Who Won & Who Lost -- First Take

The Guy Who Wasn't There And Advantage McCain

By Erick Posted in Comments (95) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

John McCain won. Let's not dance around this. Mitt Romney shined, he stood out, he did well. Rudy Giuliani imploded. Rudy totally and utterly self-destructed tonight. He had many chances to get in good with the core base of Republican voters and ignored every moment.

But McCain cuisine reigned supreme. He served up a dish of anger, a willingness to criticize, and a desire to fight — hard.

But let's be honest. Who really won? Fred Thompson. None of the men on that stage really stood out tonight. Tancredo, Ron Paul, Tommy Thompson, and Jim Gilmore just made you wonder why on earth they were there.

Duncan Hunter boosted his profile.

John McCain was willing to be blunt, critical, and honest.

But not one of the men on stage rose to a level to really stand out. That keeps people salivating for someone else. Right now that someone else is named Fred Thompson.

And tomorrow night he will stand on stage in Orange County, California to deliver what I'm hearing is going to be an amazing and powerful speech. He'll have the bully pulpit and CSPAN to himself -- not having to share the limelight.

The word on the street tonight at the Reagan Library is that it is getting too late for Fred Thompson to enter the race. He will try to change that dynamic tomorrow.

And if he doesn't? Advantage to McCain. I can't believe I just wrote that.

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would have been a nice addition as well.

"Cowards cut and run, Marines never do"

Way over the top. And how many times did he use the phrase "my friends" He needs to stop using that before every sentence.

I agree McCain was shooting off terse talking points and never looked presidential to me. His spitting out a few of them seemed to get tripped up. The bizarre thing was when he remembered at the end of one of his answers that he was supposed to smile. He forced the smile so hard and fast I thought he was in pain.

Me Too!

Me make Fence

Me know Defense

Me big time hawk

Dennis Miller for President...no more wimps!

Hunter did very well. McCain came across badly. The others were non-entitites.

...the others don't matter but of the second-tier players Huckabee did very well. Gilmour was good on positions but completely unlikeable. Brownback was blah.

Spitballs?!?! / Yo No Soy Marinero, Soy Capitan

McCain came out in favor of embryonic stem cell research, promising to have more Democrats in his administration, not to mention answering the stupid evolution question, and he won? Hmm...i think not.

McCain's performance was just like his entire senate career. When he was good he was good. But the rest of the time...he was annoyingly not good.

...on which I disagreed...he looked energetic & passionate particularly about the war & judges...

Spitballs?!?! / Yo No Soy Marinero, Soy Capitan

McCain was passionate, but not Presidential. He was good on war and judges, but canned on other responses.


1) Romney - showing why this relatively unknown impresses people who get to know him. He is a very attractive candidate and powerful debater.

2) McCain - for being the leader and not imploding

3) Ron Paul - For being interesting and articulating real conservatism

4) Brownback and Huckabee looked okay


1) Rudy - Lacked that magnestism people like to attach with him. Nothing inpsired there. Someone over at NRO said it best -Tonight may be the night we stop viewing Rudy as the hero of 9/11 and start judging him like every other candidate. It's due. His abortion answers showed no cohesion, passion or courage.

Anyone serious about winning the nomination would of taken the huge media spotlight he had a few weeks ago to make his case. Instead he sat on his butt and did nothing. He reminds me of Newt. What's to be President, but not willing to do the work.

"Anyone serious about winning the nomination would of taken the huge media spotlight he had a few weeks ago to make his case. Instead he sat on his butt and did nothing....What's[sic] to be President, but not willing to do the work."

Hmmmmm. 34 weeks, no stories, three comments, this being the third. Odd how this is the only anti-Thompson storyline around right now, and interesting that it's the kind of thing that is 100% opinion, with nothing to back it up.

I guess you haven't noticed the position papers that Fred D. Thompson has posted on this site. Those essays are in black-and-white, not floating away into the ether. You can pretty much count on whatever he wrote to be exactly what he believes, not some story he might want to change later.

