically, is a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the U.S., reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do...

 would be the primary topic for the first debate and domestic and economic policy
Economic policy
Economic policy refers to the actions that governments take in the economic field. It covers the systems for setting interest rates and government budget as well as the labor market, national ownership, and many other areas of government interventions into the economy.Such policies are often...

 will be the primary topic of the third debate. More broadly, it also agreed to make a "good faith
Good faith
In philosophy, the concept of Good faith—Latin bona fides “good faith”, bona fide “in good faith”—denotes sincere, honest intention or belief, regardless of the outcome of an action; the opposed concepts are bad faith, mala fides and perfidy...

 effort" to accommodate the rest of the terms of the MOU.

The September 24 announcement, which was released in the format of a copy of a letter sent to the two campaigns, also noted CPD's pleasure at the willingness of the two campaigns to participate in the second, "town meeting
Town meeting
A town meeting is a form of direct democratic rule, used primarily in portions of the United States since the 17th century, in which most or all the members of a community come together to legislate policy and budgets for local government....

"-style debate, yet was ambiguous about just what had been agreed to.

Originally, the CPD had announced that questions for the second debate would come from undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization from the standard metropolitan statistical area
United States metropolitan area
In the United States a metropolitan statistical area is a geographical region with a relatively high population density at its core and close economic ties throughout the area. Such regions are not legally incorporated as a city or town would be, nor are they legal administrative divisions like...

 surrounding the host city. This had been the policy followed for the 1992, 1996, and 2000 debates. But the September 24 letter to the two candidates did not comment on this; instead, it noted that campaign representatives can discuss participant selection methodology with Dr. Frank Newport of Gallup in order to resolve any open issues. One such issue was that the MOU specified that half the questions be asked by "soft Kerry supporters" and half by "soft Bush supporters," though what is meant by those terms was not made clear.

Format


For 2004, each debate lasted ninety minutes, included a live audience, had no opening statements, could have included follow-up questions from the moderator and ended with closing statements of two minutes.

September 30: First presidential debate (University of Miami)


This debate is the most well known of the three debates, because of the "You forgot Poland" incident, and the bulge controversy.

The debate was held in the Convocation Center of the University of Miami
University of Miami
The University of Miami is a private, non-sectarian university founded in 1925 with its main campus in Coral Gables, Florida, a medical campus in Miami city proper at Civic Center, and an oceanographic research facility on Virginia Key., the university currently enrolls 15,629 students in 12...

 in Coral Gables, Florida
Coral Gables, Florida
Coral Gables is a city in Miami-Dade County, Florida, southwest of Downtown Miami, in the United States. The city is home to the University of Miami....

.

Jim Lehrer
Jim Lehrer
James Charles "Jim" Lehrer is an American journalist and the executive editor and former news anchor for PBS NewsHour on PBS, known for his role as a frequent debate moderator during elections...

 of PBS'
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 The NewsHour
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
PBS NewsHour is an evening television news program broadcast weeknights on the Public Broadcasting Service in the United States. The show is produced by MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, a company co-owned by former anchors Jim Lehrer and Robert MacNeil, and Liberty Media, which owns a 65% stake in the...

posed nine questions for each candidate:

Questions for President Bush

  1. Do you believe the election of Senator Kerry on November the 2nd would increase the chances of the U.S. being hit by another 9/11
    September 11, 2001 attacks
    The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

    -type terrorist attack?
  2. What about Senator Kerry's point, the comparison he drew between the priorities of going after Osama bin Laden
    Osama bin Laden
    Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

     and going after Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

    ?
  3. What criteria would you use to determine when to start bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq
    Iraq
    Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

    ?
  4. You have said there was a, quote, "miscalculation of what the conditions would be in postwar Iraq." What was the miscalculation, and how did it happen?
  5. Has the war in Iraq been worth the cost in American lives? Ten thousand fifty two — I mean, one thousand fifty two — as of today.
  6. Does the Iraq experience make it more likely or less likely that you would take the United States into another preemptive military action
    Preemptive war
    A preemptive war is a war that is commenced in an attempt to repel or defeat a perceived inevitable offensive or invasion, or to gain a strategic advantage in an impending war before that threat materializes. It is a war which preemptively 'breaks the peace'. The term: 'preemptive war' is...

    ?
  7. Do you believe that diplomacy and sanctions can resolve the nuclear problems with North Korea
    North Korea and weapons of mass destruction
    North Korea has declared that it has nuclear weapons and is believed by many to have nuclear weapons. The CIA assesses that North Korea also has a substantial arsenal of chemical weapons...

     and Iran
    Nuclear program of Iran
    The nuclear program of Iran was launched in the 1950s with the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program. The support, encouragement and participation of the United States and Western European governments in Iran's nuclear program continued until the 1979 Iranian Revolution...

    ?
  8. There are clearly, as we have heard, major policy differences between the two of you. Are there also underlying character issues that you believe — that you believe are serious enough to deny Senator Kerry the job as commander-in-chief
    Commander-in-Chief
    A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

     of the United States?
  9. Did you misjudge President Putin
    Vladimir Putin
    Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

    , or are you — do you feel that what he is doing in the name of anti-terrorism by changing some democratic processes is OK?

Questions for Senator Kerry

  1. Do you believe you could do a better job than President Bush in preventing another 9/11
    September 11, 2001 attacks
    The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

    -type terrorist attack on the United States?
  2. What colossal misjudgments, in your opinion, has President Bush made in fighting the war on terror
    War on Terror
    The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

    ?
  3. As President, what would you do specifically, in addition to, or differently, to increase the homeland security
    Homeland security
    Homeland security is an umbrella term for security efforts to protect states against terrorist activity. Specifically, is a concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the U.S., reduce America’s vulnerability to terrorism, and minimize the damage and recover from attacks that do...

     of the United States than what President Bush is doing?
  4. Speaking of Vietnam
    Vietnam War
    The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

    , you spoke to Congress in 1971, after you came from Vietnam, and you said, quote, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?
  5. You've repeatedly accused President Bush — not here tonight, but elsewhere before — of not telling the truth about Iraq, essentially of lying to the American people about Iraq. Give us some examples of what you consider to be his not telling the truth.
  6. Can you give us specifics — in terms of a scenario, timelines, et cetera — for ending U.S. — major U.S. military involvement in Iraq?
  7. What is your position on the whole concept of preemptive war
    Preemptive war
    A preemptive war is a war that is commenced in an attempt to repel or defeat a perceived inevitable offensive or invasion, or to gain a strategic advantage in an impending war before that threat materializes. It is a war which preemptively 'breaks the peace'. The term: 'preemptive war' is...

