Yesterday's Republican debate on MSNBC had some fireworks between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani, but the one man people focused on was Fred Thompson. How would he do in his first debate? Judging from some of the comments I've seen from both sides of the aisle...not so well.
I'll admit Fred's on my short list of Presidential candidates, but after yesterday's performance, he may not be on too many people's short lists. He didn't look or sound as Presidential as he has in the past or as he can sound. He sounded flat, tired, not at all like a leader. To some, this was the sign that Fred didn't have what it takes to run for the President. To others, it was excusable because it was his first real debate.
To me, it was not a good way to get people interested in Fred. With his later entry into the race, Thompson's learning curve is a lot steeper than the others'. Commentators said he had to really impress people out of the gate or else he'd be in trouble. I tend to agree, but there's another part of the situation that isn't getting discussed: that's not Fred's style. He's more laid back than his opponents, and that can, at times, come off as being tired and flat to some.
Having said that, I think Fred needs to punch up his stump speeches and make his personal appearances memorable and enjoyable. When you're having to ask people ot applaud for you, that's a problem, especially if you're a top-tier candidate. It's time for Fred to either put his whole heart into running, or drop out and thank pepole for considering him in the first place. And after he put moderator Chris Matthews in his place, it's safe to say Fred has at least some fire in the belly. So, it's a matter of bringing out that fire to energize Republicans. I hope he does that or else he'll pull down Ron Paul-style numbers and be tossed out of the race.