McCain "Convincingly And Incontrovertibly Won Tonight's Debate," Delivered "The Line Of The Night"

National Journal's Marc Ambinder: "John McCain Convincingly And Incontrovertibly Won Tonight's Debate. He Was Strong, Confident, Answered Tough Questions With Ease And Dispatch, And Seemed The Most Presidential." "[I]n my judgment, John McCain convincingly and incontrovertibly won tonight's debate. He was strong, confident, answered tough questions with ease and dispatch, and seemed the most presidential." (Marc Ambinder, National Journal's Hotline "On Call" Blog, "Pre-Spin Room Thoughts: McCain, Rudy, Romney," hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com, 5/15/07)

Townhall's Matt Lewis: "McCain scores a big laugh and lots of applause with his Drunken Sailor' line." (Matt Lewis, "Townhall" Blog, "The Drunken Sailor Line Meets John Edwards At A Beauty Shop," www.townhall.com, 5/15/07)

NBC's Chuck Todd: "There's the animated McCain ..." (Chuck Todd, "First Read" Blog, "Romney, McCain Score Points," firstread.msnbc.msn.com, 5/15/07)

National Journal's Hotline "On Call" Headline: "McCain To Romney: The Line Of The Night." "McCain: I've take and kept a consistent position on campaign finance reform. I have a kept a consistent position on right to life. And I haven't changed my position on even number years and haven't changed my position based on what offices I may be running for.'" (National Journal's Hotline "On Call" Blog, "McCain To Romney: The Line Of The Night," hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com, 5/15/07)

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: McCain "Came Out Swinging" And Dropped "The Hammer." "In McCain's rebuttal, he came out swinging. He noted he had been a consistent supporter of campaign finance reform before dropping the hammer: I have not changed my position in even numbered years or based on the offices I have been running for.'" (Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post's "The Fix" Blog, blog.washingtonpost.com, 5/15/07)

The Palmetto Scoop Blog: "McCain looked strong, and was by far the best of the frontrunners." ("The Palmetto Scoop" Blog, "Live: View From Stage Right," www.palmettoscoop.com, 5/15/07)

"Eye On 08" Blog: McCain "Made A Great Impression." "John McCain did well too. I think that he really had some good lines. He made a great impression." ("Eye On 08" Blog, "Eye On 08 Blog: Final Thoughts," www.eyeon08.com, 5/15/07)

McCain "Came On Very Strong Tonight" And "Transcended The Format And The Event"

Former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R-MD): "I think John McCain came on very strong tonight. I think he was very clear and purposeful purposeful in his answers. I think he was direct." (Fox News' "Post Debate Coverage," 5/15/07)

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza: McCain Showed "Willingness To Lead And Reach Across The Partisan Aisle." "McCain seems committed tonight to standing by his support for comprehensive immigration reform and using that position as evidence of his willingness to lead and reach across the partisan aisle." (Chris Cillizza, The Washington Post's "The Fix" Blog, blog.washingtonpost.com, 5/15/07)

National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru: McCain "Gave A Very Strong Answer" On Interrogation. "I think he gave a very strong answer, especially in disputing the likelihood of the scenario envisioned by the question." (Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review's "Corner" Blog, "McCain On Torture," corner.nationalreview.com, 5/15/07)

National Journal's "The Gate": "South Carolinians love their Confederate flags, but they also love it when McCain says everyone should move on." (National Journal's "The Gate" Blog, "Liveblogging The 2nd GOP Debate," thegate.nationaljournal.com, 5/15/07)

National Journal's Marc Ambinder: McCain "Handled A Confederate Flag Question With Aplomb ... And His Responses To The Torture Questions Were, Simply, Moving - He Transcended The Format And The Event." "He handled a Confederate Flag question with aplomb. He wore the fictionally commander-in-chief hat ably, and his responses to the torture questions were, simply, moving -- he transcended the format and the event." (Marc Ambinder, National Journal's Hotline "On Call" Blog, "Pre-Spin Room Thoughts: McCain, Rudy, Romney," hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com, 5/15/07)

The New York Times' Katharine Q. Seelye: McCain "Underscored His Own Experience." "Mr. McCain then underscored his own experience as a P.O.W. and as one of the few candidates with military experience an important credential in South Carolina, home to one of the biggest populations of military retirees. He said there were sharp differences on the question of torture between those who had served in the military and those who had not. We should not torture people,' Mr. McCain said, noting that if the United States tortures prisoners, then other countries will feel free to do it to American soldiers. I think that if we agree to torture people, we would do ourselves great harm in the world. There's more to war than the battlefield,' Mr. McCain said. Every military person who has been in battle supported my position.'" (Katherine Q. Seelye, The New York Times' "The Caucus" blog, thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com, 5/15/07)

Even Other Candidates Praise McCain's Record Of Conservatism

NBC's Chuck Todd: "Huckabee just became the second candidate to hat tip' his opponent, John McCain. Rudy Giuliani was the first to agree with something McCain said. Not looking like a debate with all this agreement ..." (Chuck Todd, "First Read" Blog, "Where's The Debate?" firstread.msnbc.msn.com, 5/15/07)

Politico's Jonathan Martin: "Rudy, citing McCain's line, notes that the terrorists want follow us home." (Jonathan Martin, "All Iraq In The First 15 Minutes," www.politico.com, 5/15/07)