Previewing the final Iowa debate of the year

posted at 2:35 pm on December 15, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

I’m not sure whether to feel happy, disappointed, or relieved that the Republican candidates will hold their last major televised debate of the year on Fox News Channel at 9 pm ET.  The debate will take place in Sioux City, Iowa, where our Townhall colleague Guy Benson is on hand to provide local reporting of the event.  With Donald Trump leaving the December 27th Newsmax-ACU debate that would only have aired on Ion TV and Internet streaming, this is the last significant opportunity for the Republican candidates to reach large number of Iowa caucus-goers in one shot to make their final pitch — and to toss a few beanballs at their opponents.

Des Moines Register’s chief political analyst Jennifer Jacobs sets up the stakes well:

In tonight’s nationally televised Republican Party debate in Sioux City, every available line of attack will be exploited, politics watchers say. Few pieces of opposition research will go unused. The most passionate closing arguments will be made.

For some of these candidates, it may be their last time on the stage as a presidential candidate. For one, it could mark the point where he or she began the serious business of becoming the Republican nominee — and possibly the next president of the United States.

“After countless months, in some cases years, of hard work and investment of key resources, this debate will go down as the most important two hours of the campaign for Iowa,” predicted Republican strategist David Polyansky of New York City.

This also sets up what might really be the most important debates in Iowa … the holiday conversations between friends and family members:

“What ultimately will be more important than the debate will be the conversations people have with family and friends over Christmas,” said Iowa caucuses historian Jeff Stein, “so it’s very important for candidates to go into the Christmas weekend on a high note.”

Which candidate has the most potential upside from this debate?  In my column for The Fiscal Times, I argue that it’s Rick Perry:

Which candidate, then, can fill what looks to be an opening to the right of Gingrich and Romney?  At the moment, that candidate may be Rick Perry.  In the Insider Advantage and ARG polls, Perry has more than doubled his support in the last couple of weeks, going from 5 percent to 13 percent in both.  The Texas governor has launched a “saturation” ad buy in Iowa, spending over a million dollars in the three markets over the next couple of weeks on radio and TV spots.  After a disastrous series of debates, Perry has suddenly become pretty good in the format, if not great.  He got the better of Mitt Romney in Des Moines on Saturday, and stayed energetic and focused throughout the event.

After tonight’s debate, Perry has fully committed to retail politicking in Iowa.  For the next two weeks, Perry will make 42 appearances and travel over a thousand miles to press the flesh and remind people of his record on jobs and fighting Washington, a record that got buried under his gaffes for most of October and November.  As anyone who has covered Perry in person can attest, he is a master of retail politicking, turning on the down-home charm and connecting with social conservatives.  It’s a strength that has served Perry well in Texas, perhaps the main reason why he’s never lost an election in his career.

The campaign’s current dynamics will help Perry in tonight’s debate.  Everyone on stage will attack Romney and Gingrich as insufficiently conservative, and the two front-runners will mainly attack each other.  Romney made a tactical error in going after Perry in the last debate, allowing Perry to rise to the occasion and resulting in the awkward $10,000-bet moment, so Romney won’t make that mistake a second time.  Perry’s poll bounce might bring fresh attacks from Michele Bachmann, who has also risen back into low double-digits in the ARG and Insider Advantage polls, and she has scored points off of Perry in the past.  Bachmann needs to get voters away from Gingrich more than she does Perry, however, so most of her attention will be elsewhere, and the same can be said for Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman.

With Gingrich slipping and Romney still among the frontrunners, it’s very possible that Perry can spend the debate focusing exclusively on his jobs record and his fight against Washington on energy production, two areas of domestic policy near and dear to Iowa Republicans.  A bad performance would probably mean that Perry can cancel his Christmas campaign and enjoy the holidays in Austin, but he has improved his debate performances steadily over the last several weeks.  Keep an eye on him tonight, and then on the polling in the next week.  There’s room for him to move up, if he can pull off another good performance.

How about the other candidates?

  • Mitt Romney — He needs to ignore attacks from lower-tier candidates and deny them any ability to get extra screen time by dialoguing with them.  He excelled at staying above the fray until about a month ago, and he’s not doing terribly well in exchanging blows.  Romney needs to get back to looking presidential.
  • Newt Gingrich — The only thing Gingrich needs to do here that doesn’t involve being his usual brilliant debater self is to make the argument that he can go the distance, and that his record is more conservative than it isn’t.  I’d expect Fox to focus a little less on Newt-centric questions than ABC did on Saturday, but the same issues will come up, and if Newt can knock them down like he did on Saturday, he should be fine.
  • Michele Bachmann — Like Perry, her numbers have started coming up a little, too.  She had a very good debate on Saturday, especially with the “Newt Romney” zinger.  She needs to stay centered, not get hyperbolic, and pepper both frontrunners on their heterodoxies.
  • Rick Santorum — He also had a good debate on Saturday.  Santorum has spent the most time in Iowa in retail politicking, and he needs to make an emotional connection to Iowa voters in tonight’s debate.  He also needs to go after Romney and Gingrich in a calm and detailed manner.  If he can do that, he might get some momentum.
  • Ron Paul — Like Gingrich, he just needs to do what he usually does in debates.  He’s going to go after everyone on stage, of course, as he usually does, and his base of support will love it.
  • Jon Huntsman — He missed the cut for CNN’s debate on Saturday, and I’m not sure why he’s bothering to come tonight.  Huntsman seems to have gained momentum in New Hampshire, and he’s not going to be spending a lot of time in Iowa after this debate.  Why not just have an event tonight in New Hampshire instead?  Huntsman needs to poke more holes in Romney than in Gingrich, and since he’s playing for New Hampshire, that’s what he should do.

