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Romney off to a strong start

05/03/07 11:41PM

Moving to the halfway point of this Republican debate, it looks like Mitt Romney is trying his best to pull down the mantle of Ronald Reagan. He is off to a very strong start. The man who is best alligned to do that--John McCain is simply stumbling too much to strike voters as Reaganesque. He is clearly uncomfortable. Perhaps tomorrow, we'll find out why. Jim Gilmore and Mike Huckabee are off to strong starts as is Sam Brownback. Giuliani may have Reagan's leadership qualities but he seems to lack Reagan's optimism. But Mitt Romney has it in spades. He is clearly winning this debate. read more

Giuliani, McCain seem nervous

05/03/07 11:37PM

(By msnbc's Tucker Carlson)Both Giuliani and McCain seem nervous. Rudy, who may be the most fluent, natural speaker running for president, stumbles over his words at least twice in his first answer. He speaks too fast, rushing to squeeze every imaginable talking point – 9-11, Reagan’s legacy, the rebirth of New York City – into a single paragraph, if not sentence. McCain follows his pace. He explodes out of the box like a sprinter, then trips almost immediately. Weirdly, it’s Romney who seems most relaxed. He may not know who he is, but he’s good on stage. read more

Breakthrough moment for Romney

05/03/07 11:27PM

"He is going to pay and he is going to die."What a breakthrough moment for Mitt Romney, talking about Osama Bin Laden. John McCain followed by promising to follow Bin Laden to the gates of Hell. Mitt Romney is doing very well, as is Giuliani. John McCain is off to an tentative, uneven start. read more

From Scarborough's vantage point

05/03/07 10:44PM

From my vantage point, I'm looking at the stage to my right and the candidates to my left, waiting behind the curtain. Mitt Romney is looking relaxed, chatting with other candidates. Brownback, Gilmore and Duncab Hunter are also smiling as if there political futures are NOT hanging in the balance. They are. read more

Will Republicans campaign with Bush?

05/03/07 10:27PM

I wish Chris would ask all the Republicans on stage who among them is willing to take a pledge to campaign frequently with George Bush. Side-by-side with George Bush during the general election. We know they like the ghost of Reagan, but how are they going to deal with the reality of Bush? read more

Poor Mitt Romney

05/03/07 10:01PM

Poor Mitt Romney - actually he's anything but poor given the money he raised; he may never be commander in chief, but he's fundraiser in chief. Anyway, he has to flip on issues without the benefit of a safety net like 9/11 for Giuliani or McCain's national security record. In 1994, when he lost a senate race to Ted Kennedy, he said he was more strongly for gay rights than Kennedy was. Now he's against them. He said he was pro-choice; now he's pro-life. Kennedy was right during their debate: Romney isn't pro-choice -- he's "multiple choice." read more

Will Giuliani be held accountable on social issues?

05/03/07 09:22PM

Will Giuliani be held to account tonight on social issues? He's trying get right with the Right, but he's behind McCain in the new polls in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina - the only polls that count. As conservatives learn more about him, he will fade. So the maneuvers on social issues don't satisfy them and will damage his sense of strength with the broader electorate.In 2004, Giuliani said he favored civil unions for gay couples. read more

Countdown to the G.O.P. debate!

05/03/07 09:10PM

(By Tammy Haddad, Hardball Executive Producer)I am sitting 40 feet away on the side of Air Force One at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library right above the debate stage.  It's been a fantastic day for people who care about politics, a mix of history and hope for the future. You can feel it in the elevators. read more

After the debate

04/27/07 12:06AM

(By Brooke Brower, Hardball producer)Friends and family swarmed the stage as soon as the debate ended. Biden moved to center stage for an interview on msnbc. Richardson stood by as Biden spoke to the camera. No other candidates are visible on the stage at this point -- they're either surrounded by well-wishers or they're already out the door. read more

Pat Buchanan's take on the debate

04/26/07 11:43PM

(By msnbc's Pat Buchanan)Hillary Rodham Clinton entered this debate as the front-runner and leaves this debate as a stronger front-runner. She won going away.Responding in what she would do in an event of an attack, Hillary was an almost echo of Ronald Reagan.Clinton’s chief opponent, Barack Obama, seemed programmed and unspontaneous.  The others:Joe Biden seemed crisp and short. Richardson was engaging Kucinich was a man of conviction. He believes was he says. Edwards was lacking in energy, passion, and fire. read more

Is Obama moving towards Clinton on terrorism?

04/26/07 11:41PM

After the first question, there was some space between them on their answer to a question about how they would respond to a domestic terrorist attack.  Obama expressed concern that we carefully deal with international colleagues.  Clinton made it clear that retaliation against the enemy would be right in her sights if the blame could be clearly identified. read more

Winner: Hillary Clinton

04/26/07 11:39PM

Hillary Clinton was superb in saying what she would do if the US was the subject of a terrorist attack- Attack back.Note to Barack Obama: When asked about America’s three most important allies, don’t forget about Israel.Joe Biden had the best moment of the night when asked if he was verbose and whether he could avoid gaffs he gave a one-word answer: Yes.  It was sharp, funny, and the time limits were Biden’s friend.  Winner: Hillary ClintonWinner among the second tier: Joe Biden- seemed genuinely presidential.Didn’t seem to be there very much: Barack ObamaNo hits, no runs, no errors: John Edwa read more

Strong endings for Edwards, Obama and Biden

04/26/07 11:36PM

(By msnbc's Joe Scarborough)Damn. John Edwards just gave a fantastic closing argument. It was the most human moment of the debate and is the type of snapshot of a candidate's soul that moves voters. Barack Obama's best moment may have been standing up to Kucinich on Iran. And Joe Biden waving off happy talk was a moment that would even make heartless Republicans smile. A strong ending for these three. Still, no clear winners. read more

Most repulsive moment

04/26/07 11:34PM

(By msnbc's Tucker Carlson)Most repulsive moment: Watching virtually the entire stage defend partial birth abortion. This is an act so cruel and brutal that few news accounts even describe it. It’s too disgusting. The vast majority of Americans, even those who are generally pro-choice, oppose it. read more