Now that the Republican debate is over I’ll post a few thoughts and reactions.
1) I enjoyed the candidate videos from Ron Paul and Mitt Romney and the other candidates who did not show attack ads. Fred Thompson attacked Romney and Huckabee while other candidates attacked Sen. Clinton. There are too many issues to address in campaigns; candidates do not need to resort to attacking other candidates.
2) Mitt Romney came across as wishy-washy in some instances (especially when asked about water boarding). You have to understand his personality and modus operandi to understand why he came across that way. Mitt Romney is very analytical. He likes to have all sides of issues presented to him before he makes decisions. So even though there were a couple times that he did not appear to answer questions directly (e.g., water boarding and gays in the military), I think he did the right thing even if it appears to be dodging questions. He basically said that if he is elected president, then he’ll make firm decisions; it is hard to make good decisions without all the facts.
3) Ron Paul made some good points but did not present himself well. I actually was not very impressed with him during the debate. I want him to do well, he could make a lot of positive changes in the country, but he just might not be political enough.
4) John McCain made a great point about water boarding. He has good moral ground to stand on regarding the use of such interrogation techniques.
5) The three candidates who stood out the most and came across the most positively were Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and John McCain. Fred Thompson did relatively poorly and Tancredo just didn’t stand out. Huckabee and Romney both have a lot of charisma though. John McCain is just too grizzled. He’s a great guy but he just does not have the polish of the other two candidates and unfortunately image matters a lot in politics.
I thought the debate was good overall but not enough issues were addressed. The final question was about Giuliani supporting the Red Socks. There are too many real issues to talk about to spend time on that, no matter how humorous it is. We needed to hear about education, science (not just space exploration), and other important issues. Granted, immigration, taxes, and the Iraq War are major issues but I would have liked to hear more.