The Corner

Assorted Debate Thoughts

What a great debate. As Jonah said, the big winner here is Fox News. The network’s critics are looking awfully forlorn right now.

Pawlenty needed a better performance. He’s more comfortable going after Iran than his opponents. There’s an awkwardness there.

Romneycare remains a problem, but a surmountable one. The GOP wants to win, and the base will accept Romney if need be.

I agree with Kathryn on Byron’s question. Fox vetted these candidates by asking them exactly the sort of tough questions that were bound to come up eventually. Bachmann is immunized on this issue now.

“Perry is the real winner,” is sure to be a line. Perry’s great, but he’ll be a winner only after he’s gone through the sort of grilling we saw tonight. Perry could solve a lot of problems for the GOP, and I hope he does. But his biggest weakness is that he’s never been tested in a national campaign. Let’s see if he’s still a winner after going through some debates like this.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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