Open thread: The nastiest debate yet?

posted at 8:39 pm on January 23, 2012 by Allahpundit

9 p.m. ET on NBC. Said Newt today of Romney’s panic, “If you’ve been campaigning for six years and you begin to see it slip away, you get desperate, and when you get desperate you say almost anything. And I think tonight’s debate will probably stretch the barrier of almost anything.” There’s all the reason you need to watch. Meanwhile, brand new from PPP:

PPP’s first post-South Carolina poll in Florida finds Newt Gingrich with a small lead. He’s at 38% to 33% for Mitt Romney, 13% for Rick Santorum, and 10% for Ron Paul…

If Rick Santorum drops out between now and next Tuesday, Gingrich will be the beneficiary. His voters prefer Gingrich over Romney 50-23, and in a field where he’s no longer a candidate Newt’s lead expands to 43-36…

Newt is drawing out new voters. With the 11% of the electorate that didn’t vote in the 2008 primary, he leads 40-30. Meanwhile Romney is having trouble holding onto the folks who voted for him in 2008. 37% are supporting someone else this time, with 19% of them moving toward Gingrich. This was a big problem for Romney in Iowa as well- if he could just hold onto the folks who supported him last time he’d be winning easily. But he doesn’t inspire a passionate enough following to keep folks in the fold.

Sixteen percent say they’ve already voted and, as expected, Romney leads among them — but only by a margin of 43/40, which is much narrower than analysts expected. Unless something dramatic happens this week, Gingrich should have no trouble overcoming that next Tuesday, especially if Santorum quits. (Imagine the frantic phone calls of encouragement Santorum is getting from establishment bigwigs right now.) The lingering question: How exactly did Newt Gingrich’s comeback become some sort of victory for tea partiers? Isn’t he, as James Delingpole puts it, a “rent-seeking DC insider who profited from the taxpayer via Fannie Mae and who recently attacked Mitt Romney’s record at Bain from the left”? More from Michael Crowley:

Newt has inarguably lived the good life of an Establishment man. As House Speaker he made no serious effort to take on the culture of Washington. Instead, he oversaw an expanded alliance between K Street lobbyists and congressional Republicans. And after he left Congress–purged by his colleagues, not for threatening their interests but for botching the politics of Bill Clinton’s impeachment–he settled comfortably into a life of lucrative speaking and influence-peddling…

[H]e favors huge tax cuts–probably the Establishment’s top priority. He wants to cut regulations, slash entitlements, and kill off ObamaCare–all sure fire applause lines at the American Enterprise Institute. True, his radical plan to rein in “activist judges” has drawn withering reviews from some certifiable Establishment men. But that’s not enough to explain the strong opposition to him in the sitting rooms of McLean, Virginia, which has become to the Republican Establishment what Georgetown once was to the Democratic elite (and where, incidentally, Newt himself lives). The bottom line is that Gingrich has more in common with Ross Douthat than with Ross Perot.

To the extent Newt threatens the Establishment, it’s because of his electability–or lack thereof. The GOP’s mandarins see Gingrich’s nomination as a sure way to blow their chance of deposing Barack Obama. They see Gingrich as the political equivalent of a Fukushima nuclear plant worker, with polls showing him to be lethally irradiated by his negative approval ratings.

All true. But wait — aren’t tea partiers actually more likely than other GOP sub-groups to compromise on ideology in hopes of defeating Obama? In theory, if Romney’s the most electable candidate, they should be grudgingly breaking towards him right now in the interest of beating O, not away from him. What gives? The answer, I think, lies in this nugget from Jonah Goldberg about Romney: “Politics is about persuasion and he’s simply not persuasive. I’m rapidly losing confidence that as a general election candidate he would be able to win over the crucial voters he would need to seal the deal.” That is to say, I think the base is increasingly convinced that Romney’s not appreciably more electable than Gingrich is. It’s not that Newt is looking better than he used to, it’s that Romney looks more wooden and dismal the more you’re exposed to him, which bodes ill for the general. If there’s no great electability disparity between them, why not gamble on the guy who at least has a mostly conservative record and who relishes throwing roundhouses at the left?

If that’s what’s happening then Romney’s new strategy of going harshly negative makes sense. He can’t sell himself, but maybe he can sell voters on the idea that Gingrich is a sure loser against O. There’s never really been an argument for Romney, after all, just an argument that there’s no viable Not Romney in the field. He’s got eight days to make the case. Here’s the Hot Air/Townhall Twitter widget plus a livefeed from NBC of the debate. And in case you’re wondering, no, Marco Rubio won’t be endorsing in the primary. Given how often he’s been touted as a potential Romney VP, that’s the best evidence yet of how much trouble Mitt’s in down in Florida. Exit question from Timothy Carney, who’s looking over the Freddie Mac contract that Gingrich’s camp just released: If Newt was merely a historian for them, why was he hired by their chief lobbyist?

Update: A brand new ad from Team Romney attacking his opponent’s “anti-establishment” image: Newt Gingrich, Washington insider.

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And Obama would smile and retort: “The “Silent Majority”? Wasn’t that Nixon’s old line? But, in effect, you’re saying I’m a Goldwater Democrat, Newt? Maybe that’ll get me a whole new voting bloc in the general… but would you answer the question? Do you agree with Barry Goldwater or not?“

profitsbeard on January 23, 2012 at 11:40 PM

Frist, something needs to be said before this drags out more. Do you really think the Obama campaign will agree to debate rules where the candidates can DIRECTLY question and answer each other? 0bama has more to lose than to gain by agreeing to such a change in the Presidential debate format in at least two decades.

