Polls are showing that viewers were more impressed with Kerry in the debate last night. He definitely did a great job but I think people will still be confused about how Kerry differs from Bush on how to handle Iraq, unless they go read about it, of course. David Gergen has a good column about the questions the candidates still need to answer.
Gentlemen, just how is it you plan to prevail in Iraq? Do you support a major coalition offensive against insurgents late this year, which our generals on the ground are predicting? Would you go ahead with elections this January regardless of continuing violence, especially if Kofi Annan objects? What will you do if the leading Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, boycotts the elections, as his men are warning? Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the region, said last week that more troops will be needed for the Iraqi elections. What will you say if he needs more troops from U.S. bases? What will you do next year if the training of Iraqi forces continues to lag?
I wish Jim Lehrer’s questions had been that specific.