You know how the Super Bowl Pregame Show starts nine days before the game? This election cycle, debates are the same way, except the commercials aren’t nearly as entertaining.

Tonight I watched a replay of the Republican presidential candidates’ debate on MSNBC, which took place earlier in Dearborn, Michigan, 75 miles east of where I sit. The election is a mere over-a-year away, so the pressure is really on to choose a candidate.

It was a fairly standard political affair, considering the candidates nearly outnumbered the audience. Ron Paul was clearly the dissenter among the group on many issues, not the least of which is the war(s). Fred Thompson was straight forward and said nothing to harm himself, although I was disappointed that he refused to say at any point, “I don’t take a dump without a plan, son.”

Giuliani seemed the most unrehearsed, relaxed, competent, logical and in his element. Tancredo was great on immigration. I’d forgotten McCain was still in the fray, so it was surprising to see him there. I was shocked to discover that Kevin Spacey was in the GOP race, until I realized it was in fact Mike Huckabee. And Alan Keyes was… watching the debate from his home.

But there was one “oh geez” moment I got while watching this thing. Moderator Chris Matthews asked the candidates if they would attack Iran’s nuclear facilities without congressional approval. Mitt Romney said that a president should “check with the lawyers” as to what to do.

Ron Paul suggested that a president should “check with the Constitution” instead. Touche.

Tonight I developed a soft spot for Ron Paul for two reasons: 1) He’s a strict constitutionalist, and 2) his wife, Mrs. Paul, makes one hell of a fish stick.

In all seriousness though, if Giuliani maintains this amount of energy, optimism and common sense on many issues, there will be no stopping him for the nomination.

Rudy also gets the award for “best line of the day” by closing with this: “If we do Hillary-care or socialized medicine, Canadians will have no place to go to get their health care.”


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