Debate recap and Spin Room arguments

posted at 1:00 pm on December 11, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Last night, I had nearly a ringside seat to the GOP debate — once removed. The media filing center was actually in an entirely separate building on the Drake University campus; in fact, it was in the basketball arena. We had the live feed from the center, and later some of us (including myself) had access to the Spin Room, where campaign surrogates make the argument for their candidate as the victor in the debate. There was one notable exception to that custom, which I will note shortly.

Before we get to the spin, though, let’s assess the debate.  The moderation in this debate was decidedly substandard, especially from Diane Sawyer, who kept reminding candidates to stick to the time rules just before launching into interminable narratives that eventually produced questions.  The nadir of this experience was Sawyer recalling her encounter with a Real Live Iowa Pharmacist as a set-up to ask whether government should force people to give up their bad habits.  George Stephanopoulos was better, probably because he spends more time in dealing with political questions, but there was a spit-take moment when the former Bill Clinton staffer asked all of the Republican candidates whether infidelity was a disqualification for office.

Uh, we’ll get back to you on that one, George.

The questioning for most of the night seemed clearly aimed at Gingrich — his past statements, his personal life, and his record.  Gingrich did well in handling the questions, forgoing his usual dressing down of the moderators on a night where it was clearly in order.  He parried an attack from Mitt Romney that began clumsily and ended badly for Romney.  Gingrich didn’t back away from his controversial remarks on Palestinians, getting into one of the more interesting exchanges of the evening with Romney on the issue of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which briefly took a turn for the silly when the two argued which of them knew Bibi Netanyahu better.

Romney, however, made the gaffe of the evening when he attacked Rick Perry, of all people.  Until now, Romney has been very careful not to punch below his class, but Perry got under his skin and Romney ended up going after Perry on Gardasil all over again.  He didn’t do it well, either, and when Perry attacked Romney over statements in his book regarding health care, Romney tried to intimidate Perry by challenging him to bet $10,000 over the issue.  If Romney wanted to make himself look rich, arrogant, and clueless, he could hardly have done a better job.  When was the last time someone challenged you to a ridiculous bet in order to intimidate you out of an argument?  For me, I think it was junior-high school.

Perry, on the other hand, had his best debate in the campaign.  He was focused, relaxed, assertive, funny, and only occasionally seemed to need to reach for a phrase.  He stayed fully energetic throughout the entire evening.  If this Perry had been on stage in September, Newt Gingrich would be an afterthought.  I’m not sure that Perry has enough credibility to get another chance in Iowa, but he could hardly have done any more to argue for one.

Michele Bachmann also had a good debate.  She started referring to “Newt Romney” to tie the two frontrunners together, which led to a silly defensive response from Romney about how different he is from Gingrich. (Gingrich ignored the stunt and focused on rebutting Bachmann on a factual basis, which was not one of Bachmann’s better moments.)  Once again, she avoided hyperbole and wisely passed on a chance to jump back into the Gardasil/Government Needle debate.  However, she twice embraced the same 9-9-9 plan she previously called 6-6-6 (because “the devil is in the details”) in a rather threadbare attempt to pander to Herman Cain’s former supporters.

Rick Santorum also had his best debate in the campaign.  Later in the Spin Room, he told Kerry Picket that his family had told him to loosen up, and the difference was noticeable.  He took his opportunities to offer thoughtful responses on foreign policy and gave the best answer to Stephanopoulos’ question on infidelity.  Santorum needs a game-changer in Iowa, and I’m not sure this was it, but it was an excellent performance and one he could possibly use to make a case for the social-conservative vote.

Ron Paul was about the same as he usually is, although for some reason he seemed more cantankerous than usual.  It’s a superficial observation, but his suit didn’t fit well, and contributed to an out-of-sorts image.  He had some good answers, though, and didn’t do anything to damage himself.

Later, I took a little video in the Spin Room.  Unlike the rest of the candidates, Santorum represented himself, as he usually does in the post-debate media engagement.  There is not much to be gleaned from this except to see how the campaigns handle the post-debate questioning.  I got to speak to Rep. McEwen (Gingrich) at more length; I only asked the Bachmann proxy one question (about Bachmann’s flip on 9-9-9), and didn’t get to ask Santorum or Romney’s proxy any questions at all.  Enjoy.

 

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Well list em out. Make your case. He lied is not a case, it is an unsubstantiated accusation. They laughed is not a case, I think every single candidate on that stage laughed several times.

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 7:14 PM

I’m not in the list making business and many people here have made the case in this thread and the one from last night. My comments were all intended to be taken in their proper context. If you want to you could re-watch the debate from last night and make a partial list or check one of many articles that people have written about Newt Romney in past days and weeks.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Don’t you know I have no sense of humour, except when it comes to Cindy?
Basilsbest on December 11, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Ahhh, that’s nice. I think.