You haven't seen the interviews he's given while "not yet" announcing his candidacy, interviews that advance his position (above people who have actually announced), yet those interviews didn't cost a cent (figuratively).

You haven't even noticed that he's had at least three careers--lawyer on the national stage during Watergate (and he must have previously done something worthwhile to get that position), actor, and Senator who actually kept his promise to not run for another term. Doesn't sound to me that he's "not willing to work," which is what your comment clearly implies.

In fact, if you want to credit Fred with a bit of long-range planning, you might accuse him of taking the Law & Order role for the unspoken purpose of keeping his personal "command presence" in from of potential voters.

Harry Reid on Iraq: “I say we’ve lost. Let’s bring our boys home in, oh, say 18 months. In the meantime, no more funding for them.”

I despair of our school system.

Anyone serious about winning the nomination would of taken the huge media spotlight he had a few weeks ago to make his case.

Subject noun: Anyone
Verb Phrase: of taken - Uh, oh. Of is a preposition. Prepositional phrases can't end with a verb, nor can they act as a verb. Therefore, of can't be a helping verb for the past participle taken. Possibly another word, one which could actually function as a helping verb, would work better.

Let's try this: Anyone serious about winning the nomination would have taken the huge media spotlight he had a few weeks ago...

There. Now isn't that better?

As for the answer to the assumed underlying question: No. The spotlight is still brightly lit and there is plenty of time. I do understand, however, why he makes whiny liberals nervous. Gnats around a war-horse, indeed.

I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful 100 percent.

I agree that Giuliani lost the debate. I don't think anyone really won. It was pretty boring to be honest. McCain... he had good answers, but he didn't look very presidential. Romney didn't do anything to help or hurt his chances. I think the winner of the debate is Fred Thompson. lol

redstate must have a butch of McCain campaign staff running the show since I don't know any conservatives who would vote for the guy. He's a fraude.

Clearly you have not been around here a lot.

You're right...and MBecker is McCain's Chief of Staff.


"In war, my dear friends, there's no such thing as compromise. You either win or you lose."
-John McCain

I love it. Today happens to be my birthday & I consider that one of the best presents I got.

You are just too much... :>)
Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

What can I say? I'm here to please. I was set up perfectly and just happy I could deliver.

Thank you. I needed a laugh.

[F]or by the fundamental law of Nature, man being to be preserved as much as possible, when all cannot be preserved, the safety of the innocent is to be preferred...

-John Locke

Get a spellchecker. Find the "Shift" key. Get a life.
Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

I'm wagering that I'm the only one among the editors who has McCain in his top two (my other is Thompson). McCain has irritated quite a few conservatives with McCain-Feingold and some of his other "maverick" things, but he's solid on the important stuff. He's to the right of Bush on the Long War, he's right about Iraq and he's fiscally conservative. I think he deserves a second look, but I'm guessing most of the folks here will disagree.

Yes, Charles, you would be the only editor in the McCain camp that I know about. And tonight I'll not get on your back about solid on the important stuff, since I consider First Amendment political speech and that little 'Gang of 14' stunt to pertain to the important stuff. But hey, another time.

And by the way, I think this acrosoc101 person called you a 'butch' and accused McCain of being a 'fraude'. I'm not sure whether you should be flattered or put off....

It's war -- so when can we start shooting back at the enemy Democrats?

but our so-called conservative president signed the goddam bill. Offsetting penalties.

As for the Gang of 14, some nominees got thrown under the bus, but we got Roberts and Alito with barely a fight. I'd rather the Republicans had ended the filibustering rule for judicial nominees, but the Gang of 14 was the next best alternative.

and you're right about Bush signing it -- but McCain preaches constantly his advocacy of it. He's chosen it as part of his enduring legacy.

Gang of 14 - got us some interesting results. But the motivations, well, it's just my opinion, but I think they were base.

Just my 2-cents.

It's war -- so when can we start shooting back at the enemy Democrats?

