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Richard Piatt ReportingThe Republican presidential hopefuls, all 10 of them, faced off in the first GOP debate of the campaign season, and a post-debate poll has declared a winner.
This was a poll of California voters who watched the debate. Here in Utah, there is evidence another candidate was the favorite: Mitt Romney.
From the war in Iraq...
"I would not have mismanaged the war." -- Sen. John McCain
"It's important that we finish the job, that we do it right, rather than having to some day go back and do it over." -- Mike Huckabee
"Well, I've always personally been pro-life." -- Mitt Romney
"I probably have the most experience in dealing with security. I had to take a city that had a lot of crime and reduce it." -- Rudolph Giuliani
Ten Republican candidates worked to make an impression. At Simi Valley's Reagan Presidential Library was a fast-moving list of questions and answers with a few light-hearted moments. When asked if it would be good for America to have Bill Clinton back in the White House, Romney replied, "You've got to be kidding."
In the end, a Survey USA poll of 317 California debate watchers declared Rudolph Giuliani the "winner" of this first debate, with 30 percent. Sixteen percent said they weren't sure; Romney came in third, with McCain close behind and the others in the single digits.
This first impression is just one of a series of hurdles the candidates have to cross. Fundraising is another. Here in Utah, organizers combined the two with a debate-watch party and a Mitt Romney for President fundraiser.
Gold-medal Olympians Derrick Parra and Jimmy Shea co-hosted the event.
"I have given money to his campaign and I will do anything I can to help his campaign," Shea said.
Among at least some Thursday night was an open mind, since it is still early and there are 10 candidates. In case you're wondering, yes it is early for presidential debates. A lot of people are taking an early interest in this campaign, though, and the candidates are hoping to speed up their campaign's momentum.