Second, you’re assuming 0bama can think that fast on his feet. Newt can, while there are countless examples on Youtube and elsewhere where 0bama is found lacking in quick, witty responses. 0bama would have to have TOTUS and the writing staffs of Letterman, Leno, and SNL to keep up.

Lastly, to end this historical ideology-by-association, Newt would wrap George McGovern’s and Walter Mondale’s landslide losses around 0bama’s arrogant neck.

Jurisprudence on January 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM

I’m not anti-Mormon but I do think Joseph Smith was a lying crackpot. Romney Fans think saying that is religious bigotry. Logic is now religious bigotry, b/c they got to get ROmney elected. :)

Dr. Tesla on January 23, 2012 at 11:56 PM

joana on January 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM

Still waiting with baited breath for those examples of horrid name calling you accused me of.

Cindy Munford on January 23, 2012 at 11:56 PM

mitts attacks will fall silent. nobody cares about that stuff. you guys may? mitt made some bad error tonight. he open the door on medicare and newt walked gracefully right through it with a very important message to seniors. also hispanics are sitting at home tonight scratching their heads saying” quepasa man whats this self-portation” thursday should be intersting when they show newt pulling away even further. with a little luck mitt will explode.

rik on January 23, 2012 at 11:57 PM

I thought Santorum did well tonight, don’t know why people are giving him D’s. I kind of respect the guy even if I don’t agree with him on the social issues. He lives his values that’s for sure.

The Newt supporters here will deny it, but he got hurt tonight in Florida with his glib responses to Romney’s charges on Freddie Mac. He looked guilty, just like Romney looked guilty on taxes last week. The absolute killer was when Romney pointed out that he was hired by the Chief Lobbyist at Freddie Mac, not the CEO. And Newt responded with a long silence.

haner on January 23, 2012 at 11:57 PM

HAHA the anti-Gingrich Drudge poll has Newt winning the debate!

astonerii on January 23, 2012 at 11:46 PM

Either you or I need glasses.

VorDaj on January 23, 2012 at 11:58 PM

If thats not an outright troll I dont know what is.

Sultanofsham on January 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM

Its trolling to say Romney is bland and moderate and Ron Paul is a better candidate? Hah!

At least Paul has the courage of his convictions.

Dr. Tesla on January 23, 2012 at 11:58 PM

Lastly, to end this historical ideology-by-association, Newt would wrap George McGovern’s and Walter Mondale’s landslide losses around 0bama’s arrogant neck.

Jurisprudence on January 23, 2012 at 11:55 PM

And the end result of both of them swimming in the historical minutiae would be that Newt squandered an opportunity to go for the throat at each and every opportunity.

Which, if I’m not greatly mistaken, is supposed to be the entire rationale for Gingrich’s candidacy.

KingGold on January 23, 2012 at 11:58 PM

Santorum won the debate but he hates the gays b/c liberals on the internet say so. SO we got to vote for somebody else.

Dr. Tesla on January 23, 2012 at 11:59 PM

mitt made some bad error tonight. he open the door on medicare and newt walked gracefully right through it with a very important message to seniors. also hispanics are sitting at home tonight scratching their heads saying” quepasa man whats this self-portation” thursday should be intersting when they show newt pulling away even further. with a little luck mitt will explode.

rik on January 23, 2012 at 11:57 PM

Cuz that’s exactly what True Conservatism and the Tea Party is about: pandering to seniors and Hispanics.

Go to bed, man.

haner on January 23, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Either you or I need glasses.

VorDaj on January 23, 2012 at 11:58 PM

It was true when I voted too.

‘Course, there were only about twenty votes total, and the Paulians hadn’t been called to action yet…

KingGold on January 24, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Romney Conservativism appears to be going to work and making money for yourself and being in a family.

SO everybody who works and has a family is a conservative.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:01 AM

Its trolling to say Romney is bland and moderate and Ron Paul is a better candidate? Hah!

At least Paul has the courage of his convictions.

Dr. Tesla on January 23, 2012 at 11:58 PM

So does a monk who immolates himself. I stand away from both.

Sultanofsham on January 24, 2012 at 12:02 AM

I think it’s possible to do that while keeping some civility and politeness, don’t you agree?

joana on January 23, 2012 at 11:34 PM

Joana, the Cindy you know and the one the rest of us here have known for years does not lack civility or politeness. They are her mainstay, almost overly so. If you are offended by something she may have have said, then I would ask you to check your sensitivity meter, I think it might need to be adjusted. I say stuff on a regular basis that would offend the most hardened bad-ass among us, but that’s not Cindy Munford.

TXUS on January 24, 2012 at 12:02 AM

If Romney doesn’t start connecting with GOP voters with passion, specifics, a believability in a message he’ll implode.

Case in point from the Romney campaign trail: “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.”

Likewise, if Santorum can grab conservatism and speak to it without fail, the race for Florida could come down to a 2-person duel…Gingrich and Santorum.

Deep Timber on January 24, 2012 at 12:03 AM

Cindy Munford on January 23, 2012 at 11:56 PM

For someone who doesn’t care about anonymous commenters, your stalking is becoming a little creepy. I don’t have time to link them all, but you were called out by Bradky for the last one in this thread: Bradky on January 23, 2012 at 10:31 PM. You later replied to him with some sort of “well, you do it too”.

Anyway, I’m more interested in discussing issues. You won’t apologize and you’ll keep discussing commentators and supporters and whatnot. Duly noted. If you want to comment on Gingrich’s 2nd Amendment record in congress – to mention the policy issue I’ve been discussing – , it’d be a lot more interesting to me. If not, and you insist on your habitual subjects, this conversation is over.

joana on January 24, 2012 at 12:03 AM

canopfor on January 23, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Hey canopfor
=============

All the better if its helpful. So maybe he will show and I can have a moment to explain that to him. But whatever you do don’t change a thing. Thanks canopfor. ; )

Bmore on January 23, 2012 at 11:44 PM

Bmore:

Thank-you,much appreciated,I try to cover and post things,
that might be missed.There is soooo much news going under
the radar,do to the GOP Primary Fixation!!

