Who was the night’s biggest winner?

posted at 10:05 am on June 14, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

After writing a curmudgeonly rant (or two) about one of the worst debate productions ever seen, I suppose I owe a word or two about how the candidates did.  Frankly, none of them turned in an inspiring or inspired performance, although all of them did at least a competent job.  I spent two hours looking for a breakout candidate or a charismatic performance that would stand out and frame the rest of the primary race.  Instead, perhaps as a result of the silliness and grunting foisted on us by CNN and its moderator John King, none of them stood out much from the others, and none of them did much damage to themselves or each other.

I’ll offer my thoughts on each candidate in no particular order:

  • Mitt Romney – He came into the debate as a weak frontrunner, and he went out the same way.  He did well, and just as he did in 2007-8, came across as an affable, competent executive and speaker.  He had the most to lose in the debate and managed to protect his position, in part because of the efforts of the other Republicans to attack Barack Obama rather than each other.  He stumbled only once, in saying that the Afghans needed to liberate themselves from the Taliban, who are, er, also Afghans.  Otherwise, he did well and reminded everyone why he was John McCain’s strongest challenger in the last cycle.  He was, as always, cool and collected.
  • Tim Pawlenty – Pawlenty will get crucified for his refusal to back up his “ObamneyCare” attack from a few days ago when faced with Romney on the stage, and in part deservedly so — but only because the candidates agreed to the sound-bite format in the first place.  On policy and substance, Pawlenty did fine, but he needed to outperform Romney to start building traction early.  At best this was an opportunity missed, and a reminder that it’s going to be tough to beat Romney in the debates.
  • Michele Bachmann – Bachmann’s good performance seems to have caught everyone by surprise except me.  The media paints Bachmann as a wild-eyed nut, but I’ve known her for years, and she’s very sharp and quick-witted.  She didn’t make any mistakes, and perhaps more than anyone last night allowed her personality to shine, impressing even Dana Milbank.  She can play with the big boys, as she will prove again and again, but other than the surprise factor, Bachmann turned in a solid but not breakout performance.  She’ll get a decent bump in polling after last night.
  • Newt Gingrich – Gingrich had nothing to lose last night and let it rip.  As always, he provided excellent analysis and spin, but Gingrich has a problem in debate formats, which is that he doesn’t like to be challenged — and it shows.  He looked angry and argumentative, and at times almost resentful.  He didn’t demonstrate the kind of poise that usually impresses in this format, and while some of that might be welcome in a hostile environment, Gingrich didn’t apply his annoyance where it would have counted … at the inane “This or That” questions.  It was impossible for Gingrich to hurt himself, but he didn’t exactly help himself either, especially when he appeared to endorse McCarthyism.
  • Herman Cain – Other than his attempt to defuse the issue of Muslims working in his government, Cain did a pretty good job, but nowhere near the blockbuster performance the last time.  That’s OK; it’s still early in the season for all of these candidates, and like college football, it’s the late losses that count, not the early ones.  He needs to regroup a little and try to muscle the conversation more towards his strengths on the economy and jobs, which CNN avoided like the plague last night to his disadvantage.
  • Rick Santorum – It’s been a while since I’ve seen Santorum in this context, and he looked and sounded good.  He also needs to muscle up a bit, but again, it’s early.  At times, Santorum seemed a little lost on stage, getting outshined by the other candidates.  It wasn’t memorable, but it’s a decent start.
  • Ron Paul – Well, if you like Ron Paul, you liked him last night, and if you don’t, you saw what you normally saw.  Other than Bachmann, he may have allowed more of his actual personality out than the other candidates, but again, that’s not necessarily a good thing for his electoral chances.  Paul offered a completely incoherent answer on emergency room treatment that ended up opposing attacks on the Catholic Church while offering the suggestion that Catholics fund indigent care.  On the other hand, he picked Blackberries over iPhones, so it’s a wash, I guess.

The biggest winner for me was None of the Above.  There is plenty of room for a charismatic, accomplished candidate to jump into this race and outshine the field as it stands at the moment.  For some that will be Sarah Palin, but I’d say that the 2-hour performance was a gilt-edged invitation to Rick Perry to join the field and command the stage.

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Mitt Romney didn’t get one Global Warming or Crap and Tax question, so the entire exercise was FAIL to me.
And Santorum this morning is saying : “Hey I was there, too!”

