Rarely, does the title truly “say it all”, but tonight, after the second New Hampshire debate for the GOP in as many days, it does. Romney won. Not only did he win, but he ran away with it. There is simply no other way to put it. Last night, we say Romney trounce McCain, Huckabee, and Paul. He came off as the only adult on stage, and one of only two candidate (the other being Thompson) who wanted a serious debate on issues. McCain came off as a bully, and Huck came off as something less than that, but still not good.
Tonight, the debate was much more civil, but Romney pulled off, if possible, and even bigger win. The numbers from the Fox News/Luntz focus group were literally off the charts for Romney. To use sports terminology, Romney was “in the zone”. It seemed as if he could do no wrong. On everything from taxes, to experience, to defending his record, Romney was incredible. Debates do not always produce clear winners, but this one did. Romney ran away with it. Only a couple people walked into the focus group as Romney supporters, virtually everyone walked out supporting him.
Some of the most race-shaping moments in campaigns have come from debates, from “there you go again” to “Senator, I knew Jack Kennedy”, to the debate where Reagan looked tired and confused. Those moments are few and far between, but, after watching the debate and listening to the reaction, I cannot help but think that we have seen another one of those moments tonight.
More to come soon. Stay tuned.