Here are my thoughts on Saturday’s GOP debate broadcast by ABC and co-sponsored by the Des Moines Register and Yahoo.
Rick Santorum – A respectable performance. He didn’t complain about not getting enough time to speak but time is running out on him. He did get a hearty laugh from the audience at the end of the debate when he said the Republican National Committee didn’t know his name when he first got elected Congress. Quin Hillyer has a good take on Santorum’s dilemma.
Rick Perry – He had several good moments during the debate. Perry was the voice of reason when the other candidates were arguing over Newt Gingrich’s statement about the Palestinians. He drew solid applause when he said that President Obama’s foreign policy was the problem, not Newt’s statement. Perry also connected with the debate audience when he said his fidelity to his wife “is stronger than a Texas handshake.” Another good Perry moment was when he speaking about his childhood said that “luxury wasn’t in his lexicon.”
Perry was feeling his oats. He even felt confident to challenge Romney on the individual mandate although he wouldn’t take a $10,000 bet on it.
Mitt Romney – He had a very good night. When Newt reminded everyone he would have been a career politician had he beat Ted Kennedy in 1994, Romney said it was the best thing that ever happened to him. He was less solid ground when it came to the discussion on Israel. But he was quick on the draw and seemed to connect with the audience more than usual. When Bachmann asserted he wouldn’t repeal Obamacare, Romney drew big applause when he said, “Oh yes, I would.”
Newt Gingrich – Prior to tonight, not so much as a negative word had been directed at Newt’s way. Well, that sure changed. Naturally it was to be expected with Gingrich’s rise in the polls. Of course, George Stephanopoulos put out the bait and once Romney bit everyone else jumped in. Newt was on the defensive and wasn’t at his usual ease. He drew jeers when he said that Romney would have been a career politician had he beat Ted Kennedy in 1994. However, he got back on track and more than held his own with Romney especially where it concerned Israel. From here on,
Ron Paul – He put in another solid performance and resonated with the audience throughout the night. The fact that Perry and Romney made a point of lavishing praise upon him is indication that for better or for worse he has become a powerful force in the Republican Party.
Michele Bachmann – It seemed like she was trying to get by on cuteness (i.e. “Newt Romney”, “Win, Win, Win”) although her anecdote about Palestinian indoctrination of children was poignant.
Jon Huntsman – It is amazing what he contributes to the discussion when he’s not in the room.
The next GOP debate is scheduled to take place in five days on December 15th at 9 p.m. in Sioux City and will air on the Fox News Channel.
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