Cindy Munford on December 11, 2011 at 7:28 PM

I used to be just as “deaf, blind and dumb” as the rest of these anti-Paul people.

It’s been an experience simply having to face up to my own formerly idiotic behavior…

If they are anything like I was, don’t even bother to try to reason with them…

Paul has been trying to convince people like them, and myself, for decades. He’s making progress…and that’s all that counts.

bmowell on December 11, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Are you gonna shave your head and sell flowers at the airport now while chanting some bizarre stuff?

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Ahhh, that’s nice. I think.
Cindy Munford on December 11, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Yes. It was intended to be nice.

Basilsbest on December 11, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Well list em out. Make your case. He lied is not a case, it is an unsubstantiated accusation. They laughed is not a case, I think every single candidate on that stage laughed several times.

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Oh,noooooooo…couldn’t happen.

Newt and Mitt haven’t flip flopped all over themselves.

I will, however, admit that Newt deserves the ‘Backtrack Award’ from the Republican Party at the convention this year.

Astonerii, if you actually need someone to make the case for you then you might want to focus your energies somewhere else other than the political sphere.

bmowell on December 11, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Are you gonna shave your head and sell flowers at the airport now while chanting some bizarre stuff?

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Al lah Ron Pailian *chants* I am a Ron Paulian! Here is a leaf… I am a Ron Paulian!

upinak on December 11, 2011 at 7:33 PM

I’m not in the list making business and many people here have made the case in this thread and the one from last night. My comments were all intended to be taken in their proper context. If you want to you could re-watch the debate from last night and make a partial list or check one of many articles that people have written about Newt Romney in past days and weeks.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 7:25 PM

If you cannot be bothered to make your thoughts known, why on earth would you imagine that I would defend anyone against your thoughts. Are they protected by a tinfoil hat or did you splurge and get a custom manufactured one with bright lights?

So far your childish argument is, Newt and that other guy lied, and they laughed. I do not see anything there to defend. You should probably get yourself a neck cover and solid gold teeth to make that brain wave protector function fully.

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 7:36 PM

Are you gonna shave your head and sell flowers at the airport now while chanting some bizarre stuff?

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:30 PM

You’re clever. ;-)

And if it could possibly save the Republic? Hell, yeah!

bmowell on December 11, 2011 at 7:37 PM

Al lah Ron Pailian *chants* I am a Ron Paulian! Here is a leaf… I am a Ron Paulian!

upinak on December 11, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Well he sounds like he’s attending a born again revival meeting, or a Moonie convention.

I was a sinner, lost in the drink before I found Ron Paul!

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:39 PM

Oh,noooooooo…couldn’t happen.

Newt and Mitt haven’t flip flopped all over themselves.

I will, however, admit that Newt deserves the ‘Backtrack Award’ from the Republican Party at the convention this year.

Astonerii, if you actually need someone to make the case for you then you might want to focus your energies somewhere else other than the political sphere.

bmowell on December 11, 2011 at 7:32 PM

bowel, if someone makes an accusation of a lie without saying what the lie was, then argues that the other person should defend against that accusation, are you seriously going to call out the person called on to make their case over the person who made a broad charge with no direction?

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 7:39 PM

You’re clever. ;-)

And if it could possibly save the Republic? Hell, yeah!

bmowell on December 11, 2011 at 7:37 PM

If the Republic needs saving… it won’t be saved.

A Republic is a government of the people, and by the people. If they need a hero, they are already lost.

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Well he sounds like he’s attending a born again revival meeting, or a Moonie convention.

I was a sinner, lost in the drink before I found Ron Paul!

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:39 PM

I know, that is what I added the leaf. He/She can smoke it if they want to.

upinak on December 11, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Al lah Ron Pailian *chants* I am a Ron Paulian! Here is a leaf… I am a Ron Paulian!

upinak on December 11, 2011 at 7:33 PM

Good god, guys! Lol

It’s hard to believe that I was once THAT pathetic, too.

I. Am. So. Ashamed…

Okay. Now that THAT’s over I’m going to go back to my phone and continue to work toward getting Ron Paul elected.

Night.

bmowell on December 11, 2011 at 7:41 PM

bmowell on December 11, 2011 at 7:41 PM

you are the one who wants to vote for him… not I.

upinak on December 11, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Weight of Glory on December 11, 2011 at 1:16 PM

WTMI!!!

RedLizard64 on December 11, 2011 at 7:44 PM

A Republic is a government of the people, and by the people. If they need a hero, they are already lost.

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:41 PM

And just what do you think all of my fine Paulinians are doing, SharkFarker? Sitting on their laurels like you guys?

Anyway, I am going back to the phones now.

You fine boys have fun accidentally killing innocent people and then sitting around wondering why the world hates us. Have a beer while you’re at it.

I know I will be.

