A UW-Eau Claire professor says voters have been waiting for a chance to see the two together on the same stage for comparison.
Political science professor Geoff Peterson says both candidates came away from Thursday night's debate in Coral Gables, Florida with points from viewers.
For Senator John Kerry, he had a chance to answer republican charges of flip-flopping by spelling out his position on issues like the war in Iraq.
Peterson says the president stayed away from the "wandering answers" from the 2000 debates and stayed on the main points he wanted to make.
"There's a certain value in seeing how people perform when it's not scripted, at least not entirely scripted and they have to think on their feet a little," says Peterson.
The professor also says in the remaining two debates, there will be fewer non-verbal cues from President Bush and stronger attacks on the administration from Senator Kerry.