Last debate, last stand?

posted at 11:35 am on February 22, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Tonight, the Republican candidates for the presidential nomination will hold the 20th nationally-televised debate — or 24th, or 22nd, depending on what counts as an official debate and what doesn’t.  Do Mike Huckabee’s forums count?  How about Jim DeMint’s Palmetto Forum in September?  Apparently not, but that’s just fine, because we’ve had plenty as it is.  The candidates seem to agree, as I note in my column for The Week, since the next two debates have been canceled, and apparently no one has committed to doing the only other one left on the schedule after tonight, an NPR/PBS debate from Portland, Oregon on March 19th.

Once I get past venting my frustration at the utter waste of time these debates turned out to be, I note that the two men with the most to gain or lose tonight are Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.  And then … I channel just a little more frustration:

That means Wednesday’s debate is perhaps the last time we will see the candidates on stage together in this primary cycle. Can we expect that this event will be any more meaningful than the 19 game shows that preceded it? Probably not, but it could be important for Gingrich and Santorum. John King gets the nod again as moderator for CNN, a curious decision after King’s performance in the debates overall and especially since this might be the final opportunity to have Wolf Blitzer run the show. If Gingrich can rekindle the embers of his campaign with another attack on the media — especially one that produces a fumbling response, like King’s in South Carolina, rather than the far more effective riposte Blitzer gave Gingrich in Florida — he could perhaps generate a third surge among conservatives.

For Santorum, his momentum makes him the biggest target in the debate. CNN will no doubt open a host of social-conservative issues and force Santorum to talk about contraception and Satan all night long. If he falls into that trap, his momentum will dissipate quickly. If he can turn the tables on King and force the conversation back to religious and economic liberty, Santorum will ease fears that he is too distracting to beat Obama on the economy.

In the end, though, this debate will probably produce nothing more than a final round of gotcha moments and a lot of talk about negative ads from other candidates in the field. The only game changers will come on perceived gaffes and facial expressions rather than actual policy differences and defense of value systems. After 20 of these debates, that will sound like an appropriate finale to American Political Gladiators, which has all of the political substance of the original, with none of the costumes or suspense.

Gingrich has already committed publicly to staying away from negative attacks in the debate:

Appearing on Fox News’s  America’s Newsroom on Wednesday Gingrich  promised he would “focus on the big solutions,” in tonight’s debate and “stay out of the kind of negativity that unfortunately has characterized way too much of this race.” When asked about a report that said his daughters wanted him to appear more presidential, Gingrich responded that he was “behaving too much like a normal candidate” after feeling the brunt of Romney’s advertising blitz in Florida.

“I think they were concerned that the weight of negative advertising by Romney had drawn us into a back and forth that wasn’t particularly helpful,” he said. “I think what people want to know is, ‘Are you capable of solving the country’s problems?’”

Unfortunately, that probably means that Gingrich won’t get too much attention, thanks to the fundamentally unserious nature of the format.  To the extent that Mitt Romney decides to go on the attack — and he may not at all, with his standing rebounding a bit in Arizona and Michigan, if not nationally — it will be to go after Rick Santorum.  Santorum will probably go after Romney on health care reform and Ron Paul on foreign policy, but he has no great need to go after Gingrich, either.  Gingrich will be a non-factor in Michigan, Santorum’s best shot to win a primary next Tuesday, thanks to Gingrich’s decision to stay out of the state to concentrate on his native state of Georgia, one of the Super Tuesday states.

Politico previews Santorum’s moment at center stage, and predicts a tough round of questioning on social-conservative issues:

One point to watch is how he and his rivals handle discussions of faith (the debate falls on Ash Wednesday) at a time when theology, world views and belief systems are frequently mentioned in the campaign — usually with respect to President Barack Obama.

One thing seems certain: The moderator is likely to ask Santorum at some point about some of his more controversial statements, such as remarks about birth control, or his backer Foster Friess’s widely publicized joke about women using aspirin “between their knees” as birth control.

Complicating Santorum’s task on the eve of the debate was his defense of a speech — unearthed and splashed on the Drudge Report on Tuesday — he made in 2008 in which he talked about Satan infiltrating the United States.