See ya, kids.

bmowell on December 11, 2011 at 7:46 PM

You fine boys have fun accidentally killing innocent people and then sitting around wondering why the world hates us. Have a beer while you’re at it.

bmowell on December 11, 2011 at 7:46 PM

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Smells like…victory. /

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:50 PM

RedLizard64 on December 11, 2011 at 7:44 PM

LOL!!!!

Cindy Munford on December 11, 2011 at 7:50 PM

If you cannot be bothered to make your thoughts known

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 7:36 PM

I’ve been making my thoughts known for years now, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m sure I have thousands of comments here at Hotair during that time, maybe tens of thousands.

You are not my master, you are not entitled, I do not not owe you a thing. You came into this thread by attacking me instead of defending your crappy big-gov candidate, whether it’s Newt or Romney, and have done nothing else since then. If you are going to continue your quest to attack me for your own candidates shortcomings then suit yourself but I’m not impressed.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 7:51 PM

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:50 PM

that ain’t napalm shar.

upinak on December 11, 2011 at 7:55 PM

that ain’t napalm shar.

upinak on December 11, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Well daaamn!

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Well daaamn!

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Puff Puff Pass.

upinak on December 11, 2011 at 7:58 PM

Gingrich didn’t back away from his controversial remarks on Palestinians

PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein said this in 1977: “The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.”

VorDaj on December 11, 2011 at 8:02 PM

A Republic is a government of the people, and by the people. If they need a hero, they are already lost.

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:41 PM

We don’t need a hero, we need somebody who will spread the gospel of Constitutionally limited government which both parties have shrugged off. We need somebody who will check a runaway RINO congress and stop the spending binge.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 8:03 PM

…and by such unheroic actions, save the country.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Romney tried to intimidate Perry by challenging him to bet $10,000 over the issue.

And he succeeded.

If Romney wanted to make himself look rich, arrogant, and clueless, he could hardly have done a better job.

This is a silly analysis.

VorDaj on December 11, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Puff Puff Pass.

upinak on December 11, 2011 at 7:58 PM

You can do that with Napalm? Be careful, you’re going to singe your eyebrows and end up like your favorite candidate. : )

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Mormons dance.
Brigham Young University has one of the best ballroom dance programs in the U.S.

The school is great but you take a pledge to live like a Mormon.
My daughter quit BYU after 90 days.
-
-
-
I had my lips pumped up once.
It’s difficult to form words.
I used to think Joan Rivers always showed up drunk on QVC, but after getting it done once, I now know, these women can’t move their faces because of all the fillers in their face.

Typicalwhitewoman on December 11, 2011 at 8:07 PM

…and by such unheroic actions, save the country.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Don’t forget saving the Gold, Blondie.

VorDaj on December 11, 2011 at 8:07 PM

I’ve been making my thoughts known for years now, I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m sure I have thousands of comments here at Hotair during that time, maybe tens of thousands.

You are not my master, you are not entitled, I do not not owe you a thing. You came into this thread by attacking me instead of defending your crappy big-gov candidate, whether it’s Newt or Romney, and have done nothing else since then. If you are going to continue your quest to attack me for your own candidates shortcomings then suit yourself but I’m not impressed.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 7:51 PM

I never made a demand. You did that. I made an offer. You do this, and I will meet your demand. It is called negotiations. Someone who is familiar with the capital market would know something of this. You might be able to read some books by Friedrich August Hayek and get a feel for it.

You are right, you do not owe me anything, but since you are making demands of me, I felt it obligatory to give you the chance to meet my price for meeting that demand. My supply is not yours for the taking or goading. Maybe you can get other people to do so, I will not.

My attack on you, if you want to call it an attack, was to allow you the chance to actually explain your accusation. Since you declined, and your accusation as it stands is invalid, I will ensure you are not allowed to profit from it by leaving it unchallenged.

You make not only unsubstantiated charges, but totally incomplete ones. It is an immoral and dishonorable activity. It stinks of desperation, hoping to slander people with no facts and no ability of others to defend, as there is no complete charge. I would imagine that of those thousands of posts you have made, almost none of them have any substance at all.

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 8:08 PM

You just go right on ahead believing that Romney and Newt are as pure as the wind driven snow and would never lie, Astonerii.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 8:16 PM

VorDaj on December 11, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Ed is usually pretty balanced, but his support for Perry comes through his analysis once in a while.

csdeven on December 11, 2011 at 8:20 PM

I would imagine that of those thousands of posts you have made, almost none of them have any substance at all.

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 8:08 PM

You may be right; that’s for everybody that’s ever read any of my comments to decide for themselves.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 8:21 PM

I figure now is as good a time as ever to make my first comment.

Personally, I don’t think this debate was all that significant. I think we see the sparks fly, and get a little excited. The only new thing I pulled ot of this was that Romney clarified that illegal immigrants should self deport before applying for residence via legal immigration. It was on the weekend, and like the last weekend debate, won’t have much influence.

