Really Quick Debate Rehash

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: May 04, 2007 12:15 AM

The Big Three:

Romney seemed to speak the most of any of the big three, give most of the basically right, rote answers, and managed not to make any gaffes. He's still not doing it for me, but I think he probably gained the most tonight. He got his face and name out there, seemed good-humored and looked presidential. He sounded knowledgeable on stem cells and fairly genuine on his pro-life conversion. He got off a couple good lines even though humor's not his main characteristic. His answer to the Bill Clinton quesion-- "You've got to be kidding me."-- was perhaps his most genuine moment of the night.

McCain showed up without his good humor, and the finger-stabbing was awkward. I'm inclined to like McCain most when he's both tough and good-humored. Tonight, he was tough, but no fun at all.

Giuliani showed up without most of his storied charm. That's the thing that gets a lot of conservatives past the policy differences. If he doesn't have it, that walking the line on Roe v. Wade becomes much more obvious.

He still doesn't do it for me, but I'd say Romney probably came out on top. McCain and Giuliani didn't noticeably mess up, but their likeable, distinguishing characteristics got lost in the shuffle tonight. Romney doesn't have that "it" factor that McCain and Rudy usually have, but he didn't disappoint anyone by showing up without it.

The Others:

Of the others, I liked Duncan Hunter and Huckabee best. Huckabee is surprisingly charming and a colorful speaker.

Hunter had my favorite line of the night, and came across as presidential. When asked to name one thing the government does well, he said, "Those precision-guided munitions on Zarqawi's safehouse. That was done very well."

That was my favorite line of the night.

Video of Katie and me discussing the debate as soon as I'm done cutting it up.