In the run up to the American presidential elections we will be asking a panel of BBC News Online users to share their views. Here, we asked them for their thoughts on the second presidential debate between George W Bush and his Democrat challenger, John Kerry.
Although most would say that this debate was either a tie or a win, I was not satisfied with it enough to make that decision for myself.
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Rhonda Buie
Lives: San Diego, California
Current voting intention: Democrat
In 10 words or less:
"Wife, student, amateur artist, imperfect and independent observer"
Neither candidate really had concrete answers for the questions asked.
Both candidates repeated much of what they said either on the campaign trail or in the previous debate, although Kerry did have some new things to share that I was happy with.
Bush, on the other hand, came across the same way he always has and exhibited a few behavioural traits that I found annoying, for instance, winking at the audience after bashing his opponent or while waiting for him to stop talking.
It especially bothered me though that, when asked, Bush could not come up with a single decision made in office that he could call a mistake, save for appointing individuals to duties.
I must point that out, because I cannot respect someone who does not admit they make mistakes.
Kerry also had his flaws.
I was upset he continuously felt he had to attack Bush during the course of the debate.
I feel that he would make much more headway if he would stop doing that and focus instead on the people asking the questions.
I'm hoping that Kerry will be more willing to focus on himself next time. I wonder if he finds that a difficult thing to do, considering that the debates have become sessions of accusations and volleys of those accusations.
Ultimately, I would like to see an actual debate! I think that fact alone frustrates me, because there is so much at stake.
Send us your comments on Rhonda's views using the form below.
Of course neither candidate had concrete answers. During the course of these debates, politicians always make ambiguous statements. It is a part of the process. Gore and Bush both were much less clear four years ago.
Pavitra Pandey, Rancho Cucamonga, CA, USA
Yes it would be nice to see a real debate. But that will never happen. It's scares me too that Bush wouldn't admit any mistakes. I didn't like his lack of respect towards Charles Gibson, demanding to talk, the laughing at John Kerry when talking and winking at people. I felt there was one debater who was presidential and then there was the president.
Dee, Seattle, WA, USA
I do not understand how you can actually be troubled by the last question of the evening directed at the incumbent President - if he's made mistakes and can he please give three examples? This is what is called a "loaded" question, which I will add, the supposedly non-partisan moderator chose. Kerry, the next day, was bashing Bush for not answering the question. Imagine if he'd actually given him three talking points! Bush may be plain spoken, but he isn't stupid. Kerry is definitely more polished and politically suave, but because he refuses to outline the specifics of his policies I simply do not believe he has the fortitude to lead our country at this time.
Stephanie Press, Los Angeles, CA, USA
The first debate was a hands-down victory for Senator Kerry. This second presidential debate was a closer affair and not one-sided like the first debate. Obviously Bush had a grilling sessions of coaching lessons and improved on his earlier disastrous performance. But here Kerry still had the edge. Kerry left the debate energised for the third encounter. What I really found annoying about this debate was the stance of George Bush and his behavioural traits of winking at the audience, smirking and chuckling to himself, all which made him look ridiculous! On substance Kerry was effective and good at marshalling arguments, remembering them and presenting them well.
Pancha Chandra, Brussels, Belgium
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