Unfortunately, I went out tonight and screwed up the TiV0ing. I'll read the transcript tomorrow. But, for now, if you've got anything to say, go ahead.
ADDED: I'm listening to commentary on CNN, and they all seem to think that Giuliani won. "He had a Ronald Reagan" moment, they're saying (after something Ron Paul said about Iraq).
MORE: I wonder how many people watched this debate. I only noticed that there was a debate when I was reading the newspaper the day of the event. I immediately went to set the TiVo, but it was not listed as a program. I had to go look at the newspaper and see what channel and time it was on. I went back to the TiVo and set it for what I thought was right, that is, setting it for the Fox News show the debate preempted. But I made the time zone mistake, and only got the second hour of the show.
I started to watch the second hour, but I felt like I'd missed the main action and quit after a few minutes. In fact, I got to see the part where Giuliani jumped in after Ron Paul suggested that we'd provoked the 9/11 attacks. Big deal! Paul is an unimportant character, and the occasion for outrage was obvious. So Giuliani had the fire to take advantage of the situation. It didn't matter to me, because I don't care about Paul. In fact, one of the reasons I turned off the TV was that I had no patience for watching all the minor candidates (even knowing I can fast-forward through them).
I also saw the part where they talked about torture, and I do think this was significant. McCain took a clear stand against torture and made a solid and nicely understated reference to the torture he himself endured in Vietnam. After that, Giuliani aggressively embraced "enhanced interrogation techniques," a term used by Brit Hume in posing the question to him, and it seemed like a stark contrast to McCain, even though Giuliani's answer included a quick line rejecting torture. Romney followed on and seemed to copy Giuliani.
So, though I only saw a little, it seems I saw what the news reports are saying was the liveliest part of the debate. Why, then, did I turn it off? It was too late at night for politics for me. I was tired and annoyed at my TiVo mistake and irritated at having to see candidates who have no chance of winning. But also, I think some of what people are crediting as liveliness was created by applause and cheering from the audience, and I intensely disliked this interrupting crowd noise. I though Fox News should have required the audience to keep quiet, the way MSNBC did with the two previous debates.
I wonder if this audience response is the reason Rudy Giuliani gave a better performance: He does well playing to a crowd and gets energy from people. This may seem cheap or unfair in a debate, but it's probably a quality you want your candidate to have as he goes out on the campaign trail.