ABC's Dean Reynolds reports "Sen. Kerry was not exactly gloating, but he came pretty close." Kerry told an audience in Florida that he "relished the opportunity for two more face-offs with Bush." Kerry aides say they were receiving positive reactions from across the country. Reynolds says Kerry "continued to hammer away at what he sees as Bush's national security failures" and "rejected Bush's repeated suggestions that he lacked the will to stay and fight in Iraq." The Kerry camp acknowledge that his one debate will not lead to a major alteration of the race, but they think it could lead to change of perception of the candidates.
NBC's Carl Quintanilla reports Kerry's appearance on the campaign trail is bolder, more convincing today. In a campaign related appearance, Hillary Clinton said Kerry was last night's clear winner. In the next phase of campaign, Kerry will move on to domestic issues: jobs, health care, homeland issues. Florida Senator Bill Nelson says the Republicans may try to tag Kerry with tax and spend, but it won't work.
ABC's Terry Moran reports when President Bush hit the road today, he "was clearly in damage-control mode." "He began by slamming Kerry for describing his vote against $87 billion in Iraq-war funding as a "protest vote."" Bush also targeted Kerry's statement during the debate about preemptive military force. In closing, Moran notes, "campaign staffers behind the scenes also offered somewhat somber assessments, while they insisted their boss had done a good job making his case."
CBS' John Roberts looks at the candidates the day after the debate. Last night's debate underlines the importance of Iraq in this election. Roberts says, "Bush appeared to suffer the same affliction as Al Gore in 2000, but the President found an opening in Kerry's remarks about preemptive military action, which he also used in his stump speech today.
NBC's David Gregory reports President Bush tried to overcome doubts created by poor performance in the debate. Bush criticized Kerry for saying war is a mistake. Bush hopes to successfully portray Kerry as too untrustworthy to be president. But even supporters were disappointed with his performance last night.
NBC's Ron Allen looks at the spin following the debate. Before last night's debate, the DNC put out a press release that said "Don't let republicans steal another victory." Today callers flooded Rush Limbaugh's television program saying Bush won the debate. Allen says the perception battle rages on in cyberspace as well, and the war will rage on until Election Day. Republicans detail Kerry's ten best flip flops. Democrats counter with Bush's debate faces. This war will rage on until Election Day.
CBS' Anthony Mason reports before the debate only 14% thought Kerry had a clear plan for Iraq. Now 52% think he does. 53% said their opinion of Kerry improved, 14% got worse, and 34% no change. However, more women think President Bush can protect the country from a terrorist attack by 62% to 52%. Kerry's ratings grew when he attacked Bush's leadership for the war in Iraq. When the debate was over, CBS asked their group of uncommitted voters to make a choice. They choice Kerry 38% to 28%.