Axis of Right

Three Native Rhode Islanders Commenting From the Right on Politics and Anything Else

Republican Debate Winners: Romney, Hunter, McCain. Losers: Giuliani, MSDNC

Posted by Mike on May 3, 2007

MAY 16 UPDATE: My take on the South Carolina debate can be found here.

The following is this undecided conservative’s opinion of tonight’s Republican debate.

No knockout punches were going to be delivered in a single showing, but there were some clear winners and losers in tonight’s Republican debate. Each candidate had their unique objectives they needed to accomplish and all needed to avoid stumbling. Some candidates did better than others. The winners were Mitt Romney, Duncan Hunter, and John McCain. Besides MSNBC, the big loser was Rudy Giuliani.

Mitt Romney did very well this evening. It was clear from the outset that unlike the Democrats, Romney understands the scope of the war on terror. He stated that Osama Bin Laden will pay and will die, but that the war is something larger than one man. While explaining his own evolution on life, he exposed Chrissy for the fool he is when he provided a detailed explanation of stem cell research. Finally, he delivered the money quote of the evening when asked if Bill Clinton returning to the White House would be a good thing. Romney’s response: “You have GOT to be kidding.” He also scored points when he educated Chrissy that it is not the President’s job to tell Catholic Bishops how to do their job. Stylistically, he was poised, articulate and photogenic. No Democrat will look forward to debating this man.

Duncan Hunter also did very well. In fact, it can be argued that he looked Vice Presidential. He was solid on fiscal and life issues. He also reminded the country that Bill Clinton gutted the military. As a solid military supporter, Hunter’s criticism of Clinton were especially credible.

John McCain did what he needed to do. He fumbled his stem cell answer, but his performance was otherwise pretty solid. He slammed the Democrats for their celebration following passage of their surrender bill and insisted that if he were to put a Democrat in the Cabinet, it would be Joe Lieberman. McCain didn’t score any touchdowns but there weren’t any turnovers either.

The big loser tonight was Rudy Giuliani. There were many questions about the culture of life and Rudy’s answers were nothing short of pathetic. The overturning of Roe v. Wade would either be a good thing or bad thing. No wait, it would be a wonderful thing. Giuliani’s indifference to Roe coupled with his insistence that a strict constructionist judge could rule either way will do Rudy no favors.

MSNBC was also a big loser in tonight’s debate. The time allocations were anything but equal and the irrelevant and loaded questions are too numerous to mention so I’ll only mention a few. The Karl Rove and Bill Clinton as First Lady questions were completely irrelevant. Asking Rudy if he regretted the way he dealt with black people as Mayor was not supported by anything even resembling a fact. That question was so loaded it makes me wonder if it was written by Al Sharpton. Also, this wasn’t Hardball. Whoever followed Tom Tancredo’s final answer should have ripped Chrissy a new one for interrupting.

Earlier today, I speculated that Fred Thompson and Newt Gingrich’s chances could be harmed if Romney gave a strong performance. Romney did indeed deliver a strong performance, but it wasn’t enough to harm any of the candidates who might enter the race in the future.

UPDATE: Check out Sister Toldjah and Michelle Malkin for more instant reaction.

UPDATE 2: Click here for a debate transcript.

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12 Responses to “Republican Debate Winners: Romney, Hunter, McCain. Losers: Giuliani, MSDNC”

  1. Ryan said

    I knew it! Substance, details, focused debate, and an intellectual exchange of ideas amongst people from the Grand Ol’ Party. That being said, here’s my read on the ten participants:

    Mayor Rudy Giuliani- honest, but didn’t do anything to help him; his security reputation will continue to keep him afloat

    Gov. Mitt Romney- articulate, full of facts and optimism, direct and gets it on the issue of stems cells and abortion; the most Reaganesque of the crew in his delivery.

    Gov. Mike Huckabee- meh; he didn’t hurt himself

    Rep. Ron Paul- angry pre-9/11 paleo-con

    Rep. Duncan Hunter- he was OK; had a tough look, just not into the camera

    Sen. Sam Brownback- zzzz…zzzz…zzzz… huh? oh, Brownback. If you put glasses and a green sweater on him he’d automatically start saying “oakily, dokily, diddly”. He’s Ned Flanders.

    Sen. John McCain- obviously trying too hard early on; a little Gollum, a little Smeagol; a little Democrat, a little Republican; in sum, a hard-nosed political media whore.

    Gov. Tommy Thompson- frumpy, very frumpy

    Rep. Tom Tancredo- not yet ready for primetime

    Gov. Jim Gilmour- great look, great response to the questions; worth another look as the true conservative in this race

    Winners: I liked Mitt and Jim as my people of interest

    Losers: Rudy, Tom, Tommy, Ron, Sam

    We’ll See: McCain, Mike, Duncan

  2. Chris said

    The questions asked by Matthews and “The Viewers” were at times sophomoric, and many of them flat out dumb (e.g. How would you feel about Hillary in the White House…duh) and he alone, made the debate difficult to watch. I agree with both your assessments for the most part, but I see McCain’s performance as totally put on, as it has been for the past two months…he will never be able to revive the Straight Talk Express. I do see Romney as the clear winner and he definitely had the JFK look down pat. I’m still waiting to see on Fred and Newt, but I hope they don’t wait too long.

