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One More Debate Recap

Friday, May 4, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Blog4President has a great round-up.

Tagg Romney was on my show after the debate last night.  The interview is here.

Here’s the Matthews question on Roe, from the MSNBC transcript:

“[W]ould the day that Roe v. Wade is repealed be a good day for America?”

Her’s my question to Mayor Giuliani from the transcript of our 4/13 interview:

“But would it be a good day or a bad day for America if Roe V. Wade was reversed by the Roberts’ Court?”

Rudy answered the same question the same way two weeks apart.  After last night’d debate I asked a Rudy friend, Dean Kenneth Starr, whether this answer would fly in originalist circles:

HH: You know, I tried to take his side on this, because his answer, I’ve asked him on the air about this, I’ve asked Ted Olson about it as well, is you can be a strict constructionist and go either way if Roe is presented squarely to the Court again. You could either uphold Roe as a precedent that’s been there for thirty years, or you could strike it down. I think that’s what the Mayor was saying. Am I hearing him right?

KS: Well, I think that’s exactly what he was saying. I respectfully disagree with that, for a whole number of reasons that we could get into. Roe was deeply divided, the decision itself, at the time that it came down. It has never been accepted by the American people. It is not part of our culture. And the issues continue to be issues that need to be discussed in the democratic conversation. But I understand the position that there is respect for precedent, and I think that’s what the Mayor was lifting up tonight.

HH: Well, let me push you on that, then, a little bit, Ken Starr. Could a strict constructionist vote for Roe V. Wade? I’m never going to be on the Court, so I can tell you. No, I could never, ever uphold Roe V. Wade, because it’s a scar on the Constitution. But could a good, solid, Federalist Society conservative judge say yeah, it’s been here too long?

KS: No, I think it’s difficult to poll Roe V. Wade for the very reasons that the Supreme Court by unanimous vote decided not to Constitutionalize the right to die, the physician assisted suicide. They just said this is an issue that divides reasonable people, the Constitution does not yield up an answer, let’s keep the marketplace of ideas open, let’s have a debate, let’s have a conversation. But the Constitution doesn’t have an answer. That’s one of the reasons that Roe V. Wade continues to be such an unsettled issue.

UPDATE:  The Romney Campaign has sent around its favorite excerpts from debate coverage:


The Wall Street Journal‘s Peggy Noonan: “If we view the proceedings in vulgar and reductive Who Won, Who Lost terms, and let’s, Mitt Romney won…” (Peggy Noonan, “An Incomplete Field,” The Wall Street Journal,” 5/4/07)

· Noonan: “The statuesque Mr. Romney had a certain good-natured command, a presidential voice, and a surprising wiliness. He seemed happy to be there, and in the mysterious way that some people seem to dominate, he dominated.” (Peggy Noonan, “An Incomplete Field,” The Wall Street Journal,” 5/4/07)

· Noonan: “He did some light-handed and audience-pleasing Clinton bashing, and was confident on stem-cell research.” (Peggy Noonan, “An Incomplete Field,” The Wall Street Journal,” 5/4/07)

The Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza: “Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) stood out with clear and crisp answers – showing flashes of humor and an ease with the important issues. He sounded authoritative when he talked about Iraq (not an easy task for a one-term governor of Massachusetts) and effectively cast himself – a Mormon – as part of the broad faith community in America.” (Chris Cillizza, “Debate Wrap Up,” The Washington Post‘s The Fix,, Posted 5/3/07)

Newsweek‘s Howard Fineman: “I think Mitt Romney came off looking presidential…” (MSNBC’s “Post Debate Analysis,” 5/3/07)[# More #]

National Review‘s Kathryn Jean Lopez: “Romney showed himself to be a smart, articulate, optimistic, serious leader. If it was a first impression for anyone watching, as I imagine it might have been for anyone flipping away from The Office for a few minutes, it was a good start.” (National Review Website,, Accessed 5/4/07)

Mullings’ Rich Galen: “Overall I thought Romney did the best. He had command of his positions and articulated them well.” (Mullings Website,, Accessed 5/4/07)

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: “Governor Romney was very good in talking about health care, where he knows a great deal.” (Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” 5/3/07)

New York Daily News‘ Michael Goodwin: “Romney was very good at turning every answer into a statement of lofty, conservative principle. He spoke of family and marriage and faith and turned a question about ‘what don’t you like about America?’ into a poetic ode to our nation. He came across as sharp and jaunty.” (Michael Goodwin, “Giuliani Is Not-So-Artful Dodger,” New York Daily News, 5/4/07)

The Politico‘s Roger Simon: “It would be terribly irresponsible to pick a winner of Thursday night’s Republican debate. So I will. I think Mitt Romney won.” (Roger Simon, “Call Me Irresponsible: I Say Romney Won,” The Politico, 5/3/07)

· Simon: “…Mitt Romney achieved almost everything he wanted to achieve. He looked and sounded presidential. He hit his talking points. And voters who knew nothing about him before the debate except that he was a Mormon, came away knowing a lot more.” (Roger Simon, “Call Me Irresponsible: I Say Romney Won,” The Politico, 5/3/07)

· Simon: “Romney was a man with a plan. He knew what points he wanted to make and he made them.” (Roger Simon, “Call Me Irresponsible: I Say Romney Won,” The Politico, 5/3/07)

MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer: “I thought Mitt Romney came off as looking very presidential.” (MSNBC’s “Tucker Carlson Live,” 5/4/07)