    ?
  8. You mentioned Darfur
    Darfur
    Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...

    , the Darfur region of Sudan
    Sudan
    Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

    . Fifty thousand people have already died in that area
    Darfur conflict
    The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

    , more than a million are homeless and it has been labeled an act of ongoing genocide
    Genocide
    Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

    , yet, neither one of you — or anyone else connected with your campaigns or your administration that I can find — has discussed the possibility of sending in troops. Why not?
  9. If you are elected President, what will you take to that office thinking is the single most serious threat to the national security
    National security
    National security is the requirement to maintain the survival of the state through the use of economic, diplomacy, power projection and political power. The concept developed mostly in the United States of America after World War II...

     of the United States?

Transcript and video stream

  • Debate transcript from Wikisource
    Wikisource
    Wikisource is an online digital library of free content textual sources on a wiki, operated by the Wikimedia Foundation. Its aims are to host all forms of free text, in many languages, and translations. Originally conceived as an archive to store useful or important historical texts, it has...

  • Real player video stream of the debate from the BBC
    BBC
    The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

     website
  • Video and stream of the debate from the Internet Archive
    Internet Archive
    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. The Internet Archive...


Post-debate poll


62.5 million people tuned in to the debates, an increase of just over 35 percent from 2000.

Controversy


A bulge in the back of Bush's suit jacket during this debate triggered rumors that he was "wired" with a radio receiver, presumably to receive instructions from his strategists. Contributing to the rumors was the perception that, at one point, Bush stated "Let me finish" in response to no apparent interruption and when he still had time on the clock, and some long pauses by Bush before he began answering a question. Others dismissed these accusations, saying that the "Let me finish" was a response to a gesture that Lehrer made, and the pauses were a result of Bush gathering his thoughts before responding. The story gained momentum on the Internet throughout the remaining debates, with some websites devoted exclusively to the issue, often referred to as the "Bush bulge" or "Bush wired" story. Comedy talk show hosts had fun with "Bulgegate" jokes.

White House officials initially claimed that the bulge was a "wrinkle in the fabric," and that Bush was not wearing a bullet-proof vest, as many conjectured. Bush's tailor later said that the bulge was nothing more than a pucker along the jacket's back seam, according to the Seattle Times. After the election, unidentified sources in the Secret Service
United States Secret Service
The United States Secret Service is a United States federal law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The sworn members are divided among the Special Agents and the Uniformed Division. Until March 1, 2003, the Service was part of the United States...

 told The Hill
The Hill (newspaper)
The Hill, a subsidiary of News Communications Inc., is a newspaper published in Washington, D.C. since 1994.Its first editor was Martin Tolchin, a veteran correspondent in the Washington bureau of The New York Times....

that Bush had been wearing a bullet-proof vest and that campaign handlers had not admitted it earlier for security reasons.

There is also evidence that the device was a portable defibrillator Bush supposedly began wearing after the infamous "pretzel incident" in January 2002.

A photo imaging scientist at NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

, Dr. Robert M. Nelson, applied photo enhancement techniques to images of Bush at each of the three debates. He concluded that Bush was "obviously wearing something—probably a receiver of some kind—under his jacket for each debate." Nelson sent his evidence to The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, which prepared an investigative report on the matter, but it was killed by editors, one of whom later explained that the story did not make the cut because it was mere "speculation"; a reporter on the Times science desk disagreed. The story received some coverage, for example in Salon
Salon.com
Salon.com, part of Salon Media Group , often just called Salon, is an online liberal magazine, with content updated each weekday. Salon was founded by David Talbot and launched on November 20, 1995. It was the internet's first online-only commercial publication. The magazine focuses on U.S...

, Mother Jones
Mother Jones (magazine)
Mother Jones is an American independent news organization, featuring investigative and breaking news reporting on politics, the environment, human rights, and culture. Mother Jones has been nominated for 23 National Magazine Awards and has won six times, including for General Excellence in 2001,...

 and Extra!
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting is a progressive media criticism organization based in New York City, founded in 1986.FAIR describes itself on its website as "the national media watch group" and defines its mission as working to "invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity...

magazines.

The bulge appeared in the second presidential debate as well, albeit differently-shaped; this furthered speculation as to what was under Bush's jacket. In addition to the bulge, C-SPAN
C-SPAN
C-SPAN , an acronym for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, is an American cable television network that offers coverage of federal government proceedings and other public affairs programming via its three television channels , one radio station and a group of websites that provide streaming...

 footage of the second debate revealed what appeared to be a black object under Bush's tie for a brief second; there has been no definitive word on what caused this to appear.

Kerry has also been the subject of misconduct rumors. Footage shows him removing something from his jacket, in violation of section 5(c) of the Memorandum of Understanding, which states, in part: "No props ... or other tangible things may be brought into the debate by any candidate." At first there was speculation that it might have been an index card
Index card
An index card consists of heavy paper stock cut to a standard size, used for recording and storing small amounts of discrete data. It was invented by Carl Linnaeus, around 1760....

 or a piece of paper containing notes, but subsequent investigation by the Fox News Channel
Fox News Channel
Fox News Channel , often called Fox News, is a cable and satellite television news channel owned by the Fox Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of News Corporation...

 revealed that what Kerry removed from his jacket was a pen.

"You forgot Poland"



During the debate John Kerry accused Bush of having failed to gain international support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

, saying the only countries assisting the U.S. during the invasion were the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. Kerry's assertion was incorrect. There were four countries that participated in the invasion: the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

. Bush prefaced his reply by saying "Well, actually, he forgot Poland and now there's 30 nations involved, standing side by side with our American troops."