My standard is who did himself the most good, and who generated favorable, especially surprisingly favorable, vibes. Romney is the clear leader here.

Brownback and Hunter really did well, too.

Gilmore looked presidential.

McCain was OK but spotty. Reaching across the aisle to the other party as presently constituted is not the way to mobilize our troops.

Rudy also OK but spotty. His Roe answer was clumsy, and he wasn't too clear in some of his others. But his uncompromising defense of President Bush was a strategic masterpiece, as most of the rest fell right into the Dem trap.

Thompson looked like he would rather be somewhere else (who can blame him?) and Huckabee is simply not ready for the big time.

Tancredo is not a serious candidate and wasted space and time. Neither is Paul, but I liked him.

I thought the 3 Congressmen, Tancredo, Hunter, and Paul spoke with less style and organization than the other candidates. I did not like Huckabee's answers at all. I did not like some of the answers by the top tier guys, but I don't think they did any damage to themselves. I thought Tommy Thompson did a good job to improve his standing a little bit. Gilmore and Brownback did not help or hurt themselves.

You’re a persistent cuss, pilgrim.
John Wayne to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

close second, but i think romney did well - especially touching on health care and a number of issues which dems like to claim.

what do i mean by this? i mean he is able to neutralize those ideas with market based thoughts and programs.

none of them seemed larger than life or inspiring. not even rudy.

as for thompson - missing a single debate isnt the end of the world.

I have to disagree with you. I was not left wanting. I was very impressed by the candidates. Maybe when Thompson jumps in he'll impress me to no end but I do not see the vacuum that everyone else seems to. I also was impressed with Gilmore. He wasn't the most charismatic (see Romney) but I was impressed none the less.

"I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance"-Socrates(the real one ;)

I agree. I don't intend to vote for Newt, but knowing him I think he would have won this debate easily (unless a Global Warming question was asked of him). I think Fred Thompson would have beaten these guys in a debate as well.

the FThompson support still surprises me. his candidacy doesn't make sense on hardly any level. his lack of experience is almost as stark as the Dem frontrunners, and while probably not complete fantasy, the notion that he's appreciably more conservative than McCain or Romney strikes me as unconvincing.

didn't watch much, but I agree McCain and Romney did well (though the former's answer on embryonic snake oil research was very, very dissapointing - so two wrongs make a right now, Senator?). I was also surprised and impressed by the very little I heard from Gilmore. and of course, Duncan Hunter has long been my darkhorse after Romney and perhaps McCain (though if I'm going McCain, its likely its because Romney's not viable, and if Romney's not, its unlikely Hunter is).

Thank you for your comment. Fred was never a Governor, just one of the many in Congress. I'm not seeing the executive leadership skills of the Governors nor Mayor in the race.

3rd party rules all!

Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't.

Were you hoping for a Fred Thompson cameo.


Public funding of abortions and his ambivalence about repeal of Roe.

He is toast with the base, and toast with moderates.

Dennis Miller for President...no more wimps!

Gamecock DeVine
The Charlotte Observer
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson

I really thought Gilmore was impressive. I also think Hunter did the most to help himself from the inside the beltway crowd. McCain and Romney stayed the same, Rudy fell down a little IMO.

Go Dawgs, Sic em' Woof Woof

Belongs to McCain when talking about Osama Osama bin Laden:
"We will bring him to justice and I will follow him to the gates of hell."

To Rudy's defense, he was able to coherently answer the pop quiz about the difference between a Sunni and a Shite.


"In war, my dear friends, there's no such thing as compromise. You either win or you lose."
-John McCain

McCain: We will bring him to justice and I will follow him to the gates of hell

Empty talk from the "rebel" Senator who teamed up with Teddy Kennedy to prevent bin Laden from being captured by "torture" of Al Qaeda prisoners.

It's war -- so when can we start shooting back at the enemy Democrats?

Yes by zuiko

Unless somewhere along the way to the gates of hell you get interrogated by a woman. That kind of demeaning treatment can't stand.
Underlying most arguments against the free market is a lack of belief in freedom itself. - Milton Friedman

"...I will follow him to the gates of hell."

