Watched the debate last night.
I think Kerry did spectacularly. He effectively countered the idea that he is a "flip-flopper" on issues and simply acknowledged that while he did support Bush in the war vs. terror, Bush mishandled that trust and it is there that he does not support Bush, which is no flip-flop at all. He was commanding, calm and definitely looked like he could step up to the task.
There was only one "knockout punch" that I could see, however. When faced with Bush's mantra of "I'm certain I'm right," Kerry retorted in a calm, almost fatherly tone that you can be certain and yet be wrong. I think this will strike a chord in those that are undecided, that certainty does not equal veracity. Stir that certainty in with a religious worldview and what you have is a lunatic at the helm.
Bush, on the other hand, looked like he was going to launch into a tantrum on a few occasions. I was half expecting him to grip the podium, lean waaaay over and start screeching "THEY'LL COME FOR YOUR CHILDREN AND MURDER YOU IN YOUR SLEEP IF YOU DON'T ELECT ME, DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?!" At some points he seemed to be utterly inarticulate and at others he seemed to completely lose his train of thought.
Further, he sounded like a broken record. After Kerry had seriously unraveled the idea that he initially supported the war then opposed it, Bush kept repeating the same mantra. It's almost like he was trained to hammer that specific message home and had no ability to shift his tactics once the accusation was explained away in a manner that I think most people can understand. "I trusted you, as Commander in Chief, to do everything in your power to make us safe. You failed."
Post-debate polls seem to indicate that Kerry won by all counts but not by a huge margin. Me, I'm just glad that the pollsters tend to concentrate on "likely voters." That is to say people who have voted before. I'm willing to bet that we see record or near-record turnouts on Nov 2nd.