The GOP debate
I think that Mike Huckabee did the best at the debate. His answer on abortion was very good, and his argument about Iraq with Ron Paul was brilliant. Huckabee has no chance of getting the nomination, but he was to be praying that Fred Thompson doesn't. Thompson is a fellow Southern social conservative, so it is doubtful that Huckabee would be picked to be his running mate. If Northeasterners Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney get the nomination, however, I think that his chances of getting picked are reasonably good.
I thought McCain did well too, and we won Frank Lunz's poll, but his campaign needs a lot more than a good debate performance to pick it up.
Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney both had good performances.
I blogged the first forty-five minutes here.
8:55: Fred Thompson runs his first ad just before the debate, probably trying to show how little he thinks of it. He sounds good, but his head-bobbing is annoying. As he says each word, he nods his head. It looks weird.
9:04: First question: Did Fred make the right decision by appearing on Jay Leno? All of the candidates try to be as critical of Thompson without appearing too critical. What happens is; each candidate makes a joke criticizing Thompson, then mentions how much he loves the people of New Hampshire, what a great state it is, and how much fun he had in New Hampshire. Rudy Guiliani says that Fred played the role on TV that he played in real life.
9:08: Next question is about illegal immigration. Romney hits Rudy on illegal immigration. He
brings up the issue of sanctuary cities like Rudy Giuliani's New York City.
Chris Wallace quotes Giuliani as saying: "If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city. You're somebody that we want to protect, and we want you to get out from under what is often a life of being a fugitive, which is really unfair." Rudy says that he had 400,000 illegals in the city, and had to do something with them. That something, apparently, was to accept them as legal citizens. Doesn't make sense to me.
9:20: Next interesting question (there were a couple of uninteresting ones I skipped) has a police lieutenant asking about the illegal immigrants already here. Rudy Giuliani says that we need to stop illegal immigration using both a physical fence and a technological fence with cameras and motion sensors. Its not technically an answer since sealing the border won't stop any illegals already here, but at least Giuliani would seal the border. He doesn't mention sanctuary cities.
Mitt Romney says that we need to stop funding for sanctuary cities (hint hint), and sanction employers who hire illegals. Most Republicans have made little mention of sanctions for employers of illegal immigrants. I was glad to Mitt Romney take a stand.
9:27: Question for Romney about abortion: "you see ending abortion as a two- step process: rolling back Roe v. Wade, which would leave it legal in some states; and then a constitutional amendment to ban it nationwide. If abortion is murder, how can you live with it being legal in some parts of the country and for how long could you do so?" Romney gives a pretty standard and mostly sensible answer about how he would like to overturn Roe v. Wade (a good idea) and then pass a constitutional amendment banning it (almost certainly won't happen). However, one part of his answer was extremely confusing. He stated:
If Romney merely "recognizes" that many people believe abortion is murder, then it would seem that he doesn't. If he did, he would presumably say that he does believe. However, his next line is that abortion is the taking of a human life. Very strange, in my opinion.
I recognize that for many people, that is considered an act of murder, to have
an abortion. It is without question the taking of a human life. And I
believe that a civilized society must respect the sanctity of the human
9:29: Giuliani is asked about Fred Thompson's critical comments about New York Cities gun control laws. He says that the FBI disagrees with Thompson, then mentions what a good job he did is New York. Okay, we get that you did a good job Rudy. He listlessly remarks that the states can decide about their own gun laws, but doesn't seem very interested.
9:33: Sam Brownback is asked about gay marriage. he gives a solid answer, but I can't get too excited. We are talking about maybe five percent of the population here.
Later on, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul had it out about Iraq. Video here.