So the first Republican presidential debate is over, and I have an assessment. First, no one blew me away, but I was most impressed with Duncan Hunter. He was quick and to the point and he made some very good points, especially in regards to immigration and taxes, and he will clearly keep America on the offensive against terrorists. Also, he was one of the few who wasn't rattled by the pace of the debate. That guy may emerge as a threat to the front runners.
Congressman Paul scares me a little. He brings back memories of Ross Perot.
Mitt Romney looked to me the most presidential, and if I were to declare a "winner" it would be him. He's very good at debating and has a strong platform. Very smooth and firm on his record. He picked up some votes tonight. But he is going to have problems with his religion. I'm not sure the GOP will nominate a Mormon for president, however wrong that may be. Which brings up the low blow of the night, Mike Huckabee reminding the world that Romney was a Mormon by saying that a candidate's faith should be open for discussion. Huckabee made himself look cheap.
Guiliani did well overall, but he has a big albatross on his neck in the form of abortion. He was comfortable talking about every issue but this. If he were pro-life, he'd be much higher in the polls. As things are now, he has a shaky lead. Just wait until gay marriage and gun control come up for discussion. I don't see Guiliani winning this nomination, especially after watching Romney tonight. That can be bad because of all the candidates I feel Guiliani has the best shot at beating Hillary.
McCain looked too much like Al Gore, very stiff and robotic and, next to Brownback, perhaps the most liberal of them all. He has an uphill climb and he needs to look and speak much more like a conservative if he's gonna secure the base. He tried to look tough when discussing Bin Laden - "I'll follow him to the gates of hell" - then he smiled. Shouldn't you have a sorta pissed-off-serious look when talking about fighting terrorists? I wasn't buying it. He probably lost some votes tonight.
Tommy Thompson was bumbling through every answer. That guy is painful to listen too.
Tancredo was solid. He has the look of a great pick for a running mate. He's solid on securing the border and big-time pro-life. He will bring a lot of the conservative base to someone's campaign. Plus, he raised his hand and said he would pardon Scooter Libby, good for him. I respect this man a lot.
As for Brownback, I don't remember him nor do I remember Jim Gilmore. Enough said.
You can bet that Fred Thompson was watching, and maybe saw a door of opportunity open. Run, Fred, Run!