I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the first debate. There seemed to be some measure of back and forth interaction of ideas between the candidates.
I thought that President Bush did better in the first half, particularly when he showed how contradictory it was for Senator Kerry to talk about how he would bring allies into Iraq at the same time he was criticizing it as a "diversion" from the war on terror. Why, Bush asked, would the French or Germans want to join in a diversion?
However, Bush seemed to run out of gas in the second half, and he rambled and repeated himself, and seemed to rely more on authority than logic. That is, his answers seemed to keep coming back to variations of, I'm the President, I know how these things work.
Of course, the campaigns were spinning the debate after the fact, and I have a feeling that will be reflective of how the debate will be perceived. Pro-Kerry people will think he won and be able to point to the second half to bolster their view; pro-Bush people will think likewise, and point to the first half. I'm curious what my co-blogger thought of the debate.