June 5th, 2007
10:53 PM ET
3 years ago

No shakeup from the 'red zone'

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - Did anyone win Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate?

"God no... and it's almost obnoxiously early," said Michael Kiernan, an undecided voter from Merrimack, New Hampshire, who attended the debate.

Kiernan was picked to sit in the "red zone" during the debate, an area reserved in the front of the stage for voters who have not decided whom to back in the presidential race.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney all received praise for their performances. Basically, little happened Tuesday night to shake up the top of the field - at least in the eyes and ears of those in red zone.

Here is a sampling of observations from audience members who sat with Kiernan:

Darien Lauten, Durham, New Hampshire: "I was so impressed with the field. I thought they were so knowledgeable. I think I was impressed with the camaraderie between them. I think McCain or Giuliani stood out. I think Ron Paul was a little bit out of it."

Laura Varela, Merrimack, New Hampshire: "Maybe Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo were a couple of the losers. I think Mitt Romney might have been a winner. I am not sure about John McCain because of his answer on immigration. I think Rudy Giuliani might have been a winner."

Erin Flanagan, Bedford, New Hampshire: "The last time I was so excited by McCain... I don't have that sense now."

Cynthia Kiernan, Merrimack, New Hampshire: "I'm leaning a little towards Giuliani... still not 100%." (She wants to hear more from him on gun control).

Salman Malik, Londonderry, New Hampshire: "I think Giuliani won but I was intrigued by Ron Paul. I was not familiar with his policies but now I think they are worth exploring."

Ann Weikers, Manchester: "Giuliani was the winner for me. He was quick on his feet, had a presidential presence and was firm with his answers."

Dave Simmons, Windham, New Hampshire: "I think McCain won. He started off slow but finished strong. I was disappointed with Romney, he didn't stick to the issues."

–CNN Political Editor Mark Preston


Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire • Race to '08 • Ron Paul • Rudy Giuliani • Tom Tancredo
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. bret, atl, ga

    Listen to Salman Malik for crying out loud ... the comment about Ron Paul being "out of it" is amusing; he only spoke for 5 minutes of the 2 hour debate. Yeah, I guess that qualifies as OUT OF IT according to CNN.

    June 5, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  2. Alex, Glendale, California

    Ron Paul had the best response to the question about identifying something wrong about the Bush administration. He is also right about the ease with which we justify pre-emptive wars of aggression as the most important moral problem facing this country. Ron Paul won the debate. He really stood out as a maverick with reform on his mind. He was also very passionate and very happy to be able to communicate his philosophy of peace and non-interventionism to the viewing public. I'd like to see more of him in future debates.

    June 5, 2007 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  3. Douglass, Indianapolis, IN

    Why are Republicans refusing a peace candidate? Seemingly every Republican in history has ran on a pro-peace, non-interventionist foreign policy. That is what got Bush elected in 2000. Now the peace candidate is considered a radical and, according to one of those interviewed from the audience, a "loser." It seems to me that conservatives have lost their way. There is nothing conservative about preemptive military strikes.

    June 6, 2007 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  4. Eric

    For me the debate did nothing but re-establish that I can't vote for the top 3 guys. Rudy McRompson

    I've never voted anything but republican for president but they just don't make sense to me on the war. I don't see Fred Thompson being any better – I mean come on he is an actor and a washington lobbyist. geesh!

    Ron Paul though – I know nothing about him. He started off quite nervous – but his talk about not exporting democracy at the end of a gun really hit home for me.

    Then the question on the moral dillema – and he talked about pre-emptive war. Man if he is strong on border policy and reducing spending – where the heck has he been hiding? That would be my dream guy.

    And when is the next debate – I would like to hear more from Paul, Hunter, and Gilmore. This debates seemed slanted towards the top 3 but I already know about those guys – and don't like them. Am I alone in that?

    June 6, 2007 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  5. Rich, Elizabeth NJ

    you are not alone!

