In case you thought we were a bit tough on Romney around here there was worse out there. ABC.com had this to say: "But I saw that as a pretty bad night for Mitt Romney. I think he was outflanked on immigration by McCain and Giuliani -- that's not easy to do. And you can tell that nobody on that stage likes him. He's a frontrunner here, so he can expect the heat, but so is John McCain, and yet everyone rushed to defend McCain and attack Romney. Why would Romney say he likes mandates? How could he have let Fred Thompson best him on a debate over healthcare? Just a few of the many questions he's going to have to sort out, against the backdrop of some McCain momentum in New Hampshire." First Note chimed in as well, noting as well the odd sight of a Republican arguing for the support of the base while defending mandates. The Page had him tied with Ron Paul with a C+. The Fix sounded a similar theme. Conservatives here and here and here and here were disparaging. Now clearly there are some fans that will never fail him, but overall the reaction remains: he really didn't hold his own. This is a big problem. He had to be better than McCain and the post mortem will be very tough indeed. However, and it's a big however, McCain came right up to the line tonight of being too "hot." He needs to keep from crossing that line tomorrow or the gains made tonight will be lost by Monday. UPDATE: This is perhaps the most insightful on the personal dynamics at work.
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