Alright, I watched the debate last night. I did it the hard way by not getting a fifth of Jim Beam and doing a shot each time the word "Halliburton" was spoken. Not that it made much difference, I was feeling pretty loopy trying to follow the logic of the answers. One thing that helped was writing down the questions so that I wouldn't lose track of the point despite the meandering of the answers. That technique also let me judge how hard the candidates were trying to steer their answers away from the thrust of the question onto their own talking points.
My judgment of the performances depends largely on how obviously each candidate did so. Cheney was set on expanding any question regarding Iraq into the larger War on Terror. While bringing up the context is allowable in my opinion, he used too much context in order to hide from problematic specifics.
Edwards's evasions were more glaring in my opinion. When asked if Chirac's and Schroeder's declarations that France and Germany will never send troops to Iraq, President Kerry or no, made Senator Kerry's coalition demands naive, Edwards failed to even mention those two countries in his answer.
Cheney scored all of the memorable lines of the evening, ranging from "This is the first time I've met you," to Kerry "does not display any the qualities of someone with convictions." That last was reinforced when Cheney truly flustered Edwards with Edwards's own history of establishing a tax-loophole corporation.
My call, Cheney's performance is going to leave a longer lasting impression than Edwards's, and the points he made are going to be sticking around as memes longer as well.