Winners and Losers: Rank 'Em Up

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jan 06, 2008 9:45 PM
1. Mitt: He was a stronger, more real version of Mitt tonight. I truly enjoyed it, and I haven't thought he's won a debate since the very first Republican debate. I think he probably did himself a lot of good in New Hampshire tonight, and the Luntz focus group shows it. This is the first time I've thought, maybe ever, that there's a glimmer of hope for Romney in a general.

2. Fred: I actually thought Fred was strongest, but Mitt had more to gain, so I gave the first place to him. The focus group says I'm dead wrong, but I thought he was knowledgeable and made the others look less mature with the depth of his answers. I think he's got a more comfortable style that works for him in debates and ought to serve him well in South Carolina, where voters are more predisposed to the rambly country-boy style.

3. McCain: He softened tone tonight, probably helping himself with those who thought he was a tad nasty last night. I didn't love any moments for him, and the fact that nothing's standing out makes me think he's was just okay and didn't hurt himself. Ohhhh, Fred Barnes points out McCain's comment that the change he worked for has saved American lives in Iraq.

4. Huckabee: He's always slippery, but he looked slippery tonight. He stammered on his first answer, which didn't set a good precedent for him. After I wrote my first-half summary, I noticed he stumbled a few more times, not much, but enough to be noticeable. He did fine, but he's usually better.

5. Rudy: He was sort of a non-entity. He really needs to be speaking up more often to keep the spotlight on himself, and his answers are sounding canned these days. He's really going to have to buck up to make it work on Super Duper.