    June 6, 2007 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  6. eric, san francisco, ca

    How can anyone honestly think Guiliani won this debate? When he's not fear-mongering about "islamo-facists", he's toeing the exact line this current administration has. Has this country really not learned his lesson from two terms of Bush?

    Please Rudy, one more time about OFFENSE and not DEFENSE. Please reduce something as complex as international relations and stabilized economy to a soundbite that makes no sense.

    And CNN: Why must you homogenize political discourse by marginalizing the only republican who has something different to say? I may not agree with his true conservative ideals, but Ron Paul actually brought fresh ideas and yet was given half the air time of McCain. How many different ways do we have to hear about how the free market cures everything, immigrants dillute our pure american blood, and the republicans are a "culture of life" when it comes to blastocysts but won't bat an eye to 3,000 dead soldiers and 300,000 dead iraqis?

    June 6, 2007 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  7. Peter, Bowling Green, Ohio

    I was disappointed.

    Mostly by CNN. Mostly.

    Why are McCain, Giuliani, and Romney given so much time compared to the other candidates? Why don't we hear more from candidates like Ron Paul?

    Ron Paul is the only interesting thing about this race. Especially since it's so early. Unlike all the others, he's opposed to the War in Iraq and to further foreign entanglements. And yet he's given about half the time as the three or four guys who all agree with each other.

    Yawn...

    June 6, 2007 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  8. Alex, Nashville TN

    Would everyone please give it up already with Ron Paul. He's older than McCain and so out of it that he even insists the government should not have fought the Civil War! (an actual quote). All Republicans need right now is to boost up his ego and let him run as a Ralph Nader who will decide the election and give it to Hillary. Smarten up!

    June 6, 2007 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  9. MyK San Francisco CA

    I am concerned with the way the news organizations are handling the debates. The American people want to hear from all the candidates, not just those that have the money and the recognition. Ron Paul is the classic example of this. He represents the constitution and the conservative platform better than the other candidates.

    Why is it he gets 5 mins tops out of the 2 hour debate? Why does he get disregarded as a "second tier" candidate, when he knows more about foreign policy than "front runner" Guiliani. Ron Paul knows the facts and history, Rudy knows how to interrupt the debate and how to go over his time limit and not play by the rules, case and point when all candidates were asked to simply answer yes or no about a pardon for Rove. Guiliani apparently didn't know or just didn't care about giving a one word response, that shows the character he is, doesn't play by the rules.

    How are the American people given justice when only a few hand picked candidates get all the air time. I thought we had a fair system we were supposed to follow?

    June 6, 2007 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  10. Dan, Tucson Arizona

    Ron Paul won it again and CNN's post-debate coverage was...well...what can only be interpreted as a deliberate exclusion of Dr. Paul's performance from the discussion. Don't look now, but he also received more votes in CNN's very own online poll than the rest of the other, uh, "frontrunners" combined. No need for discussion – the poll says it all.

    June 6, 2007 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  11. Nick, Colorado Springs, CO

    The debate showed that most of the candidates just want more of the same. Ron Paul was the only candidate who promises real change and the only Republican who wasn't duped by this administration. I wanted to hear more of what he had to say and less from Rudy McRomney. Ron Paul had very reasonable points and I think he won the debate.

    June 6, 2007 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  12. Gabriel, Tucson, Arizona

    I am really excited about Ron Paul. Why doesn't CNN have him on for interviews more? He is receiving swelling support from online bloggers (as we can see here) and CNN has always reported on who bloggers want (until they picked someone CNN didn't approve of). Are we only allowed to pick from a subset of the candidates or is this still a true democracy? We DON'T want Giuliani, we want RON PAUL and we won't shut up until you stop ignoring him.

    June 6, 2007 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  13. Martha, Londonderry, NH

    I thought the "second tier" candidates outshined the "first tier" in this debate. Huckabee, Paul, Tancredo and Gilmore were eloquent and thoughtful and even gracious about having so little time to express their views. These "second tier" candidates have more concrete ideas for change than "Rudy McRomney."