Santorum might be asked about it by moderator John King and could use such a question — or others like it — to slam the media, which he has said is trying to “destroy” a conservative candidate. The approach would be similar to the way Gingrich leveraged a confrontation with King at the debate before the South Carolina primary, when he was asked about claims made by his ex-wife.

Santorum will need to avoid seeming angry or defensive, reactions Romney is likely to try to provoke. Romney may also attempt to drive a wedge between Santorum and the rest of the GOP by seizing on his past comments about banning contraception, although that’s risky for a candidate who has his own problems with the GOP base.

Overall, the timing affords Santorum the chance to passionately make a case for himself before a televised audience, one of the elements of his candidacy his backers find most appealing. Just as important, a strong performance could vault him ahead of Romney in the two states in which a number of voters say they are still undecided.

As Gingrich proved in more than one debate, getting angry at the moderator can prove fruitful for rallying the base.  John King’s presence on stage, and his deer-in-the-headlights response to Gingrich in the South Carolina debate, may leave Santorum an opening for that strategy. However he deals with these topics, Santorum has to show that he can both defend himself while bringing the debate back to the topics of religious and economic liberty rather than the relative merits of the Pill and IUDs.  If he can pull that off, Santorum may well rally the rest of the fence-sitters in the last national debate game show gladiatorial combat of the season.


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One word: Romneycare

Decoski on February 22, 2012 at 12:53 PM

You and many others state this constantly “but I do not think it means what you think it means” (Courtesy of Princess Bride)

“Romneycare” was a State (10th Am) solution for their healthcare fiasco they were faced with and that their citizens wanted and VOTED for…if they do not like it they can repeal it.

Romney has ALWAYS stated that he will repeal Obamacare as it is not a fix for the National healthcare problem. It is up to the States to figure that out for themselves.

g2825m on February 22, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Questions John King will askRick Santorum.

1.Senator, did Satan cause you to lose 2006 senatorial election.
2. Do the women who make your sweater vests take birth control pills.

3. If Newt Gingrich has three religions which one do you like best.

4.did you really call mormonism a cult and why do you think it disqualifys Mitt Romney from being president.

gerrym51 on February 22, 2012 at 1:00 PM

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/291696/santorum-adviser-why-mormonism-limits-katrina-trinko

Santorum’s aides believe it is unfair that reporters are asking questions about aspects of Santorum’s faith and not asking similar questions about Mitt Romney’s. Of course, Santorum has spoken more publicly about the details of his religious beliefs than Romney has, and that is why some of the questions are popping up now. …

But specifically religious questioning of Romney is as rare as specific Romney statements about Mormon beliefs. Given the current grilling of Santorum, that is a source of growing frustration to Santorum’s advisers. “Why is Mormonism off limits?” asks one. “I’m not saying it’s a seminal issue in the campaign, but we’re having to spend days answering questions about Rick’s faith, which he has been open about. Romney will turn on a dime when you talk about religion. We’re getting asked about specific tenets of Rick’s faith, and when Romney says, ‘I want to focus on the economy,’ they say, OK, we’ll focus on the economy.”

http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/team-santorum-us-rick-devil-belief/388706

UPDATE: After this was posted, the Santorum adviser called back to stress that his “off limits” point was not specifically about Mormonism but rather that Santorum alone is being questioned about religion. He asked why Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, in addition to Romney, have not faced the level of questioning abour religion that Santorum has. In our original conversation, the adviser said, “If you’re going to ask us, you need to ask everybody.”

Once again the Santorum campaign has to clarify what they say and backtrack. Yeah why isn’t the media bringing up mormonism when romney is talking about the economy. By the way the media brings it up all the time like with the eli weisel story. More whining from the santorum campaign.

ryandan on February 22, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Now that the field is down to a manageable number we need more debates. I don’t know why people think we need to stop them now that voters are paying more attention.

Rose on February 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Now that the field is down to a manageable number we need more debates. I don’t know why people think we need to stop them now that voters are paying more attention.

