I watched the debate last night with about 350 of my closest friends as well as the Patriot’s nightside host Rusty Humphreys out at the Minnetonka Marriott last night.
- Mitt talked too much. He came across a bit like…a too-slick CEO. Not that he didn’t have great points – but there were times he needed to stop short of where he did, and just talk less.
- Mike Huckabee presented himself very well, although occasionally at the expense of actually answering the question. Perhaps he was trying to edge around the “nannystater” rep he’s gotten in conservative circles in the last few weeks. Oddly, Anderson Cooper didn’t seem to press him to answer the question as much as he did other candidates.
- Giuliani looked nervous, and occasionally distracted. As a rule, he gave good, solid answers (including, I think, to the “gotcha” question toward the end), but he could have come across better.
- Thompson seemed (a little) more “relaxed” than “asleep”. He had some sound bite lines, but he didn’t get enough air time.
- It was the first time I’d seen Tom Tancredo in a debate. He did well, not that it matters much.
- Duncan Hunter, on the other hand – a guy I’d love to see as a front-runner – could have done a lot better. Part of it may have been lack of practice – I think they only got around to him two or three times.
- Ron Paul seems to be morphing into Ross Perot. His crowd, incidentally, was out in force last night, with posters and a booth and a big, raucous turnout. I’m pretty sure Rep. Paul won the straw poll (although I had to leave a bit early).
- John McCain is taking great pains to push his conservative credentials – understandable, given the audience. At times I found myself painfully wishing he could go back in time and take back McCain-Feingold and the Gang of 14; he almost sounded supportable. I feel the train has left the station for the Senator, and it made me just a little sad.
- Anderson Cooper is a twit.
- I loved the way CNN picked the two “gun nuts” and one literal “bible waver” that most perfectly fit the most caricatured stereotype of Second Amendment activists and Christians they could find. And where I say “loved”, I mean “thought it was as predictable as…well, Anderson Cooper being a twit.
- While I’m ambivalent about the “gays in the military” issue – I don’t personally see a reason to exclude them from military service – I confess that by nature of my background I’m loath to suggest imposing a rule on the military by complete fiat; “unit cohesion” is a matter of life and death. I’m not entirely sold on the idea that gays in squads will wreck unit cohesion – the British military has allowed openly gay servicepeople for quite some time, and the British army has been famous for unit cohesion for a very long time. That being said, General Kerr got way too much air time. While King and I both commented “good question” during the General’s video appearance, the General’s open-mic harangue from the audience was long, preachy, and excessive.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin notes that there was more to the questions than met the casual eye:
Example: “Journey,” a.k.a. “Paperserenade,” the girl who asked an abortion question, is a declared John Edwards supporter.
You couldn’t tell from the video that CNN aired, where she’s wearing a plain shirt:
But if you click through on her YouTube profile, you see her latest video in response to the candidates’ answers. And she’s prominently wearing…her John Edwards ‘08 t-shirt:
And on, and on, and on. Read the whole thing.
And for the record (on the off-chance that anyone is keeping the “record” of my statements), I don’t care that they’re Democrats; merely that CNN presented them – I would suspect with full knowledge – as just regular folks.
Ed sums it up well:
CNN deserves the brickbats it will receive for its atrocious research skills. However, Republicans should be prepared to answer the questions the candidates received in this debate. At some point, this will cease being an intramural fight and we will have to convince all of America to vote for our nominee. That won’t happen if we can’t handle fastballs, with a couple of curveballs in the mix.
True. As long as America knows that CNN is putting spit, pine tar, bondo and/or spackle on the ball without telling anyone.
CORRECTION: Yep. Pine tar is for bats. I plead caffeine-deprivation.
CORRECTION 2: Or not. Sentence rewritten to cover all possible permutations.