I found myself getting almost angry with both candidates last night, because the DON'T ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTIONS! More often than not they didn't answer the moderator's question, not to mention each other's questions. Kerry is an experienced debater. Why doesn't he base at least 40% of his answers on a question? Right now it's more like 5%, and it just looks bad when he's just pushing his campaign talking points.
I think this is Kerry's best option for defeating Bush, simply because he is capable of thinking on his feet and still sound presidential. Yes the sentences may not be as crisp and polished as pre-made talking points but he would sound sincere, honest and "in touch" with the debate. And I don't think Bush will be able to counter him. Bush thinking on his feet works well when he's joking with the "common man" but in a debate about real issues he just sounds like a simpleton. What saved Bush (and enabled him to get a draw) in Friday's debate was that he could keep throwing out his campaign talking points. Since Kerry did the same Bush didn't look like an idiot.
Note that I may be wrong on this. Professional political consultants may have evidence showing people really don't care whether participants answer questions. But I have a hunch that they do. I think it's pretty much universally true that people look better when they present things they have thought about and understand.