A Few Thoughts On Last Night’s Debate

* All in all, Fox put on the best debate yet. There were lots of tough, relevant questions and this was the first debate that really ran the top tier candidates through the ringer on immigration.

* There was one minor complaint I had though: Fox started out by essentially inviting the other candidates to trash Fred Thompson for not attending the debate. That came across as a bit petty on Fox’s part and on the part of the candidates who took them up on it.

* Most devastating question of the night: Fox made note of the fact that Mitt “didn’t even capture the illegals mowing your front lawn.” Ouch!

* If there was a loser in the debate, besides Ron Paul (more on that in a moment), I’d have to say that it was Rudy Giuliani. He really choked on the immigration questions; a NH citizen asked Rudy a very subtle, muted question about his adultery and divorces and he completely dodged it. He also spent an inordinate amount of time talking about his success as mayor of New York which is understandable given his background, but it seemed a little Mickey Mouse given that he’s running for President. It’s like a guy trying to get a job as a pro-football coach spending his whole job interview talking about the wonderful job he did of turning around a high school team.

* Picking a winner is tough, but if I had to make the call, I’d say Huckabee.

* The best moment of the night was when Huckabee sliced Ron Paul to pieces in a mini-debate within the debate on Iraq.

* Ron Paul came across as particularly off kilter in this debate.

If I understand Paul, it’ll all be rainbows and puppies for the Iraqis if we leave Iraq, we should run from the Arabian Peninsula because Al-Qaeda said so, we shouldn’t be in Iraq because it’s against international law, and we’ll lose the election if we don’t leave.

Also, Paul seems to be in favor of getting rid of the FBI and CIA, which is borderline insane.

* I love Tanc, but Tanc is just not a great debater. There was one moment in particular when he stumbled and staggered around during a question about Iran that just made me shake my head. He’s a great Congressman, but man, he may be worse than Bush on his communication skills which I find odd, because when I interviewed him back in 2003, he really came across well.

* Duncan Hunter, whom I used to consult for, was solid and seemed very well informed, but he didn’t have a lot of time to speak. While I think he gave people the sense that he was an impressive guy in general, I’m not sure that he reeled in a lot of new supporters in this debate.

* Mitt? I would give him 2nd place behind Huckabee. McCain? I’d put him in third. Brownback? He just wasn’t impressive at all. In fact, I can hardly remember anything he said.

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