Marcus on June 14, 2011 at 10:08 AM

For some that will be Sarah Palin, but I’d say that the 2-hour performance was a gilt-edged invitation to Rick Perry to join the field and command the stage.

It’s an invitation to both. Either one gets in, they’ll be neck-and-neck with Mittens as the frontrunner. And based on his lackluster performance last night, he’ll be easy pickins.

Doughboy on June 14, 2011 at 10:09 AM

We didn’t watch the debate, but I still am going with Palin/West R. Next would be Perry/West.
L

letget on June 14, 2011 at 10:09 AM

So Ed has forsaken Pawlenty and is jumping on Perry’s bandwagon now.

promachus on June 14, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Regular or de-caf?

HAPPY FLAG DAY!!!

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:10 AM

great analysis Ed.

ted c on June 14, 2011 at 10:10 AM

It still felt like preseason last night, or someone(s) got a first round bye in the contest

ConservativePartyNow on June 14, 2011 at 10:10 AM

I have given this some thought. I think Rush Limbaugh should sponsor a debate and be the moderator. We would really know how the candidates fare after 2 or 3 hours of a debate with a real conservative calling the shots.

karenhasfreedom on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

gh on June 14, 2011 at 9:52 AM

Why do you assume Perry will vault to the top? There’s not much polling but what’s there isn’t showing him good. He comes last even in Texas.

promachus on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Let the Power of Perrystroikas fill the nation!

HondaV65 on June 14, 2011 at 10:12 AM

It’s an invitation to both. Either one gets in, they’ll be neck-and-neck with Mittens as the frontrunner. And based on his lackluster performance last night, he’ll be easy pickins.

Doughboy on June 14, 2011 at 10:09 AM

One of them already is.

steebo77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:12 AM

He stumbled only once, in saying that the Afghans needed to liberate themselves from the Taliban, who are, er, also Afghans.

No, actually he said we need to turn the government over to the Taliban, and then he quickly corrected himself and said the Afghans. I saw the military officer literally stiffen when he said it, and then relax when he corrected himself.

fossten on June 14, 2011 at 10:12 AM

I have given this some thought. I think Rush Limbaugh should sponsor a debate and be the moderator. We would really know how the candidates fare after 2 or 3 hours of a debate with a real conservative calling the shots.

karenhasfreedom on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

+10

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Why do you assume Perry will vault to the top? There’s not much polling but what’s there isn’t showing him good. He comes last even in Texas.

promachus on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Do you have a link to that? Who comes in first in Texas? Romney???? Honestly – I just don’t see Texans going for Romney or T-Paw – maybe Bachmann but ..

HondaV65 on June 14, 2011 at 10:13 AM

PALIN was the winner.

I thought Bachmann’s announcement last night was most inappropriate.

stenwin77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:13 AM

He comes last even in Texas.

promachus on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Oh, let me guess. The little Austin newspaper that has a circulation of about 14 that showed Perry behind Romney. In (choke) Texas.

Marcus on June 14, 2011 at 10:13 AM

The big question is to whom will Pawlenty, Cain, Gingrich, and Santorum supporters start flocking.

steebo77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:14 AM

So Ed has forsaken Pawlenty and is jumping on Perry’s bandwagon now.

promachus on June 14, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Where do you read that? I see his contention that Perry will jump in, but not that he’s supporting him.

KingGold on June 14, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Wow Ed, your analysis is completely opposite of most I’ve seen today. Everyone is pushing the ABP duo of Romney/Bachmann.

My view more closely mirrors yours I think, but I would say in the Cain/Bachmann bloc, she improved her standing, while he hurt himself.

I hope Palin (or Perry if she doesn’t) gets in soon, I’m still not overwhelmed by any of the “above”.

davek70 on June 14, 2011 at 10:14 AM

karenhasfreedom on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Excellent idea! I wonder if he has ever been asked in the past to moderate. He’s unconvential and would create an interesting atmosphere for the forum.

sherry on June 14, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Things to start googling:

Rick Perry bi-national health insurance
Rick Perry ACORN
Rick Perry undocumented workers

MadisonConservative on June 14, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Perry gets in at least the debates might liven up some.

djohn669 on June 14, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Why do you assume Perry will vault to the top? There’s not much polling but what’s there isn’t showing him good. He comes last even in Texas.

promachus on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

He’ll have to impress in his initial debate performance, but unless Perry makes a bunch of unforced errors, his record as Texas governor has to make him a formidable challenger to Mittens.

