I could tell you what I thought about the debate, (hint: Kerry won) but I'll rely on the "experts". Apparently, they thought Kerry won too.. The CNN/Gallup poll shows Kerry winning by 53% to 37%, the CBS poll shows Kerry won 44% to 26%, and the ABC poll shows Kerry winning by 45%-36%... all substantial margins of victory. The Gallup poll was weighted towards "likely voters" and had a higher percentage of Republicans to Democrats as a result, so that's really saying something. (Before the debate, 52% of voters supported Bush, while 44% supported Kerry.)
Rather than tell you what the "liberal media" had to say though, I'll defer to the conservative pundits...
"In tone and bearing, (Kerry) seemed calm, authoritative, and, yes, presidential. . . . this was critical to undermining Bush's constant assertion that Kerry is unclear, wavering and unreliable . . . it was Bush who was grimacing, furrowing his brow, almost rolling his eyes and at the very beginning, looking snippy and peevish." - Andrew Sullivan
"No matter how you feel about Bush, watching him speak is difficult. It�s like watching a drunk man cross an icy street." - Tucker Carlson
"The Bush campaign miscalculated on having the first night be foreign policy night." - Jonah Goldberg, National Review
"(Kerry) was shockingly succinct and sharp . . . Bush was badly hurt by, yes, the podium height, which made him seem smaller, in comparison to Kerry, than he actually is. (Bush) looked . . . a bit like a gargoyle, or someone who needed the podium for protection. After an hour I'd had enough of Kerry's humorlessness. But I no longer had such a problem with him being humorless in the Oval Office." - Mickey Kaus, Slate
"I think Kerry did pretty well tonight, he was forceful and articulate." - Bill Kristol, Weekly Standard"
"Kerry was tougher than I had expected . . . Bush started off weak" - Glen Reynolds, Instapundit
"(Kerry) does not come across as arrogant and obnoxious as we believe him to be. . . The President is a dismally poor public speaker. - John Derbyshire, National Review
"Despite my partisan inclinations, I have to admit that Kerry has won this debate . . . Kerry comes off as the prosecutor accusing Bush of incompetence. Bush comes off as his Meet-The-Press, press-conference version - dogged, arrogant and unlikable. Kerry will get a significant bounce in the head-to-head poll numbers from this debate." - Polipundit.com
"Both of them, I thought they did well." - John McCain
"I thought the President was repetitive and reactive . . . Kerry was smoother and proactive..." - Kate O'Beirne, National Review, The Capital Gang
"Kerry is the more fluid debater . . . I think he might have picked up some undecideds because I thought he looked and sounded plausibly Presidential." - John Hillen, National Review
"Tonight (Kerry) seemed to find his voice for the Democratic view of the world." - Tim Russert, Meet the Press
"This is the President's turf, this is the place that the President is supposed to dominate, terror and the war in Iraq. I don't think he really dominated tonight. I think Kerry looked like a commander-in-chief." - Morton Kondracke
"AND THE WINNER IS . . . Kerry. Five weeks, white knuckles." - Richard Brookhiser, National Review
Wow. Isn't it *nice* when everyone agrees for a change?!
If you'd like your opinion to count, however, you can go to CNN's website and vote on their poll as to who won the debate. (Scroll down to bottom right.). There are also polls at MSNBC, CBS, TIME, AOL News, and CNBC... or just write an editorial to your local paper.
Shaping public opinion matters right now... bigtime. We can't let the rightwing media spin this debate into anything other than what it was -- a clear victory for Kerry on his most difficult topic. We can't allow this race be decided by Supreme Court Justices or by people stealing, surpressing, or not counting votes. Not now. Not again. Not in our America. We need a clear majority on Election Day, and that means people must believe that victory is possible from this point on. Spread the message. Live the message. Hope, pluckiness, and pure American optimism will see us through to victory.
From this point on, things will get hairy. Get energized, and do what you can to energize those around you. Don't bring a spork to a knife fight.