Team Rudy should send a hundred roses to Ron Paul -- yellow roses, of course -- after the Congressman essentially tossed the debate to Giuliani. Rudy had a pretty good night going anyway, but when Paul as much as said that the terrorists had a point in killing 3,000 Americans, Rudy let fly with the righteous indigation that an entire nation was busily hurling at their television screens.
Ron Paul -- the Black Sox of Republican debaters.
Rudy needed a good night after a lackluster first debate, and he got it. He also managed somehow to be the only candidate to criticize a Democrat on specific policy stands. However, he wasn't the only candidate who benefitted. John McCain did considerably better than his Angry Man performance in the first debate, coming across as measured and poised. Mitt Romney continued to show that he has mastered the format. Even Mike Huckabee, who got the biggest laugh, scored more substantially on the issue of life and made himself look presidential. Duncan Hunter got kept off camera but showed his credentials when he got the opportunity.
As for the others, they did less well. Tancredo had trouble putting together a complete sentence and seemed rattled for most of the evening. Tommy Thompson was a rock -- in that he barely moved all night long. He did better than last time, but he had nowhere to go but up. Jim Gilmore spoke longer while saying less than almost anyone on stage.
But the Buffoon Of The Year award goes to Ron Paul. His contention that America deserved the 9/11 attack should end his political career. Hopefully it will convince the next forum to exclude him from the proceedings. Paul made everyone else look tolerable, and had most of us yearning for a vaudeville hook.
Don't forget to tune in to Debate Central!
UPDATE: Don't miss Michelle Malkin's live blog and big wrap-up. She makes a point that I had meant to address, which is the superior performance of Fox. There is no comparison between Brit Hume and Chris Matthews, and the two networks as well. This was crisp, sharp, with germane and substantive questions and a minimum of silliness. The MS-NBC forum was so silly that it almost defied description. Perhaps the Democrats should reconsider their allergy to Fox.