Doughboy on June 14, 2011 at 10:15 AM

He stumbled only once, in saying that the Afghans needed to liberate themselves from the Taliban, who are, er, also Afghans. Otherwise, he did well and reminded everyone why he was John McCain’s strongest challenger in the last cycle. He was, as always, cool and collected.

The reaction of the officer in the audience when he accidently said “hand it off [Afganistan] to the Taliban Military” was priceless.

Jon Fezzik on June 14, 2011 at 10:15 AM

MadisonConservative on June 14, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Rick Perry HPV
Rick Perry Xavier Rodriguez

KingGold on June 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Oh, let me guess. The little Austin newspaper that has a circulation of about 14 that showed Perry behind Romney. In (choke) Texas.

Marcus on June 14, 2011 at 10:13 AM

It was actually a UT poll (as in University of Texas). The results were:

Sarah Palin 12%
Newt Gingrich 11%
Ron Paul 10%
Mike Huckabee 10%
Mitt Romney 7%
Michele Bachmann 7%
Donald Trump 6%
Tim Pawlenty 4%
Rick Perry 4%
Rick Santorum 3%
Jon Huntsman 1%
Mitch Daniels 1%
Someone else 10%
Don’t know 14%

Survey of 388 registered Republicans was conducted May 11-18, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 4.98 percentage points.

steebo77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Rick Perry HPV
Rick Perry Xavier Rodriguez

KingGold on June 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Rick Perry Trans Texas Corridor

steebo77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM

PALIN was the winner.

I thought Bachmann’s announcement last night was most inappropriate.

stenwin77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:13 AM

The venue choice for Bachmann’s announcement was CNN or Facebook.

It was close.

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:17 AM

steebo77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Let RINO’s and the left mess with Texas.

Pain is a good teacher.

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

I was the big winner, because I let others here watch it for me and so spared myself the spectacle.

Palin Bachmann 2012

Bishop on June 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Yeah. Perry definitely needs to jump in.

Southernblogger on June 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Spot on, Ed. The problem with Perry is that the Left will paint him as another Bush cowboy from Texas. Not a show stopper, but a real angle the Left will pursue.

Perry/Bachmann 2012!!!!

NickDeringer on June 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

It was actually a UT poll (as in University of Texas).

steebo77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:16 AM

No offense, but UT in the heart of Austin is not gonna give an accurate breakdown of the Texas electorate. Look, if Perry gets in, he’ll easily win Texas. It won’t even be close. Even Palin would pass on campaigning down here.

Doughboy on June 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

I have given this some thought. I think Rush Limbaugh should sponsor a debate and be the moderator. We would really know how the candidates fare after 2 or 3 hours of a debate with a real conservative calling the shots.
karenhasfreedom on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

And none of this 2 hour wimpy stuff.

How about making it like American Idol. Start with all the candidates asked questions for 2 hours. Then vote off the 2 poorest performers. Another 2 hours of questioning. Vote for top 2. Then head to head for 1 hour.

huckleberryfriend on June 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Perfect bumper sticker for 2012 – it represents Obama ideally, in his own words

“That’s what drives me every day when I walk down to the oval office,”

This man is a dummy, a moving endless carnival of stupidity.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Other things to start Googling:

Obama economics
Obama foreign policy
Obama ACORN
Obama unemployment

catmman on June 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Spot on, Ed. The problem with Perry is that the Left will paint him as another Bush cowboy from Texas. Not a show stopper, but a real angle the Left will pursue.

Perry/Bachmann 2012!!!!

NickDeringer on June 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

That might’ve scared me a year or two ago, but thanks to Obama exhausting the “blame Bush” card, I don’t think that’s gonna work on Perry. Besides, his record speaks for itself. It’s not spotless, but being the top job creator in the nation for several years running is a big deal when jobs will be the #1 issue in 2012.

Doughboy on June 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM

MadisonConservative on June 14, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Wait – are you saying that Perry isn’t PURE??!!

Le Gasp!

Question is – is he more “pure” than RomneyCare – I think we know the answer to that.

Perry won Texas with 55% of the vote – last year.

He beat KBH in the primaries to the tune of 51% to 30% … he smoked the woman.

So this talk that Texans won’t support Perry is a lot of RomneyCare wishcasting. They most certainly supported him as recently as the last election.

