The Fox News Channel focus group commenting on tonight's debate went strongly for Mitt Romney, though it almost seems stacked that way. The group is also highly negative toward Mike Huckabee and said Fred Thompson was the worst of the five candidates.
The focus group appeared to be anti-Huckabee because of his religion, but that probably does not make much of a difference since the race in New Hampshire is going to be between McCain and Romney.
I say to heck with the focus group. This is how the debate played out:
Winners- Romney, Thompson
Staying steady- McCain, Huckabee
Loser- Rudy Giuliani
Romney needed a strong performance to bounce back from the horrendous, whining display he put on during last night's ABC debate. There was little, if any, whining tonight, and he made the case for his candidacy, though he did take a few gratuitous shots at his opponents.
This was the first debate in which Fred Thompson appeared to be actively engaged and it does not make a bit of a difference what a New Hampshire focus group thought about him. He is looking toward upcoming states and simply does not want to hurt his standing in the Granite State. Thompson is setting himself up as the mature candidate. I would be surprised if he goes very far in the race, but he is trying to carve a niche for himself.
John McCain did not hurt himself. He came across far more pleasant than during Saturday's debate and came across strong on national defense issues and experience.
Huckabee did not shine in either debate, but did not hurt himself
Guiliani was not helped by moderator Chris Wallace, who provided nearly every candidate, with the exception of Giuliani with an opportunity to shine. Giuliani faded into the woodwork as Wallace managed to gear everything toward Romney, McCain, and Huckabee. Thompson managed to work himself out of the shadows, Giuliani did not.
Fox Newe Channel did not distinguish itself with this debate. Once again, the media chooses which candidates are viable. It started in this case with the ridiculous exclusion of Ron Paul from the debate. They might as well have not invited Giuliani and Thompson either, since they were clearly afterthoughts in Chris Wallace's agenda.
It's the book that gives you the background on the effect lobbyists and special interests play in Missouri politics, as well as the lowdown on some of the major southwest Missouri stories of the past 20 years and the problems that face the state today. The Turner Report book can be purchased from Amazon.com.