I saw the debate, but just got home and missed all of the post-debate coverage and analysis. My impression is that Kerry cleaned Bush's clock. In some superficial ways, Bush was better than in the last debate, but overall he came across as nervous, hesitant, uncertain, testy, out of touch, and ill-formed. On the other hand, Kerry was stylistically as good or better than the last debate, appearing both confident and informed. Substantively, he was much better than the last debate, with no "global test" gaffes, and some great lines, especially about how if Missouri were a country, they'd be the 4th largest country in the Iraq coalition. Bush's response of mentioning Blair, Berlosconi, and Kwasniewski seemed feeble in comparison.
As a result, Bush was on the defensive through the whole debate and with the exception of the abortion question, never got the better of Kerry. To a great extent this was because the questions were stacked against him--for example, the last question asking him to name three mistakes wasn't all that fair since it didn't require Kerry to do the same. I'm sure conservatives are damning Charlie Gibson for his choice of questions. On the other hand, one of the big issues when an incumbent runs for reelection is their performance in office, and it should have been no surprise that voters would ask lots of questions of Bush's record. Furthermore, even if the questions were bad, good teams win despite bad ref calls, and Bush didn't cut it.
Plus, Bush made a number of stupid mistakes. "Internets" was one. And, given what happened in 2000, Bush should not be joking about Supreme Court justices voting for him. Then there was the weird response to Kerry's accusation that he owned a timber company. Rather than knocking it down (if it is, in fact, false), Bush came across sounding like he really didn't know if he owned a timber company. Finally, there was the facial expression of the man who asked Bush to explain his environmental record. As Bush floundered, the man's expression was saying, "What the Hell are you talking about?"
Again, I haven't seen the post-debate analysis by the media, but if they call this is anything less than a clear victory for Kerry, it will only be because they are bending over backwards to appear impartial since they called the first debate for Kerry.
One other point. Bush's discussion of the Dredd Scott case was truly bizarre. First, only about 0.1% of the population knows what this case was about, so it was lost on just about everyone. Bush might as have well made reference to some other obscure 19th Century Supreme Court decisions, perhaps telling us where he stands on Cooley v. Board of Wardens. Also, the Dredd Scott case is a mightly low standard for selecting Supreme Court justices. He's basically telling us that he won't appoint a pro-slavery justice to the Court. Well, that's a relief.