The Politico‘s Michael Cornfield And Alan Kelly: “Best playmaker: Mitt Romney. A fluid pace in a frenetic setting. Executive-in-charge. Avoided ‘his’ religion but talked about faith.” (Michael Cornfield and Alan Kelly, “GOP Playmaker’s Wrap-up – Our Best And Worst Awards,” The Politico, 5/3/07)

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: “I’ll tell you what, it looked like Mitt Romney really had a strong introduction to the Republican Party tonight.” (MSNBC’s “Post Debate Analysis,” 5/3/07)

· Scarborough: “I’ll tell you what, I got a lot of e-mails throughout this debate from Republicans, conservative Republicans across the country, they were telling me they thought Mitt Romney was the clear winner and I got to tell you Keith, that’s the view from a lot of people inside of here right now.” (MSNBC’s “Post Debate Analysis,” 5/3/07)

· Scarborough: “And this really looked like his format. … Some people like Ronald Reagan pop at these type of debate settings. It looked like Mitt Romney pops in these type of settings.” (MSNBC’s “Post-Debate Analysis,” 5/3/07)

· Scarborough: “You’re going to find out over the next couple of days that Mitt Romney is the guy that exceeded expectations, and John McCain was a guy that didn’t quite meet expectations. A lot of the Republican base may start moving to Mitt Romney. Rudy Giuliani just was a little more flat that people expected, didn’t show the type of leadership that people expected him tonight. Of course this is just a debate but certain people pop in the debate, certain people don’t. Tonight it was Mitt Romney who seemed to break out of the pack.” (MSNBC’s “Post-Debate Analysis,” 3/3/07)

National Review‘s Jim Geraghty: Romney had some strong answers, good humor. I’d be surprised if he didn’t help himself tonight. Maybe the audience will see what attracted his fans. Clearly, this was a format he seemed at home in.” (Jim Geraghty, “Jim’s Summary and Wrap-Up,” The Hillary Spot On National Review Online,, Posted 5/3/07)

National Journal‘s Marc Ambinder: “Mitt Romney is great with first impressions… He certainly seemed presidential. He flubbed no question. His knowledge was evident.” (Marc Ambinder, “The Debate: Post-Spin Analysis,” National Journal’s On Call,, Posted 5/4/07)

The Politico‘s Jonathan Martin: “Mitt Romney’s aides and advisers were buoyant after the forum. And for some good reason. The former Massachusetts governor, ever handsome and articulate, was poised and smooth for most of the evening. For the thousands (millions?) watching at home who were getting their first taste of Mitt, they had to come away impressed.” (Jonathan Martin, “My Take,” The Politico, 5/3/07)

· Martin: “When even his opponents acknowledge that he performed well, you know Romney had a pretty good night.” (Jonathan Martin, “My Take,” The Politico, 5/3/07)

New York Sun‘s Ryan Sager: “If anyone stood out from the other candidates, in terms of looking polished and poised, it was clearly Mr. Romney. He got off some of the best lines of the night… But any casual observer of the debate (were there any non-junkies watching?) would probably have to view him as head-and-shoulders above the others.” (Ryan Sager, “Who Won? Who Lost?” New York Sun Politics Blog,, 5/3/07)

Dan Riehl: “Romney may be the guy who pulled it out tonight.” (Dan Riehl, “McCain Can’t Catch A Break,” Riehl World View,, Posted 5/3/07)

John Hinderaker: “If you didn’t already know how good Romney is, you would be really impressed by his performance tonight.” (John Hinderaker, “Liveblogging The GOP Debate,” Power Line Forum,, Posted 5/3/07)

Columnist Kathleen Parker: “And the winner is: Mitt the Good, the Perfect, the Gosh-Darned Smartest of Them All. He was substantive, concise, and humorous, if somewhat over-educated for those who haven’t yet read the Cliff Notes on altered nuclear stem cells. His answer on stem-cell research showed that he has delved deeply into the issue…” (National Review Website,, Accessed 5/4/07)

Captain’s Quarters’ Ed Morrissey: “Who won? – Mitt Romney won this debate. He looked relaxed, answered clearly, showed real warmth and a sense of humor, and actually answered the questions asked of him – even the stupid ones, to which I’ll return shortly.” (Ed Morrissey, “Debate Analysis: Romney Wins,” Captain’s Quarters Blog,, Posted 5/3/07)

Townhall‘s Dean Barnett: “Mitt Romney – Romney was clearly the class of the field. I know, I’m biased, blah, blah, blah. But if you saw the debate, believe your own eyes. Romney has a command of the facts and an effective delivery that must be the envy of the field. As America gets to know him in forums like this (not that I’m hoping there will be other forums precisely like this hideous one – perish that thought), the country will come to understand why Romney has generated such excitement among insiders and people who know him.” (Dean Barnett, “A Quickie Debate Recap,” Hugh Hewitt, , Posted 5/3/07)

CBN’s David Brody: “The debate is over and I thought Mitt Romney really came across well. He was comfortable, funny and somewhat free wheeling.” (CBN Website,, Accessed 5/4/07)

National Review‘s Mark Hemmingway: “It’s obvious now that in the first major Republican presidential debate Mitt Romney put in a very strong performance.” (Mark Hemingway, “Mitt Romney Can Do Whatever The Heck He Wants,” National Review, 5/4/07)


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