I have two takeaways. First, it really has turned into a not Newt contest. As a Romney supporter I’m totally fine with this. I can see why some might not support Romney, but I never understood the hate that accompanied it. Newt on the other hand would be a complete disaster for us. I think that energy would be much more productive being aimed at Newt.

My second takeaway is that Perry really is the only 2nd tier candidate that is really relevant anymore. He still stutters, but the message gets through. He had his moments last night, and I liked his points. He is my second choice, but I don’t expect him to do much more than act as a spoiler. That ad really hurt him.

Many might question how I can be a Romney supporter and have Perry as my second choice, but it is what it is. They are both honest, principled men. The kind of men that I aspire to be. The media might think that Newt’s lethargic performance was a winner because he didn’t implode. I think they’re foolish if they think Newt’s baggage had been put to rest his baggage. That little bit of doubt has already been implanted in voter’s minds, and it will slowly fester.

SethEllis on December 11, 2011 at 8:25 PM

The thing is Astonerii is that everybody knows the context of my comments except you, and the reason you don’t is because your tactic is to make me the topic of conversation and make me defend myself even though I’m not the one running for President because there is no honest way for you to defend Newt Romney.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 8:27 PM

I would imagine that of those thousands of posts you have made, almost none of them have any substance at all.

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Why not pay attention rather than just imagining?

VorDaj on December 11, 2011 at 8:34 PM

The thing is Astonerii is that everybody knows the context of my comments except you, and the reason you don’t is because your tactic is to make me the topic of conversation and make me defend myself even though I’m not the one running for President because there is no honest way for you to defend Newt Romney.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Where did I make you defend yourself?

I asked you to expand upon your completely lacking in completeness attack on two candidates. Where does that require you to defend yourself? All that asked you to do is what you want, to attack Newt Gingrich and the other person. You say the word lies and giggles and claim some how that has context?

Your the topic of the conversation because you make attacks that are incomplete and then refuse to expand them to at full argument.

Wow, are you a Bachmann supporter? Never would have guessed, I was thinking Obama or Ron Paul supporter.

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Why not pay attention rather than just imagining?

VorDaj on December 11, 2011 at 8:34 PM

I take arguments at face value. If what I see is lacking, it is simply lacking.

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 8:35 PM

I will vote for whoever the nominee is but my opinion is only Romney has a chance in the general election

gerrym51 on December 11, 2011 at 8:38 PM

Perry should have said “Mitt, that is really childish…..I’m just gonna
copy the page from both books and post them on the internet.”

VBMax on December 11, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Where did I make you defend yourself?

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 8:35 PM

Your first comment to me was an attack on me. At any rate, I’m pretty much done in this thread now, so why don’t you try telling everybody who your candidate is and why he is so honest and trustworthy? Or attack my candidates if you’d prefer, that’s up to you.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Your first comment to me was an attack on me. At any rate, I’m pretty much done in this thread now, so why don’t you try telling everybody who your candidate is and why he is so honest and trustworthy? Or attack my candidates if you’d prefer, that’s up to you.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Yeah, your right. My bad.

I stand by that attack by the way.

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Suit yourself but I’m not running for President so it doesn’t much matter.

FloatingRock on December 11, 2011 at 9:01 PM

Best Perry quote:

A vow to God is even stronger than a handshake in Texas.

John the Libertarian on December 11, 2011 at 1:07 PM

And most every place where believers dwell !!

trickychicken on December 11, 2011 at 9:18 PM

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/70245_Page2.html

Hope this was not posted previously I read most but not all comments.

ConcealedKerry on December 11, 2011 at 9:28 PM

Well if cane loader can post from the dead thread, so can I:

NbyNW on December 11, 2011 at 4:00 PM

NbyNW on December 11, 2011 at 6:53 PM

I don’t mind you quoting me, but please be more careful about your “FIFY.”

That FIFY and the strikethroughs in the comment 4:00p.m. were done by NbyNW, not by me.

cane_loader on December 11, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Point taken. Still a noob after all.

NbyNW on December 11, 2011 at 9:40 PM

Well, after perusing the site for the last few days, I’d say that I certainly hope that the latest open enrollment has improved site hits and related revenues for Hot Air – because it certainly hasn’t improved the quality of commentary from the peanut gallery.

Midas on December 11, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Well humph!

NbyNW on December 11, 2011 at 9:42 PM

In no way did Michele Bachmann do a flip-flop and embrace Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan. In response to the question “What have you learned from another candidate?” she said that, from Herman Cain, she learned how to make a point memorable and catchy, referencing Herman’s easy, memorable slogan “The 9-9-9 Plan”. But, she said, “SHE is sticking with her “WIN-WIN-WIN Plan”.

soulfree on December 11, 2011 at 9:43 PM

You mentioning all of those things from 1981 reminded me that the band “Talk Talk” (the greatest band ever) had their debut album that year.

