The Spectacle Blog

Tonight’s Debate, Part IV

By on 9.7.11 | 9:50PM

At last, some discussion of what's going on in the world. Huntsman wants the troops to leave Afghanistan, and then makes an utterly wrongheaded comment, namely that we need to do "nation-building at home." I bet he wishes he had that one back, or at least I hope he does.

From the other end of the spectrum, Santorum calls Huntsman and Paul "isolationist." Not a helpful term, and certainly not accurate.

Easily Perry's worst moment in the debate: fielding a question on his understanding of climate science. He stumbles over his answer, and fails to present a convincing economic argument against emissions-reduction schemes. Works in one line about the preponderance of climatologists who believe in global warming -- "Galileo got outvoted for a spell" -- but that's not going to go far in winning over the folks he needs.

Newt has had a few catchy lines throughout the debate, but his claim that he'd fire Ben Bernanke falls flat. He might as well say that he'd fire Sonia Sotomayor. Romney also mounts a strong criticism of Bernanke's policies for being inflationary, but it doesn't sound heartfelt. Relatedly, his top economic adviser (Greg Mankiw) recently defened Bernanke's record in the New York Times.

And, after Perry defending his support of the death penalty unapologetically, just like that, we're done. No closing statements, no last words, no goodbyes, just a quick sign-off by Brian Williams and it's over.

Reactions: Romney and Perry both did well, with Romney making fewer mistakes but also scoring fewer points with conservatives. I thought there would be a possibility of Huntsman breaking through in this debate; that didn't happen at all. Bachmann was definitely hurt by the lack of questions directed her way. Santorum did a lot with the few he was asked, Gingrich and Cain less so. Paul was hampered by the fact that he always received weird hypotheticals instead of relevant questions.

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