CNN did very well at “spreading the wealth around” and letting all the candidates have their “fair share” of the time, which is what really should be happening right now. This debate was much better than was the offering by MSNBC. I liked the questions being asked by people instead of by media-types, and credit to Wolf for not taking too much of the spotlight upon himself.
I thought Rick Perry was an epic FAIL tonight and was shown for a lot of "progressive" tendencies. He was shown to be horrible on immigration, and Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum cleaned his clock on the human papillomavirus shot issue. There’s a lot to learn about Rick Perry, and he’s not off to a great start.
I really liked Mrs. Bachmann's firm stand on Obamacare. She laid out there for all to understand just how knowledgeable she is on the subject, and that must be seen as valuable. I thought she had a much better night than she had the other night on MSNBC, which has largely to do with that networks effort to make it a two-man boxing match. If you didn’t see it, her interview with CNN’s John King immediately after the debate was strong as well. King, being the flaming lib he is, just couldn’t understand how forcing children to be vaccinated for human papillomavirus was an offense to individual liberties and more of a Statist position.
Mitt Romney's "Churchill" moment was epic. Romney is getting hammered on Romneycare but he is doing a decent job of defining it as a Tenth Amendment issue, and I believe he is correct in that respect. He did his usual decent job of not taking too many sharp jabs or strong body-blows, and should come out polling much better against Perry.
Herman Cain is awesome at running a business, I can see that. We all can see that. Unfortunately I suspect he is just not quite refined enough, and just not quite ready for prime time. Having said that; I definitely believe Mr. Cain needs to be listened to as the process moves forward, and should definitely be given a cabinet position or perhaps be made the authority on deregulating all the regulation, as he discussed tonight.
Rick Santorum had a couple of good moments. He is definitely tried and true conservatism in a “blue” state, and must be given credit for holding his core principles. He has said some things that will never play in the general, though, and that’s too bad. Like Cain, Santorum is a strong voice as the process moves forward, and deserves to be listened to, but I suspect he just can’t win.
Newt Gingrich keeps giving a solid answer to every question asked of him. Newt is definitely the smartest guy in the room. He has the most and perhaps the best ideas, and he has a world of experience. It’s a shame he has a ton of personal baggage and in the opinion of some comes across as angry (I don’t see it). I think he is working on the “angry” thing, and I think it is helping him get more questions and more time in the debates. Newt just might surprise us before all is said and done.
Ron Paul really lost it tonight. He is even going to lose credibility on his fiscal smarts as this thing moves forward if he isn’t careful, because you just don’t lecture Americans about terrorism by parroting the excuses put forward by terrorists. Being able to tell us what Osama bin Laden said tells me you listened to your enemy but it doesn’t make your enemy’s words true, nor does it make those words a view around which you build foreign policy. While I agree we should not have a $1billion embassy in Iraq, I find Ron Paul’s overall stance ineffective and in some cases downright frightening. America is not a completely isolationist nation, and can never be. I did appreciate Dr. Paul’s position on individual responsibility when asked about the person on life support. That’s a tough question and he handled it as well as it could have been handled.
Jon Huntsman was there too. I wonder how long that experiment will last. Mr. Huntsman seems like a very nice man. He has a beautiful family. He is not going to win the Republican nomination, nor should he. Huntsman is far too liberal, so much so that I wonder if he will run as a Democrat in 2016. He is the Charlie Crist of this election, except that he hasn’t literally repudiated his party in order to win office. Yet.
Overall, Bachmann, Gingrich, and Romney won the night, with Santorum and Cain close behind. Ron Paul and Rick Perry have issues, from which Perry might recover and Paul will not. And there’s Huntsman.