Florida was the best debate yet! Every candidate did well. The crowd was very much engaged. It was the first debate that was actually fun to watch. If you missed it, here is the CNN video.
When Gingrich walked in he was greeted loudly with a combination of boos and cheers. Nothing could be more appropriate for a man of his controversy. The audience was listening, thinking and objective. They voiced their approval or disapproval according to the substance of the statements made, not according to who it was that made them
Who won? They all did. The in-fighting damage was done well before this debate. However, this time the responses were high caliber and right on the mark. Every candidate looked strong and got an enthusiastic response from the audience when they liked what he said. Each one also felt the barbs of disapproval when they stepped out of line. Gingrich won the least, but they all won because they made their party look good (let’s make that ‘look better’).
Nonetheless, it is still a ‘stuck with’ list.
The more you hear Gingrich speak, the more you like him, if you are a conservative. The more you learn about him and his history, the less you like him, if you are a conservative. Some highly placed Republicans who are in a position to know him very well are absolutely certain he could never win the general election. Nonetheless, it looks like Republican voters are either stuck with him, or stuck with Romney, or stuck with one of the others lower down the heap.
The Republican Party is an embarrassment. Look who they offered to the voters since Reagan. They put up Bob Dole to unseat Bill Clinton. No contest. For a Bush they gave us George instead of Jeb. G.W. is a fine man, but Jeb was presidential material. And then came John McCain. He ran on the Republican ticket, I think.
Today the Party has such stalwarts as Rubio, Christie, Pawlenty, Thune, Jindal, Paul Ryan and more. Just when we need to be choosing a candidate from such a grand list, we are given another list from which we must pick the name we would least mind being stuck with. The Republicans best hope is a brokered convention.
Where is the fat lady and when is she going to sing? We want this to be over. But more importantly, we want the choice to be a winner in November.
There is a school of thought that says conservatives will stay home and not vote if the nominee is Romney. We don’t buy it. Too much is at stake in this one and conservatives know it. The risk with Romney is the risk of losing independents who do not share the strong aversion to Obama that is felt by voters who are clearly on the right. Still, Republicans are likely to win with Romney.
Gingrich is another story entirely. There is no doubt that his debating skills are far superior to Romney’s. Newt is tough; he is beyond intimidation and his style at the podium is refreshing to a long frustrated audience. His message plays very well to conservatives with short memories. But can he win in November?
John Hinderaker at Power Line blog doesn’t give Gingrich give a chance.
It is hard to make clear-cut statements about the mercurial and often contradictory Gingrich, but one thing we can say with absolute certainty: he will never be President of the United States.
[I]f there is anyone who ought to be broadly acceptable to conservatives, it is Romney. Certainly not Gingrich, with his earmarks, his disfavor with the conservatives he led in the House in the 1990s, his career as a lobbyist, his support for Medicare Part D, his embrace of global warming dogma, and his attacks on private equity and even free enterprise itself. Republicans have flirted with a number of potentially bad choices this election season, but voting for Gingrich would be the worst of them.
Hinderaker makes a good case. He should; he’s an attorney. But the only thing we would “say with absolute certainty” is nothing is impossible in politics. Didn’t we elect a community organizer whose goal was to socialize America and diminish her standing on the world stage? Then surely we could elect a candidate whose goal is to reverse the socialization and to restore the nation’s standing internationally – no matter the baggage.
Now where in the world is that fat lady??
From the New York Times
By JIM RUTENBERG and JEFF ZELENY
Newt Gingrich turned aside questions about his marital history at the final Republican debate before the South Carolina primary, and then took on Mitt Romney
Turned aside ?? Good heavens and mercy me, Gingrich did not turn it aside; he threw it back in their face! “and then he took on Romney”? No, New York Times, not quite. And then he took on the press.
Gingrich’s remarks were a virtual declaration of war on the media. When Ronald Reagan knocked the press he was polite. Mild mannered George W. Bush didn’t knock the press. You might say their styles were appeasement. Newt’s style is war.
It was not MSNBC that he was attacking. That network came fully out of the closet some time ago. It was ABC and all the other left “leaning” media that some people, believe it or not, still think report the news objectively. Gingrich has given a lot of people reason to pause and think. And that’s a good thing.
Click for video.
It was the most significant primary debate thus far and may prove to be the deciding debate of the GOP primary campaign. At least it had that potential had it not been hidden under the basket of a television channel many people can’t receive. Here’s our list of winners, losers and humorists.
Winner — Mitt Romney
Romney came across more presidential than ever. There is a refreshing contrast between this man with class and grace and the one now in the White House who has a habit of putting his feet on our furniture in our House.
Second place – Herman Cain
Cain did very well in the debate, but Cain has made one big mistake. It’s his 999 tax plan. He makes a good argument for it but it will never fly with the voters. The fact that it introduces a brand new tax, a federal 9% sales tax is something only a Democrat could love.
Loser – Rick Perry
Perry wasn’t given much air time and when he did speak his responses were weak.
Best humor – Jon Huntsman
Huntsman, (he’s someone from Utah, I think), said he thought Cain’s 9.99 was a pizza price. It was said and taken in good fun. At least now Huntsman has name recognition.
Special mention – Michelle Bachman
Bachman gave a superb performance, but it’s too late. She also gets second place for for humor with her follow up on Huntsman’s 999 poke with her observation that 999 stood on it’s head becomes 666 and the devil is in the details when it comes to Cain’s plan.
Hardest hitting — Newt Gingrich
Gingrich really socked it to them, Washington that is. There should be a place for him in the government. It just won’t be as president.
Also ran – Ron Paul
Paul is an anti guy. He was a bit out of his water by virtue of the rules of the debate restricting the subject matter to the economy and the debt. He did manage to lay a good and proper lambasting on the Federal Reserve.
Worst of the night – Rick Santorum
Santorum was way below his usual self. Very disappointing.
Charley Rose of PBS moderated the event. The format was very different. No podiums, the candidates all sat at a big round “kitchen table”. For the last half hour the candidates were not questioned by the moderator. Instead, they were assigned the task of rebutting each other directly. The idea worked very well; look for more kitchen tables to come.