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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Why does Mitt stutter so much?

lynncgb on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Rick Santorum did not skip New Hampshire, so his loss should demote him to 3rd tier status.

The Nerve on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Santorum is going to be the instigator tonight. Mitt slaps him.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Nice shot from Santorum!

JPeterman on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

go santy …corner mitt

burrata on January 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Mittens…

… taken down by Santorum.

Nice…!

Seven Percent Solution on January 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Should convicted felons have access to contraception?

Mark1971 on January 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Shaddup Juan! What the hell would u have to talk about if they abandoned the negativity? Obama’s failed policies? pfff

Ooh, Santorum getting bossy?

Flora Duh on January 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Santorum just ka-blewed Mittens front mast!!

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Newt,Scrutenizes the Scruteneers!!

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

That was funny!

Night Owl on January 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Santorum pandering to the black vote.

Oh my…

MidniteRambler on January 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

lynncgb on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Nervousness.

The Nerve on January 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

REALLY

Did Rick REALLY just go there? Really? Mr. “Blaargh People” himself?

mythicknight on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Santorum playing moderator weirdo.

Roymunson on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

I can’t get the feed at fox’s site to work, anyone got an alternate link?

almosthandsome on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

I betcha the vast majority of American voters don’t know what “right to work” means. It’s a really stupid term to describe the right not to be forced to join a union. Candidates need to explain it if they’re going to talk about it.
###

Santorum, acting like an ass, after a good start.

Buy Danish on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Santorum putting Mitt behind the 8 ball, LOL

Finally he answered. Hmmm, wrong answer Mitt

bluefox on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Romney still didn’t answer Perry’s question about releasing his tax returns , real good smokin mirrors Mitt, now release them !

Sandybourne on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Should convicted felons have access to contraception?

Mark1971 on January 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

No .
because they should be castrated

burrata on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Romney walking away with it so far.

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

Not any more.

cozmo on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Oh, Santorum had Mitt in his sights, and then he goes all “we have to let prisoners vote because they’re all black!” OMG.

Rational Thought on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Wow. Santorum hitting hard.

Darksean on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

santorum pressing romney hard… a little harsh but it’s interesting to see how romney responds.

Sachiko on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Santorum is taking it to Mitt on this issue. Crowd seems to be liking it.

predator on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Santorum not annoying me tonight… Can he keep going strong?

LazyDog on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Santorum is roasting Mitt right now. I don’t like either of them, and I prefer Mitt over Santorum, but Santorum just destroyed him.

Lawdawg86 on January 16, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Well done, Rick Santorum.

beatcanvas on January 16, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Don’t know if anyone knew it, but Romney had to deal with an 85% Democratic legislature.

/s

MidniteRambler on January 16, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Here comes another Santorum Straffing!

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Santorum smacking the chit out of Mittens.

Southernblogger on January 16, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Jerome Santorum, locking down the African-America vote.

ak90049 on January 16, 2012 at 9:21 PM

I questions on housing, corporate income tax, the shrinking private market for health insurance, czars, recess appointments, Gitmo, Keystone . . .

DrStock on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Mitt passing blame for everything.

katy the mean old lady on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Santy is still acting like a whiny punk.

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

santorum actually made a great point

Donald Draper on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Santorum is such a blow hard fool.

BettyRuth on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Santorum was winning but he pushed too much.

rndmusrnm on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Romney: ‘Super PACs put out things that we disagree with…’

Get ready for stricter rules…

The Nerve on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Like that Mr. Perry

Little r on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Santorum is grasping straws.

Roymunson on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Perry — absolutely right on, knocks it out of the park on who should decide on felons voting.

J.E. Dyer on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Santorum is kicking up dust, but I wish he would have picked a different subject. Allowing felons to vote is not as a high priority as jobs.

Perry interjects. This is getting tiresome.

Quit nodding, Mitt.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

I used to think Santorum was a fascist.

I still do, actually, but I do so enjoy watching him put Smith Comma John in his place for dodging DIRECT questions.

mintycrys on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Go Perry!!! Let the States decide, get the Fed out!!

bluefox on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Oh Mitt stuttering,

evergreenland on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Good answer Perry!

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

I’m not sure who looks worse in that exchange. Santorum for badgering and not really keeping the debate decorum, or Romney for stuttering through his response to the attack.

LukeinNE on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Mitt is rattled, LOL

bluefox on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Santorum pandering to the black vote.

Oh my…

MidniteRambler on January 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

eh, it’s MLK day. i can understand. (normally i would not like that though)

Sachiko on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Holy s***, Rick Santorum is owning Mitt Romney. I won’t vote for him in the primaries, but Santorum could definitely hold his own against Obama.

Lawdawg86 on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Mittens stuttering and stammering. Go for the KO

Southernblogger on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Oh, Santorum had Mitt in his sights, and then he goes all “we have to let prisoners vote because they’re all black!” OMG.

Rational Thought on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM Oh, Santorum had Mitt in his sights, and then he goes all “we have to let prisoners vote because they’re all black!” OMG.

Rational Thought on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Yup.

Affirmative action doesn’t play well when you’re running as a social conservative.

MidniteRambler on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Oh boy,BallRoom blitz coming……

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

peeeeeee break

burrata on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Santorum is kicking up dust, but I wish he would have picked a different subject. Allowing felons to vote is not as a high priority as jobs.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

No kidding.

J.E. Dyer on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

Romney still didn’t answer Perry’s question about releasing his tax returns , real good smokin mirrors Mitt, now release them !

Sandybourne on January 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

How about if Romney releases his tax returns right after Perry releases his list of the crony capitalists who stuffed $7 million in his stash.

“I don’t have a problem with that.” – Moses Perry

Horace on January 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

My thoughts on how the candidates are acting is they’re pretty mean and snippy. Worse than I’ve ever seen them this election. What got into them???

The Nerve on January 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Santorum scores a point? What is up with the cheering sections tonight. Turn the audience mics down please.

Bmore on January 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Santorum and Perry took Mitt out! Whoa..

tinkerthinker on January 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

I now feel less informed than I did before the debate started.

JohnGalt23 on January 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

So now they want ro restrict campaign finances like Mccain….. Wow. What a bunch of progressives

Little r on January 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Santorum was winning but he pushed too much.
rndmusrnm on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Yup, it’s an ongoing problem with him. Goes from being likeable to unlikable in a debate on a topic.

whatcat on January 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Please make it stop..!

d1carter on January 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Mitt is rattled, LOL

bluefox on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

He definitely was, but that ain’t what folks will be talking about tomorrrow. I cannot believe how Santorum blew that by making it racial. What the hell was he thinking?!

Rational Thought on January 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Upcoming…….Santorum Torpedo Run(sarc)

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Oh Mitt stuttering,

evergreenland on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

It happens when your tongue is actually a flip-flop

burrata on January 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

So the voting rights of convicted violent felons is the hill on which Santorum wants to make his stand? LMAO! I didn’t realize ACORN was co-sponsoring tonight’s debate.

cicerone on January 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

The whole Santorum thing was bizarre.

Roymunson on January 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

They might vote for criminal jobs…!

The Nerve on January 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

No kidding.

J.E. Dyer on January 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

He picked the subject that the Romney Pac hit him on. Fair game, but let’s get on to Obama and the economy now.

predator on January 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Please make it stop..!

d1carter on January 16, 2012 at 9:24 PM

d1carter:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Where are the tax returns?

liberal4life on January 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Why does Mitt stutter so much?

lynncgb on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 PM

Because he’s trying to decide on an appropriate answer to what he thought about an issue five years, one year, six months ago that he’s being questioned on tonight.

The stuttering does nothing to inspire any confidence that he will be able to hit Obama where it hurts.

