Ralph Mauriello, 47
"John Kerry hit a home run during this debate. He was clear and concise. He was sure and confident. He had a mastery of the issues and in my estimation, he had President Bush on the run. Several times 'W' seemed to get very upset. The president often repeated phrases like 'Wrong War, Wrong Place, Wrong Time' and was unable to give much substance when using these phrases over and over. ... Winner by knockout: Senator Kerry. Big Time Loser: President Bush. He may not want to go on with the next two debates."
Duane K. Schroyer, 58
"After watching the first debate, I am more firmly convinced than ever that President Bush is the right individual to lead our nation during these difficult times. He has proven himself over time to be steadfast and unchanging in his resolve to fight and win the war on terrorism, and to take the battle to the enemy instead of waiting for them to attack us again. ... As for John Kerry, he comes across as unbelievable."
Steve Wunderley, 52
Falling Waters, W.Va.
"Not sure that the debate will change the minds of anyone already committed to one candidate or the other, but for those waiting to see what Kerry was about they now have that. Kerry laid out a plan for Iraq that differs from Bush and I think this may give people something to choose from. ... Bush seemed more nervous and seemed to be on the defensive most of the time. He kept returning to the same theme of consistency, but I think Kerry responded to that with the fact that if a mistake has been made, then things need to change."
"Big point for Kerry - when he called Bush on the 'they attacked us' comment. ... Big point for Bush - I will not change my core values."
Shirley Nigh, senior citizen
East of Clear Spring
"I must say I didn't have any other opinion than what I had when I first began watching it and that is I think our president has done a tremendous job. I think Sen. Kerry said things that he should be saying as a candidate for president and that is what he will do, what he thinks he will do. I don't think, however, that he will do what he says he will do ... The president, on the other hand, said the things he has already done in office and since I've been watching him the last 31/2 years ... I think it speaks for himself, what he has done in the last three years."
Blanton Croft, 70
"We got a lot of good information from both candidates, Bush and Kerry. I think Kerry started very strong because he had a lot of specifics when he talked about leadership in the world today and all of his 90-second responses were very strong because he had a lot of supporting evidence. ... Mr. Bush did very strong in the latter part of the debate because he was talking about resolve and staying the course and defending America at all costs and he wasn't going to waver so I think that was a very good ending for the president.
"Generally speaking, I think it was good more on Kerry's part because he was very deliberate, a lot of good evidence to support his positions and he was strong in supporting his position on what had happened in (Bush's) decision to go to war."
Matt Issman, 52