Vice-presidential debate — October 5



Venue


The only Vice Presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards was held at the Veale Center at Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University is a private research university located in Cleveland, Ohio, USA...

 in Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

. The debate attracted a large audience, as 43.6 million people tuned in, nearly as many as had watched the presidential debates from 2000.
Moderator Gwen Ifill
Gwen Ifill
Gwendolyn L. "Gwen" Ifill is an American journalist, television newscaster and author. She is the managing editor and moderator of Washington Week and a senior correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, both of which air on PBS. She is a political analyst, and moderated the 2004 and 2008 Vice...

 of the Public Broadcasting Service
Public Broadcasting Service
The Public Broadcasting Service is an American non-profit public broadcasting television network with 354 member TV stations in the United States which hold collective ownership. Its headquarters is in Arlington, Virginia....

 posed a total of 20 questions to the candidates:

Questions for Vice President Cheney

  1. Vice President Cheney, there have been new developments in Iraq
    Iraq
    Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

    , especially having to do with the administration's handling. Paul Bremer, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority
    Coalition Provisional Authority
    The Coalition Provisional Authority was established as a transitional government following the invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies, members of the Multi-National Force – Iraq which was formed to oust the government of Saddam Hussein in 2003...

    , gave a speech in which he said that we have never had enough troops on the ground, or we've never had enough troops on the ground. Donald Rumsfeld
    Donald Rumsfeld
    Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...

     said he has not seen any hard evidence of a link between al-Qaeda
    Al-Qaeda
    Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

     and Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein
    Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

    . Was this approved — of a report that you requested that you received a week ago that showed there was no connection between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
    Abu Musab al-Zarqawi
    Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ; October 30, 1966 – June 7, 2006), born Ahmad Fadeel al-Nazal al-Khalayleh was a Jordanian militant Islamist who ran a paramilitary training camp in Afghanistan...

     and Saddam Hussein?
  2. Tonight we mentioned Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

    . We believe that Osama bin Laden
    Osama bin Laden
    Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

     is hiding perhaps in a cave somewhere along the Afghan-Pakistan
    Durand Line
    The Durand Line refers to the porous international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which has divided the ethnic Pashtuns . This poorly marked line is approximately long...

     border. If you get a second term, what is your plan to capture him and then to neutralize those who have sprung up to replace him?
  3. When the president says that Senator Kerry is emboldening enemies and you say that we could get hit again if voters make the wrong choice in November, are you saying that it would be a dangerous thing to have John Kerry as president?
  4. Mr. Vice President, in June 2000 when you were still CEO
    Chief executive officer
    A chief executive officer , managing director , Executive Director for non-profit organizations, or chief executive is the highest-ranking corporate officer or administrator in charge of total management of an organization...

     of Halliburton
    Halliburton
    Halliburton is the world's second largest oilfield services corporation with operations in more than 70 countries. It has hundreds of subsidiaries, affiliates, branches, brands and divisions worldwide and employs over 50,000 people....

    , you said that U.S. businesses should be allowed to do business with Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

     because, quote, "Unilateral sanctions almost never work." After four years as vice president now, and with Iran having been declared by your administration as part of the "axis of evil
    Axis of evil
    "Axis of evil" is a term initially used by the former United States President George W. Bush in his State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002 and often repeated throughout his presidency, describing governments that he accused of helping terrorism and seeking weapons of mass destruction...

    ," do you still believe that we should lift sanctions on Iran
    Sanctions against Iran
    This article outlines economic, trade, scientific and military sanctions against Iran, which have been imposed by the U.S. government, or under U.S. pressure by the international community through the United Nations Security Council...

    ?
  5. Mr. Vice President, the Census Bureau
    United States Census Bureau
    The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

     ranked Cleveland
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

     as the biggest poor city in the country, 31 percent jobless rate. You two gentlemen are pretty well off. You did well for yourselves in the private sector. What can you tell the people of Cleveland, or people of cities like Cleveland, that your administration will do to better their lives?
  6. I want to read something you said four years ago at this very setting: "Freedom means freedom for everybody." You said it again recently when you were asked about legalizing same-sex unions
    Same-sex marriage
    Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

    . And you used your family's experience as a context for your remarks. Can you describe then your administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex unions?
  7. President Bush has derided in John Kerry for putting a trial lawyer on the ticket. You yourself have said that lawsuits are partly to blame for higher medical costs. Are you willing to say that John Edwards, sitting here, has been part of the problem?
  8. I want to talk to you about AIDS
    AIDS
    Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

    , and not about AIDS in China or Africa
    HIV/AIDS in Africa
    HIV/AIDS is a major public health concern and cause of death in Africa. Although Africa is home to about 14.5% of the world's population, it is estimated to be home to 67% of all people living with HIV and to 72% of all AIDS deaths in 2009.-Overview:...

    , but AIDS right here in this country
    HIV/AIDS in the United States
    [[File:New HIV Cases 22 States 2006 CDC.svg|thumb|300px|Estimated Number of New HIV Cases—22 States 2006...

    , where black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts. What should the government's role be in helping to end the growth of this epidemic?
  9. Without mentioning them by name at all, explain to us why you are different from your opponent.
  10. Whichever one of you is elected in November — you mentioned those three electoral votes in Wyoming
    Wyoming
    Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

     and how critical they've turned out to be. But what they're a sign of also is that you're going to inherit a very deeply divided electorate, economically, politically, you name it. How will you set out, Mr. Vice President, in a way that you weren't able to in these past four years, to bridge that divide?

Questions for Senator Edwards

  1. You and Senator Kerry have said that the war in Iraq is the wrong war at the wrong time. Does that mean that if you had been president and vice president that Saddam Hussein would still be in power?
  2. Senator Kerry was asked about preemptive action at the last debate — he said, "You've got to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons." What is a global test if it's not a global veto?
  3. Part of what you have said and Senator Kerry has said that you are going to do in order to get us out of the problems in Iraq is to internationalize the effort. Yet French
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

     and German
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     officials have both said they have no intention even if John Kerry is elected of sending any troops into Iraq for any peacekeeping
    Peacekeeping
    Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

     effort. Does that make your effort or your plan to internationalize this effort seem kind of naïve?
  4. If this report that we've read about today is true, and if Vice President Cheney ordered it and asked about this, do you think that, in the future, that your administration or the Bush administration would have sufficient and accurate enough intelligence to be able to make decisions about where to go next?
  5. Senator Edwards, as we wrap up the foreign policy
    Foreign policy
    A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

     part of this, I do want to talk to you about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    Israeli-Palestinian conflict
    The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The conflict is wide-ranging, and the term is also used in reference to the earlier phases of the same conflict, between Jewish and Zionist yishuv and the Arab population living in Palestine under Ottoman or...