When doing debates,the comments are fast and furious(Sorry for
that pun)and its d*mn hard,to respond to some fellow H/A’s!

And,Hot Air is known for Humour,and staying on top of all
news that is out there,and news that is missed!!
—————————————————:)

canopfor on January 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM

I think I’d rather vote for somebody who believes in something than somebody who believes in nothing or wont tell you what it is.

Shifty coy politicians are not cool. They want the power way too much.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM

profitsbeard on January 23, 2012 at 11:19 PM

Gingrich would retort and say something to the effect, “Your extremism, Mr. President, is a danger to liberty, and that my views are of the Great Silent Majority of the American People.”

Jurisprudence on January 23, 2012 at 11:30 PM

And Obama would smile and retort: “The “Silent Majority”? Wasn’t that Nixon’s old line? But, in effect, you’re saying I’m a Goldwater Democrat, Newt? Maybe that’ll get me a whole new voting bloc in the general… but would you answer the question? Do you agree with Barry Goldwater or not?“

profitsbeard on January 23, 2012 at 11:40 PM

And then Newt would say, “I can’t be bothered to answer, it’s all on my website”.

captn2fat on January 24, 2012 at 12:05 AM

If Romney doesn’t start connecting with GOP voters with passion, specifics, a believability in a message he’ll implode.

Case in point from the Romney campaign trail: “I believe in an America where millions of Americans believe in an America that’s the America millions of Americans believe in. That’s the America I love.”

Deep Timber on January 24, 2012 at 12:03 AM

+1

I agree with this. His message has been way to general and vague. We get it. Romney loves America. But what’s he going to do about fixing America?

But I think it’s true of all the candidates. Gingrich hasn’t really gone much further than “I’ll debate Obama.”

haner on January 24, 2012 at 12:06 AM

I think I’d rather vote for somebody who believes in something than somebody who believes in nothing or wont tell you what it is.

Shifty coy politicians are not cool. They want the power way too much.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM

Gingrich is a Southerner who supported Rockefeller, but is now pretending to be a Tea Partier. Talk about shifting.

haner on January 24, 2012 at 12:07 AM

Gingrich at 61% Romney at 39.5%

andy85719 on January 24, 2012 at 12:07 AM

Romney ought to liberate his inner Romney and just say what he thinks.

Let the chips fall where they may.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:08 AM

canopfor on January 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM

Exactly, Thanks! I love to laugh and create a little mischief along the way.; )

Bmore on January 24, 2012 at 12:09 AM

And then Newt would say, “I can’t be bothered to answer, it’s all on my website”.

captn2fat on January 24, 2012 at 12:05 AM

Amazing how no one seemed to catch that tonight, or Newts support for sugar subsidies.

JPeterman on January 24, 2012 at 12:09 AM

Gingrich is a Southerner who supported Rockefeller, but is now pretending to be a Tea Partier. Talk about shifting.

haner on January 24, 2012 at 12:07 AM

Rockefeller was better than Goldwater, that year. The election results bear that out.

I don’t think Romney has superior electablity and probably our worse matchup against Obama. He can’t contrast himself at all and doesn’t appear able to even fake conservative that well. Plus Obamas going to to make him out as out of touch rich wall street fat cat typical Republican. I’d rather avoid that and RomneyCare doublespeak.

Others disagree.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:10 AM

And then Newt would say, “I can’t be bothered to answer, it’s all on my website”.

captn2fat on January 24, 2012 at 12:05 AM

While he looks around an waits for cheers from the South Carolina mob. Wait… silence…

Someone should tell Newt how general election debates work.

haner on January 24, 2012 at 12:10 AM

The dirty secret about Romney is this. He’s not a very good campaigner. If he was competent, he would’ve responded to questions quickly, appeared regularly on TV, defused situations, pushed a positive message, and attacked Obama.

Instead, Romney hid from the media. He used attack ads to blister his opponents, thus steeling their resolve. He didn’t respond early or adequately to even the simplest, easiest-to-expect questions. He paints Obama as simply ineffective.

Romney couldn’t have run a worse 2012 campaign if he tried. Voters got tired of waiting for him to figure it out.

The best you can say for him is that he’s a empty enough to be a vessel for the projected dreams of voters. But that’s Obama’s ability, and that’s his party. Conservatives want a real person, not an empty suit.

hawksruleva on January 24, 2012 at 12:11 AM

Goldwater was more liberterian than conservative, not a social conservative at all. Why he lost. Why Reagan won big, twice.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:11 AM

Because that rock is heavy. Chudi has been carrying it a long time.

JPeterman on January 23, 2012 at 11:54 PM

He should bury that rock, now that Perry suspended his campaign:-)

bluefox on January 24, 2012 at 12:12 AM

Rockefeller was better than Goldwater, that year. The election results bear that out.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:10 AM

Good lord.

There’s really no depth of hackery you won’t happily sink to in defense of Newt, is there?

KingGold on January 24, 2012 at 12:12 AM

Romney ought to liberate his inner Romney and just say what he thinks.

Let the chips fall where they may.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:08 AM

I’m not sure if even Romney knows what Romney thinks.

That said, if he wins the nomination, I’ll vote for him. But regardless of which of the GOP bozos win in 2012, I’ll be pushing, hoping, praying, and donating to a more conservative GOP Presidential candidate in 2016.

hawksruleva on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 AM

Well, I kind of support Newt not humoring Romney on the lobbyist thing. It isn’t a crime to be a lobbyist. Don’t act guilty.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 AM

Romney ought to liberate his inner Romney and just say what he thinks.