Bishop on December 11, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Blasphemy! This is the greatest band from that era :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh83z5vIP0w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtBr5JKSuks

ebrown2 on December 11, 2011 at 10:24 PM

Maybe no one will read this and I know it’s a little long for this format, but no one will post anything good about Romney, especially on this site:

Mitt Romney: Too good to be trusted?
By Richard and Linda Eyre For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011 4:00 p.m. MST
This is a column on families and parenting, so this week, let’s talk a little about a presidential candidate and his wife who have raised five outstanding sons and are among the best parents we know. These are our personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of this newspaper.

We have known Mitt and Ann Romney for a very long time, and some of their kids are friends with some of our children. As parents, the Romneys are as committed as they come, and this is only one of many “character qualities” that would make Mitt the kind of president this country needs.

We don’t know Jon and Mary Kaye Huntsman nearly as well, but we do know Jon’s extraordinary parents, Jon Sr. and Karen, and many of the same things could certainly be said about their family.

Are you as sick and tired as we are of the “anyone but Romney” sentiment? How many more times are we going to have to read, “Romney is a great candidate but just can’t seem to connect to voters,” or hear from the media things like, “His family is too perfect,” or, “You just wonder if you can trust a guy like that”?

Enough already!

The fact is that we live in such a slipping, amoral world that people can’t quite believe that someone is as good as Mitt really is. And they can’t quite feel comfortable with a candidate who doesn’t have a few more obvious flaws and vices. “Anybody who seems that perfect,” the logic goes, “must be hiding something.”

Here is the reasoning (or lack of it) that we hear so often: “Romney can’t really have that good of a marriage and have raised that good a family, can he? Oh yes, he turned around failing companies and a failing Olympics and a failing Massachusetts, making him one of the few Americans in history to be world-class successful in the private sector, the public sector and the nonprofit sector. But can he be that successful in his family, too, and in his church and his personal life? Come on, no one is really that good, are they? So there must be something suspicious about him.”

We recently recommended that Mitt and Ann invite a film crew into their family Christmas party later this month and give people a more intimate look at their great relationships with their outstanding sons and their families and give the public a little more of a private look at the more casual Mitt — funny, relaxed and a great singer, along with being a genuinely compassionate person who really cares about others. We’re now second guessing that suggestion because it might make him look even better, even more perfect, even more exceptional.

Well darn it, he IS exceptional! And isn’t that what we should be looking for in a president?

Everyone says they want change, want something new, want competency and want an outsider/manager rather than an insider/politico. But so many seem to think Romney is just a little bit too new, too different and maybe too good. Thus he makes lots of people a little uncomfortable, a little envious and a little suspicious.

It is a sad commentary on today’s society that many have become so cynical and negative that it’s easier for them to relate to and vote for someone whose weaknesses make him more like them. And they may find it easier to “trust” a candidate made “real” by his flaws than one who has lived an extraordinarily moral and successful life. In this mind-set, and in this comparison, Newt Gingrich’s problems with marriage, fidelity and family, and his various conflicts of interest and notorious nastiness almost begin to work for him by making him more “relatable.”

But when we look for a president, shouldn’t we be looking for someone we can admire more than someone we can relate to?

And in an increasingly worldly society where the tone is sometimes a little mocking of faith and family, and even of character and excellence, isn’t it time to elect a president who can change that tone?

When is the extreme right wing of the Republican party going to wake up to the fact that Mitt is the only candidate the party has with a real chance of defeating the incumbent president; and that in both the general election and in governing, his remarkable management experience and his sterling character will be his two greatest assets?

The problem, you see, is that there are three very different skill sets required for: 1. Getting nominated; 2. Getting elected; and 3. Governing as president. The skill set required for No. 1 seems to be rigid, uncompromising, far-right positions and a total distrust (or even hatred) of all moderates and liberals. The skill set required for No. 2 is the ability to reach out to the center of the political spectrum and to take positions that everyone can understand and appreciate even if they don’t agree. The skill set required for No. 3 is to be able to attract the best and the brightest, to listen well, to analyze well, and to make and clearly explain strong, reasoned decisions that turn our country around and move it forward.

Mitt is best at skill set No. 3, second best at No. 2 and probably worst at skill set No. 1. If he gets over that first hurdle, he will be a remarkable general election candidate and, we believe, an extraordinarily successful president.

And, frankly, the whole flip-flopping rap on Romney is ridiculous. Do you know anyone who has not evolved and progressed in their positions and their views? If so, that is the person we should worry about — someone so rigid and cocky and un-listening that he is the same as he was decades ago. The great thing is that wherever Mitt has changed, it has been for the better — toward a more enlightened view. That’s the kind of president I want, because the learning curve is pretty steep.

And one more thing: He has not changed, nor will he, his principles or his moral positions; what have evolved are his political positions. For example, he has always been opposed personally and morally to abortion, but he has changed his view about how involved government can and should be in the issue.

