you know, i suspected that kerry would perform better than bush. but oh my god i didn't think it would be so brutal. john kerry killed in this debate, no doubt about it.
bush was on the defensive all night, looking uneasy, trapped, and confused. he stumbled through his talking points (did anyone count how many times he said "mixed signals"? or "my opponent" for that matter?). it was bad. i'm quite glad i watched on c-span 1 and got to see the reaction shots: bush would practically wince in pain whenever kerry made a good point (which was constantly). kerry calmly took notes while bush spoke. the split-screen was set up so that the candidates' heads were horizontally aligned, so their podiums looked way off, like kerry had a short pedestal with a long mic stand and bush had a tall podium with a pathetically stubby mic stand. but of course their podiums are the same height, and kerry is some 6+ inches taller than bush, something the bush team has tried hard to keep people from seeing.
bush did get in a couple good punches, but when one hit he would try to hit the same spot, with the same exact words, over and over again, with numbing repetition. hence "mixed messages" being repeated times, or "my opponent said 'wrong war wrong time", or the classic "my opponent changes his mind". he really didn't have much to say, but he would still run long, or beg for a response but then not know what to say.
kerry was calm, cool, collected, and full of facts. he clearly conquered bush "on points" as scarborough confessed, and it seems pretty clear he won on attitude as well. bush's game was way off tonight, and kerry was on fire. kerry exuded that adjective they call "presidential" while bush just oozed insecurity.
kerry's best zinger of the night, hands down: bush "outsourced" the job of catching osama. classic!
at first glance, it looks like kerry has also won the post-debate debate. but how couldn't he? this was an unspinnable victory for kerry, a trouncing, and that was very clear if you were watching the split-screen. fox was running the camera pool, so i'm not sure what you saw if you watched the "fullscreen" version.