    . Today, a senior member of Islamic Jihad
    Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine
    The Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine known in the West as simply Palestinian Islamic Jihad , is a small Palestinian militant organization. The group has been labelled as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia and Israel...

     was killed in Gaza
    Gaza Strip
    thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

    . There have been suicide bombings
    Suicide attack
    A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

    , targeted assassinations
    Assassination
    To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

    , mortar
    Mortar (weapon)
    A mortar is an indirect fire weapon that fires explosive projectiles known as bombs at low velocities, short ranges, and high-arcing ballistic trajectories. It is typically muzzle-loading and has a barrel length less than 15 times its caliber....

     attacks, all of this continuing at a time when the United States seems absent in the peace-making process. What would your administration do? First of all, do you agree that the United States is absent? Maybe you don't. But what would your administration do to try to resolve that conflict?
  6. Senator Kerry said in a recent interview that he absolutely will not raise taxes on anyone under, who earns under $200,000 a year. How can he guarantee that and also cut the deficit
    United States public debt
    The United States public debt is the money borrowed by the federal government of the United States at any one time through the issue of securities by the Treasury and other federal government agencies...

     in half, as he's promised?
  7. As the vice president mentioned, John Kerry comes from the state of Massachusetts
    Massachusetts
    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

    , which has taken as big a step as any state
    Same-sex marriage in Massachusetts
    Same-sex marriage in the U.S. state of Massachusetts began on May 17, 2004, as a result of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruling in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health that it was unconstitutional under the Massachusetts constitution to allow only heterosexual couples to marry...

     in the union to legalize gay marriage. Yet both you and Senator Kerry say you oppose it. Are you trying to have it both ways?
  8. Do you feel personally attacked when Vice President Cheney talks about liability reform and tort reform
    Tort reform
    Tort reform refers to proposed changes in common law civil justice systems that would reduce tort litigation or damages. Tort actions are civil common law claims first created in the English commonwealth system as a non-legislative means for compensating wrongs and harm done by one party to...

     and the president talks about having a trial lawyer on the ticket?
  9. Ten men and women have been nominees of their parties since 1976 to be vice president. Out of those ten, you have the least governmental experience of any of them. What qualifies you to be a heartbeat away?
  10. Flip-flopping has become a recurring theme in this campaign, you may have noticed. Senator Kerry changed his mind about whether to vote to authorize the president to go to war. President Bush changed his mind about whether a homeland security department
    United States Department of Homeland Security
    The United States Department of Homeland Security is a cabinet department of the United States federal government, created in response to the September 11 attacks, and with the primary responsibilities of protecting the territory of the United States and protectorates from and responding to...

     was a good idea or a 9/11 Commission
    9/11 Commission
    The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, was set up on November 27, 2002, "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 attacks", including preparedness for and the immediate response to...

     was a good idea. What's wrong with a little flip-flop every now and then?

Transcript and video stream

  • Debate transcript from Wikisource
  • Real player video stream of the debate from the BBC website
  • Video and stream of the debate from the Internet Archive
    Internet Archive
    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. The Internet Archive...


Post-debate poll


CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

 interviewed a nationally representative sample of 178 uncommitted debate-watchers. The sample was of voters who are either undecided about whom to vote for or who have a weak preference that could be changed. Of the group 41 percent said Edwards won the debate, 28 said Cheney won, and 31 percent thought it was a tie. Both uncommitted men and uncommitted women preferred Edwards.

According to telephone interviews conducted by SurveyUSA
SurveyUSA
SurveyUSA is a polling firm in the United States. It conducts market research for corporations and interest groups, but is best known for conducting opinion polls for various political offices and questions...

 in Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, 44 percent of people thought that Cheney had "clearly won" the debate, while 40 percent of people said the same of Edwards. A separate poll of 1000 likely voters found that 43 percent believed Cheney won while 37 percent felt Edwards did better. Moreover, after the debate 47 percent said that Cheney was "very qualified" to assume the responsibilities of president (a seven percent rise), while only 25 percent said the same of Edwards (no change).

Venue


The debate was held at Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis is a private research university located in suburban St. Louis, Missouri. Founded in 1853, and named for George Washington, the university has students and faculty from all fifty U.S. states and more than 110 nations...

 in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

. Charles Gibson
Charles Gibson
Charles deWolf "Charlie" Gibson is a former American broadcast television anchor and journalist. He was a host of Good Morning America from 1987 to 1998 and 1999 to 2006 and anchor of World News with Charles Gibson from 2006 to 2009....

 mediated the town hall session, which consisted of prospective voters reading questions preselected by Gibson to the candidates.

Questions for Senator Kerry


  1. Senator Kerry, after talking to several co-workers and family and friends, I asked the ones who said they were not voting for you, why. They said that you were too wishy-washy. Do you have a reply for them?
  2. Senator Kerry, the U.S. is preparing a new Iraq government, and we'll proceed to withdraw U.S. troops. Would you proceed with the same plans as President Bush?
  3. Iran sponsors terrorism and has missiles capable of hitting Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

     and southern Europe
    Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

    . Iran will have nuclear weapons in two to three years' time. In the event that U.N. sanctions don't stop this threat, what will you do as President?
  4. Senator Kerry, we have been fortunate that there have been no further terrorist attacks on American soil since 9/11. Why do you think this is? And if elected, what will you do to assure our safety?
  5. Senator Kerry, you've stated your concern for the rising cost of health care
    Health care
    Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

