I asked a strategist for one of the Republican candidates his thoughts heading into tomorrow night’s debate.
He suggested that it’s easy to lose sight of what actually matters in these debate. Most voters don’t remember debates or overall debate performances, they remember moments. As a result, praise for “poise” or being “articulate” is overrated. The only moments that will matter in a debate are those that will impact peoples’ decisions in eight-or-so months. This is why it is so much easier to screw up a debate than to “win” one.
This strategists doubts that there were any of those major, defining moments in the last debate. “If you go on style points, Huckabee was the man.”
I asked whether Rudy Giuliani would have a bulls-eye on his back, both as the frontrunner and after the story on his abortion stance in the New York Times last week, and this strategist said “by running as a straight-up pro-choicer, he has opened up his vulnerability on judges. He is pushing ‘strict constructionism’ for all he can, but the Houston speech makes it less and less believable that he will appoint pro-life judges. Curiously, I suspect one or two people will start sniping at Romney for changing his position in contrast to Rudy’s sticking to his guns… When the direct mail starts hitting in this thing, Rudy will be the subject of some harsh, harsh stuff at the hands of his opponents.”