Rose on February 22, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Are you serious? There are millimeters in difference from Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum. They are the status quo. There isn’t going to be any significant difference if one or the other is elected. What platitudes or soundbites could they possibly say to sway you? Why in the world do we need more debates?

Dante on February 22, 2012 at 1:22 PM

This debate will be hot in more ways than one.

The other candidates will oppose Santorum on some issues.

Will he call them out as “instruments of Satan”?

Sparky5253 on February 22, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Santorum’s aides believe it is unfair that reporters are asking questions about aspects of Santorum’s faith and not asking similar questions about Mitt Romney’s. Of course, Santorum has spoken more publicly about the details of his religious beliefs than Romney has, and that is why some of the questions are popping up now. …

Santorum comes bringing up religious stuff-so of course he is going to be hammered more on it.

gerrym51 on February 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Dante on February 22, 2012 at 1:22PM

I don’t know who you support but you must think the debates will hurt him. I say keep the debates coming. Maybe we will actually hear what each candidate plans on actually doing to solve the problems we now have instead of just attacking each other. We need to know what each candidates’ plans are.

Rose on February 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM

ryandan on February 22, 2012 at 1:01 PM

Man, that was a long comment just to get in one dig at Santorum.

Vince on February 22, 2012 at 1:39 PM

How do we say it plainly enough? The nation is on the brink of bankruptcy. It will take financial genius to save it.
Along comes a proven financial genius in the person of Mitt Romney, who has demonstrated his enormous abilities three times over: rescuing Bain Capital in 18 months, saving the Winter Olympics which was when he took over some $200,000,000 in the hole, and the Massachusetts state government, which was seriously in the red–and in four years he had it in the black –and with a rainy day fund. All for free. He accepted no pay for any of this.
He is prepared to do it again, this time for our venal, moronic federal government. Again, for no pay. … Anyone who prates that he “does not trust” a man who has done this repeatedly, and never collected on it, would do better not to trust the face he/she sees in the mirror.

Bambi on February 22, 2012 at 12:32 PM

I find better spam in my email inbox.

So why exactly should I trust a man who told the people of Utah he was pro-life when he thought he might run there, told the people of Massachusetts he was pro-choice, tried to sell himself to abortion groups as a pro-choice Republican who would appoint pro-choice judges, but then gives a speech to the Right to Life group talking about his (convenient) pro-life conversion just as he was pivoting to running for President.

As the article in the headlines about Romney’s pro-life conversion puts it:

Logically, emotionally, and factually, almost nothing about his story stands up to examination.

tom on February 22, 2012 at 1:42 PM

They’ll be gunnin’ for him. Romney has already debriefed Paul on the attack plan.

Norky on February 22, 2012 at 12:14 PM

I think so too. Romney & Paul will be tag teaming against Santorum.

bluefox on February 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Very true. You would think Paul’s supporters would be troubled by their apparent alliance.

tom on February 22, 2012 at 1:45 PM

I don’t know who you support but you must think the debates will hurt him. I say keep the debates coming. Maybe we will actually hear what each candidate plans on actually doing to solve the problems we now have instead of just attacking each other. We need to know what each candidates’ plans are.

Rose on February 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM

LOL. Ok, you go right ahead and think that Romney, Gingrich, and Santorum will actually give you plans and then uphold them.

Dante on February 22, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Very true. You would think Paul’s supporters would be troubled by their apparent alliance.

tom on February 22, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Why would they be troubled? It’s a contest. There is only going to be one nominee.

Dante on February 22, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Very true. You would think Paul’s supporters would be troubled by their apparent alliance.

tom on February 22, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Why would they be troubled? It’s a contest. There is only going to be one nominee.

Dante on February 22, 2012 at 2:07 PM

By the obvious question: why does it seem like Paul is only running against Santorum or Gingrich? Isn’t Romney just as much his competitor? Doesn’t Paul claim to be pro-life? Aren’t Romney’s pro-life claims questionable, seeing he didn’t claim to become pro-life until he was interested in running for President? Doesn’t Romney seem far more comfortable with big government than either Santorum or Gingrich?

