I was glad that the debate started on the topic of abortion and right-to-life issues. A recent Pew Research poll showed that 47% of GOP voters do not know that Rudy Giuliani is pro-choice. I feel Senator Brownback helped himself in this debate among the conservative base with the pro-life issue.
Mitt Romney helped himself in the Iraq section of the debate with the criticism of Senator Obama, the “from Fonda to Dr. Strangelove” comment was pithy along with his criticism that Obama wants to “have tea with our enemies and bomb our allies.” His comment that we need to have a “surge of support” was good regarding more funding, troops, supplies and encouragement.
Regarding a domestic agenda I think that Governor Huckabee came across the strongest in terms of health care, taxes, and infrastructure. Congressman Tancredo and Senator Brownback both stated some bold tax reform views that I think will be popular with the GOP base.
The main thing I feel was missing from this debate was Fred Thompson. If he is going to run, come on already. Get in the race and make a case as to why you should be the next president.
I watched on Fox News this morning while working out that the focus group that watched the debate with Frank Luntz (he run focus groups during all of the presidential debates so far). They felt that Huckabee did the best job answering the questions directly. They felt he was honest, and less scripted in his answers. They thought he “talked to them, rather than at them” which they didn’t feel was the case with the other candidates. They resonated with his positions, particularly on health care. Interesting.
No one really hurt themselves, but I’m not sure the sharp exchange between Brownback and Romney helped Mitt Romney – he didn’t really address the content of the automated phone call that the Brownback campaign made. All in all I think that Governor Mike Huckabee and Congressman Duncan Hunter were probably the most helped by the debate.
I am looking forward to this Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll. If you are an Iowa resident, and need tickets you can get them through the Iowa GOP (if you are in support of a certain candidate you should be able to get a free ticket through their campaign).