    June 6, 2007 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  14. Olivia, Peoria, Ill.

    After having seen both debates, I've come to the conclusion that New Hampshire has outlived her usefulness as the site of the first presidential primary and all of the hype and other perks (including being the site of debates) that go along with it. Demographically speaking, she does not look like America. Her being the site of these debates was unfortunate, because the questions asked seemed to be tailored to a basically middle- to upper-class non-minority audience. There was little of interest to the poor or people of color. Most importantly, those who questioned the candidates seemed to have forgotten all about Katrina and the fact that a major city is fighting for her life. And Bush Administration neglect of New Orleans and the rest of the vast area devastated by Katrina and Rita is only adding to the physical and psychological damage already there. This, and the allied issue of disaster preparedness, are valid campaign issues because a major disaster can hit anywhere at any time. It should be front and center because it's hurricane season, during which a catastrophic storm can potentially hit anywhere on the US mainland from Texas to Maine. The good New Hampshirites (if that's the correct term) seem to be blissfully ignorant of the fact that this includes a small piece of their state. And that's not all that's important about Katrina–the storm and New Orleans' levee breaches laid bare the immense divide between rich and poor, which makes it much more than a local issue of interest only in Louisiana, Mississippi, and a handful of neighboring states. It's time some new state were chosen as the site of America's first primary–preferably one that was demographically more diverse, whose people care about what matters to the poor and minorities. I'd choose a small Deep South state–and not South Carolina because I've seen both debates there and Katrina never came up. Either Louisiana or Mississippi would be a good choice.

    June 6, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  15. Mike, Fredericksburg VA

    "Then the question on the moral dillema – and he talked about pre-emptive war. Man if he is strong on border policy and reducing spending – where the heck has he been hiding? That would be my dream guy."

    Ron Paul is strong on border policy and reducing spending. Ron Paul is for the Constitution and for national soveriegnty. He is against deficit spending. Please look into Ron Paul's platform, as he can say it much better than I can.

    June 6, 2007 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  16. Blake, Hopeless Junction, NY

    While I applaud CNN for hosting the debates, both of them held in NH centered on the candidates located in the center. Those candidates on the margins – were marginalized. By design, this is a format that encourages a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Curious thing is how little the internet actually matters in poll assessment. Ron Paul has received the highest poll ratings in the past 2 combined debates, and now this one in NH. Is this a meaningless fact? Do we really need to stack the odds against those voices that don't happen to have big $ political war chests? Does this best serve our political process?

    Do we really want to continue to run debates giving heavy attention to only a few candidates? And how long should we ignore internet polls?

    June 6, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. AD, Manchester NH

    Ron Paul isn't just the only truly principled man running, but he also has the most refreshing ideas. And looking into Ron Paul's background, you can bet that he means what he says. You can't say that about ANY of the other candidates in EITHER party. I for one am excited (!) about Ron Paul because he is advocating the ideals that made this country great: small government, free markets, and peaceful free trade!

    June 6, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  18. Gabe Harris, Scituate MA

    I can’t believe a true christian would be practically thrilled at the chance to drop nuclear bombs on a nation of people. This is sick! Ron Paul is the only candidate who is trying to make the world a safer place, the rest of the candidates have a myopic view of how the world works and think that “leadership” means running around the world machine gunning countries that are less than ideal democracies.

    Free trade and economic progress is the way to a more peaceful world, not strong armed tactics and a exploding military budget fudned by us tax payers.

