The big question from this appearance hosted by Sean Hannity last night isn’t who won, but why Tom Campbell didn’t show. Did he hope that Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore would go after each other, doing more damage than good to both and leave him alone? They did manage to ding each other — DeVore more on the attack than Fiorina — but they also raised their own visibility in the process. Both promised to endorse the primary winner, but probably not with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm after last night. Hannity tosses the famous Reagan 11th Commandment towards the end, but suggests a rather humorous new name for his show by the end of it:
DEVORE: And when it comes to the issues, I think there are some distinctions that voters need to know about. For example, the confirmation of Sonya Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. Barbara Boxer, Carly Fiorina, Tom Campbell, all said yes.
FIORINA: Sean, you know that’s not true.
DEVORE: Well, actually you were on the record as saying that you supported her.
FIORINA: You know that’s not true.
DEVORE: Another issue is the bailout of Wall Street. When Carly Fiorina was the chief economic adviser to John McCain —
FIORINA: Also you know that’s not true.
DEVORE: — she said on MSNBC that she was in favor of the bailout of Wall Street. She was promoting it.
HANNITY: Oh boy, a fight’s about to break out. What is that 11th Commandment that Ronald Reagan…
DEVORE: It’s about issues, not personalities.
HANNITY: These are important things. And I — we invited you both on the program.
FIORINA: It’s important to know that Chuck and I have been over this ground many, many times. I am on record many, many times not supporting the bailout. The thing that I would just leave this with…
HANNITY: We can call this “Fiorina & Devore,” sort of like “Hannity & Colmes.”
I’d say they both came across well in this appearance, although DeVore certainly came across as the most aggressive. Fiorina didn’t get much of a chance to respond, but may have impressed some by attempting to pull the conversation back to Barbara Boxer. Californians may be asking themselves, “Who’s Tom Campbell?” after watching this exchange.
Update: Fixed “Amendment” to “Commandment.” Also, a Campbell supporter says that he had to teach a class that day and couldn’t get from Orange County to Simi Valley in time for the show. I can confirm from personal experience that such a drive would take hours to complete, especially during the week.