Gadfly think, 'but will you get there before him or after?'

Bad Gadfly! Bad! Must remember 11th commandment.

I think tonight was very informative and a good debate. Even after I take off my GOP rose colored glasses what jumps out at me is quality and substance. This was much better than the dems on

I also take this debate with a grain of salt. I don't buy in that the party or a group must get behind a person NOW. There will be many debates and time to decide. Right now most of the Republican electorate is not engaged. Aslo in the end the retail politics of South Carolina,New Hampshire , and Iowa is what will matter. Right now the many of us are sampling the flavor of the month and have no real idea how they are in the flesh in those states .But this debate gives us some clues how they are performing there.

I was impressed by Gov Huckabee. He came out a winner tonight and it will be interesting to see how he does when there is a debate that is more manageable. I think perhaps he got some of the Brownback vote tonight and generated some interest. I know Huckabee becoming a possible factor doesnt thrill some people because of a base he can draw off of but I think we have hints he might be more of a factor than people thought

MCcCain and Romney are the other winners. Both looked Presidential. Both did what they had to do tonight and I was impressed with both.

In the end the winner is the GOP. THe real looser is the Democrats. I saw passion tonight and saw people that were not playing it safe. The quality of debate and men we saw tonight I think fare well with what the Dems are offering


I tend to agree that Huckabee really did shine tonight for a second tier candidate. I was surprised he was willing to be so protectionist though.

Oh, and I love your user id. Geaux Tigers!

In the end the winner is the GOP. THe real looser is the Democrats. I saw passion tonight and saw people that were not playing it safe. The quality of debate and men we saw tonight I think fare well with what the Dems are offering

Agreed. I was even impressed with Ron Paul--in fact, I was very impressed with Ron Paul--and libertarians and anti-war folks tend to make me sick. We got a good group.

I really liked the gates of hell line from McCain. I thought Giuliani completely dodged the African-American question which was a missed opportunity. Romney was impressive but too polished and I think he added to his Youtube contradiction collection with a couple of his answers. Huckabee really impressed me as well - if he had more money, who knows? Dr. Paul was the Mike Gravel of the debate but I liked his intellectual consistency. Thompson gave the most complete answer in terms of how to win the war in Iraq. Brownback came across okay but I still don't see him as President. Gilmore was a better debater than I expected but still not a standout. Hunter was too protectionist for my taste - Republican John Edwards. Tancredo didn't really throw any bombs or mention the NAU so I was naturally disappointed.

That's my $0.02

There is nothing lonelier than being a black Republican in Boston, Massachusetts

And every recap/opinion i've seen so far is all over the board, imagine that! haha

One question I did have for those that got to watch. I heard one post-debate commentary that the time alotted to candidates was off by the host - in other words some candidates weren't given appropriate camera/speaking time (this person mentioned that Giuliani was slighted on time, Huckabee given more) - did anyone else see this happening?

The CIA has better politicians than it has spies - Fred Thompson

A random walk through my head at Indiscriminate Tastes

I think Erick is seeing what we knew in 2000. John McCain is a fighter and is a good candidate. I thought he consistently outshined GWB in their debates in that long ago primary campaign.

Heck yes, he ticked everybody off with his maverick stuff in the Senate, but unless Fred! gets in the race, McCain is probably the best major candidate we've got, especially if you're looking for a stalwart in the GWOT.

Romney is to slick. He will never win in the south convincingly. McCain had his highs and lows. Even the Dems are making fun of this debate. They're saying the same thing we said last week, that we suck.

there were no single standout over everyone else winner. I do think that Tommy Thompson improved his standing by giving the most complete answers to the questions.

You’re a persistent cuss, pilgrim.
John Wayne to Jimmy Stewart in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Which candidates said they did NOT believe in evolution? I'd rather not vote for someone who is either a liar or someone who completely rejects science.

Just found out: Brownback, Tancredo, Huckabee don't believe in evolution. Does anyone know what they say about stuff like fossils?

