Yes…if you want to call that a debate. Again I ask, what are these presidential candidates trying to hide by having these afternoon debates?
Top three: Romney, Fred, Giuliani. Romney is strong as a policy wonk. Talking about economic issues rather than social issues allows Romney to play to that strength. I linked to National Review’s endorsement editorial yesterday. It looks like Romney read it thoroughly and tried to make the same argument for his nomination as they did in that editorial. Wise move. Fred looked great in this debate, but he needs to look more awake during the candidate introductions. Little things like this matter because of the narrative that’s already been written about Fred. It’s easy to like Fred when he is on the attack. Conservatives like criticism of the NEA’s role in our educational system. Another Fred highlight was when he refused to play along with the climate change question. We need to see more of Fred the fighter. Unfortunately, it may have come too late for Fred to have a realistic shot at the nomination. Giuliani didn’t do anything to hurt himself, and had some good answers. I just don’t remember what they were.
Shouldn’t have shown up – Alan Keyes. The Des Moines Register did him a huge favor (or maybe they were just obligated to include him under their own criteria). In either case, he didn’t take advantage of the opportunity, instead blaming the moderator for shutting him out of the discussion on several occasions. When she did allow him to speak, he filibustered during his time and didn’t give straight answers to any question that he was asked. There’s a good reason he’s only polling around 2% in Iowa.
Made CNN’s debate look good — the debate moderator and the Des Moines Register. She didn’t give the candidates enough time to answer questions. She didn’t ask follow-up questions when necessary. She also lost control of the debate several times.
In there somewhere — Huck, Hunter, Tancredo, Ron Paul. The good thing for the new Iowa leader is that the moderator didn’t allow enough time for direct shots at him. Huckabee continues to coast along without getting very specific on policy issues, and breaking out more new catchphrases and one-liners won’t make him look any more serious as a potential President. It’s hard to see how Huck can maintain his lead with all of the increased media scrutiny he has been getting lately.
I’m not sure if those who took the time to watch this debate changed their minds about their preferred candidate, but those supporting Fred had to like what they saw from him today.
More fun with Iowa debates tomorrow when it’s the Democrats’ turn to answer questions.