One of the winners of the second Republican debate was Fox News Channel. The network hosted the most interesting and innovative debate so far in this election season. Moderators asked probing questions of the 10 candidates and pressed those who ducked them. On some issues, this produced genuine moments of drama. Candidates dropped the usual false bonhomie and demonstrated passive aggression and even genuine aggression toward each other.
From the NYT:
“The session, sponsored by Fox News and the South Carolina Republican Party at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, was the second debate for this field of candidates. It was a far more free-wheeling, and revealing, session than their meeting 12 days ago in Simi Valley, Calif.”
“The moderators from Fox News allowed and at times encouraged the candidates to mix it up among themselves.”
“When Mr. Giuliani was asked how conservatives could accept a candidate who was pro-abortion rights, gay rights and gun control, and who endorsed Mario M. Cuomo, a Democrat, for New York governor in 1994, he responded by invoking quotations by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, displaying her as an advocate of a big, activist government. For that, Mr. Giuliani was chastised by one of the questioners, Chris Wallace.
‘Mayor Giuliani, I’m going to give you another 30 seconds to actually answer my question,’ Mr. Wallace said to laughter and applause.”
“Darts from the seven underdog candidates on stage with them — and provocative questions from the debate moderators — made the trio’s task much harder.
The result was a difference in tone — and substance — from the first GOP debate on May 3, a mostly polite affair awash in Ronald Reagan references.”
“Fox News Channel’s questioners Brit Hume, Chris Wallace and Wendell Goler also asked questions to force the candidates to address issues in which they differed with the party’s base, using language at times that appeared aimed at making for a feisty debate.