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From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:

On the Debates

HUME: Is the consensus that Giuliani had a good night, Charles, do you think, well-founded?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Well, it was and it had to do with [Ron Paul’s 9/11 gaffe]. It wasn’t just the content of what Giuliani had said, but it is basically what had happened. When Paul made that statement, it was like — to use a basketball analogy — it was an air-ball, and all the other candidates stood around and watched with jaws agape and nobody moved, they were frozen. Giuliani rushes in, he grabs the ball, he jumps up and does a slam dunk and then a sneer afterwards.

[T]hat was Giuliani on 9/11. Everybody else on that day, including the president, to some extent, was frozen out of that picture . . . but Giuliani stepped up there, he grabbed the mic, he reassured his city, and that’s who Giuliani is. So that was in character and that’s why it resonated and it was the old Giuliani of 9/11.

He also handled himself well, substantively, on the issue of abortion where he’d gotten tripped up in the earlier debate. He put that behind him to a certain extent, and he came out the clear winner. . . .

NINA EASTON: The other thing, I think, we saw was last night was the beginning of the rivalry between Romney and McCain, so we had McCain criticizing Romney, saying you know: I don’t change my positions every two years.

HUME: Well, who got the better of that in your view?

FRED BARNES: I thought McCain did, because he had this jab from Romney and he jabbed back even harder, you know, saying, I don’t change my, basically, I don’t change my positions depending on . . . an election year. I mean, it was pretty good. I thought McCain was better than he was in that first debate. Romney . . . wasn’t as good, because the big issues in this debate were national security and terrorism. And the truth is McCain and Giuliani are better on those issues, they have more experience, they have more credibility than Romney does. It was — they were playing on their turf and not on Romney’s turf.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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