A Round-Up Of Reactions To Last Night’s Debate From Around The Right Side Of The Blogosphere

by John Hawkins | January 7, 2008 7:28 am

“McCain’s entire demeanor was transformed. No aggressive barbs and no errors. As the frontrunner with a compelling pitch about his military service and once again avoiding a wound on immigration he’s the winner. Romney of course was much better and much improved but without an opening or the rhetorical daring to directly confront McCain he must leave feeling frustrated. Huckabee likely had the weakest outing, showing his shaky foreign policy credentials. Still, even he was not too bad. For Rudy, he made an effective showing and without being dragged into the tit for tat between Romney and Huckabee may have made up some ground. Thompson is ever steady and ever conservative. It is hard to see why movement conservatives would not consider him seriously if Romney loses on Tuesday.” — Jennifer Rubin, The American Spectator[1]

“Winner: Arthur Branch. Okay, I know he goes by the stage name, “Fred Thompson,” but don’t tell me that just as “Law and Order” comes back to the airwaves with new episodes, we just happen to see a deep rumbling baritone from a big guy sitting behind a desk, using a combination of homespun aphorisms and legal arguments to put some wet-behind-the-ears young feller in his place.

…Silver: Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Mayor, you had me at, “I told him where he could put it.” [Referring to the Saudi Prince and the $10 million check that came with criticism of U.S. policy.]

….Bronze: John McCain. Tonight’s jovial performance actually makes last night’s look worse. In retrospect, there was something peevish and small about the visible glee with which he jabbed at Romney. Tonight he was a bit more laid back, and there was something constricting about the “ball control” style he displayed much of last night. Tonight he looked like a man who knows he’s going to do well Tuesday, and thus he’s going to enjoy it.

Most Improved: Mitt Romney. If he disappoints on Tuesday, his folks will wonder how things would have gone if he had performed as well as he did tonight. The blood was flowing; for the first time in a while, you could see what gets his fans in the Corner and elsewhere so enthusiastic.

….May Have Stumbled a Bit: Mike Huckabee. I can’t help but get the feeling that tonight was the first night where you could see the seams, so to speak, where his endlessly affable style may have not worn well. Huckabee has a great attitude, but any time he has to get into the policy nitty-gritty, he seemed to want to step back to generalities. Something slippery about the way that he said, ‘I’ll let Wallace be the moderator’ instead of taking on the candidate challenging him.” — The Campaign Spot[2]

“Just one note though Romney seems to have recaptured a bit of the thunder by turning in a good performance and McCain’s ‘surge’ in NH appears stalled. If he can stop the stupid campaign worker tricks like the previous post he might just take NH.

However once again Fred Thompson has the most comprehensive and honest answer to the illegal immigrant problem, bar none

UPDATE: Was able to watch some recaps, and I don’t know what others were watching but Romney is still taking things entirely to personal and his comebacks to McCain look, well, whiney. He’s got to get over Iowa and stiffen up that lip if he hopes to keep going.” — Macsmind[3]

Winners and Losers: Rank ‘Em Up

“1. Mitt: He was a stronger, more real version of Mitt tonight. I truly enjoyed it, and I haven’t thought he’s won a debate since the very first Republican debate. I think he probably did himself a lot of good in New Hampshire tonight, and the Luntz focus group shows it. This is the first time I’ve thought, maybe ever, that there’s a glimmer of hope for Romney in a general.

5. Rudy: He was sort of a non-entity. He really needs to be speaking up more often to keep the spotlight on himself, and his answers are sounding canned these days. He’s really going to have to buck up to make it work on Super Duper.” — Mary Katharine Ham[4]

“I score this round for Romney and am calling the event for Romney. I thought that Giuliani and McCain came in tied for second, a few points behind Romney.” — Power Line[5]

“Mitt Romney routed McCain, Huckabee and the also-rans in Sunday Night’s GOP Presidential forum among undecided Republican voters in New Hampshire. Romney’s answers on taxes, immigration and changing Washington literally went off Frank Luntz’s dial-o-matic voter response charts — while Huckabee and McCain tanked among these undecided voters on the issues of credibility, immigration and taxation.” — Prestopundit[6]

“As for the actual candidates. I think Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney did the best tonight. Mitt seemed even paced all night. Thompson was the adult in the room, willing to talk about the tough truths.

I think Chris Wallace really piled on Mike Huckabee, though I thought it was an appropriate set of inquiries into his record. However, I think he could have done that some other time instead of consuming so much time.

Loser: Rudy Giuliani. He was sidelined too much tonight — more so even than Fred Thompson. Thompson, at least, had a number of memorable lines, including about John Wayne beating up Chuck Norris.” — Erick Erickson, Redstate[7]

“According to the Fox focus groups, Romney was the big winner tonight. What he did best was show informed voters he’s probably the guy Republicans need in the Fall.

On substance, Fred is great. Fredheads shouldn’t think I don’t like the guy, I do. He just doesn’t seem interested in doing what’s needed to get it done. Frankly, he seems more interested in propping up McCain.

Huckabee was the big loser. It won’t be long before he’s irrelevant. He doesn’t have the depth of knowledge for the job and he’s had plenty of time to prepare. Simply put, he’s in way too far over his head.” — Riehl World View[8]

PS: My write-up is in the following post.

  1. The American Spectator: http://www.spectator.org/blogger.asp?BlogID=10399
  2. The Campaign Spot: http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZGUzYWI0N2RmOGZjY2NkMjI2MzI2Njg3NjFhMjhiYWU=
  3. Macsmind: http://www.macsmind.com/wordpress/2008/01/07/fox-news-nh-debate-2/
  4. Mary Katharine Ham: http://www.townhall.com/blog/g/d5717026-df0d-4e7a-9e53-7e5e568c9f04
  5. Power Line: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/01/019468.php
  6. Prestopundit: http://gregransom.com/prestopundit/?p=1747
  7. Redstate: http://redstate.com/stories/elections/2008/winners_and_losers_tonight
  8. Riehl World View: http://www.riehlworldview.com/carnivorous_conservative/2008/01/debate-ii.html

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