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GOP Debate Round Up

The nine Republican candidates largely avoided attacking one another in today's Iowa debate, choosing instead to focus on the differences between themselves and the Democratic candidates.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the national frontrunner, led the charge -- castigating Democrats for their views on the war on terror, taxes and healthcare policy.

"There is a liberal Democratic assumption that if you raise taxes, you raise more money," said Giuliani to huge applause from the crowd assembled at Drake University.

Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.), who is the clear leader in Iowa, joined in on the bashing of Democrats with several one-liners directed at Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). "He's gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week," Romney said in characterizing the military strategy of the Illinois Senator.

Romney, too, was involved in the only real back and forth of the debate. Moderator George Stephanapoulos of ABC News began the proceedings by playing an automated call from Sen. Sam Brownback's (R-Kans.) campaign being made to Iowa voters that alleged that Romney was far from consistent on abortion issues.

"That's a truthful ad," said Browback, adding that abortion is a "core issue for our party." Romney shot back that the call was "desperate" and, when further challenged by Brownback and Stephanopoulos on the topic, noted: "I get tired of people who are holier than thou because they have been pro life longer than I have."

Aside from that exhange, however, the best-known candidates tended to leave one another alone. Romney, Giuliani and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) all voiced support for the surge strategy in Iraq and spoke forcefully about the need to stay on offense in the war on terror.

While the frontrunners were generally supportive of the Bush Administration, Vice President Dick Cheney did come under some criticism.

"I would be very careful that everybody understood that there is only one president," said McCain, addressing a perception among many Americans that Cheney is essentially a co-president along with Bush. Brownback piled on, arguing that Bush had over-relied on Cheney's foreign policy expertise in the early days of the administration.

Look for The Fix's list of winners and losers from today's debate tomorrow in this space.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 5, 2007; 12:25 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Biggest Mistakes They Ever Made?
Next: John Edwards: Mad as Hell

Comments

ROMNEY ROCKS!! HE IS THE ONLY REPUBLICAN CANIDATE THAN CAN RAISE THE CASH TO COMPETE WITH THE DEMS. HE IS THE ONLY ONE WITH THE ORGANIZATION PER THE STRAW POLES. HE IS THE ONLY ONE WITH THE FAMILIY SUPPORTING HIM 100% IE HIS SON TRAVELED TO 99 COUNTIES IN IOWA.. LETS SEE SOMEONE ELSES KID DO THAT FOR THEM.. AND HE HAS THE 3 PILLARS OF CONSERVATIVES. ABORTION, TAXES AND GAY MARRIAGE.

Posted by: Redding Republican | August 17, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I am so happy to see mention of RON PAUL! I wish I could hear more about him in mainstream media. I've discovered that "youtube.com" has some excellent videos of his political beliefs. He is a true conservative, constitutionally supportive man with the highest of morals. If the founding fathers of this nation were present today...they surely would stand with Ron Paul!
Media....please help him to be heard!
Thanks!

Posted by: Jefferson | August 10, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Senator Ron Paul was the clear winner of the debates.

He is a honest man and a peoples canidate.

He believes in small government,free market,less regulations on small businesses,he would end NAFTA and the war.He would stay out of other countries business,he woulddevote his energies to rebuilding our troubled country and he is against illegal immigration as he believes it is threatening the souverienty of our nation.

Check his videos on Youtube.

Posted by: USPatriot | August 7, 2007 2:36 AM | Report abuse

MikeB - I was watching miles and miles of wind generators as I drove through west Texas Friday and I got to thinking about the conservation of energy.

So if a wind generator converts potential energy from the atmosphere to kinetic energy
that should leave less energy in the atmosphere. Do the downwind mills produce less? Is the effect de minimus?

