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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
US presidential election: Your views
John Kerry and George W Bush
Kerry and Bush debated for 90 minutes
US voters will be able to see both presidential and vice-presidential candidates face each other in debate this week.

On Friday the second of three presidential debates will be televised. On Tuesday it's the turn of Vice-President Dick Cheney and the Democrat candidate John Edwards.

Opinion polls after the first presidential debate last week suggested John Kerry has closed the gap on President Bush.

The two men challenged each other on issues of foreign policy and national security, with Bush defending his decision to invade Iraq and Kerry calling it a "colossal error of judgement".

Did you change your mind after the debate? What did you think of the candidates and their performance? What do you think about the two candidates' opinion on Iraq? Did you agree with their plans for homeland security? Send us your comments.

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

I still believe he is the best man for the job
Gail Goodfellow, Vancouver, Canada
When Mr Bush won the presidency, I thought he was the best man for the job at that time. I watched the first debate tonight and I still believe he is the best man for the job. A man with conviction, he stands strong. Unfortunately, that's a rare quality and I admire that.
Gail Goodfellow, Vancouver, Canada

I was frankly embarrassed that the man on the right, George W Bush, represents the United States of America. A leader is someone who can inspire through both actions and words, and frankly, he is incapable of either.
Colin Hale, Idaho Springs, CO, USA

Great debate! I threw a debate party (31 people - 12 of them die hard Republicans)and my Republican friends were in shock! They couldn't get over how many times Bush asked for another 30 seconds and then stood there and said "uh uh uh" because he really had nothing to say. The party paid off for me because four of my republican friends are now voting Kerry! The others are still undecided but are leaning towards Kerry.
Misty McGowan, Johnson City Tn. - USA

Climbed the mighty mountain? Where does he get this rubbish? Not that Kerry was much better. Why do we, as Americans, have to constantly say "God bless America"?
Michael Cruse, San Francisco, USA

I am neither Democrat or Republican, but Bush continues to show that he has got to be worst orator in US presidential history. He still showed that he is capable of making tough wrong decisions. Bush's lip-service regarding any strength in our international relations is an embarrassing joke. Kerry showed decisive strength and integrity.
Stephen Matz, La Palma, CA, USA

After listening to the debate, I believe John Kerry seems more responsible and more able a president. Bush doesn't suitably reassure anyone - I really don't think he understands the geopolitical catastrophe he has caused and the polarisation of international politics that has resulted. Unfortunately, Kerry didn't warm to voters that well, I believe in his conviction but he needs to work on his image. There was no useful sound bite and although I think he won this debate, it wasn't by a convincing margin. Foreign relations should be the area where Bush gets trounced because he has made colossal mistakes - he seemed to get off lightly. Kerry needs to be charismatic, engaging and focused.
Darren, Nottingham

Although I'm a staunch Bush supporter, I have to admit that John Kerry had the better debate performance tonight. I guess being a lawyer and former prosecutor helps Kerry in giving smooth delivery. The substance of what he said, however, is based on lies. He still tries to play to both sides. How can he maintain that Saddam was a grave threat, had WMD and needs to be removed and yet at the same time he said that the Iraq war was the wrong war at the wrong place in the wrong time. He castigated Bush for going to Iraq alone and yet he's gung-ho about going at North Korea alone without China, Japan, South Korea, and others. My vote is still strongly for Bush.
Rudy Tjiptahadi, Santa Ana, USA

I am a life long Republican who changed his mind tonight (is this a flip flop?) Kerry is clearly the better man. Bush was defensive. His whole program is based on fear, not strength or smarts. Bush is obviously more worried about appearance than substance - how many times did he say that he didn't want to project the wrong "impression" to the troops, to our coalition partners and the "terrorists? Who cares about impressions? We want reality. Kerry elegantly and repeatedly pointed out glaring inadequacies of Bush's tenure in office and his blundering ways. How many people were fired because of the miserable "intelligence" that was produced? Not one! Talk about a lack of leadership and somebody unwilling to make hard choices! But that is not what swayed me. It was Bush's steadfast refusal to admit he made significant errors in judgement and then simply parroted tired phrases ad nauseam as a defence and refused to even admit he made any mistakes.
Paul Barker, Alamo, USA

John Kerry clearly won the debate. He was much better informed and articulate than George W Bush, who took refuge in repetitive sound bites and platitudes. There will be no justice if Kerry is not the next president. He offers world leadership, not unilateralist leadership. Bush has always been not much more than a thick skin behind which his advisers really run things.
Richard, London UK

