In this Washington Post column, Tina Brown explains what she saw in the first two debates.
"Sometimes they show you depths you hadn't noticed, sometimes they take you back to where you started. The first debate was a thriller because it threw the perception game into a new round. Stripped out of the controlled arenas and leadership cameos crafted for him since 9/11, Bush free-fell back into the old pit of seeming a simple man up past his bedtime. Tuesday night Cheney reclaimed the backstage-president role the administration has taken such pains to bury.
John Kerry, meanwhile, free from the barrage of flip-flop pentimento, suddenly got himself a whiff of Mount Rushmore. He will not just rebuild our alliances, restore respect, blah blah wheeze wheeze -- he WILL hunt down and KILL the terrorists. The former stick-in-the-wind was planted so firmly he seemed to grow out of the podium like an oak tree."