June 5th, 2007
11:18 PM ET
11 years ago

Tonight's headline? The sparks didn't fly

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - The headline from this debate? Sparks did not fly. Republicans clearly decided not to look like squabbling Democrats and to concentrate their fire on Democrats and, to a surprising extent, on President Bush: the mismanagement of the war, the spending, the immigration bill. No one was running to carry the legacy of the Bush Administration.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, had a good night. He reminded New Hampshire voters of why they voted for him in 2000. He was, once again, the straight talker. Even on issues where most Republicans disagree with him, like immigration, McCain made his case boldly and honestly. And probably the most effective moment in the debate was his response to the voter who had lost her brother in Iraq. He made the difficult and painful argument that, in the end, she would come to understand that it was all worthwhile. The camera shots of the woman's reaction were amazing. They showed a clear emotional connection with the candidate.

We learned from this debate what the central issue is going to be in the 2008 general election campaign. Republicans will argue that leaving Iraq too soon will increase the threat of terrorism in the United States. Democrats will argue exactly the opposite – that staying in Iraq increases the terrorist threat.

- CNN Senior Poitical Analyst Bill Schneider

Filed under: Iraq • John McCain
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Dave, Naples, NY

    The only sparks that flew were the shocking sounds in the noise system! -and the fact that Dr. Ron Paul was ignored. Despite this, Ron Paul was clearly the most interesting candidate, and the clear winner for common Americans!

    June 5, 2007 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  2. Boshy Greoge

    If it is for the good of the USA, and not political leverage. Then why don't the Democrats and Republicans argue facts and not politics ??

    June 5, 2007 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  3. Scott Douglas, Los Angeles, CA

    Are you kidding me? McCain came off as giving us anything BUT straight talk on illegal immigration, and the current amnesty he's trying to feed us.

    Tom Tancredo captured the night. It doesn't suprise me that the media establishment people so enamored of John McCain would do their best to proclaim otherwise. I'm not buying it.

    June 5, 2007 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  4. Tex, Atlanta GA

    Ron Paul was the only candidate to even mention the constitution. Yeah.. he's a terrorist. Time to look at the writing on the walls, bud. This is what voting for the lesser of two evils has brought us.

    June 6, 2007 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  5. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    Sparks? How about Ron Paul. Yes McCain was talking nonsense as was Rudy. All the candidates just stated the obvious with the exception of Paul.

    His statement stole the show..."Why did we go to the Middle East?" he said. "Our foreign policy is designed to protect our oil interests. We succumbed to the temptation of going out and fighting war [to secure oil interests]."

    It's about time someone spoke up. All the rest of them are cowards or liars.

    He has integrity...a noble concept these days for politicians.

    June 6, 2007 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  6. Mike, Big Bear Calif

    Immigration is the debate. Just let a nuke cross the southern border and we can link terrorism with illegal immigration. McCain cant figure this out. Now watch him drop in the polls...

    June 6, 2007 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  7. GS, Charlotte, NC

    Sparks didn't fly, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Problem was that Romney didn't take the bait. When Romney was asked by Blitzer to respond to disparaging comments that McCain made about him in Florida Romney evenly answered (speaking about McCain) "he's my friend," and effectively dumped a bucket of water on the fire Blitzer was trying to light.

    June 6, 2007 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  8. Mary Columbus, Ohio

    Mr. Schneider, you're sadly mistaken in most of the points you've made here. The idea that Dems. are for leaving the war and Repubs. are for staying is an idea of the past, especially since Ron Paul has so much support being a Republican who has never supported the war, citing the Constitution. We, the voters, are not going to be spoonfed the same-old politics as usual. Other than God's response to Giuliani's answer on abortion, the sparks would have flown if all the candidates were given equal time. Of all the candidates, when he was allowed to answer, Ron Paul made the most sense.

    June 6, 2007 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Scott (Ohio)

    wow, this article is totally contradictory to a piece I saw on some news station that showed the audience's opinions (real-time as McCain was speaking on like a line graph) and halfway through everything McCain said the line graph just slid down a little or stayed at 0.

    June 6, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Hillary Ferris, Santa Cruz, CA

    The candidate who made his case the boldest and answered the most honestly was Ron Paul, not John McCain. Why was Ron Paul only asked 8 questions, when other candidates were asked more(Rudy Guliani was asked 14!) and got more air time? Ron Paul was the clear winner in my opinion.

    June 6, 2007 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |