Open thread: The “I can’t believe they’re having another debate” debate

posted at 8:34 pm on January 16, 2012 by Allahpundit

9 p.m. ET on Fox News. If you’ve been reading the site today, you already know what to expect. Santorum will attack Romney for being an Obama clone, Gingrich will attack both of them for being unelectable, and Romney, I suppose, will attack Newt for his Bain criticism — all of which will be punctuated by grumbling about how unfair the other guy’s Super PAC is. Then Ron Paul will say something about the Fed and Perry will say something self-deprecating, and we’ll rinse and repeat. For two hours.

Philip Klein dares to think a terrible, terrible thought. I’m entitling this blockquote, “What if the tea party never existed?”

Is there anything stopping [Romney] from sweeping all 50 states?

Think about it. Romney has a commanding lead in Florida, and will simply obliterate the field if he enters the Sunshine State after having won South Carolina. And if he does win South Carolina and Florida, what will become of the rest of the field? Rick Perry, who came in fifth in Iowa and bailed on New Hamphshire, already has very little justification for continuing. A distant finish in South Carolina would give him even less reason. It’s true that there are states in which Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich can theoretically beat Romney, but if they can’t beat him in South Carolina, where will they go from there? Even now, Romney has a 23-point lead nationally, according to Gallup.

Sure, perhaps Rep. Ron Paul’s fervent supporters can out-hustle Romney’s organization in a caucus here or there. But it’s also possible that Romney will run the table. Remember, as the field gets narrowed, it’ll get a lot harder for Paul to outright win a state, because he’ll have to start getting into the 40-50-plus point range.

Skim this LA Times piece for a reminder of what makes Klein’s scenario plausible. It’s not just that Romney’s national organization is so solid; it’s that, apart from Ron Paul, he’s the only candidate who even has a national organization. And since I’m beating a dead horse by making that point again, let me beat another one by reminding you that even a Romney loss in South Carolina is unlikely to put Florida in play. PPP’s new poll tonight shows Mitt leading Gingrich there 41/26, and by an even wider margin among voters who say they’ve made up their minds. His favorables are 68/24 generally — better than in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina — and 70/18 on the narrower issue of his business record. So much for the Bain attacks. In fact, I’m curious to see whether Gingrich brings up Bain tonight or whether Romney himself does. That’ll be the best evidence yet of what the campaigns’ internal polling shows on this issue. Do note that Newt conspicuously passed on a golden opportunity to hit Romney on it yesterday.

Here’s the Hot Air/Townhall livetweet widget. Fox is going to solicit Twitter feedback tonight during the debate to track whether viewers think a candidate is answering a question or dodging it, so there’s one way to kinda sorta amuse yourself as debate fatigue sets in circa 9:05. Exit question: Is it racist to give money to someone in need? It is on MSNBC, apparently.



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Romney Record Excellent Adventure!!

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

A Five Guys cheeseburger sounds good; five guys debating again, meh.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

MLK?!!!!!!! I thought we were ignoring him tonight!

kg598301 on January 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

dude; my interest for this is sooo long past. It’s like a chore nowadays.

ted c on January 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Newt gets dumped on right away lol.

Roymunson on January 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Bain…!

Drinky…!!!

Seven Percent Solution on January 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Newt InComing……

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Dog owners……ahem..roof!

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:03 PM

My cats are not amused…and Bret…’African-American’s’ are born in AFRICA and become citizens. No more hyphens!

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

I’m watching you…

ExpressoBold on January 16, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Bain…!

Drinky…!!!

Seven Percent Solution on January 16, 2012 at 9:04 PM

Seven Percent Solution:Lol:)

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Not that we are in the tank for Romney, but Newt, explain why you went negative? (Ignore the fact that Romney went nuclear against Newt for millions of dollars in attack ads full of lies.)

astonerii on January 16, 2012 at 9:05 PM

You were not “very effective” at attacking Bain, Newt.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Newt’s a secret Occupier!

Roymunson on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Tough questions by Bret……..good

JPeterman on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Newt,Scrutenizes the Scruteneers!!

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

I’ll go with Perry saying something stupid about vluture capitalism or something first.

Roymunson on January 16, 2012 at 8:40 PM

I’m going to go with just Perry saying something stupid. Better odds. In fact, a certainty.

Horace on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Reagan
Drink!

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Drum circle in 3, 2, 1…

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

No let’s see what the latino Mitt has to say about Newts response

Little r on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Lousy answer, Newt.

beatcanvas on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Newt’s a secret Occupier!

