Here are pieces from the NYT, the WaTi, the WaPo, the LAT, The State (the Columbia, S.C. paper, which offers a transcript of the debate here), and, finally, NRO. The Fox News story is also worth reading.
It sounds like Rudy Giuliani seized the moment in his rebuke of Ron Paul’s claim that our Middle East policies produced 9/11, but the position he took really distinguishes him only from Paul, and not from the others. His abortion answer does distinguish him from the Republican field (and brings him very close to the modal Democratic answer--"safe, legal, and rare"). I’m still waiting for an explanation of how that position squares with "strict constructionism."
Update: NRO panelists grade the debate. Giuliani is the consensus winner. Huckabee helped himself, both with the crack about John Edwards (vice presciential, perhaps?) and with his rejoinder to Giuliani on abortion:
GOLER: You have said that you personally hate abortion but support a woman’s right to choose. Governor Huckabee says that’s like saying,
"I hate slavery, but people can go ahead and practice it."
Tell me why he’s wrong.
GIULIANI: There is no circumstances under which I could possibly imagine anyone choosing slavery or supporting slavery. There are people, millions and millions of Americans, who are of as good conscience as we are, who make a different choice about abortion.
And I think in a country where you want to keep government out of
people’s lives, or government out of people’s lives from the point of view of coercion, you have to respect that.
There are things that you can oppose, things you can be against, and then you can come to the conclusion, in the kind of democracy we have, the kind of society that we have, and the kind of society we have
where we want to keep government out of people’s personal lives, that you can respect other people’s view on this.
And I think everyone on this stage, including most Democrats, could probably very, very usefully spend a lot of time figuring out how we can reduce abortion.
GIULIANI: It’s going to take a while for the courts to figure out what to do about this. And while we’re looking at that, we should do what I did in New York, which is to try and reduce abortions as much as
you can, try to increase adoptions.
GOLER: Governor, has the mayor persuaded you?
HUCKABEE: He has not. I have great respect for the mayor, and let me tell you why I have great respect. He’s been honest about his opinion. He’s been honest about his position. And I think that’s a healthy thing for our party and for this debate.
But I’m pro-life because I believe life begins at conception. And I believe that we should do everything possible to protect that life, because it is the centerpiece of what makes us unique as an American people. We value the life of one as if it’s the life of all.
And that’s why we go out for the 12-year-old Boy Scout in North Carolina when he’s lost. That’s why we look for the 13 miners in Sago, West Virginia, when the mine explodes. That’s why we go looking for the
hikers on Mount Hood. Because we value life.
And it’s what separates us from the Islamic jihadists who are out to kill us.
HUCAKBEE: They celebrate death. They have a culture of death. Ours is a culture of life.
Now, if something is morally wrong, let’s oppose it. The honest argument is, I don’t think it’s morally wrong, and someone could take that position and then justify abortion. But if it’s wrong, then we ought to be opposed to it, and we ought to find ways to find better ways to deal with our respect for human life.