When I was interviewed recently by the Washington Post for a story they did on George Romney and his influence on his son Mitt, one question was who I thought was best equipped to be president between father and son. Would it be George, who was blunt and candid and trusted his gut; or Mitt, who is analytical, managerial and who finds and listens to the best people he can? Though I loved George, who was in many ways a mentor to me, I answered “Mitt.”

Here’s our hope over the next few weeks: That Mitt will stick with the three “Es” that make him the best nominee: 1. His electability; 2. His economic savvy which can turn this country around; and 3. His even-keel nature which will make him a great (and safe) president in perilous times. And here’s our other hope: That Republican primary voters in each of the early, key states will focus on these three “Es” and on the character of the man — and get over this strange obsession to find a “not so good” alternative.

Then we can get on to a general election between two bright and family-oriented men who would respect each other and wage a stimulating campaign of ideas and priorities; giving voters a very clear choice between a philosophy revolving around debt and government solutions and one revolving around fiscal responsibility and private sector solutions.

We were at Mitt and Ann’s home not long ago when some of their kids and grandkids were visiting. There came a point in the evening when Mitt went missing, and I went upstairs to look for him. As I walked down the hall I heard what sounded like a baby and an older child laughing. I followed the sound and opened a bedroom door to find Mitt baby-talking to a grandbaby and changing a messy diaper.

That, I thought, is the Mitt Romney I wish America knew.

The Eyres’ three latest books are “The Entitlement Trap,” “5 Spiritual Solutions” and “The Three Deceivers.” Richard and Linda are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics

Bambi on December 11, 2011 at 10:50 PM

Maybe no one will read this and I know it’s a little long for this format

That’s as far as I got

sunshinek67 on December 11, 2011 at 11:02 PM

Bambi on December 11, 2011 at 10:50 PM

That is a great article. It changes my opinion of presidential candidate not one bit.

they listed the three parts of being a great candidate.
1) Being rigidly conservative.
2) Being completely opaque, ambiguous, equivocal and undecided.
3) Being able to attract the best and the brightest, to listen well, to analyze well, and to make and clearly explain strong, reasoned decisions that turn our country around and move it forward. I’ll just wuote the whole thing.

They then say he sucks at number one.
He is good at number two.
Somehow or another he is terrific at number three.

They are right about number one, he is not conservative in his heart.
They are right about number two, the man has no core and can twist and turn himself any which way and make him seem between three and 5 different people at any given time.
They are wrong on number three, as he might do well in managing the country, the fact that he will not move the country towards a more conservative foundation, because he himself is not conservative (see number 1, their own admission) and thus he will be biased to follow his progressive heart and lead the nation to more harm overall than if things were just simply left completely alone with no president at all.

The problem with people like Romney is that they might be good managers and can maybe get some good results for a short period of time through simple management (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac showed great results for several years), but there is not always going to be a great manager to steer things just the right way, if he could even do it (I doubt it). The things men imagine they can control.

The country needs to be placed on a solid conservative foundation such that even an incompetent president is capable of ensuring it runs mostly smoothly. Romney will work completely against that kind of change in America.

astonerii on December 11, 2011 at 11:19 PM

“All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side. . . . The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.” – George Orwell

That could so easily be applied to most of the participants of HotAir.com – THE prime ‘conservative’ site for fan-boys of ultra-nationalism.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 12:29 AM

have fun accidentally killing innocent people and then sitting around wondering why the world hates us.

bmowell on December 11, 2011 at 7:46 PM

…a world full of people who deliberately kill innocent people to make a statement, or just because they can. That’s the reality of life on most of the globe.

I’ll take our accidents, thanks.

alwaysfiredup on December 12, 2011 at 12:45 AM

That could so easily be applied to most of the participants of HotAir.com – THE prime ‘conservative’ site for fan-boys of ultra-nationalism.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 12:29 AM

Lighten up, Francis.

Marcus Aurelius: And what is Rome, Maximus?
Maximus: I’ve seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark. Rome is the light.

John the Libertarian on December 12, 2011 at 12:54 AM

…people who deliberately kill innocent people to make a statement…

alwaysfiredup on December 12, 2011 at 12:45 AM

Do you ever wonder why that is?

I’ll take our accidents, thanks.

Apparently you were prepared for A LOT of accidents. Doesn’t matter when it isn’t your kids, I suppose.

Ultra-Nationalists just don’t have a clue.

I’d be offended, but I was the same damned way.

Night.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 12:54 AM

Do you ever wonder why that is?

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 12:54 AM

It’s the human condition when you live in extreme poverty and oppression. We are fortunate to live somewhere wealthy and comparatively ethical and open. I really don’t know what you mean by “ultra-nationalism” other than to insult people here. If you don’t like us, leave. And DLTDHYAOTWO.

alwaysfiredup on December 12, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Marcus Aurelius: And what is Rome, Maximus?
Maximus: I’ve seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark. Rome is the light.

