'Who put vitamins in Fred Thompson's Oatmeal?'

Rick Moran
That's the question asked by Ed Morrissey and many Republicans following last night's GOP debate in South Carolina.


Mitt Romney took on Senator John McCain, the victor in New Hampshire, over economic issues in an effort to sway voters in Michigan before its primary on Tuesday. Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Thompson tussled over South Carolina voters. And Rudolph W. Giuliani took a muted swipe at Mr. McCain in an effort to win over security-minded voters before the Jan. 29 Florida primary.

But it was Mr. Thompson’s performance, in which he shook off the laid-back style that has defined his candidacy, that provided some of the liveliest moments of the debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C..

“This is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party and its future,” said Mr. Thompson, who has staked his run on a strong showing in South Carolina. The primary there is Jan. 19.

“On the one hand,” he said, “you have the Reagan revolution, you have the Reagan coalition of limited government and strong national security. And the other hand, you have the direction that Governor Huckabee would take us in. He would be a Christian leader, but he would also bring about liberal economic policies, liberal foreign policies.”
Thompson was a one man wrecking crew, carving up Mike Huckabee and to a certain extent Mitt Romney, calling them out for claiming to be something they are not; legitimate conservatives. The candidate most often accused of lacking energy and excitement was on the attack all night, delivering a passionate defense of the Reagan coalition and conservative pricnicples while displaying a sound and supple grasp of foreign affairs.

By all media accounts as well as according to the Fox News focus group following the debate, it was by far and away Fred Thompson's night.

But while giving him the laurels for the debate, that same focus group highlighted Thompson's huge problem in South Carolina - many do not think he is electable and that this show of strength may be too late.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney may be considered the biggest loser last night. Before the South Carolina primary, there is the Michigan primary - a very important test for Mr. Romney who was born in Michigan and whose father was a former governor. On that battleground, his main opponent in John McCain, a man who won that primary in 2000 and who is expected to do well because independents and Democrats can cross over and vote in the GOP race.

Given all of that, Romney failed to make much of a dent against McCain last night when he had the opportunity. In that sense, he failed to knock McCain down a bit before the voting in Michigan next Tuesday.

John McCain had one of his better debates, especially when talking about foreign policy and his record as a fiscal conservative.

Mike Huckabee was busy fending off attacks from most of the other candidates but managed a couple of solid answers on religion and the economy. 

Rudy Giuliani appeared in the background at times and does not seem as forceful or confident as he did in other debates.

No questions to Ron Paul about the racist newsletters put out in his name for 17 years. Nevertheless, Mr. Paul won the Fox News text messaging viewer poll after the debate when his minions spammed the contest. No doubt a great win for the Texas Congressman who is an embarrassment to the Republican party thanks to the revelations about the nauseating material that went out in his name for so many years.
That's the question asked by Ed Morrissey and many Republicans following last night's GOP debate in South Carolina.


Mitt Romney took on Senator John McCain, the victor in New Hampshire, over economic issues in an effort to sway voters in Michigan before its primary on Tuesday. Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Thompson tussled over South Carolina voters. And Rudolph W. Giuliani took a muted swipe at Mr. McCain in an effort to win over security-minded voters before the Jan. 29 Florida primary.

But it was Mr. Thompson’s performance, in which he shook off the laid-back style that has defined his candidacy, that provided some of the liveliest moments of the debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C..

“This is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party and its future,” said Mr. Thompson, who has staked his run on a strong showing in South Carolina. The primary there is Jan. 19.

“On the one hand,” he said, “you have the Reagan revolution, you have the Reagan coalition of limited government and strong national security. And the other hand, you have the direction that Governor Huckabee would take us in. He would be a Christian leader, but he would also bring about liberal economic policies, liberal foreign policies.”
Thompson was a one man wrecking crew, carving up Mike Huckabee and to a certain extent Mitt Romney, calling them out for claiming to be something they are not; legitimate conservatives. The candidate most often accused of lacking energy and excitement was on the attack all night, delivering a passionate defense of the Reagan coalition and conservative pricnicples while displaying a sound and supple grasp of foreign affairs.

By all media accounts as well as according to the Fox News focus group following the debate, it was by far and away Fred Thompson's night.

But while giving him the laurels for the debate, that same focus group highlighted Thompson's huge problem in South Carolina - many do not think he is electable and that this show of strength may be too late.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney may be considered the biggest loser last night. Before the South Carolina primary, there is the Michigan primary - a very important test for Mr. Romney who was born in Michigan and whose father was a former governor. On that battleground, his main opponent in John McCain, a man who won that primary in 2000 and who is expected to do well because independents and Democrats can cross over and vote in the GOP race.

Given all of that, Romney failed to make much of a dent against McCain last night when he had the opportunity. In that sense, he failed to knock McCain down a bit before the voting in Michigan next Tuesday.

John McCain had one of his better debates, especially when talking about foreign policy and his record as a fiscal conservative.

Mike Huckabee was busy fending off attacks from most of the other candidates but managed a couple of solid answers on religion and the economy. 

Rudy Giuliani appeared in the background at times and does not seem as forceful or confident as he did in other debates.

No questions to Ron Paul about the racist newsletters put out in his name for 17 years. Nevertheless, Mr. Paul won the Fox News text messaging viewer poll after the debate when his minions spammed the contest. No doubt a great win for the Texas Congressman who is an embarrassment to the Republican party thanks to the revelations about the nauseating material that went out in his name for so many years.