Roymunson on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Newt’s a secret secret.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

If I have to drink every time Newt says Reagan or Clinton, I will not make it to the next question.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Not that we are in the tank for Romney, but Newt, explain why you went negative? (Ignore the fact that Romney went nuclear against Newt for millions of dollars in attack ads full of lies.)

That cannot be ignored. If Romney didn’t go negative Newt wouldn’t have done it

liberal4life on January 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Nuke Newt! Nuke Newt! Nuke Newt! But we are not in the tank for Romney.

astonerii on January 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Newt is rattled!

JPeterman on January 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Gingrich awful just now on why to ask Romney Stupid Democrat Questions.

J.E. Dyer on January 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Oh boy,Newty in da Hot Seat!!

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Newt’s whiiiining.
Isn’t that Santorum’s job?

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Reagan! Drink!

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

Newt’s a secret secret.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

Newt’s wearing Victoria’s Secret

burrata on January 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

(i’m too busy drinking to type)

Seven Percent Solution on January 16, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Gingrich awful just now on why to ask Romney Stupid Democrat Questions.

J.E. Dyer on January 16, 2012 at 9:07 PM

J.E. Dyer:Yup:)

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Bret Raer is determined to destroy Newt for good today . How sickining

evergreenland on January 16, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Mitt ate his Wheaties this morning…

JohnGalt23 on January 16, 2012 at 9:08 PM

The tone of Newt vs the tone of Romney is like night and day. Newt sounds like a broken man.

Roymunson on January 16, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Subtle change there. Romney didn’t say he created 100,000 jobs. He now says that companies he invested in currently employ 120,000.

Mark1971 on January 16, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Whooo Mitt! Way to not answer the question.

Little r on January 16, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Strong cheering section for Mitt…

beatcanvas on January 16, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Horace GiddyUp! Drink!

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Perry…oh boy.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Newt has been calm so far, and that is good. Romney is calm and speaking well. Good response. Not combative. Mitt just has to show up and not screw up royally.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Hey folks!

Can’t watch it now, in a meeting

So newt is tanking already?

cmsinaz on January 16, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Exactly, Mitt gave a non-answer answer that is unanalyzable.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Dammit Perry-answer the effing question!

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Bret Raer is determined to destroy Newt for good today . How sickining

evergreenland on January 16, 2012 at 9:08 PM

Newt’s attacks on business practices make me want to destroy Newt for good.

beatcanvas on January 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Texas Toast
Here he goes whining !!

burrata on January 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Perry: Romney closes steel mills! Where’s your income tax! What a clown Perry is.

Roymunson on January 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Mitt’s not dumb – he’s not releasing his tax info unless he’s the nom. Will Santorum and Paul do so?

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Mittens Income Tax NeverEnding Story!

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Rick Perry, that’s cheap, and it is beneath you.

JohnGalt23 on January 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

cmsinaz on January 16, 2012 at 9:09 PM

Not strong out of the gate that’s for sure.

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

We don’t need to see the tax returns of Gingrich and Perry to understand how flawed they are as candidates.

cicerone on January 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Roymunson on January 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

He’s a great governor and he needs to come home to Texas…NOW!

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Mitt is game for responding. Let’s see what happens.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

mitt makes his own rules

Little r on January 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

I’m no Romney fan, but Perry’s really going for the douchebag gold early!

Darksean on January 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

My prediction: Mitt will eventually release his tax returns along with his college records. Your move Obama.

Mark1971 on January 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Perry is a ramblin’ man.

Buy Danish on January 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t consulting firms count as free enterprise and capitalism?
Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn’t some of the conservative ideas about government employees being transitioned to contractors to the government been floated as well and as free market alternatives to the status quo?
So, doesn’t this mean that all those attacks that were argued as legitimate just a few short weeks ago on Newt’s contracted outsourced work with Freddie Mac constitute an attack on free enterprise and market capitalism?
Where was FNC stepping forward then to stomp down on this anti-capitalism rhetoric.

astonerii on January 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Megyn Kelly is looking good..:)

Dire Straits on January 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Mittens, lets take a little more time with that. Is he running for moderator?

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

where are the TAX returns!!!!

liberal4life on January 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Rick Perry put his running mate in his Twitter picture with him.

The Nerve on January 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Perry follows up attack on Romney for not revealing tax returns with calls for less regulation.

