Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Debate Winner and Losers

From Washington Post's political blog called the Fix.


Mitt Romney: We've heard mixed reactions about Romney's retort to Sen. Sam Brownback's (R-Kans.) attack on his abortion stance ("I get tired of people who are holier than thou because they have been pro life longer than I have"), but we thought it was powerful. As regular Fix readers know, we are big fans of raw emotion in debates and Romney's outburst seemed to be one. He also landed the most quoteable line of the day about Sen. Barack Obama ("He's gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week"); we'll take a few points off for the fact that it was obviously pre-prepared but it worked nonetheless. Romney did nothing to break his momentum heading into the Ames Straw poll this weekend.


John McCain: The rules of the game have changed for McCain who went from a frontrunner in the June debate to a second-tier candidate this time around. No longer can he simply tread water; he needs to make waves (pardon the pun). And, on Sunday McCain simply didn't do that. As he has throughout these debates, McCain looked somewhat uncomfortable on stage and often reverted to the same bits of his stump speech over and over again. Even his answer on why the surge in Iraq was working was delivered without any real sense of emotion. He needs to do better if he wants to make a serious run at the frontrunners.

Sam Brownback: For the first several debates, Brownback played to form -- a nice, conservative midwesterner. This time around he tried to be far more aggressive, taking the fight directly to Romney at times. Frankly, it didn't work for us. And, when it came to pushing a message to appeal to socially conservative voters likely to attend the Straw poll, Brownback was (again) outshined by Huckabee. We thought Brownback has significantly more potential in this race than he has shown so far. Maybe he'll surprise us at Ames.