After watching the Republican YouTube Debate on Thursday, here are my impressions of each candidate:
Mitt Romney: He came off as an asshole and the worst kind of politician. He was rude, interrupted, demanded time to speak, talked around questions instead of answering them and seemed like an all around person I wanted to hate. He definitely looked the most composed of all the candidates, but his million-dollar smile couldn’t make up for his behavior.
Rudy Giuliani: I know he was popular early on, and he may still be leading in national polls, but he NEEDS to bring his A game to these debates. He seemed like his mind was somewhere else during the entire debate. He was the only candidate wearing his glasses, and compared to Romney standing next to him, seemed like a hunched over old man. It didn’t help that he half-heartedly rambled through most of his answers. Besides for a few good answers regarding immigration and his record as mayor, Giuliani’s performance was less than impressive.
Mike Huckabee: Huckabee is making a strong play for the role as my favorite Republican candidate. His pitch perfect answers on issues of immigration, education, and (surprisingly) faith, showed that there’s more to this man than just Chuck Norris. Except for a small stumble on answering a question about homosexuality in the military, I found myself consistently impressed by his honest and straight-forwarded answers, and general good-natured behavior compared to the other candidates. Finally there is a candidate in the Republican Party that I believe may live up to his promises of family values.
Fred Thompson: Looks like a fish. I’m serious. Photoshop a few gills on the guy and I think he’d look right at home. Disturbing appearances aside, his performance was unremarkable to the point where I had to wonder if even wants to be President. He towed the party line, made very few ripples, and did little to distinguish himself.
John McCain: I watched this with a fellow Civic Alert writer, who was upset with how sad John McCain always appeared. He reminded me of the old man in the graveyard at the beginning of Saving Private Ryan who stares wistfully off into the distance. So, yeah, I felt pretty bad for him. There was a certain sad tone in his voice when after all the other candidates finished bragging about how many guns they owned, he replied “for a long time, I used a lot of guns, including carrying a .45 as a pilot flying over Vietnam. I know how to use guns… I don’t own one now.” Outside of a brief, but intense confrontation about Romney’s ambiguous answer about waterboarding, McCain seemed resolved to his fate as a second-tier candidate.
Ron Paul: In direct contrast to McCain, Paul was very animated on stage and had a solid performance. While he skirted around a question about whether he’ll run as an independent candidate if he fails to win the Republican nomination, I think he has intended to do so the entire time. If the crowd and his impressive fundraising efforts are any indication, he has more than enough fans to justify the attempt.
Tom Tancredo: Well, I give him credit for showing up with almost no chance of winning the nomination and his only name recognition coming from his strategy to bomb Mecca. However, despite this, he seemed downright plucky. Having nothing to lose and only more name recognition to gain, he’s probably just in it for the ride at this point.
Duncan Hunter: No lie, I had to just look up this guy’s name. I think that says enough.
Overall, it was a pretty entertaining debate. Some of the exchanges were so ridiculous, you couldn’t help but laugh. While this probably doesn’t bode well if these men are going to be the future of our country, there were some bright points. Overall, the debate changed my mind from entertained wariness to cautious optimism for Mike Huckabee and from mild dislike to outright hatred for Mitt Romney. I was disappointed with the question selection by CNN. With over 5,000 questions submitted, the vast majority of the questions choosen were dull, uncreative and of embarrassingly poor quality. The best questions were hinted at during the opening montage, but never shown through the course of the debate. If nothing else, it was entertaining. You can watch the entire debate on YouTube, and then come back and let us know what you think.
The CNN Youtube Debates – [YouTube]