By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2004, 3:22pm PT  

As a sidebar to the previous item, I'd add that C-SPAN rocks. We were able to view the entire debate again last night in re-run via C-SPAN's "Debate Podium Watch", a single split-screen shot of both candidates at the same time throughout the entire debate without cut-aways.

C-SPAN has that version of the debate online via this link if you care to watch. On a second viewing, with this split-screen, it was instructive to be able to watch the body language of both men. Dubya's continuous drinking throughout the night from the same empty water glass was a hoot. As was his continued "blinking like a baby bird", as the Jimmy Kimmel Show referred to it.

Watching C-SPAN's unedited cuts and open mics from Spin Alley afterwards, without media commentary, was also rather addictive. Most notably, watching Karl Rove repeatedly attempting to sell his planned pre-debate spin ("Kerry was inconsistent, a flip-flopper, incoherent, has no clear beliefs" etc.) to the stultified media guppies was informative. The lines he was attempting to sell, in light of the reality of the debate and the very clear positions expressed by Kerry, became simply inoperable after the debate. Yet Rove, surprisingly, didn't yet have anything else to sell.

One other point to watch in the next debate; Fox News was in charge of the pool cameras this time around, and they managed their camera angles so that both Bush and Kerry appeared to be the same height as they stood at the podiums in close-up. Kerry is about four inches taller, yet the split-screen view from C-SPAN clearly shows how the framing of the two candidates was different in order to make them appear the same height. Watch for the tiny mic that Bush had versus the long one that Kerry had (fill in your own joke here). It'll be interesting to see if the framing is similarly skewed in the next podium debate when Fox isn't manning the cameras.