Each one had a moment to savor. I think McCain had the line of the night when he was talking about the money that Hillary Clinton trying to get money for the Woodstock Museum and he said,
I was tied up at the timereferring of course to the fact that he was in a VC camp while Woodstock was going on.
Thompson got in the first good line and left the debate with the last. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney each went back and forth trying to prove they were the purer conservative. Chris Wallace asked Thompson if they had convinced them and he replied that there was still a couple hours left. He was also asked at the end if he was lazy. He responded by forcefully giving his resume, which included being married with a child at 17, a prosecutor, on the prosecuting team during Watergate, an attorney, and a Senator. He said that if that is lazy then everyone should try being lazy.
Even Tancredo got off a good zinger when he referred to NONBINDING resolution to condemn the Ottoman Turks for the genocide on the Armenians during the first world war and he said that not only does this show that pandering never works but that Nancy Pelosi is as bad a Speaker as she is a Secretary of State. Rudy's best line was on education. Wallace tried to trap him by reminding everyone of Rudy's feud with the teacher's union. He asked how Rudy could possibly bring the union together with the government to improve education as President. Rudy responded that with due respect he wasn't so worried about the union as the kids.
The weakest moments for me were during the social security portion of the debate. None of them had answers that satisfied me. The problem, for me, is that Social Security is really nothing more than a Ponzi Scheme and so, to me at least, the only way to save it is to scrap it, however even I know that is not politically savvy to say.
The field saved their best zingers for Hillary Clinton with a nice set up from the staff at Fox News who saved a round of questions for her specifically. Rudy got off the best zinger. He said he agreed with her on two points, one, they are both Yankees fans. Of course, he became a Yankee fan growing up in New York while she became a Yankee fan growing up in Chicago. He didn't say anything and like a great improv performer looked out at the crowd and let the silence make people laugh. The second point he agreed with her on was this quote,
"I have a million ideas. The country can't afford them all."
Sometimes, her own words say everything you need to know.
All in all, it was a great debate. They talked about everything from foreign policy, to tort reform, to social issues. There was great division on some issues, like social security and the federal marriage amendment, and great unity on things like foreign policy (with Ron Paul playing the part of the Democrats as usual) As for Ron Paul, he stood in there tough while much of what he said received quite a lot of boos.