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Uhoh…

“A day after being labelled “out of touch” for casually offering a $10,000 bet to a rival candidate, Mr Romney told supporters he had experienced austerity as a missionary in France, using a bucket for a lavatory and a hose for a shower. “You’re not living high on the hog at that kind of level,” he said.

But the Republican presidential hopeful spent a significant portion of his 30-month mission in a Paris mansion described by fellow American missionaries to The Daily Telegraph as “palace”. It featured stained glass windows, chandeliers, and an extensive art collection. It was staffed by two servants – a Spanish chef and a houseboy….

Tearful as he described the house, Mr Anderson, 70, of Kaysville, Utah, said Romney aides had asked him not to speak publicly about their time together there.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-politics/8959440/US-election-2012-Mitt-Romneys-life-as-a-poor-

workingclass artist on December 15, 2011 at 4:10 PM

Were you an Air Force captain, Sparky? No? Then shut your pie-hole.

Marcus on December 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM

Officers have to really screw up not to make capt. in the USAF.

Texas has a surplus – check

workingclass artist on December 15, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Why did he sign a bill to allow Texas to 9 Billion in debt.

RickB on December 15, 2011 at 4:12 PM

workingclass artist on December 15, 2011 at 4:10 PM

If you’re going to post lies and half truths, try using a link that works.

csdeven on December 15, 2011 at 4:15 PM

richardb on December 15, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Now ask Perry to repeat those three things.

Ronnie on December 15, 2011 at 4:15 PM

workingclass artist on December 15, 2011 at 4:10 PM

What do you want? A community organizer?

Ronnie on December 15, 2011 at 4:19 PM

After a disastrous series of debates, Perry has suddenly become pretty good in the format, if not great.

That is one awfully low bar.

Jon Huntsman — Why not just have an event tonight in New Hampshire instead?

Perhaps because for every New Hampshirite that would put on a parka to make a local event, there will be a hundred that will flip on their televisions to hear the most convincing and electable conservative with the least amount of baggage make his case for their vote.

You’ve tried the rest, now try the best: Huntsman has a successful pro-growth track record as governor, experience on the world stage as an ambassador, is not wobbly on pro-life or the second amendment, can hold his own in the debates and played keyboards in a prog-rock band.

If I can’t convince you, his recent letter may:

Letter From Jon Huntsman

Cheers.

BarbaryParade on December 15, 2011 at 4:20 PM

FOX News Debate Team Readies for Showdown in Sioux City
http://video.foxnews.com/v/1329935890001/

StewartIII on December 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

It should be fun tonight. I’m making popcorn, homemade English Toffee, and homemade peanut brittle.

How do you guys watch the debates and blog at the same time? I don’t want to miss any of the debate even though I enjoy interacting with the fine folks at Hot Air.

csdeven on December 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Perry is going to knock it out of the park tonight and that along with his bus tour is going to put him in the top tier from this moment on. He is the only real conservative with a record to prove it.

jrfromdallas on December 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

Will any of the in-the-tank for Romney Fox “moderators” dare ask him about his glaring recent mischaracterizations at the last debate about his lifestyle as missionary in France?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-politics/8959440/US-election-2012-Mitt-Romneys-life-as-a-poor-Mormon-missionary-in-France-questioned.html

pacificisland on December 15, 2011 at 4:23 PM

gerrym51 on December 15, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Gerry,
I respectfully disagree, you are right he is not as polished as Newt or Mitt, but he is governing as a real conservative, and Mitt & Newt didn’t when they were in power! And most importantly “no one” is prepared for the unknown as POTUS, so the only way for us to figure out who is the right guy, is by looking at their character, and I am sure you will admit that he is a real man an authentic conservative, with a beautiful clean life with no baggage! A guy how does what he says and says what he means! Plus when he has lung interviews he is very knowledgeable, he was just not as good in a debate format, and by now he is good as debate as well!

