My Winners

By Erick Posted in Comments (112) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

I'll make this quick because this debate has led me to drinking and a migraine.

Two Winners: Huckabee and McCain.

McCain won on scalps. He got Mitt Romney and he got Ron Paul. McCain was the adult in the room all night. He was stable, composed, and mature.

Mike Huckabee scored the debate points on rhetoric and is the winner of this debate. He did really well. He showed up Romney. He showed up Rudy. If Mike could convince me he's actually a free market guy, I'd be tempted.

Downgrade tonight: Rudy. He handled the Bible question terribly. He handled the abortion question terribly. He did get in a great answer on the Yankees.

Loser tonight: Freaky kid with the Bible. Dumb kid with the flag. CNN giving the soapbox to the gay retired General -- no bias on the issue there Anderson.

I think Fred held his own. He did well. But he did not shine and he needed to. I did think his YouTube clip made the point he needed to make. If Fred doesn't do something soon, though, and soon as in in the next two weeks, I think he'll flat line. Don't make me have to find a new guy, Fred.

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Huck lost on:

Illegal immigrants, his support for tuition break legislation.
Taxes as a general topic.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party ! Pastafarianism anyone?

I thought his answer was brilliant. I disagree with him, but his answer was brilliant.

Fight On!


The issue of giving breaks to the children of illegal aliens is one of those bright lines for me. No amount of dancing around the issue, moralizing or preaching can change my view that any support of anyone here illegally is a good thing.

Huck tried a good head fake on the issue, however he is wrong, the American people think he's wrong (at least Republicans) and no amount of touchy feel "It's for the children" can paper that over for me.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party ! Pastafarianism anyone?

But otherwise, I think his performance was unquestionably good.

When Fred's commercial played highlighting Mike's love affair with raising taxes all Mike could say is that you are kicking me because I am in front of you. Not a strong comeback IMO.

Now there's no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.

I am tough but fair, I have always said Huck and Rudy are best at debating. And the Huckster has an empathy thing, that Rudy does not.

Molon Labe!

Huckabee do you believe he is being fair.

Tonight's debate taught me three things about Huckabee:
1. He's able to communicate very effectively
2. Re: above, he reminds me of William Jefferson Clinton way too much. All Huckabee needs to do is bite his lower lip (I am not comparing morals kids).
3. Huckabee's cheerleaders here at Redstate is what will sour me to his cause. The Hucksters are ridiculous.

but I was paying Huckabee a compliment. It was really the first time I've paid much attention to him. He equips himself well. I do get a Clinton-vibe from him and of course the Hucksters will ruin the positive inroads Huck made with me tonight quick enough.

understands Iran's mullahs and jihadists generally are evil; and who is still

slick, in a better way.

Clearly, given Bill's major mistakes in public beginning in 2003 thru yesterday, he has lost the touch.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer

I like the guy, I like all our guys, I still wonder about his statism, but I will always say when I think someone did well.

Molon Labe!

I can't count taking on RP as a plus for anyone. Its kind of like playing with the trolls that come on this board. Yes the victorys are large, but far too easy to achieve.

How did the freaky bible guy get on ? There had to be someone asking a similar question that wasn't creepy.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

There's just no doubt that when people measure focus group reaction to this debate that they will find Huck won. Bank on it. If anybody thinks Huck didn't come in first or second, they're letting bias against his answers influence assessment of performance.

But if you're a conservative his immigration answers and his fiscal record as Governor sucks.

I'm a Libertarian (not a Ronulon as I think he's eaten up with the crazy), so I'm no backer of Huckabee. I just think he won the debate. Personally, I'd vote for Fred on straight up policy agreements. But, man, I don't think he wants to be president all that much.

teh Huckster and John did the best. I totally disagree with you on Rudy, his Bible answer was personal, and his own theology, we are not a theocracy.

Actually I think Fred is done, a good man, but he never once got angry and gave a great speech as his movie characters have done.

Molon Labe!

Loved Hunter's answers and I thought Guiliani did fine with the bible is God's words interpreted by men...ever watch a show where something is said at one end of the line and it is completely different at the end.

I thought they all answered the Muslim womans question very well which to me basically was guess what America is great and we have saved many people's of the apologies for America being great or making people like if!

Freedom of Religion not Freedom from Religion

the Confederate flag kid was not dumb. The Confederate flag is not a hot issue this time around, that is a good thing. Fred was by far the best on it, some do think it means something and they are not racist. Hell, I used to have one in my room as a kid, but times have changed. I would never fly one now because it hurts people. Many Southerners have pride in their heritage, not to hurt others, but also not to defame men who died in good faith. Fred knows the subject, it is appropriate in certain circumstances, but this country does not need to needlessly divide people.

