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Not Good For Romney

Mike Huckabee and John McCain were both pretty impressive in tonight's CNN/YouTube debate, but it was fairly clear who the loser was: Mitt Romney. I thought he looked bad almost every time he opened his mouth. His worst moment was probably his exchange with McCain over interrogation techniques--defending waterboarding in a head-to-head exchange with a former POW is probably not the best rhetorical strategy--but there were no shortage of other very bad answers, from his self-contradictory claim that he would sign a federal anti-abortion statute while also saying it should be left up to the states, to his rather bizarre outburst that "We have two guns in my home, but they're owned by my son Josh", to his refusal to take a position on gays in the military, to his strained answer to the question of whether he believes every word in the Bible is literally true (which looked bad particularly in comparison to Huckabee's graceful, commonsensical response). And then, to top it off, he got a key piece of Red Sox lore wrong, saying that it was 87 years between World Series victories (in fact, it was 86).

Ironically, one of the few questions he gave a compelling answer to was the one about his previous pro-choice position, which I'd expected would be the most difficult one for him to deal with. 

I don't know how many people in Iowa were watching tonight, but among people who were, I'd expect Huckabee's emerging lead there to widen.

--Josh Patashnik