Let the chips fall where they may.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:08 AM

Romney is good with canned answers. Im not sure he can say what he thinks.

Sultanofsham on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 AM

I’m not sure if even Romney knows what Romney thinks.

That said, if he wins the nomination, I’ll vote for him. But regardless of which of the GOP bozos win in 2012, I’ll be pushing, hoping, praying, and donating to a more conservative GOP Presidential candidate in 2016.

hawksruleva on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 AM

We will be stuck with Romney if he wins the presidency this year. Nobody will primary him in 2016. Hes tough to beat when he’s not the incumbent b/c of his huge money advantage.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:14 AM

Good lord.

There’s really no depth of hackery you won’t happily sink to in defense of Newt, is there?

KingGold on January 24, 2012 at 12:12 AM

When you can articulate a conservative logic for RomneyCare, I’ll take you seriously.

You don’t care about conservatism if you support Romney. Just admit it. It really is that simple.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:16 AM

this conversation is over.

joana on January 24, 2012 at 12:03 AM

You have time to chastise but not to prove your point. You are correct, this conversation is over.

Cindy Munford on January 24, 2012 at 12:16 AM

Romney is good with canned answers. Im not sure he can say what he thinks.

Sultanofsham on January 24, 2012 at 12:13 AM

Actually I think he’s best when he improvises AND is telling the truth or passionate about something. However his stuttering outs him out when he is slightly flubbing or not so passionate.

The guy has an inconvenient tic when he tells a lie, while Newt is a clear sociopath.

haner on January 24, 2012 at 12:17 AM

Romney doesn’t look good when he tries to out-Newt Newt. Newt doesn’t look good when he has hissy diva fits. However the last debate was a gift to Newt and let him kick the MSM across the room.

So Newt came out looking like he could do some street fighting, Georgetown style. It ain’t Reagan, but the voter is looking for a fighter, not a slapper

The Club is probably worried about having to kiss Newt’s ample butt should the Newter get elected. IMHO Newt is star-struck enough he will still kiss the Ring(s). But at least Newt would get it, about the Ring(s)

Heck, Newt melted for Clinton. I wouldn’t.

On the other hand, my image of Obama is a skinny faker putting on more battle gear to ride a wobbly bike to the sprout shop then our soldiers wear in battle. If Newt can put a double arugula whammy on the OBamster while he is spouting off his memorized rebuttals, Newt can make the OBamster look like the herbivore he is. There is some red meat in both Newt and Romney, if they can maintain focus

If I was stuck in an elevator with Newt, Romney and Andrea Mitchell and we had to throw one person out to survive, I would toss Andrea. I figure I could work with the two guys, if our lives were at stake

entagor on January 24, 2012 at 12:17 AM

Wow, Newt got hammered tonight! That was pathetic. “I’m not going to take the time to answer those charges tonight, check my website in the morning!”

JA on January 24, 2012 at 12:17 AM

Cindy Munford,

I’ll accept your apology if you give it and it’s sincere.

Regards,
Dr T.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:18 AM

Now P.T. Barnum Gingrich is lying through his teeth yet again when he said “I supported Goldwater”. Goldwater would kick Gingrich right in the ass. Goldwater did not believe in big Presidential power. In fact he said that those who did had a philosophy of government that was at war with that of the Founding Fathers.

Gingrich praised FDR, the BIG Presidential power man, and that’s something that Goldwater opposed with every fiber in his body. Gingrich is an even bigger liar than Obama.

VorDaj on January 24, 2012 at 12:18 AM

VorDaj,

So Goldwater would dig RomneyCare guy? Walk us through your logic on this. :)

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:19 AM

Nobody will primary him in 2016. Hes tough to beat when he’s not the incumbent b/c of his huge money advantage.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:14 AM

Don’t give up hope so quickly. I can definitely envision a future where the Tea Partiers in Congress get fed up with business as usual and put forth their own nominee. And there will be lots of seasoned young voices to choose from. West/Noem, anyone? Rubio/Ryan? If I knew how, I’d start the “Conservative 2016″ SuperPac on Jan. 20, 2013.

hawksruleva on January 24, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Romney fans,

Everything is relative to Romney in this primary.

You can’t argue things as though he’s irrelevant.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Did anyone notice how Mitt, ducked the question about the sugar lobbies supporting his campaign? Right away he began talking about the people who were losing their homes, the jobs situation, and how to make pancakes. Not once did he mention the question he was asked. Could it be he didn’t want to bring up the subject of lobbyist because he’d already come down on Newt for that very thing? And I have to ask, What’s so wrong with lobbying for something you think will help your business? What they need to do is not allow lobbying outside of business hours, it has to take place in the congressmen’s office and during normal work hours. It also has to be logged in and made public. I mean, don’t we all lobby when we demand our members vote for something we want back home. A project, a building, etc. And in a way when we give money to campaigns aren’t we saying in affect, we want you to do this for us? Just a thought.

Amazing Grace on January 24, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Paul Ryan isn’t all that conservative.

Check out his voting record. It’s amazing how few conservatives do this.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:21 AM

Gingrich praised FDR, the BIG Presidential power man, and that’s something that Goldwater opposed with every fiber in his body. Gingrich is an even bigger liar than Obama.

VorDaj on January 24, 2012 at 12:18 AM

Newt supported the individual mandate, and he supports the President whose court-packing set the precedent that might make Obamacare stand up in the Supreme Court. He at least knows enough to say the right things, but he’s a loose cannon on the deck. He could do some great conservative things, or he could triple the size of government with some “great idea”.

hawksruleva on January 24, 2012 at 12:22 AM

I thought Romney came across as kind of a jerk on the influence peddling thing. Gingrich looked like he was about to cry.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:22 AM

Paul Ryan isn’t all that conservative.