Nathan

Nathan NY on December 15, 2011 at 4:23 PM

And ask yourself, establishment Republicans, what will Obama and the left do with the real “missionary” lifestyle Romney’s fellow Mormons say they led there, and what will those ads do, not only to Romney’s credibility, but to further portray him as a wealthy out-of-touch elitist who will do/say anything to get elected?

pacificisland on December 15, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Ron Paul is famously a morning guy. 8)

JohnGalt23 on December 15, 2011 at 3:17 PM

that’s because the fact that he’s still alive is a great morale booster for him, LOL

smitty41 on December 15, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Nathan NY on December 15, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Nathan, you don’t have to be respectful to me. I’m not totally sure I know what I’m talking about

gerry-moderate republican

gerrym51 on December 15, 2011 at 4:32 PM

Will any of the in-the-tank for Romney Fox “moderators” dare ask him about his glaring recent mischaracterizations at the last debate about his lifestyle as missionary in France?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-politics/8959440/US-election-2012-Mitt-Romneys-life-as-a-poor-Mormon-missionary-in-France-questioned.html

pacificisland on December 15, 2011 at 4:23 PM

It is generally acceptable in the media business to confirm stories with one source before going after a candidate with it. If Romney is lying, the truth will come out eventually. (As a matter of fact, I’m surprised it hasn’t come out all ready if it were true) A missionary interacts with hundreds of other missionaries, leaders, converts, and members of local wards and stakes. When more people come out with these stories, then they probably have some credibility. But as was mentioned several times already, Mormon missionaries move around quit a bit and rarely serve with the mission president for more than a few months. So even if Romney did live in a palace for a few months, he most likely lived as he described for the majority of his mission.

csdeven on December 15, 2011 at 4:33 PM

that’s because the fact that he’s still alive is a great morale booster for him, LOL

smitty41 on December 15, 2011 at 4:29 PM

lol … but don’t laugh at your own jokes.

too funny

Axe on December 15, 2011 at 4:33 PM

It should be fun tonight. I’m making popcorn, homemade English Toffee, and homemade peanut brittle.

If your a chili peppers kind of person, recommend some dry ancho chile powder in the peanut brittle, it is amazingly good and just enough out of the norm to peek interest from guests, enjoy!

smitty41 on December 15, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Not even gonna watch the debate-after all, AMC is probably showing “White Christmas” again tonight for the 4th night in a row.

Oh, and then there is tonight’s NFL tilt. Go Jacksonville, us Saints fans need another game between us and Atlanta in the standings.

Del Dolemonte on December 15, 2011 at 4:46 PM

A strong performance by Perry in tonight’s debate and a Broncos win over the Patriots would make an excellent Christmas present.

bitsy on December 15, 2011 at 4:47 PM

gerrym51 on December 15, 2011 at 4:32 PM

LOL!!

Nathan NY on December 15, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Letter From Jon Huntsman

Cheers.

BarbaryParade on December 15, 2011 at 4:20 PM

now that was dang funny, thx BP

smitty41 on December 15, 2011 at 4:53 PM

If Perry invokes God like he did in that abortion get together I am gonna puke right there tonight. He talks slow looks to the heavans and talks about God.
Sorry dude my God is NOT up there where you are looking he/s evrywhere, but mostly inside.
creepy, pathetic, artificial pander eeeewwwww awful!
Sorry will vote for that Only if he manages to win the nomination otherwise end of my list behind Ron Paul

ConcealedKerry on December 15, 2011 at 4:59 PM

No one is saying anything good about Gingrich but his numbers are still high , so the pundits should realise that they don’t decide for the voters. And most of them claim they were friends with newt and then speack against him, what friends!!

Perry was my first choice but I can not put myself through the agoney of him debating the O. He will be a good VP.
Michelle Bachmann I respected her until she started attacking Perry.knowing that she has no chance winning but just destroying a good candidate.

Non of the candidates so far has been attacked by the right as Newt has, they are making sure O will be reelected.

evergreenland on December 15, 2011 at 5:00 PM

I wish the posters here would vet on Obama like they do on each others candidates.

KOOLAID2 on December 15, 2011 at 5:01 PM

If Perry had debated in September the way he’s debated lately he would probably be so far ahead in Iowa that there would no suspense.

Perry’s record and ideas closely match the Tea Party wing of the American people. He also speaks for evangelicals. He also speaks for the business wing of the party. Those groups are the Iowa GOP. If he continues to perform well in the debates he could win Iowa. Perhaps easily.

richardb on December 15, 2011 at 3:06 PM

I wish I was as confidant as you about how other voters (that don’t know the Rick Perry we do), will respond. The “real Perry” has really surfaced this last few weeks, so I’m hoping many of those that have flocked to Newt will move to Perry after tonight, if he can just keep his momentum going. C’mon Perry, we’re pulling for you!!

Susanboo on December 15, 2011 at 5:04 PM

It should be fun tonight. I’m making popcorn, homemade English Toffee, and homemade peanut brittle.

csdeven on December 15, 2011 at 4:21 PM

I forgot “homemade peanut brittle” existed.