I know you will think this is simple, but when you are driving through west Texas random thoughts are all you have. I also calculated/guesstimated tip rotational velocity at about 105 mph. Really had to work to entertain myself.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 6, 2007 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I find it very interesting that so many "pseudo-Republicans" dislike Tancredo.
His message definitely is NOT politically correct, a practice which has infected the Right as well it seems. Tom wants to seal the borders, release the two wrongly prosecuted border patrol agents and deport the invaders by force if necessary to save our infrastructure, economy and culture. He wants to repeal the "anchor baby" law and stop all government freebees for illegals. He wants to get in and finish Iraq and get out. No more pussy-footing around. He wants American jobs returned to America and the Nafta agreement repealed.
He's the ONLY candidate with any guts!
He may not be the most personable, but who cares? HE'S A PATRIOT WITH GUTS!
VOTE for him if you have any sense...

Posted by: Coyoaty | August 6, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin - No I did not see your re3marks, but I would interested in them. In the meanwhile, Edwards is hitting his stride and is building on the themes he addressed at Kos. Of course (!!!!), the Post and MSNBC are completely ignoring it, but he SLAMMED President Clinton on NAFTA and took Hillary to task, again, for her support of outsourcing. This ought to be front page news. Where is it????? But, then, the Post ignored the overwhelming anger and frustration about this at Kos, too. Hey, Chris, the news from Kos **WAS** about outsourcing and guest workers and globalization.....they are against it!!!!! It was why Edwards WON and why Hiollary was slammed.

FYI, CNN at least cares to report this:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/08/06/edwards.clinton.trade.ap/index.html

Posted by: MikeB | August 6, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm a bit surprised the report didn't mention the administration criticism about the timing of elections in the Middle East.

Many did a bit of a dance on it, not wanting to criticize Bush about "exporting democracy," but reluctantly admitting the results of elections might have been different had they been held later.

And one of them, perhaps Ron Paul, indicated that we shouldn't be "forcing" democracy on people of other cultures.

Posted by: pacman | August 6, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I have been impressed by Romney in the past, but was really surprised at how bad he came across last night. I think the air is seeping out of his bright balloon. He sounds more and more like the kind of guy who will say or do anything to get elected. In contrast, I think Rudy came across very well. And, of course, the most honest guy on stage is Ron Paul.

Posted by: Andrew | August 6, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Mark, I agree that you would have expected the criticism of Obama to come from the left, not the right; after all, talking is always preferable to violence, diplomacy over war, etc, that's the left's template.

My guess is that they have been charmed by a highly charismatic individual, plus they like the idea of voting for a minority, so that stuff gets overlooked.

Posted by: JD | August 6, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Marksal: Put down the crack pipe. Step away from the crack pipe.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | August 6, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin writes
"T. Thompson is better than he looks."

He actually is. Problem is, there's not much he can do about his looks. T Thompson looks like he's from rural Wisconsin - and I say that as someone who grew up in rural Wisconsin. But, if you look at policy, the former Governor did great things for that state during his terms. Years ago I read his book about that time, I think its called 'Power to the People.' Granted, an autobiography typically has a somewhat biased version of events, but I thought it reflected a reasonable & creative approach to taking positive steps to improve the lives of his constituents. It would do the GOP some good to nominate such a man for the top job - but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: bsimon | August 6, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Thats the thing Golgi, there are alot of folks out there that don't want vision and scope. They want things simplified and Huckabee can do that. He relates to people, and makes them feel good inside. But he can also stand on a stage and answer questions about national security well enough to appease the independent voters out there who want some real substance. AND he can reference his time as governor to show he can work in a bipartisan way. Finally, he has the best geographical appeal of all the candidates because he will solidify the south for the GOP, which is a most win for the Republicans to have any chance at success.

The comaprison is too easy to make, but he looks an awful lot like another Arkansas governor who became president.

Posted by: Andy R | August 6, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

I don't see it, Andy R. To me Huckabee seems like a small time planner. His thoughts don't have the scope and vision required by the job.

But having said that, I do think he is a good guy. If by some miracle a Democrat is not elected president, Huckabee would be a lot less harmful for the USA than any of the other R's except maybe McCain.

Posted by: Golgi | August 6, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Mark, I comletely agree. If Bush hadn't totally ruined that saying Huckabee would be using it right now. And if he keeps gaining in the polls look for his campaign to head off the comparison by saying somehting like "Huckabee; a REAL compasionate conservative." but they may just try and ignore it. I also strongly beleive that he is the Democrats worst nightmare. Minus the Doesn't beleive in Evolution thing he hasn't messed up once. And he did a pretty good job running Arkansas.

