What happened
Republican presidential front-runners Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney continued sparring on the campaign trail Thursday after challenging each other’s tax-cutting credentials in this week’s GOP debate on economics. Romney criticized Giuliani for opposing a federal line-item veto intended to help cut spending. Giuliani has said Romney should have given taxpayers relief when he was governor of “Taxachusetts.”

What the commentators said
This campaign is full of surprises, said Collin Levy in The Wall Street Journal. “It's a good year for supply-siders when a former New York mayor and a former Massachusetts governor are going mano a mano over who is the baddest tax cutter east of the Mississippi.” Both candidates have “good but imperfect tax records,” so economic conservatives will have to choose carefully if they want a president with the will to fight a Democratic Congress for tax cuts.

Actually, the entire Republican Party has “abandoned” much of its traditional economic turf, said David Brooks in The New York Times (free registration). “Instead, this ground is being seized by a Democrat,” Hillary Clinton, who proposed first a tax credit for college and now “a plan to give families down the income scale access to 401(k)-style plans.” Where are the GOP proposals to help the “middle-class dreamer who longs to make good”?

Please, the GOP’s turf is safe from Clinton, said Charles Hurt in the New York Post (free registration). When President Bush proposed “diverting” a small portion of Social Security taxes into “private accounts where the feds could no longer steal it,” Clinton vowed to fight to—her words—“bury the idea.” It’s hard to take her seriously now when she says she has a plan to protect people from the day when “Social Security checks turn to rubber.”