Thursday, January 10, 2008

"We had no bridges falling down in Arkansas." and other thoughts on tonight's GOP debate

I had just about lost interest in blogging the presidential debates, since there are just so many times that the same candidates can answer the same questions from the same reporters. Then, just like that, the whole campaign became compelling again. So here we go with tonight's big Republican debate from South Carolina…

There is nothing less shocking than the head of the South Carolina Republican party being named Katon Dawson.

Hey look, the Lawrence Welk singers are bringing us the national anthem.

Brit Hume is wearing a Robert Kraft shirt. I don't get the white collar with the blue shirt.

Saying that Massachusetts keeps adding jobs after he left office doesn't speak well of Mitt, it speaks well of Deval Patrick.

Mitt and McCain mixing it up already on jobs in Michigan. Let's hope they keep this up all night.

Shorter McCain: Vote for me. I'll be mean to Congress.

Huckabee knows his audience. He says "dudn't" instead of doesn't.

I wonder how Giuliani decides whether or not to wear glasses on a particular night. He's wearing them right now. Saturday, he went without them for the first half and wore them for the second half.

I'm not really listening to the answers very closely. I don't think I've missed much.

McCain talking about Reagan being both a tax cutter and a spending cutter is revisionist, to say the least. While the economy improved under Reagan, the deficit exploded. He certainly was not a balanced budget guy.

I'm convinced that Fred Thompson is just stringing together clichés and cute sayings. 80% of what he says is just filler to get from one slogan to another.

Huckabee seems tentative.

Reagan! Reagan! Reagan! Reagan! Reagan! Reagan!

Looks like Romney is going to wrench the anti-Washington thing into every answer.

That Fred Thompson tirade against Huckabee seems like a set-up. "Hey, can I jump into answer a question I wasn't asked and not answer it, but list all of Huckabee's faults instead?"

Giuliani worked for Reagan. I don't know if you knew that.

Brit Hume looks bored. I don't blame him.

Brit's question to Huckabee essentially is suggesting that the US should have attacked Iran over the naval incident a few days ago.

Now there you go, Fred. Nothing brings down the house of Republicans like jokes about Muslims and virgins.

Hume is desperately trying to get someone to say they would blow up those Iranians boats.

Funny that Mitt Romney, who cries about the way other candidates speak to him, insults Ron Paul in almost every debate.

McCain says that General Petraeus is the one who should decide when the troops come home. I don't like that idea at all. I don't think our civilian leaders should abdicate their responsibility to run the military. Our military leaders should be answerable to civilian leaders, not the other way around.

I don't get McCain's joke about trading with Al Qaeda and one-way tickets. Not funny. I find it interesting that none of the candidates will debate Paul directly, they just snipe at him with one liners.

I can't believe that Romney thinks we can prop up moderate Muslim states. He is so naïve.

Paul isn't getting a lot of traction with voters, I suspect, but he seemed to set the debate in that section. And I take back what I said about no one addressing his points directly. To his credit, Huckabee was willing to debate him.

If Romney has been hearing so much about how Washington needs to change, why did it take him two losses to finally start talking about it?

"We had no bridges falling down in Arkansas." That was part of a very good defense of his record as governor, but I think he muffed the line I think he meant to say "we had no tunnels falling down in Arkansas," which would have been an excellent jab at Romney.

Carl Cameron looks like a frog.

I wonder if Rudy is aware that he's been lampooned about his constant mention about 9/11. He got a question about his leadership on 9/11 making him qualified to be president, and he skirted it. We're 85 minutes into the debate and I don't believe Rudy has mentioned it once.

Gov. Huckabee, why do you think women should be slaves to their husbands? What an excellent answer. Marriage is not a 50-50 deal; it's a 100-100 deal. Carl Cameron thought he would play gotcha, and Huckabee hit that one out of the park.

The answer about electability may have been Paul's best moment of the campaign. For the first time, I heard him succinctly describe why he is running and why the current Republican party as lost its way. Not that it will get him elected, but it's about time.

These commercials with the frightening old people that look like food creep me out.

Same old same old on immigration, so I'm going to wrap this up...

I thought Huckabee did well. He was under attack (both from Thompson and the Fox questioners) and he answered the questions confidently. McCain was also credible. I don't think he was great, but he didn't hurt himself.

If there was a loser, it was Fred Thompson. He was a caricature of a political candidate. He just indiscriminately tosses one-liners out there. I also thought Giuliani did poorly. He needed a breakthrough and didn't get it. After being the center of attention for the last few debates, Romney seemed to just be there.

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