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NUTHIN' BUT 'NET: GOP (HEARTS) HUCKABEE

By Chris Colvin, NBC News writer

Hi. Lots of reaction to the Republican YouTube debate last night, also some pooh-poohing of financial armaggeddonists everywhere (ahem) and a Christmas shopping tip from me to you.

The consensus winner of the debate is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.. NBC's Chuck Todd and the First Read team say Huckabee "stepped up his game." Rick Klein of ABC's "The Note" called him "the most consistent and confident star of a scattered, fractured stage." And Vaughan Ververs of CBS's "Horsesrace" blog called him "thoughtful and eloquent." The blogs on the right tended to agree with the MSM on this one: Erik at RedState gave it to Huckabee. John McIntyre at RealClearPolitics says Huckabee is "for real." Andrew Sullivan says Huckbee is "who the GOP now are." Jim Geraghty of NRO's Campaign Spot gave Huckabee "place" and McCain the win. And last but certainly not least, Republican voters.. they thought Huckabee won, too.

And there's the subplot of CNN's question selection. Powerline's Scott Johnson (who gave the debate win to Romney) rounds up the criticism.

As for the blogs on the left, let's let Joe and John from Americablog's liveblog from last night speak for itself.

Now to the economy, and today's GDP revision-- a whopper-- Q3 revised up an entire percentage point to 4.9%. The WSJ's Economics blog has a different explanation (put on your thinking caps for this one.. and a Hat Tip to crispy&cole at CR)

Also out today, new home sales for October.. which somewhat perversely, ticked UP a tiny bit, but only because September's number (and August's for that matter) were revised DOWN, and hard. If you can find someone better at analyzing these numbers than CalculatedRisk, let me know. (And a periodic reminder, the commenters on CR are among the most intelligent on any blog anywhere. It's worth looking.) And this is, like, the ultimate housing nightmare/tabloid crime cross-over. (Nice find the ark, also at CR-- tolda their comments section was great.)

Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters gives a smackdown to those of us (yours truly included) who've been wringing our hands over the credit meltdown, based on today's GDP revision. Don't accuse the Financial Armageddonist of ignoring other points of view! (Psssst: recalulate the GDP # with an inflation measure that has some modicum of resemblance to reality, then get back to me.) Ditto on the smackdown, from Marketwatch's Chris Pummer, who says we're "talking ourselves into a recession." (I'd respond that psychology IS what free markets are made of, but then again I don't work for Marketwatch.) And even if you buy the GDP number with .9% inflation (last seen when Eisenhower was President), it appears it's all downhill from there.

Which brings us, with apologies to Ed and Chris, to the Armageddon update. The New York Times cuts to the heart of the issue on page 1, in the right-hand lead position. Commercial credit is drying up and the implications for the economy are serious. Yves at Naked Capitalism sums up 2 days of Bloomberg reports on a financial nightmare unfolding in Florida. Its short-term investment pool (a money-market type fund) incurred some major losses and now there's been a "run" on the fund. This is money that used for stuff like.. paying teachers' salaries. (And big Hat Tip for Scott Gerstein for the Bloomberg tip yesterday.) Blogger Hellasious at SuddenDebt has cracked the code of the Credit Default Swaps (CDS)market and if you can get your mind around it, it becomes clear why he's calling said market, with a notional value of $45 Trillion, the Phantom Menace. (Hat Tip: rich at CR)

Savvy bottom-fishing hedge fund Citadel picked off some of floundering e*Trade's assets today for 27 cents on the dollar. Which raises the question of who's making boatloads of money from the current credit mess. Bloomberg reports on the latest Hedge Fund Manager sweepstakes.. and note Citadel, with performance fees that are on track to top a billion dollars this year, is in FOURTH place.

Now to Christmas shopping and, (if you'll pardon the digression) if you asked me who won the debate last night, I couldn't tell you, frankly, because part of the time it was blaring across the living room I was simultaneously engaged in a game of Lucky Ducks with a 3 year old. If you're game shopping for your 3 year old this year, my advice would be, avoid Lucky Ducks unless you enjoy battery-powered quack-induced migranes and the fact that 3 rounds of Lucky Ducks is about all you can keep your kid interested in before the Ducks start flying, and, when one comes in contact with your eye socket, it hurts. A lot. If I had only had today's New York Times yesterday! Because the Times reports that toddlers don't want to play Lucky Ducks. They want computers, cell phones, and video games.. and not "pretend" ones either. But bless Scott Reeves at Minyanville who says bah-humbug! to the electronic toy thing.

And blogger Jon Swift has some modest proposals for journalists everywhere. Read it. Learn it. Live it.