The Republicans had a bit a of knock-down, drag-out debate tonight in St. Petersburg. You can view video of most of the questions posed at the Republican debate on YouTube, including the somewhat odd ball opening song. The main subjects included immigration, gun control, and government spending. The Democrats did their YouTube debate back on July 27. You can see the top ten questions posed to them here. Giuliani and Romney engaged in the most interesting sparring. McCain seems to me to be increasingly irrelevant. In my opinion, his age would be a factor for me if I were a Republican voter, which I’m not. According to the Wall Street Journal, over 5,000 questions were submitted and approximately 40 were chosen, more than twice as many as were considered when the Dems debated on July 27. Immigration seems to be the defining topic for the Republicans, more so than the Second amendment. The Dems though will try to make it the Iraq war, which, if the situation is getting better, may not be their best angle of attack. I give the Republican candidates a lot of credit for showing up and debating, especially since they have debated seven times previously, and debating via YouTube doesn’t seem to fit in with the Republicans style. I think the YouTube format is great for drawing in a younger audience and getting twenty-somethings interested. Still, they did debate and with six weeks until Iowa, I think tonight showed that the two candidates with the best chances for the Republicans are in fact Giuliani and Romney. Huckabee seems to be gathering steam, but he may be running out of time. I wouldn’t try to pick a winner or a loser in these debates, but rather try and come away with a sense of how each candidate articulates his position and whether all the answers a candidate gives, taken as a whole, seem reasonable.