Molon Labe!

Fred and McCain are splitting the "I want a steady old dude vote." The difference is that Fred doesn't have McCain's verve or experience, and it shows.

Right now, Fred is a drag on this race. The time has passed for him to improve; it's time for him to get out and let those foisting their illusions on him to find someone more realistic to get behind. It may not be McCain, but it needs to be someone other than Fred. He's the hope that always promises but never delivers.

No offense intended, of course, but c'mon: Fred has had opportunities aplenty, and he just disappoints.

For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection.

How about you give us Fred people a suggestion about where to go. Right now I don't see anybody who is giving me the same positions as Fred. Huckabee sucks when it comes to fiscal policy and federalism, Rudy is no social conservative, McCain has those issues where he is totally off the reservation, and Romney a) gives me the creeps and b) hasn't convinced me he himself believes what he's saying.

Fred is still filling a void. Maybe the other candidates should be out there giving Thompson supporters a reason to vote for them. Right now, I'm with Fred. Could vote happily for McCain or Rudy (though I woudl rather not), and would be totally unenthusiastic for Romney and Huckabee (in fact, since I vote in New York, I would be inclined to just abstain on the presidential ballot if either of them were the nominee since none of our guys will win the state - not even Rudy). the pulpit on the stage. It's his stances on the actual issues that should give pause.

On Fred, he is a smart guy.... but seriously does anyone think he would win a national election? He is uncharismatic, says umm way to much and his face looks like a poorly made baseball glove. Plus he is clearly lazy. We all know he is a smart guy with good ideas, but he cannot communicate that effectively without cue cards.

Ron Paul couldn't remember who the Kurds are, I think his quote was "the the people... the the the the the people in the north".. and he expects us to trust his judgment on Iraq? Meanwhile McCain has been to Iraq about 7 times.

Clearly Lazy??? So he comes up with all these policy proposals and he is lazy??? If you want to call him uncharasmatic...fine. But to attack him as lazy and talk about him having great ideas is UNINTELLIGENT.

Consistent Conservative....check
Not afraid to actually answer the questions....check check...oh screw it I'll just vote for RP or Huck or Obama b/c they know how to get a crowd going and that is what this is all about.

Great message, wrong messenger.

From NRO's Corner:

Hillary Gets a Question [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

From a reader:

That General who just asked about Don't Ask, Don't Tell is a member of Hillary Clinton's Gay Steering Committee.

Doesn't CNN bother to even google these people?

Pardon me, but isn't it bad form for operatives from the opposing party to be given prominent on-air questioning time in the other party's debate?


"Who will stand/On either hand/And guard this bridge with me?" (Macaulay)

Anderson had that "daaaaang iiiiitttttt" look in his eye when Bill Bennett told him that the general was a shill for Hillary.

isn't CNN a shill for Hillary?

It is the Clinton News Network after all.

Hillary's a shill for CNN.

I suspect that CNN will do one of the following:

1) Deploy Howard Kurtz to sanitize the issue for them.
2) Laugh off the issue
3) Ignore it. They were Republicans, after all.

"Who will stand/On either hand/And guard this bridge with me?" (Macaulay)

The only thing missing was giving the general a podium up on stage.

They know the GOP candidates can't protest too much, because they'll look petty.

CNN's chosen audience leans left, so they won't care if a GOP debate gets sandbagged.

Knowing that, I expect CNN to proclaim its innocence (even lie brazenly if need be), because the people it cares most about will care not one whit about what CNN did. And---this comes as no surprise---I bet that CNN brass will not think twice about lying to Republicans. They are, after all, Republicans.

"Who will stand/On either hand/And guard this bridge with me?" (Macaulay)

this inoculates the Dems from having any GOP questioners sneak into any of their future debates, especially CNN-sponsored ones. They'll make dang sure that CNN checks out the audience.

So, all in all, a good night for the Dems and their ally, CNN.

"Who will stand/On either hand/And guard this bridge with me?" (Macaulay)

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

McCain has one very large chink in his warrior armor in my view, and it showed tonight.

His outright and flat statement on torture really bugs me. A President, the commander in Chief must be willing to do what ever it takes, including the use of Nuclear weapons, harsh interrogation, including torture if necessary to defend this country. No technique, no weapon, no strategy can ever be taken off the table in my book and McCain lets his experience as a POW color his views on this topic in my view.

