It would have been easy for Giuliani to remind voters that -- unlike Bush -- he knows how to make government work. As mayor, Giuliani turned around New York and made it a cleaner and safer place to live.
Instead, Giuliani reflected that, on Sept. 11, "we thought we were going to be attacked many, many times between then and now. We haven't been." Bush has to get some of the credit for that.
Of course, Giuliani pollster Ed Goeas told me his guy won, and praised the second-tier candidates, saying that half did quite well.
Many first-tier spinners had good things to say about Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. His best moment (for me) was when he said that no president should stand by as "a CEO takes a $100 million bonus to jettison" American jobs abroad. "And the worker not only loses his job, but he loses his pension. That's criminal. It's wrong. And if Republicans don't stop it, we don't deserve to win in 2008."
Rep. Duncan Hunter of San Diego impressed Dennis Lowe, 18, of Pasadena, Calif., as he considers who will win his first vote ever for president. Lowe also liked Giuliani, Romney and McCain. His father, also Dennis Lowe, thought Romney "came off the best," as he studied "who might be electable." Of the field, he figured, eight out of 10 make the cut.
Despite the Democrats' 2006 big gains, Republicans think they have a real shot at retaining the White House with this field.
The Democrats have gone too far with their Bush-lied mantra. If Bush lied, then Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards either were duped by that dumbo, Dubya, or they voted for the Iraq war resolution against their better judgment, because they thought they had to in order to win in 2008. If the latter, they've already reached the gates of hell.