Damn. None of it comes from a cow, so I’m lost.

Axe on December 15, 2011 at 5:04 PM

I wish the posters here would vet on Obama like they do on each others candidates.

KOOLAID2 on December 15, 2011 at 5:01 PM

We did that before he was even elected.

Del Dolemonte on December 15, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Air Force Vet Ron Paul Drops Bombs On Newt Gingrich for War Deferments

Gingrich has been quoted saying that his deferments are “one of those things that will hang over me for the rest of my life.” That said, he said, “part of the question I have to ask myself was what difference I would have made.” The Village Voice has quoted him saying “What difference would I have made?

Spathi on December 15, 2011 at 5:11 PM

Letter From Jon Huntsman

Cheers.

BarbaryParade on December 15, 2011 at 4:20 PM

now that was dang funny, thx BP

smitty41 on December 15, 2011 at 4:53 PM

funny because it’s true… sigh

Huntsman is up to 5% in some polls in Iowa, so if he could knock one of of the park in the debate tonight, get 10% in Iowa and finish a strong 3rd in New Hampshire, it could mean…. (wait for it)
HUNTSMANIA!!!

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Perry is not weak on all fronts. Perry has a bunch of really good strengths.

Unfortunately for him, you need to have a certain skill set to be the nominee for POTUS. One of those skills is the ability to go on a debate stage, and not fall off.

And Rick Perry has not convinced anyone that he can do that against Barack Obama.

JohnGalt23 on December 15, 2011 at 3:13 PM

After all the recent GOP debates Perry has participated in, (and in the last few he has been fine, even very good in some), Perry would have no problem debating Obama one on one. Rush Limbaugh commented that Obama will probably not agree to do more than a couple of debates, and he’s awful without his teleprompter. There is a huge difference between debating several people and debating one person, Perry would be fine. All this debate hype that Perry is eliminated due to a couple of poor debates is really asinine, he’s a very good Governor and his record and character should be what we are looking at.

Susanboo on December 15, 2011 at 5:18 PM

Rick Santelli is going all out for Ron Paul on Hannity show and Sean is having a fit!

Spathi on December 15, 2011 at 5:23 PM

After all the recent GOP debates Perry has participated in, (and in the last few he has been fine, even very good in some), Perry would have no problem debating Obama one on one. Rush Limbaugh commented that Obama will probably not agree to do more than a couple of debates, and he’s awful without his teleprompter. There is a huge difference between debating several people and debating one person, Perry would be fine. All this debate hype that Perry is eliminated due to a couple of poor debates is really asinine, he’s a very good Governor and his record and character should be what we are looking at.

Susanboo on December 15, 2011 at 5:18 PM

It’s not about the Perry vs. Obama debate issue. The simple fact is that independents and moderates want a leader who makes them feel safe and comfortable. By lacking the ability to articulate himself properly and his propensity to make foolish sounding statements, Perry does not inspire the type of confidence that Americans seek in a President. As much as they do not like the current occupant of the West Wing, they won’t take a gamble on Perry, despite his economic record. Independents are risk adverse.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 5:24 PM

Just my thoughts…agree/disagree, it’s quite your right…

Newt/Mitt/Ron – I just can’t get wrapped around any of these guys. Newt/Mitt? Really? I hope everyone can take a deep breath and realize the enormous mistake either of these softballs will be for OUR country. Don’t get me wrong here, I know they’re both smart guys. But neither of them are what we as conservatives need or want. And Ron, well, just too far outside my realm on the foreign policy front (I’m very pro-military and yeah, we NEED our footprint in other regions on this planet). Understand, I WILL vote for the GOP nominee…Anyone SANE!!! Not Obama!

I wish we could enact term limits, at least for our grand children’s sake. And I believe anyone running for public office should do so for love of country (like joining the military). They should not be given a retirement (term limits) and should move on after their term(s) and make money the old fashioned way (use your imagination) by going back to the work force.

I do like Perry, Bachman and Santorum. In that order, over ANY of the above mentioned. I don’t believe Huntsman has a snowballs chance…but I think his girls are cute…just sayin!

Anyway, just gettin’ my feet wet here, and looking forward to knowing all you fine folks here at Hot Air!

A solemn prayer and a shot of rye, for those who have bled for Our Freedoms

OldWeaselKeeper on December 15, 2011 at 5:27 PM

HUNTSMANIA!!!

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Coach have asked this question to many, if you’re looking for a moderate republican that can engage indy’s, good business person and someone without the flip-flop label why wouldn’t you be for Hunt vice mittens and Jon has actual foreign policy experience. His track record as a Gov is very conservative.

The only thing I can speculate is he had little to no name recognition and the first things attached to him was Obama administration, evolution and global warming might not be a hoax and people turned off.

smitty41 on December 15, 2011 at 5:31 PM

Anyone want to sample the margaritas for tonight

:)

Let’s go Perry!

cmsinaz on December 15, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Yes, please. It’s been a long day.