HondaV65 on June 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I don’t care what anyone says about Romney – I will never vote for him, so there!

sticks out tongue

disa on June 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I think Rush Limbaugh should sponsor a debate and be the moderator. We would really know how the candidates fare after 2 or 3 hours of a debate with a real conservative calling the shots.

karenhasfreedom on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Rush would talk for 2 of the 3 hours.

itsnotaboutme on June 14, 2011 at 10:22 AM

If the ‘insiders’ force Romney on us, what it’s saying is that the insiders would prefer to keep Obama than listen to the rank and file. A Romney nomination would mean a Obama victory; simple as that.

michaelo on June 14, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Perry. Besides, his record speaks for itself. It’s not spotless, but being the top job creator in the nation for several years running is a big deal when jobs will be the #1 issue in 2012.

Doughboy on June 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I think this argument could be the gut response come November 2012 (for everyone who isn’t blindly allegiant to Democrats or progressive black presidents).

disa on June 14, 2011 at 10:24 AM

It was actually a UT poll (as in University of Texas).

Ummm…that doesn’t give it any more credibility you know.

Have you ever been to UT?

Better get your hippy/lib anti-virus injections prior to going to Austin, let alone the UT campus.

Oh, some tie-dye camo would be a good idea as well.

catmman on June 14, 2011 at 10:24 AM

catmman on June 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM

You saw that too!

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Rush would talk for 2 of the 3 hours.

itsnotaboutme on June 14, 2011 at 10:22 AM

And the media would just embargo it in any case. According to them, nobody cares about Republicans preaching to the choir.

Plus, it’s pretty obvious that Rush would be biased as all hell against Romney and in favor of Palin.

KingGold on June 14, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Other things to start Googling:

Obama economics
Obama foreign policy
Obama ACORN
Obama unemployment

catmman on June 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Check car sales today
Housing
Youth and Black unemployment

Only golfing and misery are up. But Michelle says that no one has better work ethics than her ‘husband’.

Schadenfreude on June 14, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Sarah Palin 12%
Newt Gingrich 11%
Ron Paul 10%

Mike Huckabee 10%
Mitt Romney 7%
Michele Bachmann 7%
Donald Trump 6%
Tim Pawlenty 4%
Rick Perry 4%
Rick Santorum 3%
Jon Huntsman 1%
Mitch Daniels 1%
Someone else 10%
Don’t know 14%

Survey of 388 registered Republicans was conducted May 11-18, 2011. The margin of error is +/- 4.98 percentage points.

Adjusted to include actual candidates and not imaginary ones.

After adjustment, this poll looks pretty…stupid.

Good Lt on June 14, 2011 at 10:25 AM

If the ‘insiders’ force Romney on us, what it’s saying is that the insiders would prefer to keep Obama than listen to the rank and file. A Romney nomination would mean a Obama victory; simple as that.

michaelo on June 14, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Well, behind every rabid liberal is an enabling RINO

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Question is – is he more “pure” than RomneyCare – I think we know the answer to that.

HondaV65 on June 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I don’t know. Why don’t you look up Perry talking about “bi-national health insurance” and actually consider whether the concept he describes is worse than EVEN RomneyCare.

MadisonConservative on June 14, 2011 at 10:27 AM

No, no Perry. No Perry for the same reason no Jeb Bush.

DO NOT give Obama a blunt instrument with which to beat the GOP over the head. The “look, they want Bush, remember how much you didn’t like him” garbage will be brought up incessantly if you nominate a Governor of Texas or the man’s brother.

Look, they’re going to try to do it with something, and it doesn’t even have to be real – just look at the “McSame” nonsense and the non-stop shouts of RAAAAAAACIST! from 2008. Don’t give them an excuse.

Romney and Pawlenty were pretty clearly the adults in the room last night. Bachmann, if she becomes a serious threat to win the nomination, will be savaged, poisoned, and destroyed the way Palin was. Gingrich and Santorum might as well quit while they still have their names left. Ron Paul is Ron Paul.

Red Cloud on June 14, 2011 at 10:27 AM

I’m sorry, but this field NEEDS Perry. None of those in last nights debate will be able to defeat Obama.

Indy82 on June 14, 2011 at 10:28 AM

I think Rush Limbaugh should sponsor a debate and be the moderator. We would really know how the candidates fare after 2 or 3 hours of a debate with a real conservative calling the shots.

karenhasfreedom on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Great idea! No ‘pizza’ questions, for sure.

Cody1991 on June 14, 2011 at 10:28 AM

When even Ron Paul looks better for the job than the President that’s a long ways from unbeatable.