So, again, why does Paul seem to always ally with a competitor that is the opposite of what he claims to stand for?

tom on February 22, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Very true. You would think Paul’s supporters would be troubled by their apparent alliance.

tom on February 22, 2012 at 1:45 PM

I haven’t read anything about what Paul’s supporters think. Don’t think it’s out there enough yet. I’ve posted some of the articles on a couple of other HA threads. His supporters are pretty devoted, so I would think some would be ok and some would rebel. It will depend on what his reasoning would be in asking them to support Romney.

Speaking for myself, if I had been supporting a Candidate with my time, money and traveling around the Country to vote for him, I’d be P.O.’d:-)
Because if I had wanted to support another Candidate, I could have done so.

It will be interesting to see. But Paul & Romney teamed up with ads in Iowa and now they both are out with ads against Santorum.

bluefox on February 22, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Romney releases BOLD Tax plan:

Romney 2.0 goes the full Reagan says James Pethokoukis

Back in January 1983, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial with the headline “Finally, a Tax Cut,” referring to how the bulk of President Ronald Reagan’s tax reductions didn’t kick in until that year. It was as much an expression of relief as satisfaction.

Well, “finally a tax cut” plan from Mitt Romney. Oh, sure, Romney’s original plan did call for cutting corporate tax rates and capital gain tax rates for middle-incomers. It also called for abolishing the death tax. A nice start but not nearly bold enough for a nation facing the sorts of economic challenges that America does.

Romney 2.0 goes the full Reagan. The plan’s centerpiece: An across-the-board, tax-rate cut of 20 percent, returning the top rate to 28 percent, where it was when Reagan left office in January 1989. In addition, the tax rate for people in the lowest income bracket would drop to 8 percent from 10 percent, and to 20 percent from 25 percent for those Americans in the middle, according to the Wall Street Journal.

And how would Romney pay for the tax cuts? Well, the revenue would come through a combination of faster economic growth and new limits placed on deductions, exemptions, and credits — particularly on higher-income Americans. Indeed, if you are going to cut the corporate rate to 25 percent, as Romney proposes, then you really need to get top marginal rates in that ballpark, too, to avoid avoid creating distortions leading to tax shelter mania. (The Obama White House ignores this in its new corporate tax plan. Team Obama would lower the corporate rate to 28 percent, leaving a huge gap with the 40 percent top marginal individual income tax rate it also wants.)

Read the whole article here:
http://blog.american.com/2012/02/romney-tax-plan-goes-the-full-reagan/

g2825m on February 22, 2012 at 2:26 PM

So, again, why does Paul seem to always ally with a competitor that is the opposite of what he claims to stand for?

tom on February 22, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Tom
you make these comments but just at the last debate Santorum said in so many words: I know voted AGAINST right-to-work BUT I won’t do that this time if I am elected POTUS.

So you need to apply what you say about Romney to Santorum as well. :o)

g2825m on February 22, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Yet take a step back and consider the following: Romney wants to a) slash income tax rates by 20 percent, b) lower corporate tax rates by 30 percent, c) reform Social Security by gradually raising the retirement age and indexing benefit growth for higher-income retirees to inflation instead of wages, d) create a premium-support Medicare system for younger workers, and e) cut government spending by $500 billion during his first term. If Romney does become the Republican nominee, he would certainly be running on the boldest GOP agenda since Reagan, maybe ever.
http://blog.american.com/2012/02/romney-tax-plan-goes-the-full-reagan/

Where’s the post Allah, Ed, Tina, Bueller?

g2825m on February 22, 2012 at 2:34 PM

First question: “Senator Santorum, do you believe that Satan is in control of this country? Yes or no.”
Second question: “Senator Santorum, do you believe that women should not have access to contraceptives?”

Decoski on February 22, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Santorum comes bringing up religious stuff-so of course he is going to be hammered more on it.
gerrym51 on February 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM

It’ll be interesting watching to see if he can avoid going into full “Church Lady” mode when asked questions on it or if he’ll double down.

whatcat on February 22, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Santorum, the lone ranger, whistling psalms atop his white horse. Mitt’s regular gang(christie coulture haley csdeven)are busted and broken but Paul’s lurking on the balcony, rifle trained on Santorum, Romenystash in his pocket. Newt’s last stand.