    . Yet you chose the vice presidential candidate who has made millions of dollars successfully suing medical professionals. How do you reconcile this with the voters?
  6. Senator Kerry, would you be willing to look directly into the camera and, using simple and unequivocal language, give the American people your solemn pledge not to sign any legislation that will increase the tax burden on families earning less than $200,000 a year during your first term?
  7. Senator Kerry, how can the U.S. be competitive in a manufacturing given — in manufacturing, excuse me, given the wage necessary and comfortably accepted for American workers to maintain the standard of living that they expect?
  8. Senator Kerry, thousands of people have already been cured or treated by the use of adult stem cell
    Stem cell
    This article is about the cell type. For the medical therapy, see Stem Cell TreatmentsStem cells are biological cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells...

    s, or umbilical cord
    Umbilical cord
    In placental mammals, the umbilical cord is the connecting cord from the developing embryo or fetus to the placenta...

     stem cells. However, no one has been cured by using embryo
    Embryo
    An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

    nic stem cells. Wouldn't it be wise to use stem cells obtained without the destruction of an embryo?
  9. Senator Kerry, suppose you are speaking with a voter who believed abortion
    Abortion
    Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

     is murder
    Murder
    Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human being, and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide...

    , and the voter asked for reassurance that his or her tax dollars would not go to support abortion. What would you say to that person?

Questions for President Bush

  1. Mr. President, yesterday in a statement you admitted that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction
    Weapons of mass destruction
    A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

    , but justified the invasion by stating — I quote — "he retained the knowledge, the materials, the means, and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction, and could have passed this knowledge to our terrorist enemies." Do you sincerely believe this to be a reasonable justification for invasion when this statement applies to so many other countries, including North Korea
    North Korea
    The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

    ?
  2. Mr. President, my mother and sister traveled abroad this summer and, when they got back, they talked to us about how shocked they were at the intensity of aggravation that other countries had with how we handled the Iraq situation. Diplomacy
    Diplomacy
    Diplomacy is the art and practice of conducting negotiations between representatives of groups or states...

     is, obviously, something that we have to really work on. What is your plan to repair relations with other countries, given the current situation?
  3. Mr. President, since we continue to police the world, how do you intend to maintain a military presence without re-instituting a draft
    Conscription
    Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

    ?
  4. Mr. President, why did you block the reimportation of safer and inexpensive drugs from Canada
    Canadian and American health care systems compared
    Comparison of the health care systems in Canada and the United States are often made by government, public health and public policy analysts. The two countries had similar health care systems before Canada reformed its system in the 1960s and 1970s. The United States spends much more money on...

    , which would have cut 40–60 percent off of the cost?
  5. Mr. President, you have enjoyed a Republican majority in the House and Senate for most of your presidency. In that time, you've not veto
    Veto
    A veto, Latin for "I forbid", is the power of an officer of the state to unilaterally stop an official action, especially enactment of a piece of legislation...

    ed a single spending bill. Excluding $120 billion spent in Iran and Afghan — I'm sorry, Iraq and Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

    , there has been $700 billion spent and not paid for by taxes. Please explain how the spending you have approved and not paid for is better for the American people than the spending proposed for your opponent.
  6. Mr. President, how would you rate yourself as an environmentalist
    Environmentalism
    Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

    ? What specifically has your administration done to improve the condition of our nation's air and water supply?
  7. President Bush, 45 days after 9/11, Congress passed the Patriot Act
    USA PATRIOT Act
    The USA PATRIOT Act is an Act of the U.S. Congress that was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 26, 2001...

    , which takes away checks on law enforcement, weakens American citizens' rights and freedoms, especially Fourth Amendment
    Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution
    The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights which guards against unreasonable searches and seizures, along with requiring any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause...

     rights. With expansions of the Patriot Act and Patriot Act II, my question to you is, why are my rights being watered down and my citizens around me, and what are the specific justifications for these reforms?
  8. Mr. President, if there were a vacancy in the Supreme Court
    Supreme Court of the United States
    The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

    , and you had the opportunity to fill that position today, who would you choose, and why?
  9. President Bush, during the last four years, you have made thousands of decisions that have affected millions of lives. Please give three instances in which you came to realize you had made a wrong decision, and what you did to correct it.

Transcript and video stream

  • Debate transcript from Wikisource
  • Real player video stream of the debate from the BBC website
  • Video and stream of the debate from the Internet Archive
    Internet Archive
    The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library with the stated mission of "universal access to all knowledge". It offers permanent storage and access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, music, moving images, and nearly 3 million public domain books. The Internet Archive...


Analysis


Bush attempted to deflect criticism of what was described as his scowling demeanor during the first debate, joking at one point about one of Kerry's remarks, "That answer made me want to scowl".

When asked about possible appointments to the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

, Bush replied he would not pick the type of judge who would support the Dred Scott decision
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford, , also known as the Dred Scott Decision, was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S...

. As that case dealt with slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

, abolished in the United States almost a century and a half ago, some commentators thought that Bush's reply was a rather strange bit of historical minutia. Others commented that the President's citation was aimed at the pro-life
Pro-life
Opposition to the legalization of abortion is centered around the pro-life, or anti-abortion, movement, a social and political movement opposing elective abortion on moral grounds and supporting its legal prohibition or restriction...

 voters, for whom "Dred Scott
Dred Scott
Dred Scott , was an African-American slave in the United States who unsuccessfully sued for his freedom and that of his wife and their two daughters in the Dred Scott v...

" is code for Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade, , was a controversial landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion,...

, meaning that Bush would appoint Justices who were opposed to keeping abortion legal.

Venue


The final debate was held in the Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium
Gammage Auditorium
Grady Gammage Memorial Auditorium is considered to be the last public commission of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Groundbreaking took place and construction on the building began on May 23, 1962. It took 25 months to complete. The built-on-time, under-budget building opened in 1964 with the...

 at Arizona State University
Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...

. The history of this venue is interesting in light of the current occupation of Iraq: architect Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, interior designer, writer and educator, who designed more than 1,000 structures and completed 500 works. Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture...

 originally designed the building as an opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

 theater for Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. In 1957, King Faisal
Faisal II of Iraq
Faisal II was the last King of Iraq. He reigned from 4 April 1939 until July 1958, when he was killed during the "14 July Revolution" together with several members of his family...

 of Iraq commissioned Wright, then 90 years old, to design a new opera house for his capital city. Wright designed a building quite different from his prairie style, instead using domes, spires and ziggurat
Ziggurat
Ziggurats were massive structures built in the ancient Mesopotamian valley and western Iranian plateau, having the form of a terraced step pyramid of successively receding stories or levels.Notable ziggurats include the Great Ziggurat of Ur near Nasiriyah, Iraq; the Ziggurat of Aqar Quf near...

s. He expanded the plan into a broader scheme for Baghdad, planning museums, parks, a university and bazaar
Bazaar
A bazaar , Cypriot Greek: pantopoula) is a permanent merchandising area, marketplace, or street of shops where goods and services are exchanged or sold. The term is sometimes also used to refer to the "network of merchants, bankers and craftsmen" who work that area...

. The 1958 revolution prevented Wright's plans from ever going into effect, and instead his opera house was built at Arizona State University.

Moderator Bob Schieffer
Bob Schieffer
Bob Lloyd Schieffer is an American television journalist who has been with CBS News since 1969, serving 23 years as anchor on the Saturday edition of CBS Evening News from 1973 to 1996; chief Washington correspondent since 1982, moderator of the Sunday public affairs show Face the Nation since...

 of CBS News
CBS News
CBS News is the news division of American television and radio network CBS. The current chairman is Jeff Fager who is also the executive producer of 60 Minutes, while the current president of CBS News is David Rhodes. CBS News' flagship program is the CBS Evening News, hosted by the network's main...

 posed 20 total questions to the candidates:

Questions for Senator Kerry

  1. Will our children and grandchildren ever live in a world as safe and secure as the world in which we grew up?

  1. You pledged during the last debate that you would not raise taxes on those making less than $200,000 a year. But the price of everything is going up, and we all know it. Health care costs, as you all talking about, is skyrocketing, the cost of the war. My question is, how can you or any president, whoever is elected next time, keep that pledge without running this country deeper into debt and passing on more of the bills that we're running up to our children?
  2. Is it fair to blame the administration entirely for this loss of jobs?
  3. The New York Times
    The New York Times
    The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

    reports that some Catholic
    Catholic
    The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

     archbishop
    Archbishop
    An archbishop is a bishop of higher rank, but not of higher sacramental order above that of the three orders of deacon, priest , and bishop...

    s are telling their church members that it would be a sin
    Sin
    In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

     to vote for a candidate like you because you support a woman's right to choose an abortion and unlimited stem-cell research. What is your reaction to that?
  4. You have, as you have proposed and as the president has commented on tonight, proposed a massive plan to extend health-care coverage to children. You're also talking about the government picking up a big part of the catastrophic bills that people get at the hospital. And you have said that you can pay for this by rolling back the president's tax cut on the upper two percent. You heard the president say earlier tonight that it's going to cost a whole lot more money than that. I'd just ask you, where are you going to get the money?
  5. Alan Greenspan
    Alan Greenspan
    Alan Greenspan is an American economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private advisor and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC...

    , the chairman of the Federal Reserve, says there's no way that Social Security
    Social Security (United States)
    In the United States, Social Security refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program.The original Social Security Act and the current version of the Act, as amended encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs...

     can pay retirees what we have promised them unless we recalibrate. What he's suggesting, we're going to cut benefits or we're going to have to raise the retirement age. We may have to take some other reform. But if you've just said, you've promised no changes, does that mean you're just going to leave this as a problem, another problem for our children to solve?
  6. The gap between rich and poor is growing wider. More people are dropping into poverty
    Poverty
    Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

    . Yet the minimum wage
    Minimum wage
    A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

     has been stuck at, what, $5.15 an hour now for about seven years. Is it time to raise it?
  7. If you became president, Senator Kerry, what would you do about this situation of holding National Guard and Reservists for these extended periods of time and these repeated call-ups that they're now facing?
  8. Affirmative action
    Affirmative action
    Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

    : Do you see a need for affirmative action programs, or have we moved far enough along that we no longer need to use race and gender
    Gender
    Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

     as a factor in school admissions and federal and state contracts and so on?
  9. Senator Kerry, after 9/11... it seemed to me that the country came together as I've never seen it come together since World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

    . But some of that seems to have melted away. I think it's fair to say we've become pretty polarized, perhaps because of the political season. But if you were elected president, or whoever is elected president, will you set a priority in trying to bring the nation back together? Or what would be your attitude on that?

Questions for President Bush

  1. We are talking about protecting ourselves from the unexpected, but the flu season is suddenly upon us. Flu kills thousands of people every year. Suddenly we find ourselves with a severe shortage of flu vaccine. How did that happen?
  2. Mr. President, what do you say to someone in this country who has lost his job to someone overseas who's being paid a fraction of what that job paid here in the United States?
  3. Do you believe homosexuality
    Homosexuality
    Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

     is a choice?
  4. Health insurance costs have risen over 36 percent over the last four years according to The Washington Post
    The Washington Post
    The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

    . We're paying more. We're getting less. I would like to ask you: Who bears responsibility for this? Is it the government? Is it the insurance companies? Is it the lawyers? Is it the doctors? Is it the administration?
  5. We all know that Social Security
    Social Security (United States)
    In the United States, Social Security refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance program.The original Social Security Act and the current version of the Act, as amended encompass several social welfare and social insurance programs...

     is running out of money, and it has to be fixed. You have proposed to fix it by letting people put some of the money collected to pay benefits into private savings accounts. But the critics are saying that's going to mean finding $1 trillion over the next 10 years to continue paying benefits as those accounts are being set up. So where do you get the money? Are you going to have to increase the deficit by that much over 10 years?
  6. [A]t least 8,000 people cross our borders illegally
    Illegal immigration to the United States
    An illegal immigrant in the United States is an alien who has entered the United States without government permission or stayed beyond the termination date of a visa....

     every day. Some people believe this is a security issue, as you know. Some believe it's an economic issue. Some see it as a human rights issue. How do you see it? And what we need to do about it?
  7. Mr. President, I want to go back to something Senator Kerry said earlier tonight and ask a follow-up of my own. He said... that you had never said whether you would like to overturn Roe v. Wade
    Roe v. Wade
    Roe v. Wade, , was a controversial landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. The Court decided that a right to privacy under the due process clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution extends to a woman's decision to have an abortion,...

