In addition to their public clashes over Iraq, President Bush and John Kerry yesterday continued debate practice. NBC Nightly News reports Bush aides "say the President will attempt to make Kerry's conflicting statements on the war a major focus of the debate," and that he may use the "one-liner, the public will wonder 'is that your final answer?'" Kerry aides "acknowledge Kerry's biggest challenges are clarifying his position on the war and tapping into frustration with the President over Iraq." The Houston Chronicle reports Bush "wrapped up another mock debate session Sunday and went for a bicycle ride on his Central Texas ranch as aides tried to downplay expectations for his performance Thursday." The Los Angeles Times reports that in the afternoon, Kerry "met at his hotel, the House on the Rock Resort, with foreign policy advisors Rand Beers and Susan Rice, campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill and media strategist Bob Shrum, along with advisors John Sasso, Ron Klain and Greg Craig, who played Bush in debate rehearsals."
Debate Commission Won't Sign Campaigns' Agreement, But Will Enforce "Many" Provisions.
The Commission on Presidential Debates agreed to enforce many conditions set by the Bush and Kerry campaigns for the debates, but the New York Times reports it will not "sign the agreement itself which aides to Mr. Bush had indicated was a prerequisite for his participation in the debates." Still, Bush's campaign "said it was satisfied with a statement the commission posted on its Web site that said 'the debate format rules will be enforced as stated in the Sept. 20 memorandum.'"
Bush Expected To Win Debates In Time Poll.
In one measure of how the expectations game is playing out, ABC World News Tonight reported on "something for the President to struggle with. The first presidential debate is this week. Time magazine's poll finds that more people expect President Bush to win the debates. Mr. Bush's advisers would prefer that he be underestimated."