The life on any individual or any country who seeks to harm this country is forfeit when they raise arms against this country...full stop.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party ! Pastafarianism anyone?

how's that Geneva Convention working for our soldiers and I mean in each war not just this one.

Freedom of Religion not Freedom from Religion

Or by SteveLA

or Daniel Pearl
or Contractors killed and strung up in Iraq or any other number of examples.

I don't buy the Marquis of Queensbury concept of warfare where people who want to do us harm can expect treatment from us that they don't have any intent on following in kind.

In Iraq, if there is any cultural standard for treatment of enemies, it comes from the Koran. I would not be all that upset if we followed the local cultural norm instead of some code called the Geneva convention crafted by mostly European powers with a Western civilization take rather than the Middle Eastern civilization.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party ! Pastafarianism anyone?

McCain has always taken the position that torture is illegal, but that, in a dire circumstance, he would authorize it -- but, unlike the others, taking full personal responsibility forany legal fallout.

McCain as a POW refused an early ride home, enduring years of torture because of his honor. I would not be so quick to dismiss his honor, or commitment to the country, now.

For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection.


I do not dismiss or dishonor his experience at all, but I do think it colors his position on the issue. I just think he's wrong.

Having said the above, his service does deserve respect however it does not make him omnipresent on the issue. There are others who suffered as much or more during their residency in Uncle Ho's hospitality suites, I do not hear them making the same flat commendation on this issue or removal of any tool from the arsenal that defends this country.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party ! Pastafarianism anyone?

I do not hear them making the same flat commendation on this issue or removal of any tool from the arsenal that defends this country.

All I'm saying is that McCain's flat condemnation of wrong is followed by a promise to do wrong, if required, for the good of others. He's not a war-scarred shrinking violet.

That said, I apologize for mischaracterizing your position.

For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection.


McCain is also wrong on the facts as far as torture goes. Torture will extract information eventually from anyone.

One of the things that was taught in AF survival schools post Viet Nam was the fact that almost everyone will eventually break under torture to some extent. The "trick" if there is one is to resist resist and resist some more, but once broken heal and then resist and resist some more. There actually was a revision of the code of conduct as a result.

When McCain rails against torture, I think it's more about what was done to him, and his concept of what civilized behavior is and what this country stands for. My counter has become, if you're dead by the hands of an enemy, you're not much concerned about being civilized anymore.

Of course I thought Curtis "Bomb them back to the Stone Age" LeMay was a pretty stand-up guy too.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party ! Pastafarianism anyone?

But by von

McCain is also wrong on the facts as far as torture goes. Torture will extract information eventually from anyone.

You're confusing usable information with speech. No one disputes that torture produces speech; the question is, will it be useful?

And, no, I'm not thinking (mostly) about the mastermind-terrorist who lies, or even the middling terrorist who doesn't. Nor am I considering the guy with some information who makes it through the Jihadist equivalent of survival school. I'm thinking about the guy who doesn't know anything, or much of anything, but talks anyway, leading us down a thousand wrong paths, most of which can't be entirely dismissed. So we divert, and chase, and run out of breath. Too many leads can be as bad as too few; errors more frequently arise from too much information as opposed to too little.

Talk is cheap. That's the starting premise -- not more talk is good.

For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
-Thomas Paine: The American Crisis, No. 4, 1777

Huck would beat her like she beats Bill.

Huck/Steele 08 would be unbeatable. We'd win by 10% pts.

Is the only one on that stage that can verally clean Hillary's clock, but I agree with Erick, he has to harden his free market credentials. I believe they are there, and think the big goverment liberalism accusations are silly, but he would do well by his campaign if he started talking about them right now.

That been said, he sounded to me like the next President of the United States on every issue. I want a leader that talks about the Bible, the death penalty, abortion, gay rights, guns, the IRS, and Iraq like Mike Huckabee did tonight. This is a good man.

"I believe in grace, because I have seen it. In peace, because I have felt it. In forgiveness, because I needed it."

-George W. Bush

I don't see how Huck beats any of the leading Democracktic candidates. He's socially conservative, articulate, seems genuinely concerned for people. He's inherently likeable. But I'm afraid the electorate is in a much different place now than it was in 2004. A significant percentage of people are tired (right or wrong) of GWB and his policies. A majority - maybe not a majority of conservatives - will want to vote for something different. A lot of people are tired of hearing abortion and gay marriage. Huck is more of the same. Unless things change dramatically, I don't think we're going to elect a former Baptist minister in 2008, no matter how nice he is. I think the Dems would rather face a Huck than a Giuliani or Thompson. Just my two cents.

