As the Floridian vote trickles in, the press indulge in Giuliani death watch, while Republican candidates try very hard to ignore President Bush and his last, underwhelming State of the Union address…

Pipe down W: I bet the Republican candidates, in their heart of hearts, wish Bush hadn’t given a State of the Union last night. It wasn’t anything he said, but that he said it to a national audience. The GOP contenders hail Reagan every few minutes, but they try their best to ignore the president. They talk about how Washington is broken and they’re going to fix it. They talk about how the Republican Party lost its way on spending, or how the war was mismanaged, or how we need a new approach on immigration. And who has been the leader of their party during these last seven years, whose name has been all but airbrushed from their speeches and debates? GWB. — Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post

Over here! President Bush had a simple underlying message in his final State of the Union speech Monday night. I’m still here.Susan Page, USA Today

The Bush that might’ve been: Americans last night saw both the George W. Bush they have come to know over seven years as president and a glimpse of another Bush that might have been — a moderate leader talking of compromise on measures to enhance energy conservation, fight climate change, and restore economic security.Peter S Canallos, The Boston Globe

Death watch – Giuliani: After tonight, Rudy’s campaign will probably become a mere memory from the 2008 election. This morning, while flying out of Washington, D.C., a newsstand in the airport was selling candidate-themed t-shirts. There was Rudy, staring at me with the White House behind him. I laughed as I realized that this t-shirt was as close as he was ever going to get. — Trailhead, Slate

Death watch — Huckabee: Huckabee joined the ranks of the walking dead after he lost South Carolina and his money dried up. But unlike Bill Richardson as he faded away, Huckabee actually has some bite left. If the race becomes a McCromney affair, only Mike Huckabee can stop evangelicals from gravitating toward Mitt. Lately, it seems he’s been auditioning for a role as McCain’s VP, and rightly so: If Johnny Mac wins Florida, it will be partly thanks to Huckabee.Trailhead, Slate

The ad-spend: McCain was at a huge disadvantage when it came to money spent on television advertising in Florida. The Nielsen Company reported Monday that from Jan. 1 to Jan. 22, Rudolph Giuliani’s campaign had aired 2,878 TV spots in Florida, Romney had aired 1,392 — but McCain only 470. The cumulative ad spending leader in the state since March was Romney, who aired 4,475 TV spots, nearly 10 times as many as McCain did. — MSNBC

Is McCain too old? Our election routine today surely militates against advanced age. What we’ve gained in longevity and health since the Lincoln-Douglas debates, we’ve lost in the amped-up primary process. The candidates subject themselves to a schedule in which none of them gets a decent rest for two years in order that one of them might win a job in which there will be no decent rest for at least four. I suppose you can argue that that is good preparation for the presidency. Forging on, exhausted, is right up there with podium presence and policy knowledge as a basic job description. — Anna Quindlen, Newsweek 

Enemies of Clinton unite: Clinton spent so long as the dominant personality in the Democratic Party that it is easy to forget: Lots of elite Democrats never liked the guy that much. Or, perhaps more precisely, their feelings of admiration were constantly at war with feelings of disdain. — John F Harris, Politico

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey