From a reader:
You are looking at the debates all wrong.
Bush needs to show he cares and be likeable nothing more.
You want Bush to confront Kerry on a point by point basis and eliminate
Kerry from the race. Bush is just not a good enough debater to do this. At
best Bush can repeat big talking points about Kerry and score an occasional
body blow. If Bush attempted to do what you want for 90 minutes he would
most likely leave himself open for easy attack.
Bush has to let his ad campaign do the real damage.
Bush was out of material after 45 minutes into the first debate. Kerry was
out of material 45 minutes into the second debate. Bush can live on his
charm. Kerry cannot.