The Good The Bad The libertarian sellout and the Ugly

BoxHead1 on February 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM

ROMNEYCARE

SparkPlug on February 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM

After a major whining session to the Washington Examiner about why Romney is not questioned more about his religion,…”the Santorum adviser called back to stress that his “off limits” point was not specifically about Mormonism but rather that Santorum alone is being questioned about religion. He asked why Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, in addition to Romney, have not faced the level of questioning abour religion that Santorum has. In our original conversation, the adviser said, “If you’re going to ask us, you need to ask everybody.”

Apparently neither Santorum nor his staff even realize that he is getting these questions because HE keeps bringing religion and morality into what should be debates on economic freedom and personal liberty.

Priscilla on February 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Santorum, the lone ranger, whistling psalms atop his white horse. Mitt’s regular gang(christie coulture haley csdeven)are busted and broken but Paul’s lurking on the balcony, rifle trained on Santorum, Romenystash in his pocket. Newt’s last stand.

The Good The Bad The libertarian sellout and the Ugly

BoxHead1 on February 22, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Funny. Good one.

SparkPlug on February 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Funny. Good one.

SparkPlug on February 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM

thanks SP. But that’s what they pay me for.

BoxHead1 on February 22, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Very true. You would think Paul’s supporters would be troubled by their apparent alliance.

tom on February 22, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Ron Paul has said more than once that he doesn’t see himself becoming president. His strategy is to amass enough delegates so that the libertarian wing of the party has a major impact on the GOP platform. It would seem logical in that case that, of the three other candidates, Romney has been not only the most fiscally conservative, but has made his private sector experience a centerpiece of his campaign. Libertarians may not love Romney, but, for the most part, they view him as far better than Obama. And as Jim DeMint has said, it is very important that Paul’s wing of the party doesn’t bolt in November. If Santorum is the nominee, they will likely bolt.

Priscilla on February 22, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Apparently neither Santorum nor his staff even realize that he is getting these questions because HE keeps bringing religion and morality into what should be debates on economic freedom and personal liberty.

Priscilla on February 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM

B.O. & HHS brought Religion and Morality with their Mandate. Don’t put this on Santorum. He is one of many that are addressing this Unconstitutional and First Amendment violation. If you would read, you would already know that.

You’ve missed the Issue and the Target.

bluefox on February 22, 2012 at 3:06 PM

ryandan on February 22, 2012 at 1:01 PM

I saw that earlier. A disgusting trial balloon by the Santorum campaign to gin up anti-Mormon sentiment. Then, of course, they have to walk it back with the usual Santorum response of “Oh, I didn’t mean to say….” The guy just CANNOT stop talking about religion. He’s a zealot. And since zealots never know they’re zealots, they just keep preaching and preaching and they never notice that they’ve lost everyone in the room.

Rational Thought on February 22, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Apparently neither Santorum nor his staff even realize that he is getting these questions because HE keeps bringing religion and morality into what should be debates on economic freedom and personal liberty.

Priscilla on February 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM</blockquote

Yeah, Santorum shouldn't link religion and morality with political policy….

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2012/02/22/revisiting_reagan_s_evil_empire_speech

fight like a girl on February 22, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Apparently neither Santorum nor his staff even realize that he is getting these questions because HE keeps bringing religion and morality into what should be debates on economic freedom and personal liberty.

Priscilla on February 22, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Yeah, Santorum shouldn’t link religion and morality with political policy….

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2012/02/22/revisiting_reagan_s_evil_empire_speech

fight like a girl on February 22, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Ed…once again you’ve overlooked (intentionally?) Santorum’s most egregious comment.

“We look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.”

Do you really think his slander of most protestants in this country is gonna get by tonight without comment?

camaraderie on February 22, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Yeah, Santorum shouldn’t link religion and morality with political policy….

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2012/02/22/revisiting_reagan_s_evil_empire_speech

fight like a girl on February 22, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Nothing wrong with what Reagan said….nor Bush, with Axis of Evil.

Santorum is entirely different, because his statements reek of pious judgmentalism directed at not only liberals but conservatives in this country who may hold different religious views. I deplore what the Democrats are trying to do to the Catholic Church, but I don’t want a president who says that any non-Catholic view of contraception is “encouraging immorality.”

Priscilla on February 22, 2012 at 3:20 PM

d-cRAT socialist stooge John King’s “objective” questions:

1. Do you support “FREE” contraceptives as part of a woman’s ABSOLUTE RIGHT to health?
2. What are your views on SATAN?
3. Should any woman vote for santorum?
4. How will you help our great president fight the current bush-caused gas-price increases?
5. Will you, like our great president, reduce terrible taxes like the payroll tax (which is the sole source of funds for near-bankrupt Social Security) on the middle class?
6. Will you poison Americans with BAD AIR by not giving BILLIONS of tax dollars to specially-selected “capitalists” to promote “clean” energy?
7. Do you want to kill women by NOT providing them with taxpayer-funded abortions?
8. Will you destroy our children’s future by not increasing even further the gold-plated benefits and humongous salaries of our union-member “teachers”/socialist-indoctrinators?
9. Do you oppose AFFIRMATIVE ACTION SPECIAL TREATMENT, which has done so much to ensure “equality” in America? (NB: even leftist king will find it hard NOT to laugh at that one.)
10. Please tell us all that you will do to makes things better in America if you are elected president. Please be specific; you have 3 seconds to respond.

NB: ALL of king’s questions will have been pre-approved by the OBOZO white house and by george soros’ media matters

TeaPartyNation on February 22, 2012 at 3:21 PM

People toying with the idea of voting for Santorum are courting disaster.

I ask anyone: who was the last GOP nominee who was a senator when he was elected president? The answer is Warren Harding in 1920 – nearly 100 years ago.

When the GOP nominates a senator (Dole, McCain, Goldwater), they LOSE. When the GOP nominates a governor (Reagan, Bush 43) or vp (Nixon, Bush 41), they WIN.

Why? I posit 2 answers. First, the american people are looking for executive experience – not a Capitol Hill insider – at least from the GOP. Second, GOP senators cannot win because they are burdened with a congressional voting record that is dissected and distorted.

Want 4 more years of Obama? Nominate Santorum.

matthew8787 on February 22, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Funny earlier this site was complaining that Drudge was dishonest and obviously in the tank with Romney. However, this little report seems far from Objective reporting, Hell some might even conclude you have a Santy slant?

mark cantu on February 22, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Please stop asking me when I’m supporting Romney, cause I’m NEVER… I fight for truth, plus I like underdogs, freedom, and a clean conscience too much

apocalypse on February 22, 2012 at 3:28 PM

It is weird that we’ve had 1000 debates and the vast majority have been moderated by DNC stooges. That’s the fault of the candidates. They accept those terms. Could you imagine the debates we could see if the moderators were popular conservatives. Why not have a debate with Rush, Levin, and even Oriely and Frum as the centrist voices.

Why do we accept John King or WOlf Blitzer as out debate moderators?

BoxHead1 on February 22, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Romney is spending 40/1 to win Michigan. Desperado!

Schadenfreude on February 22, 2012 at 3:42 PM

I hate to say it on Hot Air, but, I am sorry if you think you are going to get fair reporting on Fox, especially when the owner of the network is tweeting his man crush for Santorum.

As for people who follow their bosses marching orders, look no further than Hannity and Greta. I was never a CNN Fan but their coverage on the nomination process has been fairer to all Republican nominees than Fox. I cannot believe I just wrote this, but, sorry, I cannot watch Fox anymore after 10 years, and Rush seems to be backing down on his Santorum stance today.

mark cantu on February 22, 2012 at 3:47 PM

Santorum should wear depends tonight. He is going to get abused. No more of his usual debate startegy:

1. Complain about not getting enough time.
2. Exaggerate record.
3. Attack others, who will barely respond because they think his campaign is a joke.

The focus will be on him, and hopefully he gets put back in his rightful place after tonight. If not, we might be in trouble as a nation.

milcus on February 22, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Romney is spending 40/1 to win Michigan. Desperado!