Check out his voting record. It’s amazing how few conservatives do this.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:21 AM

Not down the line. And he’s made some bad choices. But at least he’s willing to stick his neck out and try to reform the programs that need reforming. That’s a step in the right direction.

hawksruleva on January 24, 2012 at 12:23 AM

I don’t know how any logical person against ObamaCare would want to entrust the RomneyCare guy with the mission of full repeal, especially since ROmney still stands by RomneyCare as a good idea.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:23 AM

haner on January 23, 2012 at 11:57 PM

No, only the diehard Romney supporters like yourself think this and as you should by now, you’re an extreme minority in the party.

I wanted Newt to win South Carolina for one reason: to extend the primary so that Romney would face an appropriate challenge. Romney has a weak message, a weak platform and had struck me as a weak candidate and only a strong primary challenge would toughen him up. Now that Newt has won South Carolina in a convincing fashion, I am back to being neutral. Neither one strikes me as a reliable conservative, but Newt at least has a record of Conservative achievement while his philandering and attacks on Bain capital repulse me.

Romney might have scored points with the Freddie Mac attack had he focused on that attack specifically (the way he did in Iowa). Instead he jumped from one line of attack to another looking like a mad man. He starts off ridiculing Newt for being a lousy leader who was ousted from his post and had no influence, then criticized him on his work for Freddie Mac, then suddenly jumped to Medicare part D and finally closed with…accusing Newt of still having influence in Washington. So after 20 mins of a flurry of random attacks, he ends up contradicting his very first point. That long pause by Newt which you misread was what everyone who is not in Romney’s camp was doing – processing wtf just happened.

Is this how Romney is going to go after Obama, with an unfocused flurry of attacks? Obama is incompetent, Obama is a partisan hack, Obama is corrupt, Obama is destructive; these are all lines of attack which could work but only if you pick ONE and expand upon it. Romney needs to pick ONE attack and make it part of a greater narrative, but right now he is looking desperate just as Newt did when he used the Bain attacks. Which reminds me, Romney had this in the bag until he shot himself in the foot.

Romney had won Iowa, won New Hampshire big, secured key endorsements including Nikki Haley, gave a fantastic victory speech in N.H.; conservatives were beginning to settle on him and his voter enthusiasm numbers were starting to intensify in the polls until he failed miserably to respond to the Bain Capital attacks. Bain is something we all know Obama is going to attack him on and his inability to effectively defend his life’s work and central selling point of his campaign set off red alarms everywhere and then he immediately followed that missed opportunity with another blunder where he created an issue out of nothing with his tax returns because he AGAIN could not give an adequate response. Romney did this to himself, he killed his own electability selling point and destroyed the inevitability narrative by losing so big in S.C.

Romney is a suspect conservative but at least he seemed like a steady, solid candidate who was likely to beat Obama. Well, thanks to Romney himself, fewer people believe that.

Still, I think all this adversity is GOOD for Romney as long as he can learn from it. He may have to fire some people because he is clearly listening to every word of advice given to him, but he needs to shake things up. This could result in a stronger Romney candidacy and now his managerial skills will be put to the test. A lot of Romney’s people who I have seen on TV come across as complete jerks who follow the status quo, hopefully he recognizes the need for a change and lays many of them off as John Kerry did to revitalize his campaign in 2004. It’s not too late for him to do this because Santorum and Gingrich aren’t ideal candidates themselves.

It is time for Romney to stop playing it so damn safe and put forth the same moral and economic clarity that Reagan put forth.

Daemonocracy on January 24, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Not down the line. And he’s made some bad choices. But at least he’s willing to stick his neck out and try to reform the programs that need reforming. That’s a step in the right direction.

hawksruleva on January 24, 2012 at 12:23 AM

Nah it’s a lot worse than you are making it out as here. He’s basically voted like a liberal on every major spending/fiscal/entilement bill since he was elected. I see him as the problem in DC, not the solution.

We wouldn’t have to reform entitlements and deal with spending if pols ilke him didn’t vote for that.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:25 AM

I thought Romney came across as kind of a jerk on the influence peddling thing. Gingrich looked like he was about to cry.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:22 AM

Making your opponent cry usually means winning the debate, unless if your opponent was female.

haner on January 24, 2012 at 12:26 AM

Actually I think he’s best when he improvises AND is telling the truth or passionate about something. However his stuttering outs him out when he is slightly flubbing or not so passionate.

The guy has an inconvenient tic when he tells a lie, while Newt is a clear sociopath.

haner on January 24, 2012 at 12:17 AM

I think the Bret Baier interview showed hes not good at all when he comes up against something he hasnt been prepped on.

Now he did do better tonight than he has in the past but you can still see a lack of ability. Maybe that Bachmann person they hired will help.

Sultanofsham on January 24, 2012 at 12:27 AM

Making your opponent cry usually means winning the debate, unless if your opponent was female.

haner on January 24, 2012 at 12:26 AM

I think a more logical explaination is Romney was lying and it hurt Gingrich’s feelings. Nobody likes to be called corrupt. Whatever you think of Gingrich, he’s not corrupt. He did nothing illegal or immoral with Freddie Mac.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:28 AM

Did anyone notice how Mitt, ducked the question about the sugar lobbies supporting his campaign?

Amazing Grace on January 24, 2012 at 12:20 AM

I didn’t notice that because I too busy listening to Newt who said he supports sugar subsidies tonight.

JPeterman on January 24, 2012 at 12:28 AM

Vote RomneyCare guy, Newt supports sugar subsidies.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:30 AM

What was a historian doing for Freddie Mac for 1.6 million dollars?

rubberneck on January 24, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Why was ROmney working with Ted Kennedy to force big government healthcare on people in MASS and secure federal subsidies for it?

