Each candidate’s answer is paraphrased below, followed by my grade.
Mitt Romney: Ten thousand times yes! How could he not? I am the new incarnation of Ronald Reagan. On every issue I am his twin brother from another mother. How many times can I say the name Ronald Reagan in answering this one question? Even where there are issues that he never had to deal with, were he alive today, Ronald Reagan would agree with me. And even on amnesty, which he supported, he would agree with with my opposition to that practice today. No one can resist my hypnotic charm, even including Ronald Reagan.
Grade: C+ Only his audacity redeems this wretched glory grab by Romney. If you’re going to claim the endorsement of a dead man, maybe it’s a good thing to do so with enthusiasm.
John McCain: Ronald Reagan would have hated Mitt Romney. President Reagan was a man of principle, unlike Governor Romney. Always stuck with his principles, as I do. In fact President Reagan does endorse me, because I have always been a faithful and dependable footsoldier in his revolutionary army.
Grade: C McCain attempts to kneecap his rival and gets mixed results. His answer was in turns petty and introspective, and he ended up making Romney look one inch shorter, while he made himself look two inches shorter.
Ron Paul: As a matter of fact he did endorse me; he campaigned for me in 1978. I don’t know who he would endorse. Gold standard. Financial genius. Inflation. Dollar weak on the international market. Doom!
Grade: B Paul made a couple of salient points and managed to highlight his own long career in the House of Representatives, then slipped back into normal Ron Paul mode and droned for another minute or two without saying anything.
Mike Huckabee: I wish! But who really knows? Anyway, let me endorse Ronald Reagan. Reagan was a great president because he inspired Americans. I hope I’m worthy of his respect and endorsement. Hey, Nancy – I see you there in the front row. *wink*
Grade: B+ Huckabee’s answer was humble and respectful, but he seemed to recognize that he had knocked it out of the park and got a little cute at the end.