Fallon on December 15, 2011 at 5:33 PM

The only thing I can speculate is he had little to no name recognition and the first things attached to him was Obama administration, evolution and global warming might not be a hoax and people turned off.

smitty41 on December 15, 2011 at 5:31 PM

In my opinion, the Hunstman campaign has been mismanaged from the start. He needed to come out firing from the start on Obama, basically saying “Look, I was willing to give this guy a chance, and look what he has done.” He would have completely immobilized the “Repubs never gave Obama a chance” argument. The campaign has been poorly run, but I chalk it up to rookie mistakes. They have been focused and strong since that lousy roll-out, and the rising poll numbers suggest people are responding.

The only question is, is it too late? Did we really fight all these battles to go to war with Mittens or Gingrich? Really?

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Anyone want to sample the margaritas for tonight

:)

Let’s go Perry!

cmsinaz on December 15, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Ugh….wattaday! He!! yeah! Can ya power me up one early please? Thanks buddy! :)

sicoit on December 15, 2011 at 5:39 PM

It’s not about the Perry vs. Obama debate issue. The simple fact is that independents and moderates want a leader who makes them feel safe and comfortable. By lacking the ability to articulate himself properly and his propensity to make foolish sounding statements, Perry does not inspire the type of confidence that Americans seek in a President. As much as they do not like the current occupant of the West Wing, they won’t take a gamble on Perry, despite his economic record. Independents are risk adverse.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 5:24 PM

He’s never had a problem with this in Texas and he’s not going to have one in the future. I believe that everyone had unfair expectations of him when he got in the race (late I might add). Perry was ganged up on by ALL candidates and the moderators during two debates for much of the debate, then by the press for weeks. No other candidate in this race has faced so much scrutiny all at one time except maybe Cain, and look where he is now.

Google Rick Perry’s speeches on the campaign trail, watch one or two of them and tell me he can’t work a room and can’t communicate or articulate to get his point across. He’s actually a very good speaker, and he’s very charismatic and well received by his listeners.

Susanboo on December 15, 2011 at 5:40 PM

Oh and GO.RICK.PERRY.!!!!!! Show em all how a Texan does it! :)

sicoit on December 15, 2011 at 5:40 PM

OldWeaselKeeper on December 15, 2011 at 5:27 PM

Welcome, Keeper.

Axe on December 15, 2011 at 5:40 PM

Susanboo on December 15, 2011 at 5:40 PM

:)

sicoit on December 15, 2011 at 5:41 PM

And welcome to all of the noobie-noobies! Let’s have some fun tonite and really get to know each other! :)

sicoit on December 15, 2011 at 5:42 PM

sicoit on December 15, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Go Perry!! : )

Susanboo on December 15, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Air Force Vet Ron Paul Drops Bombs On Newt Gingrich for War Deferments

Gingrich has been quoted saying that his deferments are “one of those things that will hang over me for the rest of my life.” That said, he said, “part of the question I have to ask myself was what difference I would have made.” The Village Voice has quoted him saying “What difference would I have made?
Spathi on December 15, 2011 at 5:11 PM

There is a great need for Gyno’s in a war zone.

RickB on December 15, 2011 at 5:53 PM

For those of you shaking over Perry’s malaprops, just remember Perry can come back with a question asking Obama to name all 57 states after showing a clip of Obama saying there were 57 states.

He could also ask Obama to name the countries of the world that speak Austrian.

Obama can match Perry, gaffe for gaffe. This will cut both ways.

If Perry does well tonight, actually really well, he’s back in the hunt whether he wins in Iowa or not. Close second will do and give him life to win South Carolina.

Is there any current candidate with his executive experience, success at running large campaigns, ideas that appeal to republicans from Tea Party to evangelicals to mainstream Americans? Is there any candidate immune to charges of flip flopping on his pedigree? Any candidate better position to hit Barack Obama on his fundamental weaknesses than Rick Perry?

richardb on December 15, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Otto von Bismarck: “God watches over fools, drunkards, the United States and Tim Tebow”

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 5:55 PM

I think Jethro Perry would do better in these debates if he felt more comfortable and at ease.

Therefore, he should be allowed to bring in a sawhorse and a saddle so he could sit on a stationary saddle while answering questions. Should make him feel more at home.

A mechanical bull, rather than a saddle on a sawhorse, would be more exciting, but would probably distract from Perry’s very intelligent and insightful answers – and his occasional 20 second silent, staring episodes.

Also, he should wear his Urban Cowboy hat so he could wave it over his head and shout “Yahooo!” whenever one of the other candidates screws up in answering a question.

Maybe one of his crony capitalist cronies, say the company that makes gardasil, could furnish these debate tools to Jethro free of charge to save on his campaign spending.

“Head ‘em, move ‘em out!”

Horace on December 15, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Is there any current candidate with his executive experience, success at running large campaigns, ideas that appeal to republicans from Tea Party to evangelicals to mainstream Americans? Is there any candidate immune to charges of flip flopping on his pedigree? Any candidate better position to hit Barack Obama on his fundamental weaknesses than Rick Perry?

richardb on December 15, 2011 at 5:55 PM

You can be well-positioned to hit someone and totally whiff, like Perry did in his earlier attacks on Romney. We fear he may do the same in the general election.

BTW except for the whole evangelical thing, Huntsman fits all of those (of course, we can quibble over whether Utah is “large”)

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Did we really fight all these battles to go to war with Mittens or Gingrich? Really?

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 5:37 PM

I sure hope not. Cain was my guy because he was going to break the tax code that lets these idiots in Washington continue to steal from the workers in this country as well as get the economy/jobs rolling again, but he was run out of town. If we could split the Presidency into 2 pieces foreign and domestic I could get behind Paul and may have to do that in the primary as I don’t see Santorum gaining momentum, and if we go bankrupt we won’t have a foreign policy anyways. Keeping Paul in to keep newt and mittens from a majority we may see a brokered convention and some sort of divine intervention gets us the candidate we need. It’s gonna be a long crazy ride either way and all the margarita talk has me pumped to get home and watch the festivities tonight. I’m sure most have figured this out but I’m one of those newbies

smitty41 on December 15, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Horace on December 15, 2011 at 5:58 PM

You may be on to something here. Just let him bring his gun and they can have a good old fashioned shoot out. Then he can let Freedom and Liberty grind their bodies into the cracks of the floor.

I just knew you were a closet Perry lover.

cozmo on December 15, 2011 at 6:02 PM

He’s never had a problem with this in Texas and he’s not going to have one in the future. I believe that everyone had unfair expectations of him when he got in the race (late I might add). Perry was ganged up on by ALL candidates and the moderators during two debates for much of the debate, then by the press for weeks. No other candidate in this race has faced so much scrutiny all at one time except maybe Cain, and look where he is now.

Google Rick Perry’s speeches on the campaign trail, watch one or two of them and tell me he can’t work a room and can’t communicate or articulate to get his point across. He’s actually a very good speaker, and he’s very charismatic and well received by his listeners.

Susanboo on December 15, 2011 at 5:40 PM

Living in Texas for the last 8 years, you don’t have to preach Perry’s virtues to me. He is absolutely charismatic, and I have heard from Democrats who met him personally that will attest to his affability.

Here’s the problem as I see it. He has won a lot of elections in Texas by running very negative campaigns. This last election, he had Bill White in the bag, but still ran some nasty personal attacks. How will that play in the national scene?

The other problem is Texas nationalism. His outsized personality plays well in Texas, but do you get the sense that country is as in much love with Texas as it is with itself. I think the Texas hand has been played by GWB, and that it’s unplayable for at least another decade.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 6:04 PM

Fallon on December 15, 2011 at 5:33 PM

coming right up Fallon…

cmsinaz on December 15, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Question: Would an endorsement from Tim Tebow be enough toconvince evangelicals to support Huntsman in 2012?

And begin…

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 6:08 PM

If Perry sucks tonight, he’s done, no doubt.

But if he does well, consider this.
In a national campaign he’ll win the entire South from Virginia to Florida to Texas.
The west, excluding the west coast, will be in play and he might win it all.
Then how will he play in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan? He wins Ohio and Pennsylvania he wins the Presidency.

For Perry he can shore up his midwest weakness with a good VP pick…..like Christy.

None of the others so easily mask their weaknesses.

richardb on December 15, 2011 at 6:09 PM

BTW except for the whole evangelical thing, Huntsman fits all of those (of course, we can quibble over whether Utah is “large”)

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Utah is known for 4 things; Jello, Chuck E. Cheese, snow, and stink coming off the Great Salt Lake a couple time a year.

RickB on December 15, 2011 at 6:11 PM

Just like your hero Paul, seems like you can’t handle a long primary either.

LevinFan on December 15, 2011 at 3:29 PM

IDK what that is even supposed to mean, but it doesn’t excuse Ed writing ridiculous hit pieces on a candidate while giving other candidates the benefit of the doubt all the way until the end. He tells republicans not to vote for Paul because of a thing Paul denies, and yet he writes absolutely nothing telling republicans to stay away from Cain after half a dozen women come forward accusing him of sexual advances in the workplace and a woman comes forward claiming a 13 year affair. Thats utterly ridiculous and Ed should be ashamed.

thphilli on December 15, 2011 at 6:11 PM

I wonder if they will bring up Ron Paul’s newsletters?

workingclass artist on December 15, 2011 at 6:11 PM

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 6:04 PM

People want jobs. They will vote for Perry if they think he can do for the nation what he’s done in Texas…And he can and he will.

workingclass artist on December 15, 2011 at 6:14 PM

People want jobs. They will vote for Perry if they think he can do for the nation what he’s done in Texas…And he can and he will.

workingclass artist on December 15, 2011 at 6:14 PM

I truly hope you are right… but even people in Texas are having Perry fatigue, and his negatives are so high.

