Fred Kicked Ass.

It would appear that his South Carolina strategy has a chance.

According to pretty much everyone (but the Ronulans who stuffed the FoxNews electronic ballot box last night) Fred Thompson won last night’s debate. Examples:

I think it’s clear that Thompson ran away with the debate. His answers, after the first one, were decisive, appropriately aggressive, and clearly conservative.

I’m really not sure who came in second. I’ll just say everyone but Ron Paul came in second. Fred Thompson was the Only Important Man on the Stage tonight. The Sundries Shack

Fred … win, place and show.Mark Levin

Tonight, Fred Reminded Me of Roy Hobbs.

Winner: Thompson. This performance was so commanding, I wanted his last answer to echo back to the lights in the back of the auditorium, blow out all the lamps and spotlights, for the theme to “the Natural” to play, and for him to trot around the stage in slow motion while sparks showered down in the background.Jim Geraghty

Fred Thompson is not only winning this debate, he is giving the most commanding debate performance we’ve seen from any candidate in either party since the beginning of this endless primary process.John Podhoretz

Fred was trying to raise $540k by today for advertisements in South Carolina. He blew through that number this morning. The campaign changed the call to see if they could make $750k by midnight. As I write this, they show they’ve collected $754k, and there’s still time left.

It’s been a slow start. As Katherine Jean Lopez put it:

Okay, where has this Fred Thompson been for the last year? This is the man who published commentaries with us last year. This is the man who people wanted to draft. This is the conservative guy conservatives are attracted to.

Small “L” libertarians, too. But now we will see if he can build some momentum. South Carolina is not a “winner take all” primary state, so I’d say at a guess that Fred really needs to take second place if he is to retain a chance going into Super Tuesday. He’s going to have to do something to get the media to point cameras at him. Standing on that stage and describing Huckabee accurately was one thing. The very analytical Bob Krumm thinks Fred is playing a chess game, deliberately attacking the pieces necessary to clear a path. He makes a pretty convincing argument.

But without eyeballs on him, he’s just not going to have name recognition going in to the polls.

I really hope that he’s as much of a chess master as this game requires.

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