Daily Revolt

October 21, 2007

FOX Florida Republican Debate Winner

Here is my view of Sunday's Republican debate (or read the transcript):

Giuliani gave a typical exaggerated opinion of himself by arguing that he brought down crime, while of Mayor of NY, by a greater amount than anyone in the history of this country.

Fred Thompson started with humor. He argued that he has been a conservative for longer than the other candidates. He went after Giuliani in his first statement. Giuliani retaliated by accusing Thompson of making the criminal justice system less fair (tort reform). Giuliani got applause for defending his record on crime fighting, eventhough the rebuttal to a Thompson criticism was unrelated to crime.

Romney made a strong defense of his record as Governor of a liberal state. He also made a defense of his gaffe from the previous debate, on going to lawyers first before declaring war. He was responding to a criticism by McCain.

Mike Huckabee made a impassioned argument against abortion. It certainly had to have impressed the religious right. Watch out for Huckabee in the weeks ahead.

McCain sounded subdued and unimpressive.

Duncan Hunter got the big applause by pandering to the Florida audience in mentioning Cuba and freedom fighters.

Romney gaffed again by criticizing the Democrats for their failure to "cleanup" after Katrina. He was attempting to defend his Hillarycare-type insurance program that he helped pass in Massachusetts. Romney says he is proud of his health insurance record while Governor.

Thompson admitted he was wrong on "No Child Left Behind."

Giuliani was uncomfortable in answering the question about his record on education.

Romney scored points talking about Hillary not running anything in her life. He got big applause for talking about his record and bringing change. The audience, incredibly, yelled no to the question of whether Hillary should be commander-in-chief.

McCain got a rousing applause for pointing out Hillary's lack of military experience, and his being a prisoner of war.

Romney gave clear and specific answers on dealing with the social security problem.

The FOX debate format worked very well. The candidates spoke in detail with little of the typical candidate monopolizing the debate. They used a cow bell, along with lights, to keep the debaters in line. A model for future debates.

There was very little discussion on Iraq. A foreign policy question involved Russia and Putin. McCain was tough while by making fun of the Bush line about looking into Putin's eyes. The Arizona Senator said he saw 3 letters: K-G-B. He called the Russia dictator "dangerous."

Giuliani made a curious proposal in offering to expand NATO to Japan and Australia. He apparently doesn't remember that NATO is a European defense organization. He also made a ridiculous case for increasing military spending by using the Russia comparison, in where he claimed that we outspent the Soviet Union into oblivion. Clearly, Giuliani's strong suit is not foreign policy. He was rambling, and for the first time went past the bell. He seemed not to know what he was talking about.

Thompson attacked Speaker Pelosi on her engineering the Armenian-Turkey resolution.

Huckabee called for training of the Kurds in order for them to fight the "terrorist" PKK.

Ron Paul sounded more whiny than usual and was booed repeatedly.

Romney attacked Bill Clinton's record on national defense. He was applauded repeatedly for his own views on strengthening our military.

Thompson was asked a loaded question about being "lazy." He gave his bio in response. Thompson got a big applause, finishing the debate with humor.

After the debate:
Frank Luntz interviewed a focus group that vilified Hillary Clinton. No one in the group thought John McCain won the debate. A small number thought Giuliani won.

So far the FOX poll had, predictably, has Ron Paul with 38%. Paul has a small legion of fanatical supporters whom act like they are part of cult, than supporters of a presidential candidate.

The impressive fact is that Huckabee came in second with 19%, ahead of all the rest.
Huckabee did himself a lot of good tonight. He was the winner of today's Republican debate.

Related Links:
- NY Times: At Debate, G.O.P. Race Becomes More Personal
- USA Today: GOP candidates debate who is the most conservative
- FOX: Cat Fight Hisses in Republican Presidential Primary Debate

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