    June 6, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. Sean Hannity Houston Texas

    Are you kidding me!It appears that all media personel, political GOPAC insiders ect., want to narrow us down to the 3 stooges of Romney, Guiliani and McCain. These people are no less criminals and what ever it takes to get a vote and create more facism for this country. Did you see how CNN put these 3 together in the middle and focused the cameras on them constantly. Wolf Blitze controlled the questions by holding everyone to a limit and letting these 3 knuckle heads talk. 80% of the questions were focused to Moe, Larry and Curly while the other REAL Authentic candidates were pushed to the side. The ONLY person that had a real answers to government operations was RON PAUL. WHY is that? Because he is basing EVERYTHING on what our forefathers put in place. OUR CONSTITUTION! The facist media and corporate political money wagons stop at the top of the GOP and the people are ignored for a money controlled government. We are not free anymore...we need RON PAUL for president!

    June 6, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. Clayton, Allen TX

    I was frustrated by how they kept changing camera angles when Ron Paul was talking. It was as though they did not want to let him get any face time. He (and other candidates not named Rudy McRomney) were given an unfairly small amount of time. I would expect something like that from Fox News, but CNN is supposed to be the objective news source!

    And then they went and deleted the thread asking about who won the Republican debate because support was overwhelming for Ron Paul. That was shameful.

    Heck, the man even got quite a bit of applause from the audience. Were those guys just spammers too?

    June 6, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Ray Ondrusek, Myerstown PA

    Where does Mark Preston get his idea that "Ron Paul was a little bit out of it.”? Ron Paul was clear, concise, and the only one there who understands what it really means to be a Republican, or an American for that matter.

    The blatant bias for McCain, Giuliani and Romney was so obvious, and the lack of post debate coverage of anyone else; these are undermining CNN's credibility as a news organization.

    June 6, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  22. Bruce W. Krafft, Maplewood, MN

    "Did anyone win Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate?"

    I would say Ron Paul won it despite the attempts to marginalize him. His comments on the immorality of contemplating a pre-emptive nuclear strike were dead on, his response to the young lady asking what the Iraqi gov't would do if we withdrew from Iraq was notable for its lack of evasiveness as was his reply to the question about pardoning Libby.

    And someone correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Giuliani lift Mr. Paul's comments about Viet Nam being our friend now? I seem to recall that Rep. Paul made the point in a previous debate, and it seemed that Rudy just lifted it wholesale.

    June 6, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. Mike, Brookhaven PA

    Ron Paul hasn't been hiding, he has been hidden. All of big government fears his message. The Dems fear that he can take away the only chance they have of running against the war n Iraq (btw, he voted against it when Hillary voted for it). The current crop of Repubs fear his true small government policy & they know he is the only one with a voting record to back that stament up.

    Read up on Ron Paul, the information is out there, you will be amazed at how honest a current politician can be!

    June 6, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  24. Jonathan, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    Ron Paul stands alone as the most reasonable, knowledgable and sincere of all the candidates. I only just became aware of him after the first debate which got me very interested in knowing more. Never have I been so fired up about any election, ever. You must also know that I have always despised both Republicans and Democrats and I was a Ralph Nader supporter in 2000. Ron Paul must win for the future of our nation and the world.

    June 6, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  25. James Atlanta, GA

    It's obvious that the majority of the people that have actually watched the debates view Ron Paul favorably. His message is strong and he doesn't beat around the bush. he speaks from the heat and speaks the truth. These debates are important as I didn't even know that there were more than three candidates before I started watching.

    my order for who won

    Ron Paul – True Jeffersonian Republican
    Mike Huckabee – Speaks from the heart
    Tommy Thompson – Believes in Republic
    Tom Tancredo – Believes in the Union
    Rudy Giuliani – Corrupt fear monger
    John McCain – Not the same as in 2000
    Duncan Hunter – Wants to fight forever
    Jim Gilmore – Isn't important
    Mitt Rommney – Didn't answer questions
    Sam Brownback – Isn't Mike Huckabee
    CNN – the big loser for it's poor handling of the democrat debate and repressive republican recap.

    Why no opinion poll like in the democratic debate. Why no studio audience to discuss their reactions to the republicans.Instead of informing the public CNN is managing the information. Better yet "mismanaging" their obligation and for what purpose?

    June 7, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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