Get PhotoCrank at PhotoCrank!
January 24, 2008

Florida Debate: Romney Scores, Rudy Close Behind

Florida voters got their final head-to-head look at the Republican presidential candidates tonight, and the winner of the debate was Mitt Romney. He looked presidential, poised, and factually prepared. In a debate that spent the first two-thirds with everyone doing well, Romney not only broke out on his own in the last stanza, he successfully parried some strange attacks from Tim Russert as well.

Rudy Giuliani needed a big win in this debate and didn't get it. However, he did do a fine job, showing a little more personal engagement in this event. He looked very cool and confident and probably gave the most robust answers to the questions asked. He only had one weak moment, when asked to justify his Florida strategy, but recovered quickly. Unfortunately, he had no game-changing moments, and he sorely needs one.

John McCain did a good job as well. He showed flashes of humor and charm, as well as toughness and determination. He did well on the war questions, but his repetitive pillorying of Donald Rumsfeld has gotten old, a crutch that he uses far too often. He falsely claimed that a majority of Republicans worry about global warming, which shows him to be a little out of touch with the base in a very obvious way.

Mike Huckabee didn't do badly, but he didn't do well, either. His joke about the Romney inheritance fell flat, and he was mostly a non-factor throughout the debate. At the end, his natural connection to the audience came through, but on a question that really has much less draw (religion) than the pundits credit.

The debate structure was a little strange. The candidate questions turned out to be softballs, and Tim Russert and Brian Williams appeared to lose their minds in the final segment. For some reason, they seemed obsessed with Mitt Romney, giving him what I believe was a ten-minute stretch all to himself. They basically handed him the debate in that segment.

Don't forget to tune in Debate Central at 10 pm CT!


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Please note that unverified Disqus users will have comments held in moderation. Please visit Disqus to register and verify your account. Comments from verified users will appear immediately.