- The second Republican debate, in contrast, overflowed with spontaneous energy. Yes, the contenders are all middle-aged white men, but they sure know how to give and take a punch! There was drama, humor and electricity (literally, when a bolt of lightning cut out Giuliani's mike). I continue to be alarmed at what I perceive as Republican momentum toward next year's national election. The confident Republican foregrounding of military and security issues is going to present a very high hurdle to the Democratic nominee. Democrats are already acquiring a dismaying reputation for underestimating the threat of global terrorism.
The received opinion that Hillary had won the second debate was immediately undercut by an online poll on the Drudge Report. Obama jumped to a huge lead, surprisingly followed by Bill Richardson, with Hillary in third place and Edwards far back. The final results, based on 51,299 votes over 12 hours: Obama, 35 percent; Richardson, 16 percent; Clinton, 12 percent; Kucinich, 9 percent; Biden, 8 percent; Gravel, 8 percent; Edwards, 7 percent; Dodd, 5 percent. Hillary's dismal lag, despite the presumed push by her online supporters, is astonishing. (Drudge polls are keyed to cookies, permitting only one vote per computer.)