BrooksRob, I am working on my Masters in geology, which means absolutely nothing except that I am faintly familiar with science and fossils. I don't believe in evolution, either. Molecule to man evolution has exactly nothing to do with real science, and much to do with philosophy. Believe whichever you want, but don't accuse those of us who aren't convinced of rejecting science.

May I ask if you're getting your Masters in geology at a religious university? And if not, do any of your professors agree with you? Sorry if I offended you. I just thought (and still do) that there was an overwhelming consensus among scientists that evolution occurred.

Its just that we get tired of being relegated to the status of idiots by many people (not necessarily meaning you) because we disagree with an hypothesis that is unproveable. No, I don't go to a religious college, but we do pride ourselves on being a conservative public university.

My teachers do not agree with me, but I don't know if you are in science or not, so I don't know what your experiences are in the science fields in academia. The general consensus is that evolution occurred, but the general consensus in academia also says that the Second Amendment is meaningless, that separation of church and state is Constitutional, and that socialism is the best system. Evolution is kind of the same thing. They believe in molecule to man evolution strongly, not because all the evidence points that way, but because that is the only system that lets them claim a totally naturalistic philosophy of science. It is the politically correct system of origins to believe, and woe to those who disagree or try to buck the system. I don't try to do so. I believe what I see the best evidence for and let others make up their own minds.

They believe in molecule to man evolution strongly, not because all the evidence points that way, but because that is the only system that lets them claim a totally naturalistic philosophy of science.

Very well said. Grand-slam-dunk! I hope everyone can grasp the profundity of the above quoted statement.
"Grant what Thou commandest, and command what Thou dost desire." -Augustine

Also, if I may ask, do you believe that the universe is less than 10,000 years old? And if so, does that fit with what you've learned thus far in geology? I'm not trying to be offensive, nor to presume that that is your belief. I'm just trying to find out if the bottom line for you is that scripture trumps science or if you have some other reason to doubt evolution.

We are kind of threadjacking here, so I sent you a message. I guess it goes to your email. I'll be happy to talk more there.

Good call. You're right. I was getting concerned, too. I'll check my email. Thanks.

BrooksRob, I agree with tcgeol.

I think you should do a post on this out of this thread. It would be an interesting discussion. For me, adaptation within species is proven, but evolution, or large jumps from specie into a new specie is still a theory, or did the missing link get found and no one publish it? One can believe in the Bible and still hold scientific theory at a distance while embracing proven systems and processes.

Threadnapping over.

BrooksRob, I can't speak for the candidates, but as a creationist myself there is really no problem with creationism and fossils. In fact, in many ways they are much easier to explain in a creationist interpretation of the evidence.

For example, a couple weeks ago it was all over the news that they found a T-rex fossil with protein remains from the T-rex which is huge. Evolutionists didn't think that it was possible to find organic remains inside fossils because organic material should break down MUCH sooner than 68 million years. So they were completely shocked by this. But go read every article on google news about this and I bet you can't find one that asks the question 'if the fossil has organic matter and organic matter can't survive 68 million years, then maybe the fossil isn't that old'. Instead the conclusion invariably was 'Well, somehow, someway, the proteins can survive 68 million years'

I see a new thread was started on this topic. I should post there.

They may simply be not very well informed about the science behind, and the details of, evolution, and have let some facile but misleading arguments sway them. I guess that's not a very good trait for a President, either.

Harry Reid on Iraq: “I say we’ve lost. Let’s bring our boys home in, oh, say 18 months. In the meantime, no more funding for them.”

In order of performance, I would rank tonight's debate as such:

1. Brownback - Perhaps it's because I had low expectations, not knowing much about him and only hearing from others that he was a poor public speaker, but I thought Brownback did very well tonight.

2. Romney - He had fallen off my radar a few months back, but came out with a strong performance tonight. He's back up there for me.

3. Hunter - He was solid in his answers and seemed well prepared.

4. McCain - Came out swinging and was pretty unrelenting.

5. Giuliani - He's my first choice, but he only had a so-so performance, primarily hindered by his abortion answers. I thought he knocked all the other questions out of the park and did a great job.

6. Paul - I think he's a bit "out there," but he's a good debater and overall gave a solid performance.

7. Gilmore - My former Governor here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He gave some good answers, but came across angry for some reason.

8. Huckabee - I thought he did well conveying his answers, but it's just that I didn't agree with a lot of what he had to say.

9. Tancredo - He's still got issues speaking in public. Maybe it's the format or maybe he's just not good at debate, but it showed.

10. Thompson - As someone else said earlier, he looked like he'd rather have been elsewhere. He just never really appeard "in the game," so to speak.

the rest with McCain and Huckabee far back in the 2nd tier of performances.

Gamecock DeVine
The Charlotte Observer
"One man with courage makes a majority" - Andrew Jackson


Romney - Solid, I don't think Romney is a hit & miss candidate. To give a basketball analogy, he's not going to score 50 points any time, but he's going to get you 25 points and 10 boards a night.

Huckabee - My poor wife had to sit through the debate while I watched (she was reading mostly), but the minister impressed her a couple of times to put down the book and listen (she's a moderate that doesn't care about politics). Too much protectionism

Hunter - Still a 3rd tier candidate, but I think is making his try at the Vice President slot. Too much protectionism.


McCain - The anti-Romney, He's all over the place, one minute you love him, the next you can't believe what he's saying. He'll go after Osama to the gates of hell, but he'll work with Democrats and fund the destruction of human life.

Brownback - Solid like Romney, but lacks a bit of charisma still (wife remarked about his monotone). I think it was BB that had the question about R corruption and failed to bring up Jefferson and Feinstein by name.


Rudy - Just a mess for most of the night, if he wasn't "America's Mayor" he'd have been in the also-rans.


T. Thompson - He'd make an ok cabinet head, on second thought, maybe not.

Tancredo - Out of his league

Gilmore - I had to look up who was the 10th person...it was Gilmore

Not even an also-ran:

Ron Paul - he's our Dennis Kucinich

The big winner was Fred Thompson.

The CIA has better politicians than it has spies - Fred Thompson

A random walk through my head at Indiscriminate Tastes

I agree with you on much of your analysis, particularly about Fred Thompson being the true winner of tonight's debate.

But I disagree with you regarding John McCain. I thought McCain looked overly anxious and, well, old. His attempt to be the "fighter" in the debate seemed to me a bit over the top. Based on his performance tonight, I do not think John McCain could beat Hillary or Obama.

By summer republicans will be clamoring for Fred Thompson. And no, I don't agree with spin doctors like Dick Morris who say Thompson must enter the race now. Thats baloney. The campaign is far too long as it is, no need for Fred to announce now and fall into the trap being set for him by his opponents.

What a bunch of wimps in that debate! Only one guy has a military record and knows what to do...McCain. The rest had a bunch of deferements and chickened out of fighting.

That is a terrible record to defend!

I had it pegged at the title.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC.

It is great that three of them don't believe in evolution.

That science crapola is for America-hating libs.

was Fred Thompson. I agree 100%. All of these candidates were alright, but please, can we just have a candidate who doesn't recite lines? That's terribly ironic too - Thompson is an actor and you would know if he's reciting a line, but when he's being interviewed or when he's giving a speech, it's authentic. You don't get that vibe from Romney, for instance.

I'm going to go with the vibe and the vibe says that the rest of the candidates either can't win or don't represent our party. We shouldn't have to choose between selling out our principles to win and sticking to our principles in defeat. We can win on principle and I believe Fred Thompson represents that possibility. That may be a vibe to you - that's a light at the end of the tunnel to me.

McCain and Giuliani both held their own. They won't lose or gain support from this particular debate they will still be the front-runners until Fred Thompson gets in if he gets in.
Romney and Brownback should rise in the polls but in the end Youtube is Romneys presidential aspirations executioner.
Dr. Ron Paul has a lot of good points but he's a 3rd tier guy same with Duncan Hunter.

