More common sense from Huckabee – and on foreign policy, an area that’s been tricky for him this campaign season.
– CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider
The McCain-Romney debate diminished both candidates – they looked like squabbling politicians. Who benefits? Huckabee.
During the last question on timetables, McCain changed the subject to the surge – where Romney’s on weaker ground (among primary voters, at least). How does it make any sense for Romney to say he supported the surge as a candidate, but couldn’t do it as a governor? That’s a tough answer to defend.
His solution: Call the charge itself a dirty trick. Will voters share Romney’s view?
Related: Watch McCain and Romney trade jabs over the Iraq war
Romney is winning this big-time - McCain’s wrong. We already have timetables for everything in Iraq, whether we stick to them or adjust them later on.
Meanwhile, McCain is identifying himself with the surge completely – that’s risky, big-time. He has to hope it continues to work. And while the policy isn’t controversial among Republicans, it certainly is among the country as a whole.
Related: Watch Romney criticize McCain's record
Romney’s giving a full-throated rebuttal to McCain’s charge that he proposed a timetable on Iraq withdrawal – and he’s right. That was a strong answer.
Romney’s answer on Bush’s eight years in office makes no sense at all. If you’re running against Washington, you’re running against the president – no one is more Washington than the president. 9/11 didn’t take Bush’s agenda off-course – it created his agenda
He can’t compete with Romney’s millions – this is the only way he has a level playing field.
Not that he’ll be the nominee – but he could get a boost out of this, which would keep him in the race a while longer. That’s a problem for Romney, who’s plugging himself as the conservative alternative.
Meanwhile, McCain’s being cautious and evasive for fear of offending conservatives – and opening up a vulnerability in the long term.
Related: Watch Huckabee discuss his conservative credentials
McCain would like to defuse the issue of illegal immigration, a very delicate one for him. So he’s pretending everyone’s in agreement on immigration – but they’re not.
Romney’s response scores big points with conservatives – and with a lot of Americans who aren’t conservative.
Californians do have a very mixed view of illegal immigration – they want it stopped, but they know people who are here illegally, and don’t want to see punitive measures.
But very few Hispanics vote in the Republican primary here. So there’s no significant Latino vote for him to worry about – at least for now.
A highly debatable point - McCain and many Republicans believe the GOP Congress was thrown out in 2006 because of spending.
But every piece of evidence I’ve ever seen has said it was Iraq – an issue he’s more tied to than just about any other candidate in the race. Spending was only an issue to a few conservative Republicans – and they were more angry about indictments, and Mark Foley and Jack Abramoff than they were about dollars and cents.