Posted by: Andy R | August 6, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

CT, I think you have over-stated your case.
Try again, with actual quotes.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Just curious. If John McCain or Rudy Guliani were to actually win the nomination, how will they convince Democrats and independents to vote for them after they've gone out of the their way to insult everyone who isn't a hard-core Bush Republican? Claiming that Democrats want American troops want to lay down their arms and offer themselves to (the Sunni's? the Shia? al Qaeda?) as prisoners is plainly false and intended only to insult people to question the direction of the US occupation of Iraq.

Posted by: CT | August 6, 2007 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Pete at 05:25 pm - Yes, if anyone in this race is a "Dr. Strangelove" it's Rudy, but not because of Pakistan. It's because both are egomaniacal and get off on police power.

Posted by: Golgi | August 6, 2007 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Andy R - Did you think the label "compassionate conservative" was tailor made for Huckabee, as you watched him?

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 6, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

An additional thought -

It is OK to negotiate with an enemy state, but not always required. It is not OK to negotiate with a pirate, but it might, on some very rare occasion, be justified.

For Obama to treat Bin Ladn with far less respect than he would treat even lil' Kim
is diplomatically standard.

I fear a mountain has been, once again, created from a molehill.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 6, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

My take on the debate was this.
Rudy, McCain, and Romney did fine. No real homeruns (except maybe the Fonda comment but that may come back to haunt him later) but also no major problems either. McCain didn't look great but he did OK and I think this should help to stem the bleeding.

Brownback can take a victory away from this one since he is competing to take down Romney in Straw poll this month. That is what the direct call and the question at the debate was focused on.

I also think Ron Paul did well. There is a growing anti-occupation group in the GOP and Paul is giving them everything they need. I think he is a long shot for winning but he will be there till the end and Romney and Guiliani really don't want to get into a three or four way debate with him. He is more sincere then the two of them combined.

Huckabee did well too and his poll numbers are growing in Iowa (8% in Iowa). As a democrat Huckabee strikes me as the MOST electable of the bunch, although I wouldn't vote for him. He is smart, sincere, and is an excellent public speaker. I would bet that his poll numbers will continue to climb in Iowa, NH, and especially in south Carolina. Also watch to see if Brownback's attack on romney blows up in his face and Huckabee comes in second (or first) in the Straw Poll. That would be an end to Brownback and a HUGE victory for Huckabee.

Posted by: Andy R | August 6, 2007 8:39 AM | Report abuse

JD: I have been consistant with my analysis of Obama, stating IMHO, he has ZERO chance of being elected POTUS in 2008. Now the repubs goal is the same in that they FEAR Hillary the most because among the top tier dems she is the only one they think they cannot beat. The tactics may change, but the goal is the same, namely stop Hillary from getting the nomination, no matter the cost, and they will try anything and everything to accomplish their mission/ goal.

Posted by: lylepink | August 6, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

JD - did you find yourself sympathetic to Obama's actual statement about "actionable intelligence" and Osama and Pakistan? I did. Just as I thought that GWB's speech about a week after 9-11 about chasing terrorists was a good one.

The closest analogy to terrorists in established international law is the law of piracy. The 9-11 attack was, in fact, part of an air piracy, in the law. And a nation is permitted to chase down pirates.

Having said that, I suppose Obama could have been one shade more diplomatic. But I would have anticipated criticism from the left, and find it hard to fathom criticism of that speech from the right.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 6, 2007 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Pete and lyle, do you really believe that the Repubs are propping up Obama because they think he has the best chance of losing to them?

It would seem to me that they were focusing on him because of his recent gaffes; both the 'coddle the enemy' position of meeting with the leaders of countries that hate America, to 'nuke the ally' approach for Pakistan. (well, sort of ally).

Personally, I'd prefer Obama over HRC, if only because I'm tired of the phony nature Bill and Hillary show.