Sen. Brownback and Rep. Paul set themselves apart. For me, Romney appeared way too slick and even flip-flopped during the debate on how important catching Bin Laden is. Rudy re-re-re-re-re clarified his position on abortion and, outside of terrorism/national security, really didn't show me that he was conservative on anything. McCain seemed like a crotchety old man.

Brownback, however, came across with a sincerity that I thought was unique among the candidates who actually had the chance to speak. His response on the Schiavo question was brave in light of the public criticism that came afterwards. He was also the first to mention the flat tax. While I support the repeal of the 16th Amendment, a flat tax is a huge step in the right direction, and in being the first to mention it, in my view he took ownership of the issue.

Rep. Paul was the man shouting, "The emperor's buck naked!" with regard to big government. He was the only candidate to mention the Constitution, and he talked about the need to make a decision on war rather than authorizing the use of force. You either declare war and go to win or you don't go at all. Like Brownback, he made taxes a major issue and went the extra mile of advocating the repeal of the 16th Amendment.

To say that we would be "settling" by nominating any of the three leading candidates ahead of either of them would be an understatement.

alot. Brownback won the debate with Mitt Romney getting second place. Duncan Hunter also looked good but he has the same problem as Dr. Paul he can't win. The 2 frontrunners didn't help or hurt themselves. Everybody paying attention to early debates already knows Giulianis abortion problem with social conservatives so I don't think he will be hurt that bad by his C performance. If and when Fred Thompson gets into the race thats when Rudy and McCain will be threatened.

What a big difference between Romney and Giuliani! Romney looked really smooth and polished... Giuliani was all nervous and seemed unhappy about the fact that he was being asked about abortion.

Those are the two with the worst abortion views, but here the difference was real big.

Huh? Surely you are aware that Romney has flipped his abortion views.

They that are with us are more than they that are against us.

True Romney flipped on his abortion views, but at least it was communicated that flippers are needed to help others flip too. Giuliani drew a wiggly line in the sand about abortion and looked ticked off that he was being asked about it. Two different presentations and Romney's won.

Rudy: wrong views
Mitt: sudden change in views that I maybe shouldn't trust

Between the two, I think I'm doing better with Mitt

McCain won by doing poorly. He stumbled through most of his answers about the war, but it was because he was so intense and earnest about it that he was having trouble getting it out. I liked that.

Thompson is doing himself well by avoiding campaigning but I think he's doing a disservice to the nomination process. I like him as much as anyone but I can't get behind him while he's avoiding

Chris Blowhard is terrible, terrible, terrible. Someone send the guy a little class and dignity.

They that are with us are more than they that are against us.

I felt that Romney did very well. He was articulate, and he will likley get a bump. I also thought after playing to a hostile subject, abortion, Giuliani did very well, and the poll from Survey USA had him winning the debate, and since this was probably with more "mainstream" voters this may show that his softer stance on abortion does well with the public.

Realistically, all the hard core abortion movement has to show is a ban that effects less than 1% of all abortions. And, if anyone remembers their history Reagan mostly gave lip service and probably correctly so, on this issue. I'd like to see abortion go back to the states, but I'm not holding my breath, and if the GOP runs this as "the key" issue, it's a loser.

Tonight's winners were in either order Giuliani and Romney.
McCain came across as overagressive, and I don't think he helped himself.

I also think that Fred Thompson is a big loser tonight by not being there. Out of sight out of mind, and candidly, if he wnated to be in, he'd be in. His lack of stating he's in is starting to wear a bit thin with more than a few, and I think that Main St. GOP land saw more than a few candidates that they could be happy voting for.


Rudy Giulani can--and should--be able to win the Republican nomination without fumbling awkwardly for the social conservative vote. It was heartbreaking to watch him stammer the anti-Roe sacraments when it was obvious that his heart is, and always has been, pro-choice. He blew a valuable opportunity to use his wit and stature to bring more pro-choice votes into the Republican fold in lieu of pretending that he was a social conservative. His convictions are apparently less important than kow-towing to a hostile constituency. No wonder he lost.