Whyd id he support Cap and Tax and global warming craziness, which means higher power bills for people in Mass?

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:32 AM

Daemonocracy on January 24, 2012 at 12:24 AM

Nice analysis, Wanted to get your take on something, if you don’t mind. I have long held that Sarah Palin would endorse Santorum if he could only get some traction. Its largely why I believe she has been playing in the SC primary the way she has. Endorsing Newt stretches this thing out a bit possibly from her perspective to give a little more time to Santorum. Your thoughts?

Bmore on January 24, 2012 at 12:32 AM

Don’t give up hope so quickly. I can definitely envision a future where the Tea Partiers in Congress get fed up with business as usual and put forth their own nominee. And there will be lots of seasoned young voices to choose from. West/Noem, anyone? Rubio/Ryan? If I knew how, I’d start the “Conservative 2016″ SuperPac on Jan. 20, 2013.

hawksruleva on January 24, 2012 at 12:20 AM

The tea party, not being a monolithic group, will not do this. Its the same reason they have no power now.

Sultanofsham on January 24, 2012 at 12:32 AM

VorDaj,

So Goldwater would dig RomneyCare guy? Walk us through your logic on this. :)

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:19 AM

Since you try to switch the subject from Gingrich and his lying about Goldwater, I can only take it that you can not defend Gingrich. You should have just said so or remained silent.

VorDaj on January 24, 2012 at 12:33 AM

Whatever you think of Gingrich, he’s not corrupt. He did nothing illegal or immoral with Freddie Mac.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:28 AM

Corruption or moral delinquency not require the breaking of laws. If you make a statement about people who profited out of the sub-prime lending market and lobbied on behalf of those lenders you earn the taint that goes with the money. If it was a small amount for this or that it would not matter. This was big money for use for good offices. Newt deserves whatever he gets for it… it’s a fair criticism.

lexhamfox on January 24, 2012 at 12:34 AM

I think we al know I’m winning the debate.

It’s not that I’m a stellar debater, it’s Romney has no conservative record. You can cherrypick Gingrich’s record and statemetns but he does have some conservative acccomplishments. Romney has none unless you think having a family, not cheating on his wife, and making a lot of money equates to conservative. Michael Moore is a conservative on that score.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:34 AM

Corruption or moral delinquency not require the breaking of laws. If you make a statement about people who profited out of the sub-prime lending market and lobbied on behalf of those lenders you earn the taint that goes with the money. If it was a small amount for this or that it would not matter. This was big money for use for good offices. Newt deserves whatever he gets for it… it’s a fair criticism.

lexhamfox on January 24, 2012 at 12:34 AM

I disagree, I think it’s the most baseless, trumped up political attack in modern history. It’s hack stuff meant to play on the ignorant voters non-understanding of the issue. It’s supposed to sound criminal but it’s not.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:36 AM

No, only the diehard Romney supporters like yourself think this and as you should by now, you’re an extreme minority in the party.

Daemonocracy on January 24, 2012 at 12:24 AM

25% is not an extreme minority of anything. And the percentage is much higher than that in the northern swing states. Romney took 50% of the Republican vote in NH. If we stay home or leave the party, the party is not winning another presidential election.

The GOP is on a suicide mission if it thinks it can prosper only as the Party of the Rural South. You need the suburbs, which Romney has been winning in every state, including in South Carolina. Americans are moving to metro areas at an ever increasing pace.

I respect your analysis and actually agree with a lot of it, but I’m tired of Southerners and True Conservatives who think only they have the right to protest and throw a hissy fit against the party. We in the Northeast are getting tired of your act too.

haner on January 24, 2012 at 12:36 AM

Anyway, I’m more interested in discussing issues. You won’t apologize and you’ll keep discussing commentators and supporters and whatnot. Duly noted. If you want to comment on Gingrich’s 2nd Amendment record in congress – to mention the policy issue I’ve been discussing – , it’d be a lot more interesting to me. If not, and you insist on your habitual subjects, this conversation is over.

joana on January 24, 2012 at 12:03 AM

You are the one that should apologize, since you can’t back up your accusations. Just a FYI, no one likes a newbie acting like they are some kind of blog monitor. Speaking for myself, I’m not particularly interested in what YOU want to discuss. Keep this up and no one will even bother to reply to you. Everyone has an “ignore” key. You think too much of yourself. Seems like you can dish it out, but like Romney can’t take it.

Oh, and if you are so thinned skinned that you think Cindy is harsh, you haven’t seen anything yet, LOL Maybe the Martha Stewart blog would be better suited for you/

bluefox on January 24, 2012 at 12:36 AM

Why was ROmney working with Ted Kennedy to force big government healthcare on people in MASS and secure federal subsidies for it?

Whyd id he support Cap and Tax and global warming craziness, which means higher power bills for people in Mass?

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:32 AM

It makes him suspect. IMHO.

SparkPlug on January 24, 2012 at 12:37 AM

Since you try to switch the subject from Gingrich and his lying about Goldwater, I can only take it that you can not defend Gingrich. You should have just said so or remained silent.

VorDaj on January 24, 2012 at 12:33 AM

I argue you want to get the subject off Romney and RomneyCare.

There is a reason for that. He can’t win by just touting Romney. So he has to demonize his opponents, and that’s what he is doing.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:37 AM

IMO Paul and Santorum won the debate and are the only viable candidates left in the race.

