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The Candidates:
• George W. Bush
• John Kerry
• Ralph Nader
• Third Parties
Showdown States:
The Conventions:
• Democratic
• Republican

How do you rate each candidate's debate performance?


Paul Begala
Political strategist
D B+ A A-

Bob Novak
Political analyst
B B- C B-

Carlos Watson
Political analyst
B-/B B/B+ B/B+ B/B+
Pick your score in each category then click SUBMIT

Paul Begala
Kerry knows his material. He has greater mastery of the issues a president needs to know than the president himself does. His delivery seemed a bit too wonky, but I'll take wonkiness over ignorance any day. Bush simply misstated the facts on both Osama bin Laden and health care. He was strong and focused on taxes, but was out of touch with real people on jobs, health care and minimum wage, and got hammered on Social Security. And while Bush usually has a good sense of humor, he was forced and phony every time he tried to tell a joke.

Bob Novak
I thought this was the most boring, least eloquent of the three debates, which is saying something. I am amazed that Kerry went through an hour and a half without mentioning stem cell research or corporate corruption. I think he also still has trouble with tax questions. Bush was not too adept in talking about Social Security reform. The election has been frozen for almost two weeks, and I can't imagine this debate will change anything.

Carlos Watson
Solid performance by each candidate, but neither did enough to lay out a compelling agenda on jobs. Nor did either offer a compelling phrase or an especially memorable moment.

• Debate 1: Bush vs. Kerry
• Debate 2: Cheney vs. Edwards
• Debate 3: Bush vs. Kerry
• Debate 4: Bush vs. Kerry
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