PatriotGal2257 on January 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Perry — absolutely right on, knocks it out of the park on who should decide on felons voting.

J.E. Dyer on January 16, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Yeah, one of the major issues on the minds of voters this year.

That should gain Perry 6 or 7 votes in SC

Horace on January 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

found it:

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/watch-tonights-abc-newsyahoo-republican-debate-live-here/

Paul-Cincy on January 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

Try:

http://www.justin.tv/jeffaronson#/w/2451753184

(best with Firefox browser with Adblock.)

whatcat on January 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Nice job by Santorum! Don’t the Mitt supporters hear the stuttering that the rest of us hear? He gets frazzled to easily!

LazyDog on January 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Right now Stephanopoulos is kicking himself for not asking Mitt about voting rights for felons.

Mark1971 on January 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Romney wins so far?
from Fox and Crew!!

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

There comes a moment in every debate at which Romney looks like Mama’s precious little boy, with a smug grin on his face because he just did good.

Could do without those moments. cozmo is right, Romney stopped running away with it pretty quickly tonight.

J.E. Dyer on January 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Flop Sweat and Jethro need to go the way of Kwai Chang and let the big dogs fight.

Typhonian on January 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Rick needs to learn when to quit, especially on a low-priority issue. He just sounds whiny when he keeps on and on.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Santorum just ka-blewed Mittens front mast!!
canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:19 PM

Santorum slags Romney for not getting Mass (of all places) to prohibit felons from voting. Stupid.

Basilsbest on January 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Newt: If You Don’t Know Me By Now… (Mo Will Tell You Everything That I Don’t Want You To Know)

http://predicthistunpredictpast.blogspot.com/2012/01/newt-if-you-dont-know-me-by-now-mo-will.html

Brand new stuff.

Resist We Much on January 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

The world and our nation are collapsing and Santorum wants to talk about criminals voting?

What an twerp.

jake-the-goose on January 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Unreal they talk states rights then try to hit Mitt with what Mass. wanted

tbrickert on January 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Romney. Neither the most conservative nor the most electable.

caverduc on January 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Online Fox News Streaming!

http://live.foxnews.com/

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

but let’s get on to Obama and the economy now.

predator on January 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

not gonna happen.
This is fair balanced and unafraid network

burrata on January 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Perfectly lubricated weathervane…I love that.

mythicknight on January 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Bret is brutal tonight. It’s hilarious.

Philly on January 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Seems like Santorum is kind of a bitter little man.

BettyRuth on January 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

The world and our nation are collapsing and Santorum wants to talk about criminals voting?

What an twerp.

jake-the-goose on January 16, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Excuse me?
*wink*

annoyinglittletwerp on January 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Twitter questions – what’s a matter Bret – none of your own?

jake-the-goose on January 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Yeah, one of the major issues on the minds of voters this year.

That should gain Perry 6 or 7 votes in SC

Horace on January 16, 2012 at 9:26 PM

The point isn’t the voting felons (great name for a rock band), it’s the states’ prerogative in that and many, many other matters.

J.E. Dyer on January 16, 2012 at 9:28 PM

That darrow path?!?

The Nerve on January 16, 2012 at 9:29 PM

LUBERCATED!

Slippery when Wet!!

canopfor on January 16, 2012 at 9:29 PM

If only Bret Baier would have called him Skip Huntsman.

Mark1971 on January 16, 2012 at 9:29 PM

He definitely was, but that ain’t what folks will be talking about tomorrrow. I cannot believe how Santorum blew that by making it racial. What the hell was he thinking?!

Rational Thought on January 16, 2012 at 9:25 PM

I think in order to bring up the Romney SuperPAC ads against Santorum: prison suit and accused him of wanting Felons to vote.

bluefox on January 16, 2012 at 9:29 PM

Every four years we talk about the sanctity of life – and then the election is over – we don’t talk about it for 4 years.

Stupid.

jake-the-goose on January 16, 2012 at 9:29 PM

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