Rudy held his own as a frontrunner. That said, I don't think he owned the debate in the way he needed to in order to pull back out in front of Romney and the swiftly closing in Huckabee.

Romney was presidential most of the night. He handled well a tough challenge from McCain on the issue of torture. It may not have been an easy answer, but it was the right one. And he proved himself able of going toe-to-toe with Rudy at the beginning.

But when he bombed, boy, did he ever. He froze like a deer in the headlights for that Bible question (when he finally did answer, it came across like, "Yeah, sure, if that's what you guys want, why not?") and stumbled around after Cooper hit him with his 1993 statement on gays in the military. He of all people should have seen both those coming and been prepared.

McCain was as usual fantastic on defense and slapping down Ron Paul, but he seems rather one-demensional. I get the feeling that GWOT is all he has left.

Fred was disappointing. If I knew nothing about the race thusfar, I'd have pegged him as third- or fourth-tier, along with Tandcredo and Hunter. Great on the issues, but with no real shot at the White House and nothing to distinguish himself from the other candidates.

Tancredo, Hunter, and Paul all did their thing. I think at this point Hunter is auditioning for the Vice Presidency.

Huckabee rocked the house, and was the real winner of this debate. He never faultered in his answers, speaks with conviction, and you can't help but like the guy. His one weak moment was when Romney went after him on the tuition assistance for illegal aliens. He answered well and kept his composure, but I don't think most conservatives will like what he said (at least I didn't).

However, do you really want to be looking at those teeth for the next 4-8 years? My advice to Mike Huckabee: find a good orthodontist.

I like Huck's style. I dislike his positions on immigration and taxes (sure he lowered 90 taxes, but I guess he forgot to mention the 21 he raised).

Except for the immigration question asked of him, most of the rest of the questions for him were softballs. Every one else was smacking each other around on substance which is what I wanted to see. Too bad Huck didn't get called out on anything hard except for immigration. I'm sure glad the preacher got the bible question.

The man looks presidential. And some of his answers sound presidential. But he muffed a couple of the flip-flop questions badly. The don't-ask-don't-tell question was the worst. I felt bad for the guy. "It's working"? If you think gays should be able to serve openly, great. If you don't, terrific. But, for God's sake, be a man about it and take a position. That kind of stuff will get him ripped apart in the general election. There are a lot of people in the middle ideological third of the country, many of whom would vote for a Republican, who have no problem with gays in the military. There are a lot of folks on the right, who disagree. But you lose votes from both groups if you can't make up your mind.

Hillary's Gay General.

that's gonna leave a mark

preacher. Great bible answers. Mitt & Rudy fought like kids in the start and neither one said any thing that was not already canned.
I feel we did not see enough of McCain or FDT.
I am biased to Fred but I do think he is the only to show up with actual ideas. He seems to able to be the only one with a plan. Is it because I have his yard sign or do I feel that the USA is about to miss out on a great man for POTUS in FDT?

"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."
John Paul Jones (letter to M. Le Ray de Chaumont,16 Nov.1778)

Initially signed up as a Fredhead, but Fred's indirect answer to the "which 3 departments" question did me in for good. Yes, we need to means test Soc. Security and make it more viable, but answer the question!

Though I did not agree with Huckabee's stance re: merit scholarships to illegals' kids, overall I think he was the most consistent.

Romney did well tonight. He eroded away SOME of the slickness I detested in times I've seen previously. His abortion conversion explanation is fairly understandable and rational.

I think Rudy's results bear him out as a leader in New York City. But his roundabout gun control answers hurt him. Plus the initial joust with Romney made him look petty.

Ron Paul has a few good ideas, but in regards to foreign policy he is in a dreamworld and would be inherently dangerous as POTUS. Ron must've forgotten the atrocities that took place when we withdrew from SE Asia. Pol Pot ring a bell, Ronnie??

McCain looked much more viable tonight. His tone on Iraq (RP bashing notwithstanding) helped substantially. But he lost me with this moral high ground issue on torture. Yes, he suffered unimaginable atrocities in Vietnam. But if we did not waterboard KSH, it's doubtful we'd get the intel we did.

Tancredo did state the obvious that some were trying to court everybody and promise everything. Hunter did the same on the border fence issue.

