John Kerry made a very interesting statement last night which goes against what everyone else has been saying all along. Kerry said George Bush is a great debater - based on the idea that Bush hasn't lost one debate yet.
That's brilliant on many levels. One is that it's true - Bush is 2 for 2. He won against McCain in the 2000 primaries and he won against Gore (albeit questionably) in the 2000 election.
Another is that he's giving props to the president for something we generally don't give him credit for. Whether he deserves it or not is a debate in itself, but it was a great disarming pat on the back.
But here's the most important part: Kerry has just placed a highwater mark on Bush's ability to debate. Kerry has almost challenged Bush to bring his best marksmanship to the gunfight. By raising the expectation for Bush, the seeds are planted for Bush to perform at a high level, and anything less will be a disappointment.
While it's easy for all of us to sit out here and say that Bush will get creamed in the debates, Kerry, by proclaiming Bush a great debater, has removed any excuse for feeling sorry for the little fella if he's stumped during the questioning.
Ladies and gentlemen - we're now seeing the John Kerry who wins elections in the closing weeks. If Karl Rove gets 20 hours of sleep between now and November 2nd, it'll be a miracle.