The Independent Variable - Matt Haugland

Saturday, January 05, 2008

New Hampshire Debates

First of all, I think all of the candidates deserve a lot of credit for their ability to answer questions on the spot in a live broadcast. As I experienced (in a much friendlier/easier setting) a couple weeks ago, it's very hard to do that kind of thing. I would love to have the talent they all have. Anyway, my thoughts on the candidates and their performances tonight:


Mitt Romney: Never been a big fan. As usual, tonight he reminded me a lot of John Kerry a few years ago. Slick, politician-like, and difficult to trust. Got zinged pretty good by the other candidates. But I think he scored some points on the immigration issue.

John McCain: Was my favorite candidate 8 years ago but didn't give him much of a chance this time around. He had the best line of the night, saying to Romney: "That's one thing we can agree on. You are the candidate of change." (hilarious if you know about Romney's record). I think he'd be a very good president.

Mike Huckabee: I've always liked him, especially after his brilliant response to the evolution question in a previous debate (I loved that answer, even though I believe in evolution). He also had a great line about Romney tonight: when Romney said not to characterize his position on Iraq, he replied: "which one?". I liked how tonight he complimented Obama and talked about working together with Democrats.

Fred Thompson: Is this guy really running for president? He sure doesn't look like it sometimes. Maybe that's not a bad thing. At least during this debate he seemed more awake than usual.

Rudy Giuliani: He was my early favorite on the Republican side, but he's starting to annoy me by always saying exactly the same things. Tonight was no exception.

Ron Paul: I like him and think he's an interesting candidate. He had some very good points tonight. But sometimes it's hard to take him seriously, and I can't imagine him being President.


Bill Richardson: I've always liked him, and he's probably the most qualified on the Democratic side. But tonight he just didn't seem like he belonged in the same league as the other three.

Barack Obama: I like him, but he never impressed me very much. He always seems to speak in vague generalities. Tonight was a little better in that regard, but he didn't come across as very strong or passionate this time.

Hillary Clinton: Still my favorite among the Democrats (not just because of my personal connection with her). Tonight (as usual) she seemed more "presidential" than the other three, and I was very impressed by the way she subtly zinged two of the other candidates in one sentence. I really respect her intellect and think she'd be a good president, but don't like how she's such a politician.

John Edwards: I've never liked him because he comes across as a phoney. And this video sure doesn't help! But he really impressed me tonight, maybe more than anyone else. He seemed very passionate and even genuine at times, although he did play the same note over and over (like Giuliani).

If I had to rank all of the candidates in order of my preference, it would probably be something like this: 1. Huckabee, 2. Clinton, 3. McCain, and then at a distant 4th would be a tie between Giuliani, Paul, Obama, and Richardson.


At 10:52 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Update: I just watched the Republican Forum tonight. I was impressed with Romney and disappointed with Huckabee. Probably not enough to change my preferences, but I'll definitely be watching closely. Such interesting races on both sides!


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