My top 5 for my vote:
Giuliani/McCain (tie)

The major split between the top tier candidates on a conservative to liberal gradient were Mike and John playing to liberals vs Fred, Rudy, and Mitt playing to the conservatives. The first word I heard out of John's mouth was Katrina! Later on John said torture. Mike likes to spend tax payer's money 'for the children', and he loves to spend money on manned missions to Mars. The liberals love Mike and John, and CNN showcased the questions for the liberals.

Now there's no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe, and saw.

Good Point. "The liberals love Mike and John, and CNN showcased the questions for the liberals." I didn't think of that at first, but it makes sense that both did well tonight. I tend to lean towards Romney and only thought he did okay. I think the problem was that he seemed to lose patience with liberal leaning or frivoloius questions. Torture, gays in the military, the Confederate flag, interpreting the bible (esp being a Morman) all seemed to leave him frustrated.

Whether someone dies or not isn't the line that we should draw on torture. Mock executions, which create the fear of imminent death, qualify as torture. Waterboarding is a form of mock execution. Waterboarding is torture.

And the fact that reporters subject themselves to the treatment is immaterial. They know they won't actually drown.

If you want to fall to the level of the animals who wrap themselves in the Koran and murder our fellow countrymen then so be it. I, for one, take seriously the goal of not letting them change who we are and how we live. Americans abhor torture and we shouldn't embrace it just because the animals we're fighting do.

Lovely imagery there with animals, wrapping and all the other stuff, pretty darn special. I like the animal bit especially at the end.

Where you go off the rails is your failure to understand Americans abhor being dead. I'm not sure you get many style points in the first part of your post to go with your condemnation of what you feel is torture, bit out of character with the other stuff, but that's me.

Just like using Nuclear weapons in WWII, or waterboarding, mock execution, or anything else necessary to protect American citizens, I'm fine dandy and happy with it. The use of any tool of war is a choice best left to those conducting the war, just make sure that there is chain of command in place who controls the use of those tools.

Proud member of the Barry Goldwater wing of the party ! Pastafarianism anyone?

We waterboard horrible murderous terrorists, not people who double park. We do so to get information that will save innocent lives not for fun. Spare me the moral realitivism. In the hidden bomb scenario I'm pretty forgiving to those who would save lives. Not only that but were it me extracting information in the hidden bomb scenario, waterboarding would not be the place I would start, but it would likely not be the place I would finish either. If they have the information, YOU MUST GET IT.

When it's life or death you would want me on that wall.

Plus when its all done there is no permanent physical or mental impairments. Waterboarding just makes one think they might drown. Once its over, they are okay. I'm against torture too. Real torture.

your point here seems silly. If someone volunteers for waterboarding, then, by definition, they know that they are not in any real danger. In that case, it has no mental effect at all. So, what they experience is notihng like the real thing.

As someone who couldn't stand McCain in 2000, I am shocked to be saying this, but I am really warming to him. He has come accross as the candidate with the most gravitas and experience. Plus, I think he is the best chance to beat Hillary. His experience (especially on foreign policy) will reveal Hillary for the lightweight she is. Moreover, his war-hero status gives him a greater ability than the other GOP candidates to finish a still unpopular war. Rudy will loose too many conservatives (like me) to ever win. Huckabee with divide the socail and fiscal conseervatives. And, while Romney or Thompson would be fine ideologically, neither engenders the passion needed to beat Hillary.

I think he did terrible. Does he have to consult a committee on every issue? Why can't our candidates just come out and say it would be irresponsible for them to rule out any interrogation technique? Romney tried this tact, but it came out like he was dodging the question.

At least McCain is principled on the issue.

Romney started strong. Rudy attacked and Romney defended quite well. After the flag question, Romney switched into lawyer mode. His people need to help him practice to not go into "lawyer" mode again during debates.

In fairness, he's probably never had to deal with the flag question before (coming, as he does, from Michigan and Massachusetts). Any Southern or Border State politician would have handled the question a lot better, simply by benefit of having had to consider it before.

I actually felt that Mitt did a good job on the flag question given it's one he hasn't had to address yet. I think CNN's questions went into 'let's play pinata with Mitt night' which in my mind actually gave him points for handling all the blows. But when Mitt get's put on the defensive (which is rare) he has a tendency to sound more like a lawyer than I would like.

The gay (plant) question and the waterboarding were tough ones. I contrast that to the relatively easy night for Huck, except for the immigration question. Huck's got good style and is likable, but if I had to choose between a returned military child from another state and a child with good grades that shouldn't have been here in the first place, I want my tax dollars going to benefit the military family.