John the Libertarian on December 12, 2011 at 12:54 AM

Movie quotes?

What a slight.

I’ll be sure to tell that to the next kid I talk to who will have no arms or legs for the rest of his life, and to the soldier’s child still forever injured over their missing mom or dad.

How could I have ever been that stupid.

Our current Rome is darkness, and only lays the foundations for more.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:05 AM

It’s the human condition when you live in extreme poverty and oppression. We are fortunate to live somewhere wealthy and comparatively ethical and open. I really don’t know what you mean by “ultra-nationalism” other than to insult people here. If you don’t like us, leave. And DLTDHYAOTWO.

alwaysfiredup on December 12, 2011 at 1:00 AM

That you fail to see that we are the oppressor is what makes you an ultra-nationalist.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:06 AM

Our current Rome is darkness, and only lays the foundations for more.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:05 AM

Lighten up, Code Pink. War sucks, and NO ONE wants it. But sometimes it is indeed the answer. Would you prefer oppression and genocide?

We are the only “empire” that sacrifices blood and treasure to pacify nations, and then retreats, asking neither tribute or servitude.

I’d say that’s pretty fookin noble.

Oh, and btw, films are written. You know, like how Orwell wrote.

John the Libertarian on December 12, 2011 at 1:14 AM

That you fail to see that we are the oppressor is what makes you an ultra-nationalist.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:06 AM

Oh good God. We have an indoctrinated college weenie. Hey bmowell, if I were you, I would go back to your college and demand a full refund of your tuition for malpractice.

Why don’t you Occupy Fresno, or something?

John the Libertarian on December 12, 2011 at 1:17 AM

God, John. Your as dumb as I was.

Would you prefer oppression and genocide?

I’d prefer that we quit helping cause a lot of it.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:17 AM

Hopefully, you’re spelling is better, though.

Night.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:18 AM

aryeung: I can appreciate your effort, but engaging upinak is the equivalent of banging your head on the wall.

She kills moose with her bare hands, she is the Margaret Meade of Alaska, she equates big mouth with big brains, she has a fear of “out of staters.

Plus, she is very similar to annoyinglittletwerp, the weirdo from Lubbock, who thinks living in the sixth most dangerous city in America, a noted drug hub, in the southwest panhandle of Texas, where it is dry, flat, treeless, full of bugs and snakes and backward, is the same as Heaven on Earth.

Plus, they are both quite vulgar. Most posts contain: farking, effing, freaking, azzes, bast**ds etc.

You are arguing with the uniformed and uneducated. Like I said, appreciate your efforts, but feel sorry about your headaches.

Horace on December 12, 2011 at 1:18 AM

I’d prefer that we quit helping cause a lot of it.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:17 AM

Examples, please?

And don’t get patronizing on me, because I used to be liberal. I know how you retards think.

John the Libertarian on December 12, 2011 at 1:22 AM

we are the oppressor

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:06 AM

Uh, no. Sorry. Ahmadinejad and the mullahs are the oppressor. Saddam was the oppressor. The Taliban is the oppressor. Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mugabe, Chavez, Amin, etc. These are people who thought only of their own glory. We do not go out in the world in conquest. We go out to help people. We offer assistance after natural disasters. We try to stop genocide. We make mistakes and take it in turns to overestimate and underestimate our capabilities. We accidentally hit the wrong targets. But the most you could say of us is that we are officious intermeddlers.

alwaysfiredup on December 12, 2011 at 1:30 AM

I’m a Ronald Reagan conservative who has never voted for a candidate from another party, save my libertarian neighbor who ran for county commissioner.

You really DO sound like me by the way. One example to follow and then going to bed:

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:30 AM

Uh, no. Sorry. Ahmadinejad and the mullahs are the oppressor. Saddam was the oppressor. The Taliban is the oppressor.

Wrong.

Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Mugabe, Chavez, Amin, etc. These are people who thought only of their own glory.

Agree.

Agree here. We do not go out in the world in conquest. We go out to help people. We offer assistance after natural disasters. We try to stop genocide. We make mistakes and take it in turns to overestimate and underestimate our capabilities. We accidentally hit the wrong targets. But the most you could say of us is that we are officious intermeddlers.

Now I’m laughing.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:33 AM

You really DO sound like me by the way.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:30 AM

Really. Don’t. Care. Make an argument. No one gives a darn about your condescension.

alwaysfiredup on December 12, 2011 at 1:33 AM

Now I’m laughing.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:33 AM

Laugh it up, moron.

John the Libertarian on December 12, 2011 at 1:46 AM

Just one that I lived through:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_uprisings_in_Iraq

Oh, sure! Our hands are clean! Saddam just pulled the trigger on the weapons and power we gave him.

