FOX News hosted a debate among the Republican contenders for the 2008 US Presidential Crown. It is interesting to see how Huckabee as an "up and coming" candidate in the polls and Romney as one of the leaders seemed to be in top form. At one point Tom Tancredo, who has been an outspoken critic of how the other candidates are not conservative enough, stopped to note that he thought all the candidates were men of quality but offered different alternatives.
As in the prior debate I saw, Thompson seems to be failing to address criticisms and seems to be falling back on canned statements rather than possessing the quick wit of a Giuliani, Huckabee, or Paul. Thompson does clearly not have the campaign presence of Ronald Reagan despite the fact he's being billed like that by Republican supporters. I predict this will condemn his campaign after what will likely be lackluster showings in southern states - probably around February or March of 2008.
Despite a standing ovation after John McCain's joke and criticism of Hilary Clinton, his performances lack the "fire" needed to win this race. He was the front runner and failed to consolidate his position early in the race. I actually think age is playing a role with McCain and he simply does not have the energy required for these massively social experiences which involve traveling millions of miles annually and meeting tens of thousands of people every month.
Man to watch here? Mitt Romney. Clearly he's got *all* the others in the stature department, most conspicuously Giuliani who always looks squirrely and shrill in a Romney v Giuliani persona lineup. Contrary to what most of us think about how we evaluate people it's based in large part on the way they look and carry themselves and not on what they say or do. This factor, in my opinion, will trump what seem to be diminishing concerns about Romney's Mormonism.
Prediction: 2008 election will be Romney vs Clinton