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New Hampshire debates

Overall, a good debate tonight on Fox News, and a pretty strong performance by all but Huckabee. We haven’t seen that much diving for cover since the movie Dodgeball. Hopefully this will damage his vote total Tuesday and beyond.

Mitt Romney was solid and confident in tonight’s debate, probably the best performance he’s had in all the debates. A focus group that Frank Luntz did for Fox showed a really strong positive reaction to Romney (RealClearPolitics has a couple of clips). We’ll find out Tuesday night if this translates into actual votes. His strong showing should help him, but the election is only two days away, so it may have come too late. And, he really needs to keep it at a high level going forward.

Fred Thompson, as usual, was low key but solid and in command of substance and detail. It’s most likely too late for him to catch on and win the nomination, but on pure substance he’s a very strong candidate.

Rudy Giuliani also gave some strong answers; his answer about it being more compassionate to get people off welfare dependency was quite good, but he seemed to be sort of out of the mix, stuck both literally and metaphorically down away from the front-runners at the other end of the table. He seemed somehow very far away from his favored status of just a few months ago.

It helped the debate greatly that Ron Paul wasn’t there. He has no shot at winning the Republican nomination, and his often wacky foreign policy pronouncements would have been a much better fit at the Democratic debate, or maybe at one of the lefty nutroots blogs.

McCain may have won the night simply by not losing. He didn’t show the somewhat self-righteous bad temper that made an appearance on ABC last night, which made his performance much better. But he did get bogged down some in trying to explain his past support for amnesty and opposition to tax cuts. So not terrible, not great, but maybe, maybe enough to hold off Romney on Tuesday.

Reaction roundup:
Michelle Malkin has a liveblog blow-by-blow.

Hugh Hewitt, unsurprisingly but not unreasonably, has some positive reaction to Romney’s performance. Good point about the ability to debate Obama in the fall. Senator Obama didn’t say much we agree with last night, but he does say it very well. Unfortunately, well-delivered left-wing boilerplate holds some sway with those who don’t pay close attention.

And more via memeorandum

posted by: The Editors @ 9:05 pm January 6, 2008


  1. Ron Paul would not have killed thousands of Americans in a useless war. The Iraq War is the “whacky” strategy.

    Comment by Mr. E — January 6, 2008 @ 9:26 pm January 6, 2008

  2. And you get paid to write this stuff? Sure Ron Paul will very likely not win the nomination from the Republican party but it’s only because the party has left its roots over the past 20 years. Ron’s background in monetary policy is stronger than that of all the other Republican candidates combined. They have no clue and obviously didn’t pay attention in their college economics courses. It is sad to see professional writer so vent on following the status quo instead of giving Ron Paul an ear. You don’t have to vote for him but you can demand the same level of knowledge of history and monetary policy that Paul currently serves up on a minute by minute basis.

    Be independent and stop following the herd.

    Comment by Juan Carlos Perez — January 6, 2008 @ 9:27 pm January 6, 2008

  3. Good summary of the debate. I agree on all points–especially about Ron Paul. It’s a surprise the Paulnuts haven’t spammed the site down.

    Comment by Fun4Sly — January 6, 2008 @ 9:29 pm January 6, 2008

  4. What is wacky is your blog. You are right what is crazy is to save the troops lives by brining them home. What is crazy is to stop irritating and offending other countries by occupying them. What is crazy is isolating the world from the US by policing everyone. What is crazy is peace and prosperity. What is crazy is trying to balance the budget and stop overspending.

    Yeah, you are right, you are one crazy mother.

    Comment by Dennis — January 6, 2008 @ 9:32 pm January 6, 2008

  5. From the editors of “The American Fascist Journal”
    Who wants to hear the truth anyway, Go RON PAUL.

    Comment by brent — January 6, 2008 @ 9:51 pm January 6, 2008

  6. So anyone against bombing, invading, and occupying foreign countries, killing hundreads of thousands of innocent civilians, and bankrupting our country is considered “wacky”?

    I’m pretty sure you, and the other neo-cons, are the ones who should join-up with the “nutroots.”

    War-mongers and fear-mongers, that’s all the other GOP candidates, and apparently you too, are.

    Paul speaks the truth and you are too ignorant to comprehend it. Sad. Just sad.

    Comment by S Bradford — January 6, 2008 @ 9:52 pm January 6, 2008

  7. Dr. Paul’s ‘wacky foreign policy’ is ripped right out of the constitution. In fact, it’s the only foreign policy proposed by the candidates that stays w/in the bounds that the constitution sets forth on the federal gov’t. I seem to remember something in the preamble of the constitution about the gov’t being formed to ‘provide for the common defense’ and not for the ‘common preemptive strike’. But I guess that document fell out of favor about a hundred yrs ago anyway.

    Comment by gwelymernans — January 6, 2008 @ 10:00 pm January 6, 2008

  8. Ron Paul’s proven fiscal conservatism and noninterventionalist foreign policy is more in-line with the traditional values of the Republican party. How can you call him a lefty?

    Comment by John — January 6, 2008 @ 10:16 pm January 6, 2008

  9. Ronald Reagan has said:

    You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down–up to a man’s age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order–or down to the ant heap totalitarianism, and regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.

    It seems this formerly valuable journal has followed Fox News and the Bush administration on that downward course. Perhaps at the bottom right does look like left.

    Comment by Michael Hampton — January 8, 2008 @ 6:29 pm January 8, 2008

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