FloatingRock on January 24, 2012 at 12:40 AM

Romney had won Iowa…

Daemonocracy on January 24, 2012 at 12:24 AM

No, he didn’t. Problem with Romney and his supporters is this very issue, spewing lies on top of lies. He’s been called on it, repeatedly, by McCain, by Huckabe, by Santorum and by Newt. Still, he and his supporters keep spewing lies.

riddick on January 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM

canopfor on January 24, 2012 at 12:04 AM
Exactly, Thanks! I love to laugh and create a little mischief along the way.; )

Bmore on January 24, 2012 at 12:09 AM

Bmore:Amen on that Rock on,er,carry on:)

canopfor on January 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM

Remember when Romney attacked Perry for calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme and suggesting we reform it?

Romney, this great believer in capitalism and free markets, attacks another Republican for wanting to reform a big government program to give people a choice.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM

I think we al know I’m winning the debate.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:34 AM

More like who has a chemical imbalance.

VorDaj on January 24, 2012 at 12:42 AM

Romney came off as pure desperation tonight. He looked about as comfortable as Obama at an NRA meeting. His attacks where rehearsed obviously though not effective. The desperate expression on his face when Newt dismissed him with a waive of his hand proclaiming he wasn’t going to waste his time answering his falsehoods was priceless. Romney has spent 6 years and tens of millions of dollars with one dream, being leader of the free world. Unfortunately for Romney that dream is quickly vanishing along with what dignity and pride he has left. When he loses Florida he needs to stop the hate ads, end the attacks and drop out of the race. He can still do something for this country he claims to love. He can help us defeat Obama, but to do that he will have to put his own ambitions aside for what’s good for our nation. So are you up to it Mitt? Or like I suspect is all your campaign rhetoric just BS to sound good for the voters?

iidvbii on January 24, 2012 at 12:43 AM

Ron Paul seems to think Cuba isn’t a dictorship and we can just talk to Castro and his replacement. Just have a conversation with them. They are reasonable people.

I dont know how this guy can claim to be a liberterian as he doesn’t care about liberty outside of America.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:43 AM

More like who has a chemical imbalance.

VorDaj on January 24, 2012 at 12:42 AM

I’m an intellectual, you are a talking points robot. Say adultery and Freddie Mac one more time. :)

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM

Romney came off as pure desperation tonight. He looked about as comfortable as Obama at an NRA meeting. His attacks where rehearsed obviously though not effective. The desperate expression on his face when Newt dismissed him with a waive of his hand proclaiming he wasn’t going to waste his time answering his falsehoods was priceless. Romney has spent 6 years and tens of millions of dollars with one dream, being leader of the free world. Unfortunately for Romney that dream is quickly vanishing along with what dignity and pride he has left. When he loses Florida he needs to stop the hate ads, end the attacks and drop out of the race. He can still do something for this country he claims to love. He can help us defeat Obama, but to do that he will have to put his own ambitions aside for what’s good for our nation. So are you up to it Mitt? Or like I suspect is all your campaign rhetoric just BS to sound good for the voters?

iidvbii on January 24, 2012 at 12:43 AM

This smells more like desperation from the Gingrich camp.

Nice try.

haner on January 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM

Nice analysis, Wanted to get your take on something, if you don’t mind. I have long held that Sarah Palin would endorse Santorum if he could only get some traction. Its largely why I believe she has been playing in the SC primary the way she has. Endorsing Newt stretches this thing out a bit possibly from her perspective to give a little more time to Santorum. Your thoughts?

Bmore on January 24, 2012 at 12:32 AM

Sarah has expressed support for Santorum to stay in the race. From what I have heard from her, she wants two conservative alternatives to Romney and I don’t think a Palin endorsement of Santorum is out of the question, but he needs to show the ability to win the way Newt did in South Carolina. Sarah Palin wants to influence the direction the party is headed, similar to Ron Paul but she is doing it from the outside; her message is anti Crony Capitalism.

I don’t know if she is angling for Santorum covertly, keeping Newt alive until he self destructs, but if he suddenly picks up her message about crony capitalism in both parties then I will think something is going on.

Daemonocracy on January 24, 2012 at 12:46 AM

Everybody always says their candidate won the debate.

This debate isn’t going to swing the primary in Florida one way or another.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:46 AM

I’m an idiot, I am a talking points robot spammer. Say adultery and Freddie Mac one more time and I’m in heaven. :)

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM

Truth.

JPeterman on January 24, 2012 at 12:48 AM

I never liked the phrase “Crony Capitalism”. It’s too harsh sounding, and it’s never a good idea to associate a bad adjective like crony with something you suupport like capitalism.

People should say fake capitalism or phony capitalism. Don’t link cronyism to capitalism.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:48 AM

This smells more like desperation from the Gingrich camp.

Nice try.

haner on January 24, 2012 at 12:44 AM

Not a Gingrich supporter….. Nice Try……. ;)

iidvbii on January 24, 2012 at 12:49 AM

No, he didn’t. Problem with Romney and his supporters is this very issue, spewing lies on top of lies. He’s been called on it, repeatedly, by McCain, by Huckabe, by Santorum and by Newt. Still, he and his supporters keep spewing lies.

riddick on January 24, 2012 at 12:41 AM

At the time he had won Iowa. Notice how I used “had won” with Iowa but simply “won” with New Hampshire.

Daemonocracy on January 24, 2012 at 12:49 AM

Truth.

JPeterman on January 24, 2012 at 12:48 AM

WHy do you like Romney so much? Talk about Romney.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:49 AM

Whatever you think of Gingrich, he’s not corrupt. He did nothing illegal or immoral with Freddie Mac.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:28 AM

What was freddie mac in need for a historian?

rubberneck on January 24, 2012 at 12:52 AM

What was freddie mac in need for a historian?

rubberneck on January 24, 2012 at 12:52 AM

I don’t care, why was Mass in need of RomneyCare?