Posted by: JD | August 6, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Marksal: the "person" (singular?) who posted that Romney's a phoney? That would appear to be pretty much all of the "hilarious" posters so far, and you can add me to that list.

Ron Paul is the least phony person running, at least of those that can be called sane (which disqualifies Tancredo.) The ghost of the circa 2000 John McCain comes in second. Romney is surpassed in phoniness only by Sam Brownback's hair color.

Posted by: Jay-El | August 6, 2007 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Most of the posters here are hilarious. Though the political terrain favors the Democrats, the actual major candidates running on the GOP side are much better than the major Dems by any objective standard. (Except, perhaps, for Richardson, but he doesn't have a chance at the nomination.) And to the person who posted that Romney's a phony: He is the least phony person running! He has lived a life that all of us should be so disciplined to live. He doesn't just talk about family values, he lives them.

Posted by: Marksal | August 6, 2007 12:42 AM | Report abuse

This report MUST mean that the "surge" is working, and that the missing guns are the "Good News" not being reported by the media.

Perhaps, the guns are in the hands of the Iraqi lawmakers who are on vacation, using them to do some hunting.

Posted by: Pete | August 5, 2007 11:56 PM | Report abuse

Pete: They were trying to prop Obama up because he is the one, of the top tier, the repubs feel they can beat in the General. Other boards have been discussing this for a number of weeks.

Posted by: lylepink | August 5, 2007 11:53 PM | Report abuse

"The Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005, according to a new government report, raising fears that some of those weapons have fallen into the hands of insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.

The report from the Government Accountability Office indicates that U.S. military officials do not know what happened to 30 percent of the weapons the United States distributed to Iraqi forces from 2004 through early this year as part of an effort to train and equip the troops. The highest previous estimate of unaccounted-for weapons was 14,000, in a report issued last year by the inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.

The United States has spent $19.2 billion trying to develop Iraqi security forces since 2003, the GAO said, including at least $2.8 billion to buy and deliver equipment. But the GAO said weapons distribution was haphazard and rushed and failed to follow established procedures, particularly from 2004 to 2005, when security training was led by Gen. David H. Petraeus, who now commands all U.S. forces in Iraq."

Posted by: This should cheer everyone up... Not. | August 5, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

IowaGal, I live in Massachusetts, and I can assure you that Mitt Romney is a shallow and egotistical man, whose interest in your concerns will evaporate as soon is he is elected, if that were to happen which I devoutly hope it does not.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 5, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

As a member of the audience I believe that Romney did a great job. He was the only candidate that actually listened to what the other candidates were saying when they were talking. Everyone else would just start looking at their own notes.

Posted by: IowaGal | August 5, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Jen, point well taken. Perhaps my memory is failing me, but I think Barack was the only candidate that they refered to by name. It seems that they could not get his ideas out of their minds. I wonder why?

Posted by: Pete | August 5, 2007 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Chris - it's obvious who won the Republican debate in Iowa...

The Democrats. By a pretty wide margin.

When the most interesting part of the debate is discussing what the other party is talking about...maybe it's just me but could it be possible that the GOP is ceding the title of the "party of ideas"?

Posted by: Jen Q | August 5, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

mccain commented on the fact that a lot of people see cheney as a "co-president." co-president my ass! has there been one important decision (even the closest ones)on which this feckless wimp of a president has stood up to this slime ball? i wish to god it was a 50-50 deal. it hasn't been, not by a jug full. bush gets to strut around in his g.i. flight suit and prattle on about being the "decider," but we know who has been calling the shots.

Posted by: jimfilyaw | August 5, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

MikeB - did you see my question to you on the first "At Yearly Kos" thread - August 4, at 12:28A, and roo's layman's attempt to answer at 1:44P? It was about the physics of windmills...don't want to repeat it here, but if you cannot find it, lemme know and I will.
I liked roo's answer, and I was guessing the answer to my question was "de minimus", but this is "knowable" and you may know.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 5, 2007 8:09 PM | Report abuse

If this is all that the Republican Party can come up with for President, a bunch of recorded messages and a man who wasn't there, then 2008 will be a Democratic delight. It is to be noted that nobody got asked about honesty in their proposed administrations. either that or their answers were truly forgettable. Don't expect any Republican debate to have to address that question.

