Initial breaking voice and long pauses in early answers eventually smoothed out. Seemed a bit uncertain, and appeared to rely more on crammed notes and stock phrases than his famous confidence and big brain. As he got his sea legs, did a good job of talking about serious economic issues in his folksy, semi-populist manner, and he aced a pop quiz at the end by knowing the name of the prime minister of Canada (even if it appeared he had to think hard about it). Off-camera, his campaign demonstrated a heretofore-unseen ferocious mode in sending out opposition research on Giuliani and Romney. As for the candidate: Adequate for his first time out, given the pressure, but no great shakes.
By Mark Halperin
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