From my vantage point, it looked like Arkansas was the big winner in the two presidential primary debates at Saint Anselm College this week.
Among the Democrats, Senator Clinton took control of much of the affair--refusing to answer inane questions is very presidential, particularly when all of your rivals fall in line behind you. As well, every time she asserted that the group was in agreement, she made it tougher for the others to gain ground on her. Very shrewd, very ... Clintonian.
Among the Republicans, it was harder to sort out who won and who lost. My libertarian leanings make me predisposed to like Congressman Paul, but he didn't come across as composed as he did in the prior debate and he suffered from a very bizarre side camera angle at times. My conservative leanings make me predisposed to like someone other than Rudy McRomney, who all fail the ideological test for various reasons. It's pretty clear that person is Governor Huckabee. It doesn't hurt that his book, From Hope to Higher Ground,is very well written, and that he actually has a solid record of achievement as the governor of Arkansas. (For more on this idea, see this earlier post.) He visited the Rockefeller Center on Sunday evening, and he absolutely charmed the 75 or so people who attended the event.
And the Governor did very well in the debate. If you don't believe me, take a look at these real-time evaluations by a focus group of debate-watchers over at MessageJury.