He was 4th on my list. Now he's 3rd. The Huckster is the only one with Obama charisma on our side. The man could give the "city on the hill" speech and it would be convincing. IF he wins picking Fred or Mitt or Mike Steele as VP would be unbeatable. I will more likely buy a fiscal conservative convert than a social conservative convert. Convince me Huck.

I felt Rudy did the worst, not as a debater but every time God, guns, and immigration comes up he looks bad to conservatives. The more republican primary voters learn about him the worse he will do.

Romney stood pat. He has at least changed his mind on conservative issues and he always speaks well. If you believe him then you still support him.

McCain is for the war. No kidding. He keeps fighting with Ron Paul to prove he's tough. He didn't win any converts.

Fred Fred Fred. Still the best on issues. Still the best on policy proposals. The Real Conservative no doubt. Stood pat in the debate. Erick is right. He needs that big moment soon.

CNN panel should all be shot besides Bennett. If I hear any more Rudy/Huck crap I'll vomit. If either one gets on the ticket it will not be with each other. They will each need a real conservative to run with.

I actually got chills down my spine, just thinking about it.

"I believe in grace, because I have seen it. In peace, because I have felt it. In forgiveness, because I needed it."

-George W. Bush

as a gambler, I would take that now and go home.

Molon Labe!

I think there is a real chance that a Huck/Steele ticket could happen. I also think Huck/Steele could get more minority votes for republicans than we've gotten since Lincoln.

My goodness Huck is a good talker. Huck would evicerate Hillary in a debate. It wouldn't even be close.

Oh if only Fred could talk like Huck then we would have another Reagan.

he is the best at debating. I still wish huck was more pro liberty.

Molon Labe!

all those extra votes you speak of because he is Hillary lite. If I'm going to vote for a tax and spend liberal why not vote for the real thing?

I can't believe you guys are going to give him a pass on something that is at the heart of conservatism. Taxes and spending.

I hope people will take the time to look past the likable nature of Mike and see that his fiscal record is not conservative. The party I have always voted for screwed us on spending last time I won't take it on both spending and taxes this time.

I didn't think any line of questioning was inherently bad. I thought the General was ridiculous, and spending all that time on an issue that all these guys agree on was clearly a CNN/Clinton campaign tactic. But, these guys should have been able to answer that better. Just because the General is there, doesn't mean you can't tell him that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is working and there's no reason to change it. "As long as someone's sexuality doesn't impact their unit, who cares."

On torture - until I started taking my Joint Professional Military Education course, I was semi-opposed to McCain's position, but, you know, his position is the military's position, and, it's the right position, morally and legally. I believe, if necessary, McCain would know when to authorize it, and it would be rare, and it would yield usful information.

The Liberal's definition of torture: Anything that provides useful information from the enemy
Sleepy Eyed Whiners of the Deep

But my favorite line tonight came from Hunter-

"I will never apologize for the United States of America."

I also liked McCain's response to the same question.

"Let us win. Let us win."

Hunter shows his suitability for president each time he addresses a question, but he doesn't get many opportunities. All of the meaningful questions are fielded by the "popular kids".

Jack Burton

wasn't paying attention! It seems way too many folks here think that style trumps substance. Yes, Huckabee entertained. He is charming and likable, but Fred was sincere, intelligent, honest, credible, and presidential. He seems to be the only one with the guts to actually offer solutions to problems instead of rhetoric.


maybe you are new to presidential contests. Hillary would destroy him in the debates.

Molon Labe!

win unless he changes course quickly. And we all know people, particularly older people, change very easily. I like Fred, I support his policies, but this guy said he won this debate, that is balderdash.

Molon Labe!

he went totally negative in his 30 second ad. It didn't seem to win him any points although I like'd his folksy justification for it.

It looks like we came to the same conclusions, Erick. Although I did not choose to imbibe during the debate. I also think that McCain slightly edged out Huck by being more substantial and less jokey and folksy.

It actually surprised me that McCain would come out of this the victor, in my eyes. I really haven't given him much thought as the nominee. Well, he most likely won't be anyway.

I recall Romney doing worse on the Bible question than Rudy, but neither were inspiring there.

I wish Ron Paul had been given more time to expound on the Illuminati and the Trilateral Commission. That might have helped to knock him out of the race at last.

If anyone wants to see my quick round up of winners and losers, take a look.

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I agree Rudy had a bad night. I felt Mitt held his own and was forceful in all of his exchanges with the others, even when he was under fire. I was actually surprised that he was able to respond to some of the tough attacks he faced.

