This was a good debate, though Fox should take note of the format used by CNN. We learn much more from the candidates when they have more than a minute to make their point. There was no clear winner. Romey and Perry both had very good performances. Gingrich had highs and a low. Bachman was throwing bombs and did poorly. Ron Paul's answers should disqualify him with all but the remaining Ron Paul zealots. Santorum and Huntsman gave good answers, but not enough to make big moves in the polls.
He had the biggest applause lines of the night when talking about the UN, the Keystone Pipeline, and liberal judges altering the Constitution. His weakest moment of the night came when Michelle Bachman kept harping on his work for Freddie Mac, characterizing his work as lobbying simply because he took a paycheck from Freddie. Newt's answer was not strong. Overall, I don't know if he helped or hurt himself - or a little of both with different constituencies.
He had a very good debate, with his strongest answer coming when asked to defend his record at Bain capital, where he bankrupted several companies and laid off workers. Romney responded that he did nothing more or less than what Obama did when he took over the running of GM. He had no major weak moments, but the claim that he has "always been a conservative," holding the same opinions, was risible. Fortunately for him, only Santorum attacked him for that. Overall, he helped himself.
I dislike this woman more each time I see her. She is not dumb, but she is one of those who, it seems to me, adopts the "conservative" view on every issue without having thought through the issue. That and she is a bomb thrower who plays fast and loose with facts, willingly contorting facts to make her points. She may have done herself some good tonight, but if so, I didn't see it. She really is the Nancy Pelosi of the Republican side, and her voice is starting to effect me like fingernails scraped across a chalkboard..
Fox nicely offered Paul a chance to push the self-destruct button. Paul began hitting that button like it owed him money. Paul's answers on Iran and his charge that America was responsible over 1,000,000 Iraqi deaths should put a stake in his campaign for all but the most zealous of the Pauline zealots.
He had another good debate, with his best moment coming when he compared his evolution of his debating skills with the evolution of Tim Tebow. He also had another "Gingrich" moment when he came to Gingrich's defense over the question of whether Gingrich had "lobbied" for Freddie Mac. Perry helped himself, but I think it is just too late for him to make a comeback.
He had good answers, as always, but he always seems a bit angry and lacks the buoyancy of Gingrich or, for that matter, Romney or Paul. It is why I think his campaign never caught on.
Like Santorum, he had good answers, but nothing outstanding. His decision to position himself from the start of his campaign as the moderate in the middle has left him as an asterisk in the primary. Nothing that he did in the debate is likely to move him in the polls.
Friday, December 16, 2011