    . So I'd ask you directly, would you like to?
  8. You said that if Congress would vote to extend the ban on assault weapons
    Federal assault weapons ban
    The Federal Assault Weapons Ban was a subtitle of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a federal law in the United States that included a prohibition on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms, so called "assault weapons"...

    , that you'd sign the legislation, but you did nothing to encourage the Congress to extend it. Why not?
  9. You were asked before the invasion, or after the invasion, of Iraq if you'd checked with your dad
    George H. W. Bush
    George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

    . And I believe, I don't remember the quote exactly, but I believe you said you had checked with a higher authority. I would like to ask you, what part does your faith play on your policy decisions?
  10. [T]he three of us (Bush, Kerry, & Schieffer) share something. All three of us are surrounded by very strong women. We're all married to strong women. Each of us have two daughters that make us very proud. I'd like to ask each of you, what is the most important thing you've learned from these women?

Transcript

  • Debate transcript from Wikisource

Third-party candidate debates

  • January 29 — Former Green Party
    Green Party (United States)
    The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

     presidential nomination candidate and independent vice-presidential candidate Peter Camejo
    Peter Camejo
    Peter Miguel Camejo was an American author, activist and politician. In the 2004 United States presidential election, he was selected by independent candidate Ralph Nader as his vice-presidential running mate on a ticket which had the endorsement of the Reform Party.Camejo was a three-time Green...

     debated Normon Solomon at the Crest Theatre
    Crest Theatre
    The Crest Theatre is an historic theatre located in downtown Sacramento, California.-History:It originally opened in 1912 as the Empress Theatre, and at that time was used as a vaudeville palace. It later became the Hippodrome. On September 14, 1946 the Hippodrome's marquee suddenly fell to the...

     in downtown Sacramento
    Sacramento, California
    Sacramento is the capital city of the U.S. state of California and the county seat of Sacramento County. It is located at the confluence of the Sacramento River and the American River in the northern portion of California's expansive Central Valley. With a population of 466,488 at the 2010 census,...

    , regarding what direction the Green Party should take in 2004. Camejo supported Ralph Nader
    Ralph Nader
    Ralph Nader is an American political activist, as well as an author, lecturer, and attorney. Areas of particular concern to Nader include consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government....

    , even as an independent candidate, and hoped that Nader could be persuaded to run with the Green Party. Solomon said that Nader should not run, and that the Greens should work to defeat George W. Bush . The debate was a benefit for listener-sponsored KVMR
    KVMR
    KVMR is a progressive, independent radio station founded in 1978 in Nevada City, California. KVMR's coverage from its transmitter on nearby 3000' Banner Mountain includes the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Northern California, as well as the Central Valley region around...

    .
  • August 31 — Michael Badnarik
    Michael Badnarik
    Michael J. Badnarik is an American software engineer, political figure, and former radio talk show host. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 elections, and placed fourth in the race, behind independent candidate Ralph Nader...

     (Libertarian
    Libertarian Party (United States)
    The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

    ) and David Cobb
    David Cobb
    David Keith Cobb is an American activist and was the 2004 presidential candidate of the Green Party of the United States .-Career and political activities:...

     (Green
    Green Party (United States)
    The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

    ) debated in New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

    . George W. Bush
    George W. Bush
    George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

     (Republican), John Kerry
    John Kerry
    John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

     (Democrat), and Ralph Nader
    Ralph Nader
    Ralph Nader is an American political activist, as well as an author, lecturer, and attorney. Areas of particular concern to Nader include consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government....

     (independent) were invited to debate, but none of them accepted. The debate was moderated by Rob Richie, Executive Director of the Center for Voting and Democracy, and Walter Kane, a reporter for Channel 12 News. C-SPAN
    C-SPAN
    C-SPAN , an acronym for Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, is an American cable television network that offers coverage of federal government proceedings and other public affairs programming via its three television channels , one radio station and a group of websites that provide streaming...

     televised the debate on September 6.
  • September 30 — Michael Badnarik
    Michael Badnarik
    Michael J. Badnarik is an American software engineer, political figure, and former radio talk show host. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 elections, and placed fourth in the race, behind independent candidate Ralph Nader...

     (Libertarian
    Libertarian Party (United States)
    The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

    ) and David Cobb
    David Cobb
    David Keith Cobb is an American activist and was the 2004 presidential candidate of the Green Party of the United States .-Career and political activities:...

     (Green
    Green Party (United States)
    The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

    ) debated at 5 p.m. in Miami, across the street from the Bush-Kerry debate, which began at 9 p.m. Unlike Bush and Kerry, Badnarik and Cobb took unscripted questions from the audience and from correspondents. The event was carried live by Pacifica Radio
    Pacifica Radio
    Pacifica Radio is the oldest public radio network in the United States. It is a group of five independently operated, non-commercial, listener-supported radio stations that is known for its progressive/liberal political orientation. It is also a program service supplying over 100 affiliated...

    , and broadcast later by PBS Television.
  • October 6 — Michael Badnarik
    Michael Badnarik
    Michael J. Badnarik is an American software engineer, political figure, and former radio talk show host. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 elections, and placed fourth in the race, behind independent candidate Ralph Nader...

     (Libertarian
    Libertarian Party (United States)
    The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

    ), Walt Brown
    Walt Brown
    Walter Frederick Brown is an American politician and was the presidential candidate of the Socialist Party USA in the 2004 elections. Brown became a socialist in 1948. He served as Democratic member of the Oregon State Senate from 1975 to 1987. Brown also served as a Socialist Party of Oregon...

     (Socialist
    Socialist Party USA
    The Socialist Party USA is a multi-tendency democratic-socialist party in the United States. The party states that it is the rightful continuation and successor to the tradition of the Socialist Party of America, which had lasted from 1901 to 1972.The party is officially committed to left-wing...

    ), David Cobb
    David Cobb
    David Keith Cobb is an American activist and was the 2004 presidential candidate of the Green Party of the United States .-Career and political activities:...