The back and forth between McCain and Paul hurt McCain a bit - it made them both seem like slightly out of touch old men, even though Paul was clearly the crazier one of the two.

I would be for Huck if not for the immigration issue. Living here in southern California, it's a HUGE hot-button for me. The illegals have taken all of LA and destroyed it... It looks like a nuclear bomb was dropped on most of LA.

The dumbing down that politicians have done so that the lower I.Q. people can comprehend is doing a disservice to our country. The quick quips from Giuliani, Thompson, etc. are good theatrics, but it shouldn't score them points. If you want a comedian as president, then why not call Robin Williams.

These debates have become a joke. They don't provide equal time to all candidates and plays to the television instead to the issues. At the rate we are going, we will end up with another under qualified person as president as we did in 1992 and 1996.

Jack Burton

1) He railed on Romney and made it look like he would NEVER authorize anything labeled as "torture", yet just a couple weeks ago didn't he say that all bets are off in a "ticking time bomb" situation? Seems like McCain wants to have it both ways on this topic.

2) On the Norquist question he talked about voting for all sorts of tax cuts. Uh, didn't McCain oppose all or most of the Bush tax cuts? Weren't he and Linc Chafee the only two Republicans to vote against the original package? Is he claiming another "conversion" like with immigration reform?

3) He said he would veto any immigration bill that had amnesty, but then said the one that failed didn't include amnesty. Again he's trying to have the issue both ways. If we want a President who thrives on "nuance" we can always vote for a member of the Clinton clan.

So while McCain sounded more "presidential" than the others most of the night, if you dig beyond the style and into the substance of what he said, I see some major problems.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

Had to deal with promising not to RAISE taxes, not with a promise to cut them. There's a difference.

I have a 24-year record of opposing tax increases and supporting tax reductions. And, no, I'm like Fred. My pledge and my record is up to the American people, not up to any other organization.

Where does voting against the Bush tax cuts fit into his "24-year record of supporting tax reductions"?

I know what Norquist's pledge is about - I'm just going off what McCain said. He's either being misleading or flat-out lying depending on your viewpoint. I don't know off the top of my head how McCain has voted in other tax increase or tax cut cases, but his answer seems provably false. His voting record on spending issues seems pretty good, but not so much on taxes.

Ref for quote above:

Thompson comes off terribly even if you like what he has to say. He looks about 100 years old next to the rest of the crew. He tends to start every answer by looking down and starting with a few "uh"s. It sounds like he's fishing for words and has no idea what to say, though perhaps to some it's a southern folksy charm. I don't see it that way. And his "ad" was a real turn-off.

Huckabee is smooth as silk. Giuliani handled the Bible question okay even though he looked a little uncomfortable; Romney had a total "deer in the headlights" look; Huckabee gave an honest answer using a perfect example. In fairness, you'd expect him to handle that question better than the others.

Even though the typical southerner might like Thompson's positions better than Huckabee's, as a southerner myself I could see Huck as President but not Fred. I suspect much of the recent rise in Huck's poll numbers are people who were on the Fred bandwagon originally.

I actually disagree. Romney did have an uncomfortable look, but it wasn't deer in the headlights. The question was, "do you believe every word in the bible?" Mitt's answer was he believes the Bible is the word of God. Anderson for some reason didn't feel that answered the question. Seemed to me Anderson wanted to hear "do you literally believe every word in the Bible". Romney's look to Anderson was "I answered his question, what more do you want?"

Huckabee may be a great debater, but he isn't a conservative. This is the primary. Why would we want to put up a candidate who is bad on taxes & immigration and is soft on crime? Huckabee pardoned over 700 criminals (including at least 10 murderers) when he was governor. That is more than Bill Clinton and the two governors before him combined. Huck does not support "three strikes, you're out." He also buys into the global warming scam and has stated that he wouldn't have vetoed SCHIP (which is a backdoor means of implementing socialized medicine). I just don't understand why anyone would want him as the republican nominee, no matter how well he comes off in a debate.

I think that Fred did well... His answers are always direct and honest and full of substance. I wish that he had been given more questions. I loved his answer on immigration. He is the only one (in the top-tier) who seems to "get it" on that issue.

McCain did well too, although I disagree with him on immigration and torture (and various other issues). I think his history earns him a level of respect that is just "there," even if you disagree with him on certain things.

I don't think it was Mitt's or Rudy's best night, but (if you believe Mitt's conversions) then either of them is still better than Huckabee IMO (and I am a southern, social conservative).

