Stephen Hayes, as he usually does, gets to the heart of the matter on the debate last night:
But after all of the back-and-forthing on who said what and who meant what, one reality is likely to emerge for voters who care most about national security: John McCain enthusiastically supported the surge, the key course correction in a battle that all Republicans call the “central front” in the war on terror–and he did so at great political risk.
The next problem for Romney is that the parade of news-stealing endorsements–Arnold Schwarzennegger, U.S. Senators, and the like–will begin to monopolize the media and cement the perception of McCain’s inevitability.
Today, the candidates must reveal their FEC filings for the Fourth Quarter of 2007. That means we will learn how many of Mitt Romney’s millions he spent for all those “silver medals.” Although his defenders rightly say he can spend his own hard-earned money any way he likes, the fact remains that he has continued long past the point other contenders may have dropped out largely because of his bank account. The portrait his critics paint of an artificially created-candidate, the product of consultants’ failed designs and millions in wasted ads, is not a helpful one, but one that will nevertheless be the focus of much of the media analysis today. ( I put the “under-over” at $60M.)