John McCain won. Let’s not dance around this. Mitt Romney shined, he stood out, he did well. Rudy Giuliani imploded. Rudy totally and utterly self-destructed tonight. He had many chances to get in good with the core base of Republican voters and ignored every moment.
But McCain cuisine reigned supreme. He served up a dish of anger, a willingness to criticize, and a desire to fight — hard.
But let’s be honest. Who really won? Fred Thompson. None of the men on that stage really stood out tonight. Tancredo, Ron Paul, Tommy Thompson, and Jim Gilmore just made you wonder why on earth they were there.
Duncan Hunter boosted his profile.
John McCain was willing to be blunt, critical, and honest.
But not one of the men on stage rose to a level to really stand out. That keeps people salivating for someone else. Right now that someone else is named Fred Thompson.
And tomorrow night he will stand on stage in Orange County, California to deliver what I’m hearing is going to be an amazing and powerful speech. He’ll have the bully pulpit and CSPAN to himself — not having to share the limelight.
The word on the street tonight at the Reagan Library is that it is getting too late for Fred Thompson to enter the race. He will try to change that dynamic tomorrow.
And if he doesn’t? Advantage to McCain. I can’t believe I just wrote that.