11.28.2007

Who Won the CNN YouTube Republican Debate? Anderson Cooper and Mike Huckabee

Sparks flew in this evenings CNN YouTube Republican Debate.

The issue of sanctuary cities at the top of the program led to a heated exchange between Rudy and Romney. Romney accused Rudy of running New York City as a sanctuary city. While Rudy charged Romney with running a state with 6 sanctuary cities and a sanctuary governor's mansion.

The result? Romney and Rudy effectively nullified each other.

With Ron Paul, Tank and Fred Thompson were pretty much non factors, Huckabee and McCain with an opening to shine--and both delivered.

McCain stood out for his no nonsense approach to national security and an innate compassion and decency. He sliced and diced Romney on the issue of water boarding and Ron Paul on fighting terrorism, while also showing a humane touch as shown by his response to the issue of immigration:

And we need to sit down as Americans and recognize these are God's children as well. And they need some protection under the law. And they need some of our love and compassion.
However, Huckabee may very well have won the night. He's clearly the most compelling speaker--relating to the themes important to conservative Republicans (pro-life, taxes, religion, the death penalty), while exuding a warmth and folksy missing from the others.

Anderson Cooper was simply masterful in moderating what is a pretty complex format. The YouTube format with real people asking questions was also a winner.

The funny Rudy campaign ad.

And Governor Charlie Crisp made a nice impression.

Losers?

CNN's Wolf Blitzer. In contrast to Anderson's superb performance, Wolf's performance from a few weeks ago seems even more pathetic.

Fred Thompson was a big loser because he again failed to show he's worthy of top tier consideration. Look for his poll numbers to slide further.

Romney was a loser because he repeatedly demonstrated why he's the most inauthentic candidate in the field. He attacks on Rudy on immigration in order to score cheap political points, but his stance as governor was tolerant of Massachusetts' sanctuary cities. He criticizes McCain on water boarding but won't take a position himself.

While I wouldn't say Rudy was a loser, he didn't gain any ground either.

Related:

What you missed while watching "Chad Vader"