Given expectations (based on the first debate) and Kerry’s greater debating experience, Bush comes away the winner. Kerry was poised, sharp, and ready – but predictable in his attacks and utterly manufactured in his own policies and answers. The policy positions in direct contravention to his entire public record and indeed the traditions of his party, the obsequious name dropping, the toadying to the most popular conservative positions (welfare reform, etc) – all hopefully too nauseating to win further votes.
Bush was much improved, but I feel still less prepared for Kerry’s limited and well known attacks than he could have been.
Don’t think there will be any lines or Saturday Night Live moments from this one. The balance was restored and it will be quickly forgotten.