Kerry unquestionably won this debate. While Bush repeated the same five minutes of rhetorical gossamer, Kerry laid out succinct, valid and well articulated points. How anyone could want to vote for Bush and not vote for Kerry after this debate is beyond me.
Jeremy, Columbia, MO, USA

It was the best thing for Kerry in weeks
Justin, Los Angeles
I'm a Bush supporter but I will concede that Kerry won. Did he do well enough to change the tone of the race? I don't think so but as Senator McCain suggested, it was the best thing for Kerry in weeks. Overall, it was a strong Kerry performance that may revitalize his chances.
Justin, Los Angeles

Everything was pretty much the same as usual Bush defending the war in Iraq as US soldiers die. Kerry saying a lot of great things but not truly giving a decisive plan of how he was going to help the American people. As usual no answers where really given. As a Independent I don't know who I am going to vote for. I need to hear more on what their plans are for domestic issues in the next debate.

Whilst Bush won on points and Kerry continued to flip flop and be evasive...Kerry won the debate with his presentation. Bush was obviously tired and distracted. His fault.
Daniel Sullivan, Hoboken, NJ USA

The conservative-biased news organizations and websites are saying it was a draw, which is a clear indication that Kerry won.
Tony Leone, American Citizen Abroad, Tokyo

Bush still makes me feel safer.
As an Independent I was very interested in this debate. I thought that Kerry did a good job but Bush still makes me feel safer. Will have to wait until all the debates are done before I make up my mind.

Neither candidate shined tonight. However, what we already knew was proven again: Kerry has no personality and will say any idealistic comment that comes to mind; Bush is a man with a realistic view of the world and the drive to protect and advance America.
Scott, Los Angeles, CA USA

Bush looked awkward and nervous. Kerry did not land any killer blows, but effectively destroyed Bush's laughable attempts to link Saddam to Osama Bin Laden.
Richard smith, Arundel, UK

On the issue of allies and alliances, Bush stressed the inclusion of Poland. No offence to Poland, but it is not a major power. The current coalition is formed of countries that need USA to sustain themselves. They had no other choice but to join the coalition. America needs strong, not needy, friends. And I believe Kerry will make strong nations America's friends.
John Doe, USA

President Bush had substance in the things he said. Kerry tried to look "pretty" hoping to look "presidential." However, being presidential is more important than looking presidential.
Bob Gregg, Mustang, OK, USA

John Kerry showed strength, conviction and a steady command of the facts
Charlie, Arabi, Louisiana U.S.A.
The debate last night helped me decide who should be President of the United States. John Kerry showed strength, conviction and a steady command of the facts. After watching the debate, I feel that John Kerry can lead the fight against the terrorists. I feel as if America has a new hope in the Iraq war. This new hope will allow us to finish the job Bush so tragically started and mismanaged. I think George W Bush tried his best while in office, but his inability to adjust to changing dynamics in the world is a major flaw that will get America in more trouble if he stays in charge.
Charlie, Arabi, Louisiana U.S.A.

After watching the debate and seeing Kerry still can not come up on how he would run the country only saying what he would not do. Sorry but if that is the best he can do then I am voting for Bush. At least Bush has a plan.
Jan, Kent, USA

It is frightening to me that even after this debate, when it should be clear that Kerry is the candidate with the substance to lead USA, that it is still possible that Bush may win. Bush kept repeating himself and often looked lost for words.
En Szee, Malaysia

I love my country and served her proudly, but Bush's not the one to lead he
Anon, Sacramento, California, USA
I think Kerry showed what a lot of people already know, with out his support staff, Bush can't stand up to pressure. I love my country and served her proudly, but Bush's not the one to lead her.
Anon, Sacramento, California, USA

Senator John Kerry has my confidence and my vote. He embodies dignity, diplomacy and intelligence. I hope and pray that he wins!
Jane Webber, Dallas, TX USA

If I were Kerry: the Abu Ghraib issue would have been my knockout punch. Kerry won, but he should have shown no mercy on Bush.
Eric L., Kyoto, Japan

Yes, Kerry solidly won the debate and he has my vote, but I am continually startled by both candidates' ability to make Iraq appear a recoverable situation. When do we get to talk about what's really happening in Iraq? And what about this totally endless war on terror? Where is the US media?
Mandy, Chicago, IL USA

John Kerry proved he is the only one in this race with the intelligence to lead this country.
Dan Kerr, Baird, IA U.S.A
John Kerry proved he is the only one in this race with the intelligence to lead this country.
Dan Kerr, Baird, IA U.S.A.