  3. Noonan said

    Not sure I would agree that Gilmore is worth a look as a “true conservative”. He says he’s Pro-Life but believes in abortion to the perfectly arbitrary and acceptable to nobody time of 8 weeks in utero. He ran for governor on a platform of eliminating the car tax and failed to do so. He was a fiscal nightmare and incredibly unpopular, and because of that he is partially responsible for paving the way for Warner (D) to becoming governor. Just because Matthews didn’t vet him doesn’t mean he’s solid.

  4. Chris said

    Warner won not necessarily because of Gilmore (remember that 9/11 had conributed to slowing down the NoVA economy), but really for two reasons:

    1) The Republican field was divided between Earley and Hager, and Earley could not unite the party

    2) Warner tried to take advantage of this rift by passing himself off as a moderate Democrat, when in reality, he’s a lib and fought for two tax increases.

    3) VA’s demographic is changing and more Democrat populations are moving into NoVA (Fairfax, Arlington, Loudoun), thus providing significant contributions to the wins by Tim Kaine and Jim “Melonhead” Webb.

    While it is early, Gimore’s time as VA Governor and GOP Chairman should defintely be used as positive experiences that should encourage Americans to give him a look.

  5. Ryan said

    I can see Noonan’s point that Chrissy had his favorite targets and those he ordained “also-rans” before they said a word, and Gilmour was not someone who spoke much. But, beyond the politicking and maneuvering for specific sectors of the base, I thought Gilmour appeared more relaxed, more articulate, and more interesting than most of the crew, thoguh I agree he was not vetted very thoroughly.

    I’d love another chance here to knock McCain, if I could. He was very contrived and transparent. He wants to lead the party, but feels fine being a maverick, philosophically agreeing with Ted Kennedy and Russ Feingold on significant issues of security and speech. To me, that’s fundamentally not cool with someone who wants to be my party’s leader. Plus, he’s a little loopy. He’d chase Bin Ladin “to the gates of Hell” and then immediately smiles after saying it… (a “my precious” moment if I ever saw one!). He starts the debate ready to beat up the podium in an awkward display of self-agrandizement and machismo– he was literally being a bully to the pulpit. Some saw that as McCain being strong and forceful on the issues. I laughed, wondering if McCain feels the slip between passionate poise and embarassment.

  6. jess said

    There was one clear winner, and I am surprised that the corporate media, including their crony websites ignore: that was ron paul. Come on guys, Romney the pretty boy showed immaturity and ignorance. it is shocking to hear that the media is trying to inculcate in our mind that he is the winner: like trying to convince us that black is white or vice versa.
    Jess

  7. Mike said

    Ron Paul? You do realize this was a Republican debate? Surrender and reliving the 60s were never priorities in the GOP. Romney OTOH gave excellent answers and managed to go in depth with the limited time available. Me thinks the left protests too much when it comes to Romney. Hmmm.

    Thank you for the comment Jess. You gave me something to ponder.

  8. Matt said

    As Jess notes, Ron Paul was the clear cut winner according to opinion polls. MSNBC puts Paul with 40% approval with the next highest being Romney at 27%. Yet Romney was the winner, go figure. Just another example of the mainstream media, like poster “Mike” here, trying to tell people who they should like and what they should believe.

  9. Ryan said

    Perhaps Ron Paul and good ol’ Nelson Aldrich may have something’s to say to each other about Republican politics of the 19-oughts, all while Marcus Hanna and William H. Taft serve up the brandy and cigars!

    It’s a 2008 Republican primary, first of all, and Ron Paul was the punch-line MSDNC decided to include, much like the Democrat’s Mike Gravel was selected to liven things up at their debate. Secondly, the MSDNC poll was an online sampling, which are notorious for unscientific poll-crashing samples. It’s conceiveable that the poll is real. It’s also highly conceiveable that the Paul camp crashed the polls by campaign dictate as soon as the debate ended.

    Actually, I get the feeling that the MSM has been touting Giuliani and McCain as the winners. My sense is that they are the media favorites. I may not agree with everything Romney says personally, but he looked poised, was the most articulate on his positions, and stayed positive throughout. Ron Paul is more of a libertarian than a Republican, but his limited government message is refreshing now and then.

  10. Edward Mann said

    Ron Paul doesn’t stand a chance, just like Democrat Dean in 2004. The national committee (ie, Karl Rove) pretty much chooses the candidate, and they don’t like Paul. Incidentally, the $50,000 a plate fundraiser dinners (“selling” the honor of meeting high-ranking politicians, under the bogus pretense that this somehow isn’t selling influence OR accepting a contribution over the $2500 limit) will go to the “chosen” candidates, as will the media attention. The RNC also influence who gets into the audience at the debates, which is important since most Americans base their impressions on how other people react. Even if Paul was to mount Internet and word-of-mouth support as Dean did, the RNC would crush him just and the DNC did to Dean. (and, possibly, disenfranchise their voters so much that they lose the election just as the Democrats did in 2004)

  11. Ryan said

    Dean did have a better chance than Paul does. I don’t expect Paul to stick around too much longer, or even get invited to too many more subsequent debates. By August, if you’re polling less than 5% you have no feasible chance of winning and should not clutter our stages.

  12. Anonymous said

    Obama is ahead of Mccain. John must be very clear about the main issues. The main issue is the economy. You cannot pick up one population of people and slam it down on top of another without economical impact. Put up the fence and fine employers who hire illegal people. Secure the borders. If Mccain comes out on this side of this issue he will be the next president. If not he won’t.

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