Caught the second half of the CNN/Youtube debate. It appeared to me that the big winners were Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and John McCain. Huckabee, of course, benefits the most from his performance, although McCain might improve his chances as well. All three men looked presidential and came across well.
Rudy seemed to struggle a little and seemed to get into personal acrimony. When you already have a bit of a reputation as a jerk to begin with, that’s not a good idea. Fred Thompson likewise struggled. His arguments are strong, but he definitely needs to work on his delivery.
No one else really shined. Ron Paul stood out, but only because his positions were so at odds with everyone else. He has a loyal following, but I think everyone who is likely to support him has already signed on. Duncan Hunter was almost invisible save for his silly answer on the gays in the military question. And Tom Tancrazy thinks space exploration is a waste of money, giving me yet another reason to dislike him (as if I didn’t have enough already).
UPDATE: Lots of folks are complaining that CNN’s bias was on display in the debate. I think they have a point. The questions selected clearly played into the stereotypes of Republicans as Bible thumpin’, homophobic gun nuts. Letting (if not planting) retired general Keith Kerr (who asked about gays in the military), a supporter of Hillary Clinton, ask a question and then get to respond to the candidates’ responses was also poor journalism (although I agree completely with the point he made).