A few points:

  • Karen, it’s okay to smile. When you’re telling Deal to put on his “big-boy pants”, it’s useful to smile a bit to take the edge off. You can attack, but you can’t disrespect- and by delivering the blows with a frown, it appears disrespectful.
  • Answer to budget problems? Deal says TAX CUTS! No surprise there.
  • Handel talks about the “barren” comment from GRTL. It’s a hurtful comment, and obviously bothers her a great deal. Again, she needs to smile when she talks about emotional issues. She comes off like a wounded person- entirely understandable, but not executive-like.
  • Has Nathan lost weight? Looks good on him.
  • Deal admits he stood with George Bush. Handel should mention that he voted for 8 unbalanced budgets under Bush as well, but she lets it slide.
  • Handel asks her question: You barely sponsored any legislation in 18 years in Congress, did taxpayers get their moneys worth? Deal is prepared for this one. Good answer, as he explains that he was never trying to take credit for things in Congress.
  • Deal asks his question, she smiles big (finally) for half a second, and then resumes the frown: Do you regret your negative attacks against Eric Johnson? She turns it back to Deal’s ethics troubles, probably doesn’t win over any EJ votes with her answer.
  • Nasty debate actually. Yuck. These two people don’t care for one another. At least Deal appeared to keep his contempt in check.

SUMMARY: Deal is a better debater, Handel held her own. Edge goes to the former Congressman, with the knowledge that Roy Barnes is licking his chops for a chance to chat on TV with one of these folks.