October 03, 2004
John Kerry Violated Debate Rules (UPDATED - FOX News: it was a Pen)
Posted by Bill
UPDATE: Some sites have linked to this URL in the past few days with a reference that John Kerry "cheated" during the 2004 debates. As the original post attempted to make clear with updates, Kerry did not cheat, rather broke the technical rules outlined by both parties prior to the debate by bringing in a pen. Since this truth is apparently still getting muddled, I'll add this statement: there is no evidence that John Kerry cheated in the 2004 debate.
Original post follows:
John Kerry brought prohibited material into last Thursday's Presidential Debate. From section 5, pages 4-5 of the binding "Memorandum of Understanding" (pdf file) that was negotiated and agreed upon by both political campaigns:
(c) No props, notes, charts, diagrams, or other writings or other tangible things may be brought into the debate by either candidate.
As indicated by the linked video (fullscreen mode is very compelling), John Kerry clearly removes what look like note cards or papers from his right jacket pocket, and then places them on the podium at the beginning of the debate.
1. A single candidate's use of prepared notes could provide a distinct advantage in the debate, hence their mutual prohibition.
2. While the nature of the object is inconclusive based on the angle and resolution of the video, the rules clearly state that "[n]o ... tangible things may be brought into the debate by either candidate." That includes notes, Mont Blanc pens, magic hats, you name it.
INDC Journal and the Daily Recycler aren't going to hyperventilate and claim that this violation influenced the outcome of the first debate, but it's certainly reasonable to request that the rules are followed by the Kerry Campaign and enforced by the Debate Commission for the remaining two contests.
UPDATE: And if it was his lucky CIA hat? The magical powers could have been devastating!
UPDATE: Captain Ed calls for strip searches at the next debate.
UPDATE: All joking aside, I have to thank ScottM for this comment:
I'm not sure why it's supposed to be fever-swamp thinking to ask why Senator Kerry violated the rules.
Exactly. I'm puzzled as to why some of the comments seem to be either the ridiculous "Of course that there lyin' snake cheated, he's a gosh-durned evul li-brul!" or "So? This is meaningless." They sure look like notes to me, but even if they weren't ... he broke the rules.
Imagine if George Bush had note cards that contained verbatim quotes of Kerry's various contradictory positions. Even paraphrased, a litany of these statements could have been used to devastating effect.
The rules are in place for very good reasons.
By the way, some of my friends, family and even readers are "li-bruls," so maybe some of you should tone that stuff down. I'm not quite sure what someone's views on social policy or economics have to do with this.
UPDATE: A reader e-mails:
The front view is clear. He takes something white, not a pen, out of his breast pocket. It's something white in color, 5" to 6" long and 1/2" to1" wide. Try to get that front view.
As you may imagine, I looked far and wide for footage, but every version was from the same angle. Industrious readers that can find a frontal angle get a prize.
UPDATE: "Endaar" sends a clearer video link:
Follow the link below to a video of the debate. Get past the ad. Zoom full screen, then select slow play speed and watch the first 25 seconds or so. You will clearly see Kerry take something out of his pocket. That item is clearly white. He also appears to unfold the item, then place it on the podium and look at it.
Now, perhaps it's a hanky to wipe his sweat, but the motion appears to me to be more consistent with removing and unfolding a sheet of paper. I don't see a hanky being unfolded, nor would it be placed directly in front of him on the podium.
There is absolutely no way the item is a pen - it's noticeably larger than that.
UPDATE: Zombietime has a frame-by-frame.
UPDATE: This is absolutely hilarious:
Kerry may have to 'cheat' to score many points tonight
The rules constrain Kerry more than Bush. Unless the challenger is prepared to "cheat" Thursday night - to go up to and even across the lines of prescribed and proscribed behavior - the devil in these details will tilt the first debate into an exchange of stump speeches.
To pre-empt frothing: I'm not implying that Jim Hoagland had some knowledge, or declaring that John Kerry actually cheated - it's just humorous and cooincidental that he wrote that column. Calm down.
UPDATE: Humor from the left. This guy's clearly giving me a hard time, but it's sure funny as hell.
UPDATE: A relatively clear TiVO'ed shot was sent to me by David Kumar Singh. I blew it up and ...
UPDATE: LGF has a video with much better resolution.
UPDATE: I'll parrot Charles's line:
By the way, if this turns out to be something innocuous and perfectly legal according to the Memorandum of Understanding, I?ll be one of the first to acknowledge it. (Unless I?m asleep.)
It can't be ok by the strict terms of the Memo of Understanding, but it could still be innocuous.
UPDATE: See breaking news item - FOX News: "99% sure it's a pen."
Posted by Bill at October 3, 2004 04:06 AM | TrackBack (60)