Well, I think it was a wash, or a slight win for Kerry, mostly because of Bush's relentless exasperation. Both drifted away from the questions -- if I were an average-Joe undecided, I think I might still be groping for a candidate. That's fine -- I think (I hope) it's going to be hard to spin this as a Bush win, which is all I ask. Kerry still looks presidential. Bush still looks as if he can't control his temper.
...I just heard Chris Matthews on MSNBC saying neither candidate cited a particular case of an actual human being in talking about stem-cell research. That's utter bullshit. Kerry talked about an ordinary citizen he met at a campaign appearance (and about Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve). Does Matthews even listen to these things before bloviating about them?*
...Linda Douglass on ABC just called Bush "a hot personality" and Kerry "a cool personality" -- in a McLuhanesque sense, apparently. Go figure. She thinks both appealed to their partisans. On ABC, at least, it's a wash, I think.
...George Will also called it a draw.
Meanwhile, as I type this, Kerry's up 69%-29% in Yahoo's poll.
...and ABC's poll is up: Kerry 44%, Bush 41%.
...at Free Republic they're complaining that Fox isn't acclaiming Bush's mastery in this debate ("I think it is getting time to boycott FNews"). They're delighted with MSNBC's coverage, however.
...summary of the views of NBC's panel of undecideds: a draw.
I'm going out on a limb and summing up the conventional wisdom as: a draw.
*Or are "this fellow" and Michael J. Fox the same person?
...you know, I was at a forum with Michael J. Fox the other day in New Hampshire, who's suffering from Parkinson's, and he wants us to do stem cell, embryonic stem cell.
And this fellow stood up, and he was quivering. His whole body was shaking from the nerve disease, the muscular disease that he had.
And he said to me and to the whole hall, he said, "You know, don't take away my hope, because my hope is what keeps me going." (transcript)
It doesn't matter. Michael J. Fox is a person.