“Head and Shoulders… Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression” Like it or not, first impressions matter, and his has not been great.

HTnFBCoachnTX1980 on December 15, 2011 at 6:18 PM

Slipping numbers or not, hope Newt’s been flexing the pimp hand in case his little ho, Romney, starts acting up again.

RepubChica on December 15, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Perry 44% Obama 41%; President Leads Other GOP Hopefuls – Rasmussen Reports™

Bullhead on December 15, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Lets see if Bair will ask any more stupid questions like when he asked Perry about how close is he as a friend to George W Bush, as if that was a factor in determining how good a candidate he is, and what was he expecting the answer would be of course he will say we are good friends.

evergreenland on December 15, 2011 at 6:40 PM

Can one of the Texas posters comment on Perry’s last election race vs. Bill White. I do believe Perry said he wouldn’t debate until White released his tax returns…which had some damaging information. I think Perry actually has the gumption to do the same to Obama. I can hear him saying…”Hey buddy, you wanna debate me? Let’s get all your records and transcripts out, your writings from Law Review, and your Pakistani passport and then we can have a real debate.”

Perry wins elections. His team figures out the other guys (gal – KBH) weakness and isn’t afraid to hammer them. As TX gov he’s already on the forefront against Obama. I think he (and probably Jindal too) can’t stand Obama. It’s personal. I think we need a candidate with that attitude against Obama.

monalisa on December 15, 2011 at 6:47 PM

cozmo

Not “gun,” “guns.”

I am certain that Jethro Perry, like his heroes such as Roy Rogers, wears double-holsters. I believe he has named them just as he named his boots. The guns are “This One Here” and “That One There.”

He ought to pull them out now and then and twirl them back into the holsters just to keep the other candidates off-balance. Show them what a real cowboy can do.

“Keep them doggies rollin’, Rawhide!” Go, Jethro, Go! Round up Newt and Mitt and put your’n brand on ‘em!

Horace on December 15, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Talk Radio trolls react to Rick Santelli

Spathi on December 15, 2011 at 6:49 PM

LLLLLLLETS GET READY TO RRRRRRRRRRUMBLE…..!!!!!!!

(oh crap……do I have to pay royalties?)

Tim_CA on December 15, 2011 at 6:52 PM

Newbie here! But to tell the truth I feel like I know ya all. Been lurking here for a long time and have been reading Captain Ed since 2004.

steel guy on December 15, 2011 at 6:52 PM

My problem with the Trump debate wasn’t Donald Trump.
It was Eason Jordan.
Well, and the whole rabid Leftist as unbiased moderator concept.

jhnone on December 15, 2011 at 6:53 PM

monalisa on December 15, 2011 at 6:47 PM

good points

smitty41 on December 15, 2011 at 6:56 PM

here’s what i want to see to see in tonight’s debate:

1) a shot of Callista in the audience.

2) newt putting willard in his place

3) perry giving us another “the problem is this president!” moment.

GhoulAid on December 15, 2011 at 6:56 PM

Perry 44% Obama 41%; President Leads Other GOP Hopefuls – Rasmussen Reports™

Bullhead on December 15, 2011 at 6:32 PM

??

angryed on December 15, 2011 at 7:06 PM

Horace on December 15, 2011 at 6:48 PM

I gotta’ admit, you are one of the more entertaining nutballs.

You don’t have much style, but its more than what the others bring.

cozmo on December 15, 2011 at 7:06 PM

excerpts from Limbaugh today

. . . because Ron Paul is tied for the lead in the polling in Iowa just weeks before the Iowa Caucuses. Like all their neocons today, Limbaugh is completely unhinged over Ron’s tremendous popularity. He said today that Ron’s supporters are “uninformed TEA Party conservatives” who support Ron’s “Waco nut job things” he says about foreign policy (i.e., a foreign policy that defends Americans and not foreigners). And of course Rush repeated the Neocon Lie of the Day that Ron Paul has said that 9/11 was “an inside job.” Of course, Ron never said any such thing. Rush is lying, just like his buddy Blackjack Bill Bennett did last night with Hannity.
If Ron Paul wins Iowa, said Limbaugh, it will “discredit Iowa.” How dare Iowa Republicans even CONSIDER voting for a man who stands for peace, free enterprise, and constitutionalism, as opposed to the Limbaughs of the world who stand for perpetual unconstitutional and non-defensive war, economic fascism, and PATRIOT Act demolitions of civil liberties. Fascism, in a wor

Don’t worry, Paul will defeat Limbaugh in Nh as well.

