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Monday, August 6, 2007
posted by Kyle Hampton | 11:33 AM | permalink
A few people’s reactions from the debate last night (I’ll have my own later today):

From the Note:
As for the top tier, former governor Mitt Romney, R-Mass., walked on to the stage as the frontrunner in Iowa, and left the stage the same way. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had his moments (got to love the visual of Cheney heading up a telecommunications task force) but missed too many others as he seemed to fade into the set. And while Giuliani, R-N.Y., drew laughter by saying that only a priest (perhaps including George Stephanopoulos' father) could hear the list of his mistakes, Iowa was and remains slightly foreign territory for Hizzoner. (Dissing David Yepsen in Des Moines is a bit like throwing Cal Ripken out of Camden Yards.)

It was Romney who had the best zinger of the morning (Obama has "gone from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in one week," he said.) It was Romney whose stage presence again made him the focal point (while he put just enough distance between himself and President Bush). And most importantly, it was Romney who was prepared for the inevitable attacks, which he parried like a pro. ("I get tired of people that are holier than thou because they've been pro-life longer than I have," he said of Brownback's criticism of his abortion record.)

From Jim Geraghty at the Campaign Spot:

Of the strongest performers, I’ll give a slight edge to Romney, but my general vibe coming out of this is similar to the other ones – Republicans have a clear first tier, and each time, they demonstrate why they’re in it.

Romney’s line about Obama “going from Jane Fonda to Dr. Strangelove in the span of the week” will be the soundbite of the day. Romney knows how to land a punch, and he’s clearly decided to lay off McCain or any other potential future ally. (I guess when you’re leading, as he is in Iowa, you just need to focus on keeping your supporters.)

Message Jury had a focus group rating the messages of the candidates:
Sometimes dial test results can be ambiguous, but today there was no question: Our “message jury” started off in favor of Romney, and the debate did nothing to soften their comfort level with him.
Check out the video of Romney talking about his three-legged stool and the reaction he was getting from the focus group.

From 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.


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