Rudy, my man, don't let these social conservatives intimidate you. Stand up to them. Run as the hard-charging, crime-fighting and terrorist-whipping hero that you are. And for God's sake, don't pretend to be something you're not.

I thought he was pretty honest and I've always thought he was a pretty honest guy, especially when it comes to his abortion views. That's costing him, though. But you can't help but respect the fact that he sticks by his views and previous positions on issues he knows will turn off a lot of conservatives.

With Mitt Romney, you have an entirely different answer. "Two years ago I changed my mind because, uh, we looked at cloning and it changed my mind. Oh, and by the way, that's just exactly the time when people started mentioning me as a presidential candidate. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"

Hey, LOOK. I brought you the damned broomstick, now send me back to Kansas. I don't like it here anymore... :O)

"If circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist." --"Concerning the Militia From the Daily Advertiser." Alexander Hamilton, Thursday, January 10, 1788

But I'll catch it on Cspan sometime soon.

Rudy's problem is that while he might be able to cobble together a coalition on the Right enough to get the nomination, he gets blown away in the general election because he's so completely distrusted by the Left.

I agree that McCain gained the most in the debate. I don't know if that'll help him in the long haul, but this debate will weed down the field. So long as Ron Paul stays in it long enough to keep the frontrunner honest, I'm happy.

Duncan Hunter looked presidential. Huckabee was genuine. Romney was slick as a polished nickel. McCain was as fake as a wax statue. Guiliani was creepy. You have to have a combined view here-- 1) who has policies you like, and 2) who can win? Even Hillary could beat McCain or Guiliani. And Fred Thompson is a joke. At this point, for winnable candidates, I would rate them 1-Hunter, and 2-Huckabee. While everyone says that people won't vote for a woman (Hillary) or an african-american (Obama), the same buzz is out there that they won't elect a Mormon (Romney), so it doesn't matter how slick he is. You want to win? Duncan Hunter looked like the real deal.

You write: "Tancredo, Ron Paul, Tommy Thompson, and Jim Gilmore just made you wonder why on earth they were there."

I don't know about the rest of 'em, but Ron Paul was there to remind the Bush Cultists that there's such a thing as a Constitution!

Ron Paul, the not-so-converted-to-republican-Libertarian-but-it's-the-only-way-I-can-get-elected-to-a-national-public-office candidate, is indeed there to remind everyone that there is a constitution. He will speak his mind, and thus will never be electable. To damned honest. I don't buy open borders, isolationist stances but he'd support the Constitution to the letter. Still, because I consider myself a Constitutionalist more than a Conservative, he'd get my vote if he were on the ballot: hands down.

Guilani is ambivalent towards the constituion, as the litmus of supporting it must always be the Right to Arms in the 2nd Amendment. There is no more absolute right in that document as that, and that Giuliani "supports the 2nd Amendment" but his "some cities circumstances are different and require gun control" stance indicates that ANY constitutional support he holds is variable dependant on "circumstances." Too scarey for me.

As for Thompson, I haven't seen his stances but someone pulling 14% in national polls without being a declared candidate should be worrisome to the current front runners. I agree he needs to commit now. I suspect he's probing for the land mines too much and not focusing on advancing the charge.

McCain is a RINO. He should just get it over with and defect to the Sociocratic party.

Romney flops more than a landed trout and is so hungry he is already running TV ads.

In the end we all know that whatever is closest to 'conservative' will get our vote: sigh, even if it's McCain (grrr). It's Hobsons Choice, the lesser of two evils. Hillarity or Osama Obama are just two more socialists scrambling for power and enlargement of the Federal collosus. I never voted for a socialist in the big election yet, and will not, even if the choice, as it has been in the past was just anti-Clintoon, anti-Gore, anti-Kerry, anti-(insert name of a socialist here).

"We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
- George Orwell

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