Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, January 07, 2008

January 6 Republican Debate Report Card

Mark Halperin, political correspondent for Time magazine, has another report card on the January 6 GOP candidates debate in Manchester, NH (where Fox News excluded Ron Paul).

Mitt Romney
Grade: A-

Admirably recovered from Saturday’s disastrous debate. If you are rooting for Romney, you would have loved his Sunday performance. While the other candidates still showed palpable collective disdain, albeit in a less showy manner, he ignored the snark and proceeded apace with his message and personal positivism. The main problem: he didn’t dramatically change the trajectory of McCain’s Granite State rocket.

John McCain
Grade: B+

Small scraps with Romney (although without last night’s sniggering) — but for the second consecutive night of debating, his rivals, for the most part, inexplicably left him alone. Merrily rode along on issues like spending and security that keep his boat floating. Addressed the age question with appropriate vigor.

Rudy Giuliani
Grade: B-

Occasionally funny, occasionally feisty, but mostly just quiet and almost uninvolved. Seemed homesick for New York.

Mike Huckabee
Grade: C+

His folksy-but-forceful act has finally grown a bit old for journalists and his rivals alike. Stumbled more than usual on tough questions — certainly hurting his cred with close watchers.

Fred Thompson
Grade: C

Showed relative energy (key word: relative) on issues such as terror and entitlements, where he attempted to revive the truth-telling persona he promised before entering the race. But voters can’t be expected to pay attention to someone who doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to his own candidacy.

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