Speakup on June 14, 2011 at 10:29 AM

From a speech by Rick Perry:

Legislation authored by border legislators Pat Haggerty and Eddie Lucio establishes an important study that will look at the feasibility of bi-national health insurance. This study recognizes that the Mexican and U.S. sides of the border compose one region, and we must address health care problems throughout that region. That’s why I am also excited that Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar is working on an initiative that could extend the benefits of telemedicine to individuals living on the Mexican side of the border.

MadisonConservative on June 14, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I was the big winner, because I let others here watch it for me and so spared myself the spectacle.

Palin Bachmann 2012

Bishop on June 14, 2011 at 10:19 AM

+10

Badger40 on June 14, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I have given this some thought. I think Rush Limbaugh should sponsor a debate and be the moderator. We would really know how the candidates fare after 2 or 3 hours of a debate with a real conservative calling the shots.

karenhasfreedom on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Outstanding idea! Could this be the “Secret Project” he’s been working on that he plans to announce tomorrow?

Naturally Curly on June 14, 2011 at 10:30 AM

As if the media isn’t going to conduct a human wave frontal assault on ANY of the GOP’ers who become the eventual nominee; at this point in history it’s a worthless exercise to worry about the media any longer. Pick the candidate and prepare accordingly.

Bishop on June 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM

No, no Perry. No Perry for the same reason no Jeb Bush.

DO NOT give Obama a blunt instrument with which to beat the GOP over the head. The “look, they want Bush, remember how much you didn’t like him” garbage will be brought up incessantly if you nominate a Governor of Texas or the man’s brother.

Red Cloud on June 14, 2011 at 10:27 AM

He’s going to use that tactic no matter what.

“…the mistakes of the previous administration…slurpees…blah blah blah…”

We can’t choose our candidate out of fear of what the opposition will say. The best defense is a good offense and all that.

Fact is, Obama is very weak, and a strong Perry will waste him.

fossten on June 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Doughboy on June 14, 2011 at 10:21 AM

I would agree.

It all depends on how Perry handles it. Plus Bush’s reputation has been rehabbed quite nicely in the last few years. “Decision Points” was in the Amazon top 100 for almost a year. I am open to Perry. It’s all up to him.

NickDeringer on June 14, 2011 at 10:32 AM

One big procedural error all the candidates made – they faced the big screen to answer its questions, rather than Camera One. The screen doesn’t matter, the audience doesn’t matter. The folks watching at home matter. It made them all look nervous, confused and not in control. For Bachmann especially, it was painful, a throwback to her SOTU rebuttal given entirely to the wrong camera. Kinda basic unforced error, and I’m surprised no one got to them during the breaks.

paul1149 on June 14, 2011 at 10:33 AM

So all you Perry supporters are ok with:

1- in-state tuition for illegal aliens?

2- mandating your young girls to be vaccinated with a questionalble vaccine?

I think the more we know of Perry, true conservatives will find him lacking. As Levin says, “full disclosure is hell”.

stenwin77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:33 AM

No, no Perry. No Perry for the same reason no Jeb Bush.

DO NOT give Obama a blunt instrument with which to beat the GOP over the head. The “look, they want Bush, remember how much you didn’t like him” garbage will be brought up incessantly if you nominate a Governor of Texas or the man’s brother.

Red Cloud on June 14, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Jeb Bush would have potential problems, but if Obama and his team really think that Rick Perry can be inextricably linked to Dubya, they’re on crack. Perry has a solid 10 year record of his own not to mention that he can end that campaign strategery in about 5 seconds by staring Obama down at the debate and telling him he’s running against Gov. Perry, not President Bush.

Doughboy on June 14, 2011 at 10:33 AM

We can’t choose our candidate out of fear of what the opposition will say. The best defense is a good offense and all that.

fossten on June 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Agree wholeheartedly, but it does still feel like going back to the well to me.

Red Cloud on June 14, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Fact is, Obama is very weak, and a strong Perry will waste him.

fossten on June 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM

BO is so weak in every way. Just the visual of having a real man with experience debating this silly, feckless, girly-man is enough to make me smile.

Cody1991 on June 14, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Well, I was lukewarm about her, but since the e-mail dump, I have learned that Palin was definitely not just another empty suit (or skirt and boots, yowza).

She has been exposed as a competent, high-functioning (thanks, Baldwin) executive of a state that has complex and unique challenges.

Thanks MSM; you’ve swung me toward Palin, if she is generous enough to offer us her talents and time. She is one of us, and not ashamed to be herself rather than put up a phony persona for the public to see.

