Here's Hugh Hewitt on the debate tonight: "The huge loser tonight was Mike Huckabee. . . ."
By contrast, Dean Barnett (former co-blogger with Hugh and now with the Weekly Standard), who has been a harsh critic of Huckabee, thinks Huckabee won the debate. His conclusion:
Although fewer people watched last evening's festivities, tonight was even bigger for Huckabee. For the first time, it was not only possible but easy to imagine Huckabee as the leader of 300 million people. He combined this newfound authority with his old standbys of off-the-charts likability and a deft way of tapping into aspirational politics.And here's Fred Barnes, who has also been quite critical of Huckabee:
In the race for the Republican nomination, Mike Huckabee is going to be tough to beat.
For what it's worth, here's how I'd rank the performances of the candidates in the debate: 1) Huckabee 2) McCain 3) Thompson 4) Mitt Romney 5) Rudy Giuliani 6) Paul.Update: Joe Carter:
Worst debate blogging (conservative publication category): NRO's The Corner -- Their hatred for Huckabee has become palpable. The voices of sanity (Ramesh, Byron) were absent tonight which left the more extreme members, led by Mark Levin (The Great Screecher), to drag down the level of discourse.
Best debate blogging (conservative publication category): The Weekly Standard -- Staffed with pundits who think before they type, the Standard has some of the most balanced coverage in the blogosphere.