It would appear that the Republicans are trying for a repeat.
Attacks Sharpen Among Party's Principal Rivals
While they spent a good deal of time attacking each other much of the venom was directed towards Hillary Clinton.
Prodded by Fox News's Chris Wallace, the Republican candidates unloaded on Clinton, describing her as unfit to be commander in chief, determined to create a government-run health system and a big-spending tax hiker.Steve Benen sums it all up:
Romney derided her qualifications to be president, saying that "she hasn't run a corner store. She hasn't run a state. She hasn't run a city. She has never run anything."
When Wallace turned to Giuliani and compared him to Clinton, Giuliani said simply: "You've got to be kidding. You have got to be kidding." He quoted Clinton as saying: "I have a million ideas; America cannot afford them all," and then, with a sneer, said: "No kidding, Hillary -- America can't afford you."
McCain promised a "respectful" debate with Clinton if they end up as the nominees, but he ridiculed her for a $1 million congressional earmark for a Woodstock museum. Huckabee warned his colleagues against treating the prospect of a Clinton presidency too lightly: "There's nothing funny about Hillary being president."
To get a sense of just how obsessed Republican presidential candidates were with Hillary Clinton during last night’s debate, consider a quick numerical comparison — the GOP presidential hopefuls mentioned the Democratic frontrunner 34 times. They mentioned George W. Bush twice.
How one interprets this is a matter of perspective. If one is sympathetic to the Clinton campaign, it’s an easy spin — Republicans are desperate to tear her down because they fear her as a candidate. She’s beating them in the polls, she’s raising a ton of money, and the more people hear from her directly, the more they’re impressed. Clinton is exceeding expectations, and last night was a clear example of panic.
If one is less inclined to support the New York senator, the reverse spin is just as easy — no one unites and motivates Republicans better than Hillary Clinton. To nominate Clinton is to nominate the one person who will help the GOP put aside its differences and rally together in joint-hate.
One thing was telling, though. Fox News’ Chris Wallace confronted several of the top candidates with recent poll numbers, and each trailed Clinton in hypothetical head-to-head match-ups. Not one of those asked — Romney, Giuliani, McCain — could explain why Clinton is beating them, and what they’d do to win. Hmm.