Schadenfreude on February 22, 2012 at 3:42 PM

+1

SparkPlug on February 22, 2012 at 4:05 PM

NB: ALL of king’s questions will have been pre-approved by the OBOZO white house and by george soros’ media matters

TeaPartyNation on February 22, 2012 at 3:21 PM

And this is why we don’t need any more primary debates. I’d be happy to see any of these guys go up against Obama, but against each other, with the Democrat media asking the questions, they’re only reducing the chances for a Republican victory in November.

talkingpoints on February 22, 2012 at 4:11 PM

mark cantu on February 22, 2012 at 3:47 PM

I have to say that I’m fed up with Fox, too. Fair, Balanced and Unafraid should be Happy Basset Feeding on MSM Leftovers.

The MSM sets the dabate and Fox dutifully reports the MSM’s charges: Does this candidate still beat his wife? YOU DECIDE.

flicker on February 22, 2012 at 4:13 PM

The Three Stooges+Francis Parker Yockey Jr.

Lovely, just lovely.

Obama will eat these jackanapes alive.

ebrown2 on February 22, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Surrender much?

VegasRick on February 22, 2012 at 11:43 AM

I live on Planet Earth, not Planet Htrae.

ebrown2 on February 22, 2012 at 4:19 PM

The reasons why Ron Paul prefers Romney over the other candidates:

1. Romney respects Paul and his supporters.

2. Paul wants the GOP to win in November, and he knows that both Santorum and Gingrich are losers.

3. Paul doesn’t like the social conservatives as a general rule.

4. Carol Paul and Ann Romney are very close friends.

5. Paul knows that Romney will give him a great job in 2013: like sending in Ron Paul heading a commission to audit the Fed.

matthew8787 on February 22, 2012 at 4:21 PM

The reasons why Ron Paul prefers Romney over the other candidates:

1. Romney respects Paul and his supporters.

2. Paul wants the GOP to win in November, and he knows that both Santorum and Gingrich are losers.

3. Paul doesn’t like the social conservatives as a general rule.

4. Carol Paul and Ann Romney are very close friends.

5. Paul knows that Romney will give him a great job in 2013: like sending in Ron Paul heading a commission to audit the Fed.

matthew8787 on February 22, 2012 at 4:21 PM

6. Disgusting hypocrites like Ron “500 dollar buy for the Neo-Nazis” Paul and Rombo have a natural affinity for each other.

ebrown2 on February 22, 2012 at 4:23 PM

As for debates, they’re nothing like debates. They’re extended mass interviews, with opponents sitting next to each other to give extemporaneous grunts of displeasure at each others’ remarks.

These so-called debates add nothing to the public discourse other than sound bites.

Then again, perhaps the candidates like it this way. They don’t have to talk about Solyndra, Eric Holder’s New Black Panthers, Eric Holder’s Fast & Furious, the NLRB, public employee unions, Kelo, Keystone, entitlements, &c.

flicker on February 22, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Once again, why is the GOP allowing liberals to run their debates?

flytier on February 22, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Once again, why is the GOP allowing liberals to run their debates?

flytier on February 22, 2012 at 4:31 PM

we are idiots for allowing this to happen. they create the memes and drive the texture of the debate and we fall for it every time like docile sheep trained to baahh on command.

SparkPlug on February 22, 2012 at 4:39 PM

The hyprocrites bitching about the Romney-Paul alliance have no such problem with the Santorum-Gingrich alliance — such as Newt staying out of Michigan so as to not hurt Santorum.

Ron Paul believes, correctly in my view, that Romney stands the best chance of being elected president; and that Romney can keep the Paul supporters in camp, whereas these libertarians will never vote for Santorum, thus guaranteeing another 4 years of Obama.

matthew8787 on February 22, 2012 at 4:47 PM

By the obvious question: why does it seem like Paul is only running against Santorum or Gingrich? Isn’t Romney just as much his competitor? Doesn’t Paul claim to be pro-life? Aren’t Romney’s pro-life claims questionable, seeing he didn’t claim to become pro-life until he was interested in running for President? Doesn’t Romney seem far more comfortable with big government than either Santorum or Gingrich?

