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Kristol: Debate Awards

10:38 PM, Jan 10, 2008 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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For what it's worth, here are my awards for tonight's debate:

1. Best Debate.
Tonight's. It featured more good answers - substantively intelligent and/or politically shrewd - than any other debate.

2. Best exchange.
Thompson-Huckabee. Thompson launched a powerful attack on Huckabee from the right. Huckabee responded with a strong defense of his record that would have appealed to less ideological voters. Both were high quality minutes-and-a-half.

3. Most improved.
Thompson. Woke up, smelled the coffee, and showed his stuff.

4. Best in foreign policy.
McCain. Very strong and eloquent on the surge.

5. Failed to do what he had to do.
Romney. He had to get some momentum in Michigan. But after McCain slapped him down in the first exchange, Romney was passive and not much of a presence.

6. Best political skills.
Huckabee. The guy's unusually talented, and still underestimated inside the Beltway.

7. Helped himself in Michigan.
McCain. Strong as commander in chief, and held his own on economics.

8. Helped himself in South Carolina.
Huckabee. Boffo answer on religion.

9. Best joke.
Thompson. Virgins.

10. Shadow of his former self.
Giuliani. Where did the zip go?