Saturday night brought a bit of a variance from the standard event televised with the GOP presidential primary candidates. Former Arkansas Governor Huckabee, now a Fox News Channel show host, held a two hour forum with the candidates. It was a breath of fresh air.
I was dubious at first, not being a big Huckabee fan myself, but the man did as he should have done - he was the host and let others do the questioning. The questioners were a three person panel of current Attorneys General in the states of Virginia, Florida and Oklahoma. They were tough and fair in the questions put forth to all of the candidates. No one got off easily. All were expected to expand on answers, not allowed to just make a short quip of an answer. No easy slogans were allowed.
It was refreshing.
Though it could have been looked upon as more of a job interview with each candidate, that is acceptable. It is a job interview, this process. These people are interviewing to hold the most powerful political office in the world.
All of the GOP candidates participated except for Herman Cain, who earlier in the day "suspended" his campaign, and Jon Huntsman. It was not a good move for Huntsman to pass on this format - as a former Governor and diplomat, he would have done well.
Governor Perry did very well. He was visibly more relaxed and looked more confident than in the traditional debate events. He held his own and made no gaffes.
No new ideas were moved forward but the candidates were made the better for being expected to elaborate on stances and questioned about ideas. Governor Perry shined as questions dealt with states rights versus federal responsibilities. Governor Romney was able to show that he now has a smooth and concise answer to the question of Romneycare vs Obamacare. Newt Gingrich was in his element as he was able to sound like a history professor, appropriately so.
The two hour event was well worth watching, if for no other reason than to watch candidates on an individual basis.