FOXNews has the transcript Debate #1 So does the Debate Commission.

I’ll be reading it today and pulling bits out of it. On the whole, it depended on what you were looking for, when you ask who won…

I’ll give The Style contest to Kerry. Clearly, he’s been training.
However, the substance contest goes to the President.

Several points:

KERRY: Jim, let me tell you exactly what I’ll do. And there are a long list of thing. First of all, what kind of mixed message does it send when you have $500 million going over to Iraq to put police officers in the streets of Iraq, and the president is cutting the COPS program in America?

Kerry, as is his wont, is ignoring the fact that the COPS program… was a sham and remains so today.

KERRY: What kind of message does it send to be sending money to open firehouses in Iraq, but we’re shutting firehouses who are the first- responders here in America?

What it says is that Kerry’s blowing smoke for the benefit of the Unions he’s beholding to. It also means that the locus of the problem isn’t here in America, but rather has moved to Iraq. Sounds preferable to me.

KERRY:You know, it’s interesting. When I was in a rope line just the other day, coming out here from Wisconsin, a couple of young returnees were in the line, one active duty, one from the Guard. And they both looked at me and said: We need you. You’ve got to help us over there.

Ah, yes. Rather like the foreign leaders who support him… the ones he can’t name.

And the exchange of the night, to my memory…. an un-edited portion of the transcript. Kerry contradicts himself inside of a one minute period… this has gotta be a new record.

BUSH:My opponent says help is on the way, but what kind of message does it say to our troops in harm’s way, “wrong war, wrong place, wrong time”? Not a message a commander in chief gives, or this is a “great diversion.”

As well, help is on the way, but it’s certainly hard to tell it when he voted against the $87-billion supplemental to provide equipment for our troops, and then said he actually did vote for it before he voted against it.

Not what a commander in chief does when you’re trying to lead troops.

LEHRER: Senator Kerry, 30 seconds.

KERRY: Well, you know, when I talked about the $87 billion, I made a mistake in how I talk about the war. But the president made a mistake in invading Iraq. Which is worse?

I believe that when you know something’s going wrong, you make it right. That’s what I learned in Vietnam. When I came back from that war I saw that it was wrong. Some people don’t like the fact that I stood up to say no, but I did. And that’s what I did with that vote. And I’m going to lead those troops to victory.

LEHRER: All right, new question. Two minutes, Senator Kerry.

Speaking of Vietnam, you spoke to Congress in 1971, after you came back from Vietnam, and you said, quote, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?

KERRY: No, and they don’t have to, providing we have the leadership that we put — that I’m offering.

OK, did you see that? Here’s the edit, to bring up the sharpness a bit:

KERRY>“….the president made a mistake in invading Iraq.”

LEHRER: “Are Americans now dying in Iraq for a mistake?”

KERRY: “No”.

One wonders what they are they dying for, by Kerry’s lights.  Either a free Iraq is a worthwhile target, a valid response, a noble deed, or it’s not. Kerry contradicts himself directly on Iraq being a mistake. Flip-flopping inside of a one minute period. Gotta be a new record.

Enough. More as I find time today, and have the interest… but this is typical Kerry… all hat, no cows.