Apparently, it is OK to make all the money one wants, until you run for office.

I don’t like Romney, but who the hell cares how much $ he made, so long as he made it honestly? I thought only liberals and OWS types cared about private income.

MidniteRambler on January 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Mitt seems very in control for now. No answer on the tax returns. Don’t blame him. Why would anyone do that unless they are the nominee? The Dems will create scandal where it does not exist.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Exit question: Is it racist to give money to someone in need? It is on MSNBC, apparently.

Charity is racist, but if you’re a political party that likes giving other people’s money out to people it’s not.

BadgerHawk on January 16, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Megyn Kelly is looking good..:)

Dire Straits on January 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Not my type-sorry.
Hel-LO Bret! Meee-ow!

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:13 PM

So will Juan ask questions about Repubs hating black people
or
will he ask about Newt’s food-stamp comments ?

burrata on January 16, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Mitt’s a little feisty with the rules thing.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Rick Perry, that’s cheap, and it is beneath you.

JohnGalt23 on January 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Half of that sentence is correct.

Horace on January 16, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Dire Straits on January 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

Always, yes? ; )

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Mitt is struggling

liberal4life on January 16, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Mitt doubles down! 120,000 jobs? LOL – I’m not even president – YET.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Who cares how much $ Romney made in the private sector?

I don’t even like Romney, but hearing Newt, whom I still supported by default two weeks ago, attack Romney for making money, makes me regret ever ignoring Bad Newt for Good Newt.

MidniteRambler on January 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Romney walking away with it so far.

J.E. Dyer on January 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Mitt doing a great job on defense. Perry’s “tax records” cheap shot was pure leftist sleaze. “Let’s see what’s in there.” What the hell does that mean? “Let’s see if you’re rich…and therefore a bad guy”? Screw you, Perry you ignorant hick.

Rational Thought on January 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:13 PM

LoLz..:)

Dire Straits on January 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Kelly Evans, wow!

Darksean on January 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM

So how come Kelly Evans hasn’t been at the other debates?

SlaveDog on January 16, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Ronulan.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:15 PM

@davidmwessel tweeted:

Romney: “My record is out there…proud of it.”

#scdebateStory metadata:
Submitted 5 mins ago from twitter.com/davidmwessel by editor
Share
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2012 elections Gingrich, at SC debate, on his Romney attacks: ‘I raise questions that I think are legitimate questions

‘Story metadata:
Submitted 4 mins ago by editor

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:15 PM

I had never noticed before how much Romney talks with his hands.

Flora Duh on January 16, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Uncle Kooky speaks, no one cares. Oh man, he’s off his rocker as usual.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 9:13 PM

Yes..Always..:)

Dire Straits on January 16, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Ruh ro, sleepy…. Drink!

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Hi, folks

Have to listen to the livestream while I’m at work. Don’t know how much I’ll be able to comment, but I’ll catch up with yinz later.

Yoy … Ron Paul is blathering through my headphones.

PatriotGal2257 on January 16, 2012 at 9:16 PM

Right to woooooork.

Flora Duh on January 16, 2012 at 9:16 PM

The crowd seems to be divided between Paulbots and MittHeads. (Or, whatever we call Romney supporters.)

MidniteRambler on January 16, 2012 at 9:16 PM

2012 elections Perry calls on Romney to release his income tax records, says party needs to know candidate

Story metadata:
Submitted 4 mins ago by editor

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:16 PM

Santy mentions Ronulan/Soros connection.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:16 PM

Santorum fans in the house.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:16 PM

santorum wants to get the federal govt out of education. i’m okay with that!

Sachiko on January 16, 2012 at 9:17 PM

Where’s your college transcripts, sir?!

DrStock on January 16, 2012 at 9:17 PM

wWork to right,…what….

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:17 PM

Sachiko on January 16, 2012 at 9:17 PM

As am I.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Santorum trying hard to support right-to-work.

That is fine, but he needs to drop the obsession with what consenting adults do in their own homes.

MidniteRambler on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Juan trying to turn it back to a lefty questions debate. He’s a good team player. Wrong team, though.

Rational Thought on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Romney is going to be soooooo boring during the general election. I am so disgusted that this is the best we could do.

LazyDog on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

So, I guess it’s George Soros’ fault that Rick Santorum voted against Right to Work.

JohnGalt23 on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Hey, Juan! You were supposed to ask for moment of silence in memory of MLK, Jr.! What happened?

ExpressoBold on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

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