Well, that was entertaining, wasn't it? Here are my thoughts on the performances.
Stutzman: I felt he was strong and polished in appearance (if such things merit your attention), and I felt his responses to Hayhurst's questioning were much stronger than the attacks themselves. His bad spots came in his "outing " of Wise as having run as a republican before, then following that up with his softball question to him about the federal gov't's place in education. It made them seem like even more of a glaring double team against Hayhurst.
Wise: He came off a lot like Stutzman's mouthier running-mate. I would have liked to have heard more about why he was different than Stutzman. But he got some great broadsides in on Hayhurst, and one on Marlin: when he asked what Stutzman planned to do about standing up to GOP leadership on the issues, a question that Marlin answered by failing to answer. The thing that sunk Wise, for me, is that he really seemed to have no clue what he meant on the free trade question. He said, "I'm a free trade sort of guy", and then spent the rest of his answer bashing it.
Hayhurst: Tom, tom, tom. You really did yourself very few favors here. Besides the fact that that last cup of coffee before the debate was way unnecessary, let's look at the holes you sprang:
1. Mentioning Souder over and over until Wise called you on it like the little midget kicking you in the shin. If you wanted to draw the line that Stutzman=Souder, fine, but to keep doing it set you up for the fall. In a related note, the "You're running against Hayhurst, not Pelosi" line would have played better if you were debating Dan Coats. Not so well here.
2.The whole "Balanced Budget Amendment" thing. Common sense (and Laurie) points out that if you force a spend-happy government to balance the budget without including a SPENDING FREEZE, you will end up twice as fubared as before because they will be more likely to up the taxing than to cut the spending. And asking Wise that question was a softball right back at you. For a moment, I thought all three candidates were working against Hayhurst.
3.I know it was a note of politeness on their part, but I really wish somebody would have busted you for spending half of each response talking about the question before.
4.The one thing I hadn't thought of until Wise got you (again) on it: You sound just like Stutzman and Wise NOW... what happens when Pelosi et. al. start twisting your arm? I'm not accusing you of being a CINO... just wondering about your ability to be tough under that kind of pressure.
Unfortunately, for me, the one good thing (that wasn't something that everybody agreed on) from Hayhurst was his stance against free trade, a subject I've loathed from day one. Hayhurst's agreement on "sealing the borders" was refreshing and appreciated, but I wonder if he realizes how few friends he'll make in the White House and Congress- especially among the Californians who depend on illegals registered under "motor-voter" laws to get elected in the first place.
Stealing a page from Heather and Mark, I'll give Stutzman a B, Wise a C+ and a lecture on plaigerizing, and ask Dr. Tom if he wants a retake on this one.