Liberal media figures and mainstream journalists alike acknowledged that Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker outperformed expectations during their Friday night debate with Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.
Even MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan conceded that Walker’s performance in the debate was “not as horrible as it could have been.” NBC News contributors, local news analysts, former Daily Beast writers, and even Walker himself agreed.
One even called Walker the winner, while another suggested that Warnock, the Democratic pro-choice preacher, appeared to be giving in to Walker’s tough criticism.
The only debate they will have before midterms features a collision between the candidates for the Georgia Senate.
Given the extensive bad press coverage Walker has endured for months, it was unexpected to hear several media members give Walker’s debate performance a reasonably favorable evaluation. Following reports that the pro-life Senate candidate previously paid for a woman to get an abortion, which Walker has denied, reporters have pursued him relentlessly.
According to Patricia Murphy, a former Daily Beast contributor and Atlanta Journal-Constitution journalist, Walker had a good evening on Friday. She wrote on Twitter, “That was the most coherent Herschel Walker I’ve ever seen, ready, forceful, direct.” There won’t be any catastrophes, which is saying something because some of those responses won’t play well.
Associated Atlanta Journal
Greg Bluestein, an NBC News contributor and Constitution reporter, noted Democratic voters who expressed disbelief at Walker’s performance in the debate.
I’m getting astonished texts from Democrats who weren’t expecting Walker to be ‘holding his own,’ he tweeted. He has been preparing for this debate for weeks, as we have already documented, and he aggressively wanted to minimize expectations.
The Atlanta Journal-summary Constitution’s of the discussion, written by Bluestein, was also distributed. Republican voters ‘thought they had ample right to celebrate,’ he wrote in it. If Walker’s clash on Friday had the potential to make or break him, as some observers feared, the Republican remained composed. The hour-long discussion, according to some of his admirers, made him a stronger candidate.
According to CNN correspondent Andrew Kaczynski, “Walker is outperforming expectations here so far IMO.”
Walker fared better than he could have, according to MSNBC commentator Mehdi Hasan, who also criticized Warnock for not pursuing Walker aggressively enough. He also disparaged the moderators of the debate.
JOY BEHAR, HOST OF “THE VIEW” AS WITH FETTERMAN, JOKES HERSCHEL WALKER COULD have experienced a stroke.
“My quick summation of the #GasenateDebate: Walker was terrible but not as bad as he might have been; Warnock should have hit back way, way harder and was far too defensive throughout.”
Fox 5 Phil Kent, an Atlanta-based political commentator, gave Walker genuine praise as opposed to grudgingly slipping him a backhanded compliment. He tweeted, “Scoring @HerschelWalker the debate winner over Democrat @ReverendWarnock,” after announcing Walker as the victor. Thought Warnock would be the aggressor, but Walker was and his opponent found it difficult to handle his superb one-liners. Gapol, gapol, gapol.