Some additional thoughts on last night's Republican debate in Florida:
Walter Shapiro: "After watching nearly four hours of Republican debate since Thursday night, I will confess to feeling like a detective searching for a missing clue. The Perry versus Romney story line seems too simple, too predictable to define the race all the way to the Iowa caucuses. While Perry is still atop his perch, the only safe bet is that something unexpected will jumble the GOP contest before the first frost."
Howard Kurtz: "In the end, the Tampa debate didn't move the ball much. Perry and Romney are still slugging it out as the most likely nominees. But Romney served notice that he is going to fight like hell, and perhaps more important, this sometimes-awkward candidate seemed comfortable doing so."
Andrew Sullivan: "The weirdest debate so far: feisty but surreal. If I had to game this one, I'd say Bachmann stayed alive, Perry began very strong but wobbled, Romney did fine, and Ron Paul shone the way only he can. But clearly the crowd loved Perry the most. God help us."
Ben Smith: "If the CNN/Tea Party debate, and particularly the central Perry-Romney confrontation, were being scored on debater's points, there's no doubt Romney would win. He's better prepared to talk about both his own record -- witness the snappy pivot off Romneycare -- and about Perry's record, ahead of the Texan at pretty much every step... But this isn't scored on debating points, and Perry -- though he's getting pummeled from left and right -- is working to talk past his rivals, and to regularly remind voters of his economic conservatism. That may be enough."
Paul Burka: "Perry was clearly off his game during the tea party debate. He looked
uncomfortable, his face was strained, his combativeness was muted. He
looked to me like a man with back pain. I wondered if he were wearing a
brace. I've had back surgery, and it hurt to watch him."
Taegan D. Goddard is the founder of Political Wire, one of the earliest and most influential political web sites.
Goddard spent more than a decade as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he was a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You
Won - Now What? (Scribner, 1998), a political
management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from
both parties. In addition, Goddard's essays on politics and public
policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country,
including the Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, San Francisco
Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer and Christian Science
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University. He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.
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