Respectfully said, Senator Kerry is naive. He does not fully comprehend the depraved nature of terrorist it seems. I am voting for President Bush.
E.M Seabrooke, Hanover USA

I did not expect much from these debates. In the end I felt it was a damaging blow to the Presidents credibility. It is about time America began an honest dialog about our foreign policy and the war in Iraq. The President clearly believes his policy in Iraq is his "golden ticket" to another 4 years and seems to be unwilling to discuss any aspect of his policy.
Robert, Seattle, WA USA

I truly fear for the future of American democracy. Bush is nothing more than a bumbling ideologue and front man for powerful interest groups. It is shameful that this election will be so close, and I fear that a close election will end in the same "fixed" results as the last one. This of course assumes that we will even have an election.
James Armbrust, Ames Iowa, USA

I had honest concerns for Kerry going into this first debate given the topic
Shana P, Columbia, MO
I had honest concerns for Kerry going into this first debate given the topic. Bush has almost exclusively ran on the issue of Iraq and national security, which seemed to be his only claim to fame. However, watching the debate revived my hope for a victory for Kerry in November. Bush didn't even stand up straight at the podium which lent to his unmistakeable arrogant style that so often nauseating. The remaining debates will be key for Kerry as they will address the issues Bush has successfully dodged(much like his duty in the Guard) such as the economy and healthcare. I personally can't wait to watch Kerry trounce Bush on domestic issues in the next debates.
Shana P, Columbia, MO

Kerry should be President based on last night's performance alone. Clearly the US media and American voters have been underestimating Kerry. He came across as intelligent, knowledgeable, and very composed. Everything Bush clearly was not. After this, I would imagine a lot of Americans will be thinking more seriously about voting for Kerry now they are presented with a more credible choice for a new President. It will make the race much closer and more unpredictable. The worrying thing for the Bush Campaign is that the War on Terror and National Security was supposed to be their strongest platform. Guess they got that wrong!!!

Bush defended his position in Iraq very well. Kerry was unsuccessful in describing his plan. Bush was right to state we need a good offence along with a good defence in order to protect our freedom and the freedom of the world.
Smith, South Lyon USA

Kerry won the debate and showed that he is a man of character, conviction and intelligence. His grasp of international affairs and the realities of the Iraq quagmire show him as a better choice for President. The fact that he wrote a book on nuclear proliferation and will have a much more diverse approach to the war on terror. If Bush was asked the same question Bush would have said the terrorists. Bush was deliberately trying not to seem like the arrogant fear mongering dictator that he wants to be. Hopefully average Americans will see that Bush bad for the USA and the world.
Jeff Gallo, Staten Island, New York

The debate was the equivalent of a 10-0 football rout in the finals of the World Cup.
Jeff , Ellington, CT USA
The debate was the equivalent of a 10-0 football rout in the finals of the World Cup. John Kerry was in command of the facts, spoke clearly and concisely and appeared very presidential. George Bush was like a deer in the headlights stumbling to get his answers, resorting to often debunked platitudes to overcome his lack of knowledge while he repeatedly tried to get water from an empty glass.
Jeff , Ellington, CT USA

It was a draw. People have come to expect George Bush to stumble over words, but John Kerry committed some huge gaffes too. The most glaring one was when he referred to Lubyanka Prison as Treblinka. Okay, I watched 90 minutes of television bored out of my skull. I think I will give the other debates a miss.
James Castro, Helena, Montana, USA

Kerry didn't have any specific plan for anything.
Steve, US\Russia
I am not a Bush fan, but I don't know what debate some people have watched or listened. Kerry didn't have any specific plan for anything. All he did was to give evasive answers. He is a good speaker, talks a lot, but says nothing... oops I forgot... he's a politician. And for those who think that Bush is the only one making stupid mistakes, ask Kerry about what he meant when he referred to Treblinka Square... perhaps Lubyanka Square...
Steve, US\Russia

The debate was at 4.00 A.M Kenya time and my father and I made sure that we awoke to watch the debate. There was no doubt in our mind that Senator Kerry presented a clearer vision in regards to the manner in which he will steer U.S foreign policy. It will be baffling if a country of such stature re-elects President Bush who in our view really in all honesty does not possess the qualities of a world leader and statesman.
Hanif Virani, Kenya

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