GOP NH Debate: Winners and Losers

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Well, clearly, Wolf won again.

Early web consensus seems to be coalescing around McCain and Rudy, with A for effort to Huckabee. Mitt seems to have underwhelmed.

CNN’s dial-testing was completely unsurprising: McCain tanks on immigration… and nuclear energy (hm). And, less than breaking, people liked it when they bashed the GOP congress.

Will surf around for other reactions, feel free to weigh in on who won and lost in your opinion in the comments (like you wouldn’t!).


Greg Sargent calls McCain’s Iraq answer a “Bill Clinton” moment. [TPM]

Marc Ambinder: “Which means that, all other things being equal, Gov. Mike Huckabee did the best for himself on this mellow night.” [The Atlantic]

Hugh Hewitt is totally high: “It is increasingly clear that the race is a Rudy-Mitt-Fred race, and that no one in the second tier is going to break through with Senator Thompson’s entry into the contest.” [Hugh Hewitt]

Jonathan Martin thinks that question about Mitt Romney’s Spanish-language ads was a plant. [Politico]

Powerline also calls it for GiuliaCain: “Rudy Giuliani stepped forward in a way that he hasn’t until now. His performance was terrific. McCain was the runner-up. Hunter and Huckabee made serious efforts to enter the top tier.” [Powerline]

RedState with more Huckabee props — an interesting building consensus that he belongs in the first tier. [RedState]

“Gilmore has made Virginia a nice place for people to visit.” [Wonkette]

Even NRO’s Rich Lowry giving McCain props: “McCain is (on the big things) a conviction politician, there’s no doubt about it. And he was energetic and well-spoken tonight. The problem he has is that his convictions can be at odds with those of most Republicans, and he had to be hurt tonight by the sheer amount of time spent on immigration.” [The Corner]

[NOTE: Just this morning, the rumor that McCain would be “out by Labor Day” was reaching red-velvet-cake-recipe heights.]

The kids at TNR have long memories: “When it comes to Scooter Libby, Giuliani suddenly gets all soft on crime: “This sentence was way out of line.” I mean, it’s not like he squeegeed anyone’s windshield against their will.” [The Plank]

Saving the best for last:

“Just when you thought we would make it through the debate without any serious internecine attacks, Rep. Duncan Hunter brought out the Howitzer — Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).” [The Fix]