So, again, why does Paul seem to always ally with a competitor that is the opposite of what he claims to stand for?

tom on February 22, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Seem, seem, seem. That’s no argument. I can’t speak for why you think the way you do, nor what your thought process is in seeing things through “seem”.

Ron Paul has said more than once that he doesn’t see himself becoming president. His strategy is to amass enough delegates so that the libertarian wing of the party has a major impact on the GOP platform.

Priscilla on February 22, 2012 at 2:57 PM

This is entirely false. Paul said he doesn’t dream of being in the Oval Office. His strategy is to gain delegates and win the nomination.

Dante on February 22, 2012 at 4:56 PM

The biggest mistake of this primaries season is the insane overrating of debate and turn them into stupid reality shows where the media controlled the primaries based on 30 second sound bites and 3 second zinger. The very sad part is that many fools on our side fell for it.

First and foremost, debating skills have nothing at all to do with someone qualifications for President. Presidents do not and must no govern in 30 second sound bites and 3 second zingers. The “quick on his feet” crap is a stupid meme generated by the media and repeated by fools with low IQ because it means absolutely nothing when it comes to the Presidency. We do not want our President to be quick on his feet by making decisions that would affect our nation and the entire world in 30 seconds. There is no stupid moderator who rings the bell in case the President does not make his decisions in 30 seconds.
For all of you fools who were played by the media like a yo-yo through the stupid debates, and there are many of you, damn you all, in fact **** you all…

mnjg on February 22, 2012 at 4:57 PM

The MSM sets the dabate and Fox dutifully reports the MSM’s charges: Does this candidate still beat his wife? YOU DECIDE.

flicker on February 22, 2012 at 4:13 PM

It’s funny how Fox has people believing they aren’t part of the MSM. What about Fox is outside the mainstream?

Dante on February 22, 2012 at 5:10 PM

First and foremost, debating skills have nothing at all to do with someone qualifications for President. Presidents do not and must no govern in 30 second sound bites and 3 second zingers. The “quick on his feet” crap is a stupid meme generated by the media and repeated by fools with low IQ because it means absolutely nothing when it comes to the Presidency. We do not want our President to be quick on his feet by making decisions that would affect our nation and the entire world in 30 seconds. There is no stupid moderator who rings the bell in case the President does not make his decisions in 30 seconds.
For all of you fools who were played by the media like a yo-yo through the stupid debates, and there are many of you, damn you all, in fact **** you all…

mnjg on February 22, 2012 at 4:57 PM

You”re the one being played. The parties (and really, they are only one party) are hand on hand with the media and in choosing the debate formats and in setting any rules and excluding voices they don’t want you to hear.

Dante on February 22, 2012 at 5:13 PM

You”re the one being played. The parties (and really, they are only one party) are hand on hand with the media and in choosing the debate formats and in setting any rules and excluding voices they don’t want you to hear.

Dante on February 22, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Your answer has nothing to do with what I said.

mnjg on February 22, 2012 at 5:15 PM

flytier on February 22, 2012 at 4:31 PM

It would be refreshing if GOP candidates would boycott such liberal traps and assumptions, but the GOP is contaminated by liberalism and trapped in the ruling-class bubble. They are playing catch-up with the base which is disgusted by the media and tired of the GOP playing the base, which they have no intention of listening to.

I don’t watch the debates, because I know that one of trusty bloggers will feature an important passage on a video clip.

Feedie on February 22, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Tonight will be an epic battle between good and evil.

In one corner, our fabulous Christian warrior, Rick “Let’s Make a Deal” Santorum, managed by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin.

In the other corner are Satan’s gladiators – Ron Paul, Newt the Gingrich and Mitt Romney, managed by Ann Coulter and Chris Christie.

With God and talk radio on his side, Rick will emerge victorious, proving the Protestant church is now controlled by Satan, that Terry Schiavo was looking forward to the next season of American Idol and that Jesus is the Way Maker.

jan3 on February 22, 2012 at 6:57 PM

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