And by the way, when the chair gets more votes than the candidate, it is obviously a Republican running unopposed.

Posted by: ceflynline | August 5, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Let's see if I can summarize their positions - "mission accomplished", "stay the course", "support the troops", "globlization and free treason...er taitors....trade", "tax breaks for the wealthy", "healthcare triage...e.g. healthcare for the wealthy". Bunch of blithering idots. The GOP deserves extinction.

Posted by: MikeB | August 5, 2007 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Pete, I think the reason both sides attack Obama is that he has the most potential to upset their apple carts.

And, the MSM wants to sell newspapers.... and headlining the juciest target sells newspapers.

That said, Obama didn't help himself this week either.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 5, 2007 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Not only did Rudy agree with Obama's position on targeting terrorists in Pakistan, but, get this, so did Robert Gates, Sec. of Defense, today on Meet the Press.

I don't understand why many recent statements by Barack Obama are quickly criticized by candidates on both sides, and reported by media with huge misleading headlines.


After the dust settles, leading experts in foreign policy, and many in the media, after digesting his ideas, seem to find that he is NOT "naive", and his analysis and thoughts are, indeed, valid.

Posted by: Pete | August 5, 2007 6:58 PM | Report abuse

wikipedia always has the answer when it comes to movies.

"who's Dr. Stangelove" didn't take long to self-educate. hahahahahaha!!! this doesn't really sound like Obama. especailly since, hello, Obama said nukes were OFF the table. but so funny. i will have to put this on my netflix queue.

THE CHARACTER OF DOCTOR STRANGELOVE
"The President now calls upon Dr. Strangelove, (a.k.a. Merkwürdigliebe) a former Nazi and strategy expert (Sellers in his third role). The wheelchair-bound Strangelove is a type of "mad scientist", whose eccentricities include a severe case of alien hand syndrome -- his right hand, clad in an intimidating black leather glove, alternates between attempting to strangle Strangelove and shooting out in a Nazi salute. Strangelove explains the principles behind the Doomsday Device. He seems to find nuclear annihilation sexually stimulating and in moments of excitement refers to the President as either "Mein President" or "Mein Führer".

Posted by: xbak | August 5, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

who's Dr. Strangelove?

Posted by: xbak | August 5, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

two good catches there, george. i will remember those.

Posted by: xbak | August 5, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

How about that! Rudy had a very similar position about targeting terroists in Pakistan, as did Obama. How can that be? Is Rudy a "Dr. Strangelove" too?

Posted by: Pete | August 5, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

as the season goes on, and romney keeps on avoiding the question when interviewers ask him point blank about specific facts and instances... that is not going to cut it.

did you hear when the interviewer tried to get him to say if the things in the brownback ad were true or false? my BS detector was going wild, was yours?

Posted by: xbak | August 5, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"I can see why Romney is so tired of self-righteous people..."

What a hypocrite he is.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 5, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

A one hour get-together on Sunday morning on ABC is hardly a legit debate.


http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: paul | August 5, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

A one hour get-together on Sunday morning on ABC is hardly a legit debate.

political-buzz.com

Posted by: paul | August 5, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Chris, thanks for picking up on Romney's brilliantly spontaneous remark about Obama going "from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove" -- so spontaneous, in fact, that Romney's flacks had blast e-mailed all of you the clip within seconds of its scripted occurrence.

Romney's critique of Obama's foreign policy is wrong: Obama's positions are consistent (though he could voiced them better). But worse, Romney's core sentiment -- that politicians shouldn't be all over the map -- is hypocritical: Romney is a reformed pro-choice candidate whose claims of having been an avid hunter and gun owner were recently exposed as false.

I believe Joan Vennochi of the Globe said it best last year: "Leave it to Mitt Romney to shoot himself in the foot with a gun he doesn't own." Keep shooting, Mitt, the Dems are waiting!

