A few early notes

McCain seems grumpy. Huckabee takes a shot at Bush over Iraq. The debate format is awful.

Published May 4, 2007 12:09AM (EDT)

Sen. John McCain wins the early Mike Gravel award, for his over-heated reply to the first question, about what he would need as president to win the Iraq war. After first saying he'd need the support of the American people -- good luck, Senator -- he launched into an attack on Sen. Harry Reid for saying the war is "lost," and House Democrats for cheering the passage of the Iraq supplemental funding bill. "What were they cheering? Surrender? Defeat?" McCain shouted. Off.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took a sharp shot at President Bush by saying he'd have fired Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld before the election, and that he wouldn't have said he wasn't going to fire him, only to do it after the November vote. Huckabee got off a nice line about Bush mishandling the execution of the war because he listened to "civilians in silk ties" and not "generals with mud and blood on their boots" in the run-up to war.

McCain doesn't think we need to go to war with Iran "at this time." Whew. Giuliani thinks Iran looked into Ronald Reagan's eyes for a few minutes after his election and suddenly released the hostages. Is he that dumb, or does he think we are?

Especially with so many candidates so poorly known to the country, this rapid-response format is awful. It's all about television, not democracy.

By Joan Walsh

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