John, I agree that Huckabee won the night. He has mastered the art of appearing engaging and almost sweet but resolute on social issues. In a 90-second debate answer he sounds perfectly solid on other subjects like taxes. Remarkably, except for a minor scuffle with Romney on college scholarships for illegal alien kids, no one went after him. The time has passed where the other contenders can just hope he’ll go away on his own and I suspect they will come after him next time. McCain is an exceptionally appealing and mature figure and successfully boxed Romney’s ears on an issue (torture) which most conservatives likely don’t agree with him. On spending and the war there is no one who articulates GOP views better. Romney started strong and went down hill while Rudy did the reverse. As the night went on he seemed to get better and more confident with solid answers on foreign policy and crime( Romney seemed to concede the issue to Rudy.) His abortion answer was remarkable for its similarity to Thompson’s and even Romney’s position. For now his Hampton visit answer seemed to work and if in fact he had nothing to do with tucking the costs into other accounts it likely will not inflict permanent damage. Thompson was fine but sort of invisible which is baffling for a professional performer. I like him more and more as the campaign goes on but find him incapable of projecting the energy and dynamism a president or a presidential candidate requires. And if they ever,ever agree to this stupid format again we should follow the lead of the Writers Guild and put down our pencils, turn off the computers and go out for drinks.
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