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October 04, 2004
Cheney Debate Strategy: 'Try to Look Stoic'
by Scott Ott

(2004-10-04) -- Aides to Dick Cheney indicated today that the vice president had learned from his boss' mistakes in last week's debate, and has a strategy to avoid embarrassing facial expressions during Tuesday night's debate with John Edwards.

President George Bush lost his first debate with Democrat candidate John Forbes Kerry because TV viewers saw the president scowl while Mr. Kerry talked. If Mr. Cheney fails to keep his face under control, experts predict a Kerry-Edwards sweep -- a clear harbinger of triumph in the electoral college for the Democrat ticket.

"The vice president will try to look stoic," said one unnamed aide. "He'll curb his raging passions, and do his best to look like a bland, retired accountant. It will be tough, because he's an emotional powderkeg."

Debate coaches are working with Mr. Cheney to reduce his reliance on "melodramatic expressions of shock and displeasure," the source added. "We're trying to make him look cold and calculating. We tell him, imagine you just had dental work, or botox injections."

A spokesman for Mr. Bush said his annoyed looks during the first presidential debate "resulted from the fact that he actually listened to what his opponent was saying--a tactical error the vice president is not likely to emulate."

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