Posted by: MikeD | August 5, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Ha! McCain just said that taking nukes off the table when dealing with terrorists is "irresponsible." However, he also thinks that not asking Pakistan permission before going after Al Queda is "simplistic."

So what is Senator McCain's position? That we should ask Musharraf's position before nuking Pakistan?

Posted by: George | August 5, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans seem to think that we should avoid destroying Al Queda because it may embarass the Pakastani government. So much for Mr. Rudy "9/11" Giuliani.

Posted by: George | August 5, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous, you misspelled "polemic" :)

And, "Conscience", please leave the idle name-calling to the witless.

Posted by: roo | August 5, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

So I guess Obama's arrived: he's getting the Republican's attenion. Romney did him a great favor expanding a discussion he's started. I think this is a make or break momment for him: either he gets swiftboated w/all this naive-inexperienced Jane Fonda/Stranglove crap or he responds brilliantly.

I have no idea how, lol. But then I just watch polotics.

I think Giuliani probably took the debate and Romeny didn't do anything to hurt his lead.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 5, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Laughable collection of impotent and irrelevent clowns.

Can someone pass along the memo that fear, colonial miltarism, and corporate needs before citizens is no longer on the menu for American consumers.

Like any Rape-Public-Can has a prayer.

Posted by: Your Conscience | August 5, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Quite a pathetic display. McCain was the only one who even tried to gieve reasoned responses and one could tell it did not play well with the silence he received from the conservative crowd. Instead we have such gems as I will cut taxes to raise money to fix ailing infrastructure (Guiliani), my biggest mistake is not accepting God as my personal savior sooner (Tancredo) and nothing but platitudes and feel-good talk from Romney. But folks, that is the ticket, Romney was the only one who had that sunny optimism and good looks that the Republicans demand in thier candidates, aka phoniness. Plus, he cannot be blamed for anything in Washington, being the "outsider." Finally, icing on the cake, he is rich beyond belief. He is your nominee. now how do we beat him and with who? That is the question....

Posted by: merganser | August 5, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I watched the debate. I have a hard time deciding whether Romney is:

a) a phony
b) extremely phony
c) totally phony
d) a complete liar and a fraud
e) multiple choice on abortion, depending on what is most politically expedient
f) all of the above

Posted by: Veronica | August 5, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter, in re: Romney - what does a dog-car-roof-strapper look like? Romney is a self-impressed bag of air without any firm convictions other than those dictated to him by either the Mormon Church or polling.

Posted by: Bokonon | August 5, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris, don't you think the debates are too many and way too early to matter to voters?

http://OsiSpeaks.com or http://OsiSpeaks.org

Posted by: KYJurisDoctor | August 5, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin, I generally agree with your assessments. The theme for the debate should have been: "Bush... embracing him at a distance, if at all."

Except for supporting the Iraq "surge," most made it plain they would have a different kind of presidency.... they would "restore," "rebuild," and "bring back."

I was disappointed there were no questions on immigation and education, and surprised that in Iowa there were none on agriculture either.

And the debate awards go to:

"Man Who Most Appears He Wouldn't Strap His Dog to the Roof of his Car": Mitt Romney

"Unelectable Honesty": Ron Paul

"Scariest worldview": Tom Tancredo

"Where's Fred?": Tommy Thompson

"Iraq breast beating": John McCain

"Religious right pandering": Sam Brownback

"Weakly earnest": Mike Huckabee

"Best imitation of Patton": Duncan Hunter

"Best One Liner on Defining Mistake": "Thirty Seconds Isn't Enough Time" Rudy Giuliani

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | August 5, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Romney is a gutless wimp. He is afraid to meet with leaders like Putin, Castro, Chavez, Kim. Obama ain't afraid to meet with these leaders because he has the strength to do so. Romney is weak. He is scared. He looks like Jane Fonda. He's also real strange, what a wimp. He knows that these leaders will dislike him, because he's a wimp. Not surprising that he and Hillary Clinton share the same position.