You go, Mrs. Palin. I’ve been persuaded by your persecutors.

hillbillyjim on June 14, 2011 at 10:34 AM

When even Ron Paul looks better for the job than the President that’s a long ways from unbeatable.

Speakup on June 14, 2011 at 10:29 AM

I didn’t watch the debate. Was at a Stockman’s meeting. Different political concerns.
But I can tell you that from a cowboy’s & rancher’s perspective, many really like him, but more like Palin.
A lot of cowboys & ranchers I know overwhelmingly like Palin. And that’s saying a lot bcs the ND Stockman’s Association is dominated by men. Men who can find it hard sometimes to defer to a woman.
And IDK what Paul sounded like, but he has great ideas.
And then he has crazy ones.
I think he’s bi-polar or something.
Bcs I find it such a shame he is nuts.

Badger40 on June 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM

MadisonConservative on June 14, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Could just as easily interpret that as simply a pander to hispanics. Advocating a study is one thing. Actually signing something like Romneycare into law- that’s quite another. Like it or not, this is Texas. Hispanics are a block which needs to be addressed.

I know, I know. No one likes a pander but still…

catmman on June 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM

I’m sorry, but this field NEEDS Perry. None of those in last nights debate will be able to defeat Obama.

Indy82 on June 14, 2011 at 10:28 AM

CNN likes them.

Oh snap…

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:35 AM

We can’t choose our candidate out of fear of what the opposition will say. The best defense is a good offense and all that.

Fact is, Obama is very weak, and a strong Perry will waste him.

fossten on June 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Good point.

catmman on June 14, 2011 at 10:36 AM

it’s a worthless exercise to worry about the media any longer. Pick the candidate and prepare accordingly.

Bishop on June 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM

THIS.

Badger40 on June 14, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Agree wholeheartedly, but it does still feel like going back to the well to me.

Red Cloud on June 14, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Seconded. Fairly or not, Perry’s going to be easily painted as the second coming of W. And not enough people miss him yet.

KingGold on June 14, 2011 at 10:38 AM

promachus…”Why do you assume Perry will vault to the top? There’s not much polling but what’s there isn’t showing him good. He comes last even in Texas.”

Keep in mind that the liberal base exists only in about 15 square miles of the State of Texas and includes a population of 50,000 college students, not all of who are eligible to vote, who have a hard time traversing any where off of campus and 6th street.
In Texas you can be unpopular but you are still considered to be from Texas and therefore engender loyalty outside the state that you may not have in the state.
And Obama has provided enough anti-Texas fodder to provide an update to the old rallying cry “Remember the ONE”.

MikeL10 on June 14, 2011 at 10:38 AM

So all you Perry supporters are ok with:

1- in-state tuition for illegal aliens?

2- mandating your young girls to be vaccinated with a questionalble vaccine?

I think the more we know of Perry, true conservatives will find him lacking. As Levin says, “full disclosure is hell”.

stenwin77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:33 AM

His record has its blemishes. I won’t deny that. But on the key issues of 2012, jobs, taxes, spending, energy, and Obamacare, Perry is about as good as it gets. Certainly he outclasses Mittens. And he’d generate more excitement and raise way more money than T-Paw.

Doughboy on June 14, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Sad fact: Ron Paul is exactly right and brilliant 35% of the time. And the other 65%, he’s stark raving mad.

Good Lt on June 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Plus, it’s pretty obvious that Rush would be biased as all hell against Romney and in favor of Palin.

KingGold on June 14, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Any thinking man is.

HondaV65 on June 14, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Biggest winner: Fox News Channel.

OhioCoastie on June 14, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Sad fact: Ron Paul is exactly right and brilliant 35% of the time. And the other 65%, he’s stark raving mad.

Good Lt on June 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Spot on. It really is a shame because I know how much he loves this country.

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Everyone did pretty well last night. I think it’s time we turn our backs on the media mantra that the GOP has no worthy candidates and instead be glad that we have so many worthy candidates.

Of course, one or two more might be nice, too ;-)

hawksruleva on June 14, 2011 at 10:41 AM

I’m no Gingrich fan but he and Cain are right, Ed. Asking questions to make sure someone you are thinking of appointing to your administration is a true supporter of the Constitution is NOT McCarthyism (regardless of what Truman did or what people think it led to in the 50s).

