Ok firstly, lets establish that these “Breakfast Debates” are idiotic and poorly planned. Now, lets talk about the debate itself.
To start with, Romney won the debate – at least in the eyes of many political watchers and ABC viewers. Of about 6,000 credible votes (factoring out Paul supporters and those who voted for “none of the above”), a little less than 1/3 of them voted for Romney. Rudy Giuliani was running a couple hundred votes behind, in second place, and Huckabee was behind him by a similar margin. In case you are wondering where McCain fell, he was far behind, with only about 350 votes. That is behind Brownback and Tancredo.
While raw support is important, just as important is the press that is generated by the debate. Positive Press can help to build even more support, beyond any post-debate bounce. Overall, the press for Romney is overwhelmingly positive, with Romney drawing high marks from politicians, analysts, and media outlets.
Once again, Romney had a chance to outline his platform on a national stage. His message of strength, both abroad, at home, and in the home appears to be resonating. As a Washington outsider, his message of change is much more believable, particularly when that message is combined with Romney’s impressive resume. From one of Romney’s strongest supporters (and possibly his future VP), Jim DeMint:
“Mitt Romney again demonstrated why he will make a great President. He has the business experience from outside Washington to take difficult issues head-on while continuing to use innovative solutions to secure America’s future.”
If that were not good enough, Romney has also earned himself a Reagan comparison. Romney’s call for military strength, but also diplomatic and economic support to our allies and moderate Arab governments prompted this quote from Kathryn Jean Lopez of the National Review:
“‘Moving Islam toward modernity’… Romney’s attitude sounds a little like Ronald Reagan’s cultural exchanges with the Soviet Union. And it strikes me as a real-world approach taking into consideration the problems we face run deep.”
In addition, when coming under fire from Sam Brownback over abortion, Romney remained reasonable collected when he reaffirmed that he is not going to apologize for his pro-life positions – or for his conversion to Conservatism. Its a shame that Brownback has to resort to such low level attacks to try to prove his point, perhaps he should re-consider his Iraq stance if he wants to gain more support.