ome interesting takes here
which seem to conclude Romney did better than Thompson. Others here
suggest that Romney faired far worse –focusing on the line item dust up and the very odd “ask the lawyers” response. I’m
in the Thompson “didn’t bomb” club but “this could be a real problem for Romney” group
. Doubts about Romney’s toughness and foreign policy credentials were already brewing, especially after his “apparently” tussle with McCain over the surge in the last debate. Asking the lawyers, as Jed Babbin
points out, is a very corporate thing to do but not a presidential approach.(“Romney, flummoxed, reverted to corporate type and said that he’d convene a meeting: you sit down with your attorneys and they tell you what you have to do. Making it worse, when Matthews repeated the question — do you have to get Congress’ approval — Romney said he’d let the lawyers sort it out. Fanning a third time on the same fastball, Romney retreated into the, ‘we’ll do everything possible to avoid that’ crisis stuff. It was bad, and was made much worse when the other candidates sounded off on the same question. ) As for the line item veto and taxes face off it appears Romney is in “never mind” mode
Does this matter or will it change the race? I’m betting that Thompson gets some encouragement and works Iowa more strenuously, hoping to dent if not topple Romney there. On the Romney side, none of the problems in the debate centered on soical issues which may be key in the caucus. His superior organization there probably leaves Romney “safe” but he’ll need to make sure his lead continues, and therefore will be less free to defend his position in Michigan ( a recent poll
shows Rudy leading) or in other early states.