Our founders required everyone to sign a loyalty oath to the colonies and to renounce Great Britain or to be branded a traitor. You could be a Patriot (actually fighting or aiding those who fought) or a Promoter (i.e. Quakers who gave their homes for hospitals and tended to the wounded because their religious beliefs did not allow them to fight) but you had to swear you would not aide the British.

We are at the tipping point in this country and we must not have another administration filled with people who actively work to bring it to its knees.

Greyledge Gal on June 14, 2011 at 10:41 AM

Any thinking man conservative is.

HondaV65 on June 14, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Had to fix it

Sorry

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:41 AM

I pretty much agree with Ed’s analysis except I think there was a winner: Michelle Bachmann. She made even liberal and moderate pundits take notice– The scouting reports were wrong! It wasn’t by a full length, but a personal win. Romney did very well for himself mainly because he wasn’t called out on RomneyCare, Global Warmism or 2nd amendment beliefs. (Why not, CNN threw everything else in the questioning?) Cain is being measured by his outstanding South Carolina performance which he didn’t equal last night.
Pawlenty was closest to a loser by re-enforcing his image as a milquetoast. I still like Bachmann and Cain and Perry when he gets in.

cartooner on June 14, 2011 at 10:43 AM

The media paints Bachmann as a wild-eyed nut, but I’ve known her for years, and she’s very sharp and quick-witted. She didn’t make any mistakes, and perhaps more than anyone last night allowed her personality to shine, impressing even Dana Milbank. She can play with the big boys, as she will prove again and again, but other than the surprise factor, Bachmann turned in a solid but not breakout performance. She’ll get a decent bump in polling after last night.

That’s because she’s a secret RINO plant, Ed. *wink*

In seriousness, all of you conspiracy theorists here at HotAir going, “Oh yeah, why are they giving Bachmann such praise?!?! HMMM??!?!?!”

That up there is why. Lowered expectations. She’s been painted as a bit of a kook (hmm, like someone else I could mention). Last night, she went a long way to dispel that. When people go in with a low opinion of you, and you give a demonstrably good performance, it makes you look that much more competent.

Vyce on June 14, 2011 at 10:44 AM

So all you Perry supporters are ok with:

1- in-state tuition for illegal aliens?

2- mandating your young girls to be vaccinated with a questionalble vaccine?

I think the more we know of Perry, true conservatives will find him lacking. As Levin says, “full disclosure is hell”.

stenwin77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Perry’s not PURE?

Do tell?

Wait – but isn’t an insistence on “purity” considered a BAD thing? People have been throwing that word “purist” in my face whenever I argue that Romney shouldn’t be the GOP nominee.

Which is it? Purity = GOOD or / Purity = BAD???

In either case – when I look at the “purity” scale – I see Perry a bit closer to the “pure” end of the scale and Romney quite a long way out there in the leftist ether.

HondaV65 on June 14, 2011 at 10:45 AM

“Instead, perhaps as a result of the silliness and grunting foisted on us by CNN and its moderator John King, none of them stood out much from the others, and none of them did much damage to themselves or each other.

Even if one is a great actor, it’s hard to shine in a crappy play.

That said, it was impressive how all of them took on the central issue: the incompetent stink bomb in the oval office. It was refreshing to see their mutual respect and particularly gratifying to hear that
“everyone up here could do a better job than Obama.”

..which is true, of course.

The War Planner on June 14, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Seconded. Fairly or not, Perry’s going to be easily painted as the second coming of W. And not enough people miss him yet.

KingGold on June 14, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Second coming in what way? Are they going to try to paint Perry’s policies as bad for the economy? When he’s presiding over the best state economy in the nation? When he’s got even far-left kooks like Gavin Newsom flying down here from California to find out why Texas is so good at creating jobs and they suck?

If that’s really the Obama strategery, then I say we absolutely must nominate Perry. Please let Barry go out there repeatedly and try to make jobs and the economy the signature issue of the campaign. That’s a great idea when the unemployment rate is 9.1%.

Doughboy on June 14, 2011 at 10:46 AM

We can’t choose our candidate out of fear of what the opposition will say. The best defense is a good offense and all that.

fossten on June 14, 2011 at 10:31 AM

If we listen to the media, the only electable candidate is Obama.

John Deaux on June 14, 2011 at 10:47 AM

I’m still recovering from the disappointment that Sarah Palin’s bus didn’t crash through the stage @ the end of the whole debacle & run down John King….
Still holding out for PALIN/WEST 2012…..Palin/Bachman or Bachman/West would be viable alternatives

huskerdiva on June 14, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Sad fact: Ron Paul is exactly right and brilliant 35% of the time. And the other 65%, he’s stark raving mad.