     (Green
    Green Party (United States)
    The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

    ), and Michael Peroutka
    Michael Peroutka
    Michael Anthony Peroutka is a Maryland lawyer, the founder of the Institute on the Constitution. He once held a position in the United States Department of Health and Human Services and was the Constitution Party candidate for president in 2004. He is co-host of The American View radio...

     (Constitution
    Constitution Party (United States)
    The Constitution Party is a paleoconservative political party in the United States. It was founded as the U.S. Taxpayers' Party by Howard Philips in 1991. Phillips was the party's candidate in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 presidential elections...

    ) debated at 8 p.m. at Cornell University
    Cornell University
    Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

     in Ithaca, New York. The format of this event was similar to that of the September 30 debate: opening statements, questions from the audience, and closing statements. However, the debate was slightly shorter than the prior two third-party debates, at about 80 minutes total. Time was split between four candidates rather than two, and most of the questions came from Cornell undergraduate and graduate students.
  • October 7 — Vice-Presidential debate conducted by Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now!
    Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...

    featuring Pat LaMarche
    Pat LaMarche
    Patricia Helen "Pat" LaMarche is an American political figure and activist with the Green Party; she was the party's vice-presidential candidate in the 2004 U.S...

     (Green
    Green Party (United States)
    The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

    ), Peter Camejo
    Peter Camejo
    Peter Miguel Camejo was an American author, activist and politician. In the 2004 United States presidential election, he was selected by independent candidate Ralph Nader as his vice-presidential running mate on a ticket which had the endorsement of the Reform Party.Camejo was a three-time Green...

     (Independent Ralph Nader
    Ralph Nader
    Ralph Nader is an American political activist, as well as an author, lecturer, and attorney. Areas of particular concern to Nader include consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government....

    's running mate), and Richard Campagna
    Richard Campagna
    Richard V. Campagna of Iowa City, Iowa was the vice-presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party in the 2004 U.S. presidential election.- Early life, education, and career :Campagna was born in New York City....

     (Libertarian).
  • October 7 — Michael Badnarik
    Michael Badnarik
    Michael J. Badnarik is an American software engineer, political figure, and former radio talk show host. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 elections, and placed fourth in the race, behind independent candidate Ralph Nader...

     (Libertarian
    Libertarian Party (United States)
    The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

    ) and David Cobb
    David Cobb
    David Keith Cobb is an American activist and was the 2004 presidential candidate of the Green Party of the United States .-Career and political activities:...

     (Green
    Green Party (United States)
    The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

    ) at the University of Texas at Austin
    University of Texas at Austin
    The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

     at 11:30 a.m.
  • October 15 — Walt Brown
    Walt Brown
    Walter Frederick Brown is an American politician and was the presidential candidate of the Socialist Party USA in the 2004 elections. Brown became a socialist in 1948. He served as Democratic member of the Oregon State Senate from 1975 to 1987. Brown also served as a Socialist Party of Oregon...

     (Socialist
    Socialist Party USA
    The Socialist Party USA is a multi-tendency democratic-socialist party in the United States. The party states that it is the rightful continuation and successor to the tradition of the Socialist Party of America, which had lasted from 1901 to 1972.The party is officially committed to left-wing...

    ), David Cobb
    David Cobb
    David Keith Cobb is an American activist and was the 2004 presidential candidate of the Green Party of the United States .-Career and political activities:...

     (Green
    Green Party (United States)
    The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

    ), Charles Jay
    Charles Jay
    Charles Jay was the Presidential nominee of the United States Boston Tea Party in the 2008 United States presidential election. He was the presidential nominee of the Personal Choice Party in the 2004 election, achieving ballot status in Utah, and received 946 votes in the general election, coming...

     (Personal Choice Party
    Personal Choice Party
    The Personal Choice Party is a United States political party whose presidential candidate for 2004 qualified for the ballot in the state of Utah....

    ), Gary Nolan (radio host)
    Gary Nolan (radio host)
    Gary Nolan is an American talk radio host and a former candidate for the Libertarian Party nomination for President of the United States....

     standing in for Michael Badnarik
    Michael Badnarik
    Michael J. Badnarik is an American software engineer, political figure, and former radio talk show host. He was the Libertarian Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2004 elections, and placed fourth in the race, behind independent candidate Ralph Nader...

     (Libertarian
    Libertarian Party (United States)
    The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

    ), former presidential candidate Deirdre Griswold
    Deirdre Griswold
    Deirdre Griswold was a third-party candidate for President of the United States in the United States presidential election, 1980, representing the communist Workers World Party. Her running mate was Gavrielle Holmes....

     standing in for John Parker
    John Parker (activist)
    John Parker was the candidate of the Workers World Party, a U.S. communist political party, for President of the United States in 2004. Parker and his running mate was Teresa Gutierrez received 1,330 votes . The ticket was endorsed by the Liberty Union Party of Vermont...

     (Workers World Party
    Workers World Party
    Workers World Party is a far-left political party in the United States, founded in 1959 by a group led by Sam Marcy. Marcy and his followers split from the Socialist Workers Party in 1958 over a series of long-standing differences, among them Marcy's group's support for Henry A...

    ), former presidential candidate Jerry White
    Jerry White
    Jerry White may refer to:* Jerry White , co-founder of the Landmine Survivors Network* Jerry White , criminal executed in Florida* Jerry White , player and coach in Major League Baseball...

    standing in for Bill Van Auken
    Bill Van Auken
    Bill Van Auken is a politician and activist for the Socialist Equality Party and was a presidential candidate in the U.S. election of 2004, announcing his candidacy on January 27, 2004. His running mate was Jim Lawrence. He came in 15th for the popular vote, receiving 1,857 votes. In November...

     (Socialist Equality Party
    Socialist Equality Party (United States)
    The Socialist Equality Party is a Trotskyist political party in the United States, one of several Socialist Equality Parties around the world affiliated to the International Committee of the Fourth International . The ICFI publishes daily news articles, perspectives and commentaries on the World...

    ) at East Tennessee State University
    East Tennessee State University
    East Tennessee State University is an accredited American university located in Johnson City, Tennessee. It is part of the Tennessee Board of Regents system of colleges and universities, the nation's sixth largest system of public education, and is the fourth largest university in the state...

    . The debate was released on DVD.

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