One questioner, turned up in the audience for a follow up to his video question! This I thought was pretty cool. Unfortunately, the issue he raised (Gays in the military) and the responses he received were not even close.
Setback for Romney
This debate was a big blow for Mitt Romney. His business-like approach to politics completely failed. When asked about “gays in the military” he said he would let the generals decide. When asked asked about water-boarding being torture he said he would take the advice of Generals and others including McCain. Very often he was struggling for words and clearly didn’t answer the questions.
If you think about his responses, these are typical of a classic deal-maker. He listens carefully to all the parties involved, then figures out what works best and then sells it to all and sundry. No principles, no convictions, pure deals. Period. It is no surprise that the man is flip-flopped on a bunch of issues. If there anything he stands for, it is for getting the job done, whatever it might be! Since its hard to run and win a race by being honest about this, he has taken the typical business approach of researching all the issues and their histories, studying the impact of the various positions, and arriving at the optimal winning strategy. So far his leads in the polls indicate that it has worked. However, this debate clearly, left him exposed. (IMHO, that he should be made in charge of Middle East peace efforts, and please, not the presidency!)
The other candidate who I thought faired poorly was Fred Thomson. His responses simply lacked spirit and energy. In fact, for someone who is so familiar with facing the camera, he seemed completely lost.
Guliani as usual attempted to tie everything to 9-11 and Islamic terrorism, while Ron Paul links everything to the Iraq war. Ron did throw in an interesting data point about Iraq war (I didn’t catch the exact quote. It was something about getting a lot of contributions from war veterans!)
The two candidates who I thought did well were John McCain and Mike Huckabee. While John McCain’s personal qualities and convictions bring out the best in him when least expected, Mike Huckabee uses his seasoned speaking talents to win hearts. He is clearly the best campaigner of the lot and might just spring a surprise.
To me, the best line of the evening was when Ron Paul said his campaign was receiving so much money they did not know what to do with it!