WHy did Romney ban semi-automatic firearms, and compare them to machine guns? Is he really that stupid?

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:53 AM

Rockefeller was better than Goldwater, that year. The election results bear that out.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:10 AM

Those are some mighty fine chemicals you are smoking. The Republican establishment turned against Goldwater. If you check the voting you will see that lots and lots and lots of Rockefeller Republicans voted for LBJ. BTW those of you calling Newt corrupt. Guess what he is a piker compared to LBJ’s corruption and the Republican party helped him win that election. To those of you who still appear to be Rockefeller Republicans thanks for the “Great Society.”

chemman on January 24, 2012 at 12:54 AM

WHy do you like Romney so much?
Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:49 AM

I don’t.

JPeterman on January 24, 2012 at 12:55 AM

Those are some mighty fine chemicals you are smoking. The Republican establishment turned against Goldwater. If you check the voting you will see that lots and lots and lots of Rockefeller Republicans voted for LBJ. BTW those of you calling Newt corrupt. Guess what he is a piker compared to LBJ’s corruption and the Republican party helped him win that election. To those of you who still appear to be Rockefeller Republicans thanks for the “Great Society.”

chemman on January 24, 2012 at 12:54 AM

Goldwater got crushed. He wasn’t Reagan. He was sort of Ron Paul type.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:56 AM

I don’t care, why was Mass in need of RomneyCare?

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:53 AM

Cause Mass would have gotten it regardless of Romney.

Why was Freddie Mac, who almost destroyed our economy, in need of a historian?

rubberneck on January 24, 2012 at 12:56 AM

I don’t.

JPeterman on January 24, 2012 at 12:55 AM

Who do you like?

I’m cool with Santorum, but the gays, right? The gays.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:57 AM

Cause Mass would have gotten it regardless of Romney.

Why was Freddie Mac, who almost destroyed our economy, in need of a historian?

rubberneck on January 24, 2012 at 12:56 AM

So why should we give Romney credit for governorship experience, if it was going to happen anyway?

It is his signature legislation and “achievement”.

Is it conservative leadership to just roll over and implement a very big government legislation b/c you are outnumbered? Or do you fight it? I think you fight it.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:59 AM

Gingrich opposed Bush Sr. tax hike, for example.

I call that conservative leadership, going against your own party’s president to do the right thing. Romney would have just gone with the flow and supported the tax hikes.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 1:00 AM

So why should we give Romney credit for governorship experience, if it was going to happen anyway?

It is his signature legislation and “achievement”.

Is it conservative leadership to just roll over and implement a very big government legislation b/c you are outnumbered? Or do you fight it? I think you fight it.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 12:59 AM

So you are gonna be coward? I answered your question…and you produce 5 others? I will engage you further, but answer me this first.

Why was Freddie Mac, who almost destroyed our economy, in need of a historian?

rubberneck on January 24, 2012 at 1:01 AM

Romney’s greatest asset is a perception (I think possibly somewhat false) that he is a bright man.

Why wouldn’t people listen to him if he made a case against big goverment healthcare? He comes across as reasonable enough,

A man, a leader, does what is right. You dont roll over for Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 1:03 AM

It is time for Romney to stop playing it so damn safe and put forth the same moral and economic clarity that Reagan put forth.

Daemonocracy on January 24, 2012 at 12:24 AM

I think you have a very good analysis of the situation. You could say the nomination is both Newt’s and Romney’s to lose and they are both working hard towards that goal

On the other hand, as they beat each other up on the negatives, the negatives are becoming tedious and trivial. Soon no one will care and the MSM will be out of bear traps.

Why did they waste Newt’s ex before he was nominated? Fools. It backfired in his favor

Romney should try to show his warm side, which he hides. A smile does not mean ‘warmth’. No speeches about a lady named ‘Jane Doe’ who writes him a letter which he wants to share either. Just a word or two about his kids, or fishing or something. It can be done, even in a debate

Newt needs to tone his arrogance. Ex: cutting off a pompous run of the mouth to pause, and remark – I know sometimes I come off as harsh but I love this country ….

That is classic Andy Warhol, if you have a wart on your face, when you walk in the room, announce right away you have a wart, because evryone sees it but they are afraid to mention it. Put your audience at ease and drop the school teacher

entagor on January 24, 2012 at 1:03 AM

Why was Freddie Mac, who almost destroyed our economy, in need of a historian?

rubberneck on January 24, 2012 at 1:01 AM

THis isn’t an issue for me. I have no idea, but they were going to give that money to somebody for the role. I’m not sure why it matters if it went to Newt or somebody else.

The reality is, this doesnt matter to you. It’s a talking point, it’s politics.

Gingrich wasn’t for banks being forced to give loans to poorer people who couldn’t pay them back. That’s what matters.

Dr. Tesla on January 24, 2012 at 1:05 AM

You are the one that should apologize, since you can’t back up your accusations. Just a FYI, no one likes a newbie acting like they are some kind of blog monitor. Speaking for myself, I’m not particularly interested in what YOU want to discuss. Keep this up and no one will even bother to reply to you. Everyone has an “ignore” key. You think too much of yourself. Seems like you can dish it out, but like Romney can’t take it.

Oh, and if you are so thinned skinned that you think Cindy is harsh, you haven’t seen anything yet, LOL Maybe the Martha Stewart blog would be better suited for you/

bluefox on January 24, 2012 at 12:36 AM

You seem nervous and too agitated. Chill out. I backed up my accusations, even wrote this “you were called out by Bradky for the last one in this thread: Bradky on January 23, 2012 at 10:31 PM. You later replied to him with some sort of “well, you do it too”.

I’ll charitably not address your furious and slightly hysterical ad hominem remarks.

joana on January 24, 2012 at 1:05 AM

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