The consensus is that Kerry won the Debate, and I agree. Actually, I'd say the President had his ass handed to him. He lost, and badly: worse, ingraciously. He seemed like a schoolyard bully who has finally been bested -- sulking, fuming, as he helplessly watches his world fall apart.
Let's not get cocky. Not any of us, and especially not Kerry. The next debate will be a town-hall format, and the president will be able to use applause lines effectively. He will also be able to use his ability to connect with an audience to his advantage. Remember all the grimaces, head-shakes, etc, that Bush is taking heat for? They were bad (very) in last night's debate format. In a "town hall meeting" format, however, those same gestures could be used to signal his supporters to (for example) laugh when Kerry is speaking. Or to communicate a "can you believe this guy?" message, quickly followed up when it's his turn by something like "You know, I was shaking my head when he was speaking, because I wonder, with a lot of you, [some talking point]." In short, this will be more his turf, in terms of format and setting.
Kerry needs to be on his toes, and so do his supporters.