I saw last night as being good for Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani hit his mark early after Romney flubbed a question about Iraq. Romney wants to be supportive enough of President Bush’s Iraq policy to attract primary voters but also is trying to have enough distance from him to do well in a general election. Asked if he would still support the invasion of Iraq given everything we know now, Romney replied “”null set kind of question”. That would be a good answer if Romney were running for president of the BYU Math Club or the Chess Society of Lake Winnipesaukee, but it doesn’t work in a debate. Giuliani pounced by giving a clear, declarative answer, saying “”Absolutely the right thing to do. It’s unthinkable that you would leave Saddam Hussein in charge of Iraq and be able to fight the war on terror.”
McCain’s best moment when a woman whose brother was killed in action in Iraq asked the candidates about the war. He rose and spoke with emotion of the value of his sacrifice. Notice how Giuliani and Romney followed his lead in getting up out of their seats during this portion of the debate.
I’m not going to get into the detail on the immigration debate. I can say that all this infighting certainly isn’t helping Republicans. The Democrats have a real advantage in terms of party unity going into November, 2008, but that’s a long way away.
I write about the debate in a column in The New York Sun.