Who put him in power? Who supported him with weapons and financing? Who used him for their own ends at the expense of his countryman? You know – dead little boys, little girls, mothers, etc. Who propped him up and then tore him down when he refused to remain on the leash? And ‘accidentally’ (accidentally insofar as we put him there to begin with) killed a lot of innocent people in the process. Just more kids, more moms, grandmas. No big deal. Might makes right.

Oh, no. Just because we cooperate with dictators and encourage dictators and fund and arm dictators…we bear no responsibility.

And that, gentleman, is just ONE of the lesser examples.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:46 AM

Bedtime.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:47 AM

Bedtime.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 1:47 AM

If you hate the U.S. so much, GTFO.

And don’t let the door hit you on the way out, hypocrite.

John the Libertarian on December 12, 2011 at 1:54 AM

I love my country and as a patriot endeavor fix it.

Ultra-nationalist cowards face the corner and make excuses.

If you didn’t read the link, you should.

We’ve done good things and have the potential to return to what once again could be a good thing. But first we’ve got to face up to the bad things that we have done.

After WWII we turned from a freedom loving nation into an imperial power.

Time to change it back.

bmowell on December 12, 2011 at 2:11 AM

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

That pretty much sums up American foreign policy.

bingsha on December 12, 2011 at 2:42 AM

A Republic is a government of the people, and by the people. If they need a hero, they are already lost.

sharrukin on December 11, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Shh… don’t tell Newt Gingrich that, it will burst his Great Man philosophy.

haner on December 12, 2011 at 3:51 AM

Every time I see a Ron Paul cultist’s comment I hear, “Flash! Ah-ahhhh….Savior of the Universe!” in my head.

Al-Ozarka on December 12, 2011 at 7:14 AM

If you believe the polls are accurate and will reflect the future than Gingrich will get the nomination. If you believe the polls are accurate and will reflect the future then he will lose to Obama in the general election

gerrym51 on December 12, 2011 at 8:55 AM

gerrym51 on December 12, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Yep. But the Romney haters (AKA bitter former worshipers of failed candidates) only care about exorcising their derangement on Romney’s soul.

csdeven on December 12, 2011 at 9:06 AM

The last thing the Establishment wants is a President who will actually make major changes. That is why Romney has been their guy-if by some miracle he actually beat Obama, he will tinker around the edges of our catastrophe of a government. The crony elite will continue to loot and mooch while the rest of us suffer. Romney supporters say we could could pressure him to govern to the right-but any pressure we could put on him is nothing compared to the glacial forces of the Beltway status quo.

But Romney would not win the presidency. He is not a fighter, and would be ripped to pieces by the MSM and the Chicago machine. His increasingly twitchy and erratic performance shows he can not handle a challenge.

Newt was not my first choice, but he is the only one who has actually interrupted the creeping growth of entitlements and bureaucracy, all while under the relentless attacks of the media, the Democrats, and his own party. I hope New Newt can stay on track.

Remodernist on December 12, 2011 at 9:27 AM

It amazes me people who want to believe polls that support their point of view but disbelieve those that don’t

gerrym51 on December 12, 2011 at 9:37 AM

Per usual, Newt won this debate–hands down. The more and more debates they have, the more Newt will continue to rise in the polls. You’re simply not going to beat the man in a debate–ever. He’s a master debater, and he’ll soon be making the little man-child Obama look like the baffoon that he is.

jfs756 on December 12, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Perry, on the other hand, had his best debate in the campaign. He was focused, relaxed, assertive, funny, and only occasionally seemed to need to reach for a phrase. He stayed fully energetic throughout the entire evening. If this Perry had been on stage in September, Newt Gingrich would be an afterthought. I’m not sure that Perry has enough credibility to get another chance in Iowa, but he could hardly have done any more to argue for one.

I’d like to see Perry make another surge. I’d also like to see the media (including the Hot Gas gang) take a closer look at Santorum. I’m not sold on Romney and I have far too vivid memories of Gingrich to be sold on him. of the two, I think Romney is the better executive and Gingrich is probably the better conservative activist. Certainly Gingrich is the more effective fighter. But I’d like to see more of the other candidates as well. Cain had some good ideas but his apparent personal character failings have sunk his campaign and neither Paul nor Bachmann is a viable candidate in my opinion. I think Paul is too far-out on the foreign policy and Bachmann simply lacks executive experience.

Santorum has the same executive lack as Bachmann, but from my limited exposure to him, he certainly comes across as having more gravitas. I could get behind Santorum, I think, but unless he does well in Iowa, I don’t think his campaign is going to make it. So that leaves Perry. He has his own problems but he provides a possible alternative to both Romney and Gingrich. So I’d like to see a second look at Perry, along with a closer look at Santorum as well.

As a closing thought, I bet that by now Tim Pawlenty wishes he hadn’t been so quick to drop out. And I think that more than a few of us here at Hot Gas do too.

StoneHeads on December 12, 2011 at 1:26 PM

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