Posted by: Scott Romanov | August 5, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of a "fix" at the end of the 109th Congress someone suggested that Presidential ambitions defocused the "Sharivo Congress". Now, that same someone is on the campaign trail, go figure. I have no doubt that the Whitehouse which has been focused primarily on politics for the past six years did exploit Legislators having Presidential ambitions. In fact the egos of mankind are very easy to exploit indeed.

Posted by: Truthhurts | August 5, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

This was a poorly run debate. The boobe from the Des Moines register kept asking Huckabee and the Rudy McRomney clones all the questions. And George S excluded Ron Paul MD, the only doctor in the group, from the question on health care, and the other on taxation. But Dr Paul still shone through as the only candidate with honesty, integrity, a doctor's politeness, and a real change for the better in mind for America.

Posted by: Ward Ciac | August 5, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that heartening image, roo.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 5, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Eh, the Romney dog thing is silly. I drive around with two otters strapped to my bicycle every day. They make an even better sound than the cardboard flaps.

Posted by: roo | August 5, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

We'd call the "Iowa Debate" a pre-Labor Day warm-up, because the figure looming large in GOP primaries wasn't even on Drake University's stage. Tapped as the GOP's next Ben Cartwright on Sunday's Chris Matthews Show, Sen. Fred Thompson presents a Republican archetype that might be hard to beat.

In branding Sen. Fred Thompson as the next Ben Cartwright, Chris Matthews raises an interesting question. Is an increasingly sullen Republican Party, and maybe America, in dire need of good, old-fashioned comfort food?

We suggest readers have a look at TVLand.com's description of Cartwright:

"Righteous and strong, Ponderosa patriarch Ben Cartwright is a range-riding pillar of justice...."

Hmmmmmmm.

Looking at Thompson's surging poll numbers - particularly in South Carolina, Florida, and Nevada - we're thinking that Matthews' comparison hits the mark. As the only Reaganesque archetype considering the GOP nod, Sen. Thompson is nearly picture-perfect casting for Bonanza Redux. A top-ten show for 10 of its 14 seasons - and Number One during four of America's most tumultuous years, 1964-1967, Bonanza hearkened Americans back to "simpler times," while simultaneously touching a series of controversial issues ranging from racism to domestic violence. If Ben Cartwright's portrayer, Lorne Greene, had not been a Canadian, he might have well have been 1968's Fred Thompson - in either party.

At the same time, Sen. Thompson's campaign needs to carefully avoid this comparison. If his rivals portray him as a "TV Dinner," Thompson needs to reach beyond the Reagan card, and emphasize his 14 years of public service - and devotion to replenishing American strength. All told, Sen. Thompson's brand of "Law and Order" might just become "Bonanza" to a Republican Party desperately in need of a fresh "patriarch."

For Democrats, a Republican Party united under Sen. Thompson will present a real challenge. America is a nation addicted to comfort food. If Thompson looks like the Republican nominee, Democrats might have to apply a new test to their candidates and ask which one won't make Middle America feel like they have a choice between a piping hot TV dinner or a dollop of cold, steamed spinach.

http://politicalbrandwagon.blogspot.com/2007/08/tv-dinner-chris-matthews-casts-fred.html

The Political Brandwagon
http://www.politicalbrandwagon.com

Posted by: Peter S. Cohl | August 5, 2007 12:55 PM | Report abuse

My first strong impressions are:
Huckabee is a very likable adult.
McCain appears low on energy. I do wish him well and hope he is in good health.
Giuliani does well in these forums.
Cannot get beyond the dog-on-the-roof with Romney, so my impression of him is "colored".
Tancredo may actually be an embarrassment to us all, regardless of party or region or issues.
Paul is unusual.
T. Thompson is better than he looks.
Brownback greatly exceeded my expectations, which were not high, and
Hunter failed to impress as anything but angry.

Trying to keep an open mind, here in Austin.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | August 5, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I can see why Romney is so tired of self-righteous people who claim to have been pro-life for longer than he has. Because evidently he has been lying about how long he has been pro-life, by his own admission. You should note this Chris. Seriously. It's significant.

Posted by: JGG | August 5, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

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