Good Lt on June 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM
Spot on. It really is a shame because I know how much he loves this country.

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:40 AM

I feel exactly the same way.
When I 1st heard him making noise in the last primary races, I was excited about him. But the more I heard, the worse he sounded.
Every now & then I hear him again & think, “Why can’t he be this way all the time in everything?”
That’s why I voted for Romney the last time.
But now? No way.
I’m going to have to do some heavy thinking on this one if Palin doesn’t run.
Bcs it’ll be a hard decision.

Badger40 on June 14, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Vyce on June 14, 2011 at 10:44 AM

Bachmann has been a target of the leftists for ages. Back when she was a state rep, the local tv channels would devote time for little “exposes” against the woman; it was almost a crusade of hate.

Anyone who takes the time to study Bachmann’s background a bit will find there is a lot more substance than the media would ever mention.

Bishop on June 14, 2011 at 10:47 AM

the economy and jobs, which CNN avoided like the plague last night to his disadvantage.

As long as these debates are run by the “Obama Networks” you won’t see the candidates given the opportunity to answer questions on jobs and the economy. The networks are afraid that this would remind people of the terrible job Obama is doing.

The candidates are going to have to bring this stuff up themselves.

Vince on June 14, 2011 at 10:48 AM

The big question is to whom will Pawlenty, Cain, Gingrich, and Santorum supporters start flocking.

steebo77 on June 14, 2011 at 10:14 AM

..wake them up and ask them.

The War Planner on June 14, 2011 at 10:49 AM

It was impossible for Gingrich to hurt himself, but he didn’t exactly help himself either, especially when he appeared to endorse McCarthyism.

It is precisely remarks such as this one that facilitate America’s march toward Islamization. Gingrich’s analysis of the problem is correct.

Connie on June 14, 2011 at 10:49 AM

This early in the debates, it’s clear who liberals and the RINO establishment favor.

Obama IS beatable, and more so as we feel more and more pain directly attributable to the economic depression his policies have created.

So you ask yourself, “Do I want the kind of Republican who will enable another liberal in 2012, or do I want a Republican who puts America before their own ambition?”

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Sad fact: Ron Paul is exactly right and brilliant 35% of the time. And the other 65%, he’s stark raving mad.

Good Lt on June 14, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Sad fact: Herr Doktor is stark raving mad. Doesn’t matter about the rest.

catmman on June 14, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I have given this some thought. I think Rush Limbaugh should sponsor a debate and be the moderator. We would really know how the candidates fare after 2 or 3 hours of a debate with a real conservative calling the shots.

karenhasfreedom on June 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM

This!!! Let conservatives moderate the top contenders and leave the lam out of it. They’ll get their chance in the general debates.

AH_C on June 14, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Seconded. Fairly or not, Perry’s going to be easily painted as the second coming of W. And not enough people miss him yet.

KingGold on June 14, 2011 at 10:38 AM

You keep dancing around the fact that no N’Eastern Republican can win in the South – this includes Pawlenty – who’s campaign will be imploding shortly due to his poor performance last night.

Perry steps in and he OWNS the South.

All of your “hypotheticals” ignore the fact that none of your candidates can win in the South. If they can’t win here – they can’t get the nomination.

HondaV65 on June 14, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Sad fact: Herr Doktor is stark raving mad. Doesn’t matter about the rest.

catmman on June 14, 2011 at 10:50 AM

That was kind of the point of the comment.

It does matter that he articulates certain principles like the philosophical and moral case for individual liberty and what the government has done to the financial system quite capably.

Then he starts yelling about the gold standard, the military-industrial complex, etc.

Good Lt on June 14, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Sad fact: Herr Doktor is stark raving mad. Doesn’t matter about the rest.
catmman on June 14, 2011 at 10:50 AM

Right on. Mengele was supposed to be a good doctor too, but he had these other behavioral traits that Jews found “upsetting”.

Bishop on June 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Anyone who takes the time to study Bachmann’s background a bit will find there is a lot more substance than the media would ever mention.

Bishop on June 14, 2011 at 10:47 AM

What did they call those periodic emails the left (DFL?) sent out against her over the years?

I will be very disappointed if she jumps in as Romney’s VP.

Roy Rogers on June 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM

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