Dorian Warren neglected one category in his set of criteria: projection of character. Last night Bush continued to give the sense that he was a president who could make tough decisions and he would not flinch against terrorists. This is really his strong suit. Viewers probably responded well to his argument that a president can’t send “mixed messages” to the enemy or our own troops. I don’t think Kerry lost points on character – indeed, I think he gained stature from last night. He lines were punchy and he stated his opinion with a decisiveness that could convince some voters he doesn't deserve the tag of flip-flopper. Nevertheless, character remains Bush’s strong card, and Kerry did little to demonstrate to Americans that Bush is being stupidly stubborn in Iraq rather than steadfast. Overall, both candidates performed well last night, so I don’t see how this debate changes the dynamic of the race so far. Kerry’s good performance probably boosts morale among Democratic activists, which is no small success in this kind of race.