Spathi on December 15, 2011 at 7:07 PM

I still like Rick Perry. It is unfortunate that we put so much stock in these glorified press conferences that the media like to call ‘debates’. There isn’t time in a 2 or 3 minute answer to provide any substance. They are sound bite contests.

janjan on December 15, 2011 at 7:16 PM

How many “chances” does hapless, pro-illegal alien amnesty Rick Perry get? How many times does he have to make a complete and utter fool of himself on stage in order for us to realize that this man has no business running for president? It has gotten to the point where, if Perry manages to go for 15 minutes without drooling or making another “whoopsie!” by drawing a blank on some basic tenet of his policy positions (which someone else obviously thought up for him), we are expected to cheer and say “good boy!” as if he were some kind of “special needs” child or puppy deserving of a prize. This is pathetic. Some of you nitpick Romney over the silliest things, yet Perry doesn’t even appear to pass the standard for basic intellectual competence. At least Gingrich (who would be much weaker against Obama than Romney) and Romney can speak like mentally-alert, mature adults.

bluegill on December 15, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Can one of the Texas posters comment on Perry’s last election race vs. Bill White. I do believe Perry said he wouldn’t debate until White released his tax returns…which had some damaging information. I think Perry actually has the gumption to do the same to Obama. I can hear him saying…”Hey buddy, you wanna debate me? Let’s get all your records and transcripts out, your writings from Law Review, and your Pakistani passport and then we can have a real debate.”…

monalisa on December 15, 2011 at 6:47 PM

So little Bammie reassembles his fake-documents team for school docs. Do you think his elitist pals at Hahvahd would confirm them for us? Not likely. There are no Law Review articles.

The real story on the Bamster will leak out in ten or twenty years, long after he has moved on.

slickwillie2001 on December 15, 2011 at 7:26 PM

How many “chances” does hapless, pro-illegal alien amnesty Rick Perry get?
bluegill on December 15, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Evidently, as many as it takes to push you completely over the edge. From the looks of your latest rant, it shouldn’t be long now.

Is you face as blue as your gills.

cozmo on December 15, 2011 at 7:27 PM

janjan on December 15, 2011 at 7:16 PM

I like Perry, but I’m afraid he would have to rely on the telepromter. We don’t need to replace one TOTUS with another.

mike_NC9 on December 15, 2011 at 7:29 PM

“there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” Rick Perry

that right there bluegill, is why Rick Perry can have as many chances as he wants with me. that right there!

GhoulAid on December 15, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Perry, pre-record your answers and attach a tiny speaker to your lapel!

EddieC on December 15, 2011 at 7:32 PM

If you’re going to post lies and half truths, try using a link that works.

csdeven on December 15, 2011 at 4:15 PM

Hey, I read that article, it was info given by a fellow missionary that was there with Mitt. It was stated in the article that Mitt didn’t want it known. I checked again and the article is gone….hummmmm….

tinkerthinker on December 15, 2011 at 7:36 PM

For those of you shaking over Perry’s malaprops, just remember Perry can come back with a question asking Obama to name all 57 states after showing a clip of Obama saying there were 57 states.

He could also ask Obama to name the countries of the world that speak Austrian.

Obama can match Perry, gaffe for gaffe. This will cut both ways.

richardb on December 15, 2011 at 5:55 PM

“No dumber than obama” isn’t a particularly appealing bumper sticker. Rick probably shouldn’t go that route.

Ronnie on December 15, 2011 at 7:41 PM

Rick Perry says Iowa voters want to “Touch you, feel you, and sniff on ya”

Yup, Tom Cruise….without the couch!

Sparky5253 on December 15, 2011 at 8:06 PM

There are now more debates than “Friday the 13th” and “Police Academy” movies COMBINED!!!

Penfold on December 15, 2011 at 3:03 PM

But not more than Rambo, I can’t wait for Rambo 37, “The Geriatric Years”.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on December 15, 2011 at 8:07 PM

“there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.” Rick Perry

that right there bluegill, is why Rick Perry can have as many chances as he wants with me. that right there!

But that line is such a lame, cheap, obvious, desperate beg for applause. Is that all it takes to win you over? We support DADT (or whatever is deemed best for the military) and agree with Perry’s meaning regarding school prayer and Christmas, but I would prefer it discussed in a more mature way. His point is well-taken, but I would also rather a presidential candidate spoke more sensitively and intelligently about these subjects and avoided the unseemly hint of pitting of sexuality issues against school children’s rights. It appears desperate Rick Perry has sunk to resorting to cheap-sounding “bumper sticker”-quality slogans that appeal to the lowest common denominator. People try to claim that Romney seems contrived, but Perry’s “Strong” ad seems like the result of a brainstorming session by his strategists to come with a line that would elicit the most “you tell em, Rick!” from conservatives. It feels cheap and childish.

bluegill on December 15, 2011 at 8:26 PM

cozmo

From one nutball to another, Thanx.

I strive for substance over style.

Horace on December 15, 2011 at 10:14 PM

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