I wish people were more concerned about the candidates' stances and less concerned with who sounds charming. We will have to live with the republican candidate's policies for 4-8 years, if he is elected. And I do not want to see bigger government and more spending coming from someone on the republican side. The dems need to be stopped, not aided in their misguided endeavors. The more power the federal govt. has, the more dangerous it is when a dem comes back into power. Smaller govt. is the only way to preserve the values that social conservatives (and fiscal conservatives as well) hold dear. The dems are trying to take away our freedoms in baby steps. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right ot bear arms... No president or congressional representative should be allowed to chip away at the rights granted to us in the Constitution.

has stated that he wouldn't have vetoed SCHIP

He said that he would have vetoed SCHIP since it was massive government expansion.

have vetoed SCHIP because of the political ramifications.

Here is a link of him saying that:

It is from one of the debates.

He said he would have not let it get to that point politically. He has said several times point blank that he would veto it due to massive government spending.

McCain had the strongest performance overall.

Huckabee had some show-stealing moments. He generally got gentle treatment, but he took full advantage of the opportunity.

Romney had an uneven night. Some great moments, some strange. Considering that the moderator spent half of the night trying to ambush Romney, he did pretty well.

Thompson didn't show up. He has some talking points, but no follow-through. He sounded the most scripted despite his folksiness.

Giuliani's answers sounded as if he were considering some conservative issues for the first time.

ended up making both Rudy and Romney look like schoolchildren. This will hurt both of them. Huckabee played well to those who like his style (I don't). McCain got in some good points, but I disagree with some of them. Fred was well-spoken, when he spoke. The ad was a jolt, but since he got to expose the truth I guess that's a good thing.
Redneck Hippie

Day by day, Mike Huckabee is what Leadership looks like. He's an adroit public speaker calling upon his listeners to "do something," to awaken to their own empowerment, and to act in order that "Main Street," and not "Wall Street," will prevail in guarding the values and beliefs upon which the Republic was founded.

Huckabee puts his listeners at ease, and reassures them, articulating clear concepts in a natural, easy style (no doubt something well-cultivated as a pastor). One can easily imagine sitting comfortably with this man over a cup of coffee at the Main Street Cafe.

Most importantly, Huckabee convinces many that he is ONE with the FairTax grassroots movement.

Romney's recent WEAK response to FairTax questioning on “This Week with Geo. Stephanopoulos” drew a sharp contrast between Huckabee and all other presidential front-runners who will not embrace it. Huckabee understands that what's wrong with the income tax can't be fixed with "a tap of the hammer, nor a twist of the screwdriver." That his opponents cling to the destructive Tax Code, the IRS, preserving political power of granting tax favors at continued cost to - and misery of - American families, invigorates his campaign's raison d'etre.

“Main Street” will have to demand that their legislators deliver the bill to a President Huckabee.

but it sounds like you're describing Oprah, and not a serious presidential candidate.

I have to disagree. I think his was the best - certainly the most clear - answer of the night. You don't have to believe in biblical inerrancy to be conservative. It was a clear statement of his personal view of the Bible. Neither the Republican Party nor conservatism generally is synonymous with fundamental Christianity. Romney's answer to this question was the worst. "It's the Word of God" over and over. Answer the question and take a position, please.

In my opinion Mike Huckabee was the clear winner. I am about to give up on Fred. I have already given up on Duncan Hunter. What am I supposed to do. I don't like Rudy or Mitt. I could handle John McCain, if he could win.

I felt exactly the same way you do right now, only for me it was 6 weeks ago. I like Huckabee because he really is a conservative despite all the name-calling and opinions saying otherwise. He also has the best chance of winning a general election, and he's the most-feared candidate by the left.

He's better on immigration than Bush, McCain or Rudy and even with Romney and Thompson. The attacks about him favoring in-state tuition breaks are false. He favors out-of-state tuition rates for children of illegal immigrants with an exception for children who grew up in Arkansas schools, excelled academically, are eligible for a specific scholarship, and are in the process of applying for citizenship. That's not being soft on illegal immigration. It's being for assimilation, which is a conservative position.

As for taxes, he's very conservative as well. In Arkansas he initially lowered taxes and angered the Democrats in the process, who are very strong there. They got a court to force the government to increase funding for education, which is 90% of the budget in Arkansas. He had already cut taxes when they did this and was forced to raise them by the courts. He wants to eliminate all corporate and personal income taxes too.

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