This is the rundown of my personal take and useful story links from last night’s debate in Orlando, Florida hosted by FOX and Google on 9/22/11.
The Full Debate Video:
The Lady’s Take:
This is now a 5 horse race for me – Perry, Romney, Bachmann and Cain; I’ve got Gingrich tied with Bachmann now. If I had to rank all of the candidates last night, from strongest to weakest, it would look like this:
My Observations: I think I have debate fatigue. The first round of questions annoyed me. Not the questions themselves, but the lack of ANSWERS to them. There was a lot of rabble-rabble campaign type replies and very few pieces of meat in there. They all hit education where it lives and that was good. It needs to go back to the States and more choice will encourage competition both in students and teachers. Romney passed Perry as the leader. Perry stumbled far too much and the Illegal in-state thing is bad. Romney still needs has work to do on specifics of his ‘plans’. Cain came on very strong last night and he genuinely had me excited about him as a candidate. Gingrich also had a great night and his knowledge base makes him powerful. Bachmann hung in there but didn’t impress me; she needs to stop that little smile thing she does after answering a question, it looks fake as Hell. Paul was Paul. Santorum had his best debate yet but he needs to dial back the temper lest he look ragey instead of indignant. Hunstman...I just can’t warm up to him. Something inside me screams ‘He’s Obama Part II!’ and tonight didn’t change my mind. Johnson made brought little to the table that Paul doesn’t already have but his dog line was a hit. One thing is for sure: this field can use one more and if Palin is going to get in she needs to do it asap.
Detailed Breakdown -Let’s start from the bottom of my ratings list and work our way up.
Johnson: I thought he might be a parrot or a wooden dummy for a little while there. His answers to every single question started with ‘When I am President I promised to have a balanced budget’. It was very Charlie Brown of him. The neighbor’s dog quip came at the end of the debate and was the hit of the night. He should have used it early to disspell his woodenness a bit. He’s nowhere in this race at this point and his pick of Paul as a VP made him a ‘Hell No’ in my book.
Hunstman: I don’t know what it is, I cannot warm up to this guy. He comes off as smarmy and condescending no matter how he answers. He took several little petty pot shots at the front-runners which garnered zero applause or cheers. He repeated multiple times that the Wall Street Journal endorsed his tax plan. Yawn. His view on foreign policy and defense I find bothersome– I think it’s that he has an Obama feel about him in that way. He talks about his own experience in his home state a lot – if he did so great, why weren’t we hearing about it and why aren’t we more excited about him? He’s still out for me.
Paul: I’m not going to bother much here other than this. They didn’t give him that many questions last night and I can’t thank FOX/Google enough for that. If you want to see all his air time, look here. I really didn’t need my blood pressure soaring when he would inevitably go into how everything wrong in the world is due to America being involved. He’s still out for me.
Santorum: Had a strong night. He got testy quite a bit with Perry on Illegal kids getting in-state tuition and that was good, but he was borderline rude about it by interrupting Perry during his rebuttal. Chill there, Rick. He got a question from a gay Soldier via Youtube and he answered it clearly. His statement that he would reinstate DADT got a lot of applause. For me, I don’t care who you take to bed, so don’t make it my business or anyone elses. You want to serve? So do it and stop trying to make a statement. He got a lay-up question on the Right to Work/NLRB and he didn’t answer it. Santorum is still in it, but second tier.
Gingrich: Was the steadiest up there and quite obviously the most at ease. He gave actual ideas on school choice with his Pell grant-like idea. I liked that. His answers were direct and concise; they were ANSWERS. His response on Unemployment Insurance is a nice example. The other candidates campaigned in their replies without answering the damn question in the opening rounds, Newt went right to the meat and answered. I liked that. Only drawback for him tonight was talking about the Contract with America 2.0 — Newt, we weren’t wild about the first one. He is back in it for me, tied with Bachmann but to me he’s edging ahead of her.
Cain: The more debates he has, the stronger he is coming out. This debate was his best yet. He, like Gingrich, answered the questions he got and also some of the ones the others didn’t really answer. He’s got this every-man charm about him that’s rooted in real life experience and knowledge. His hit on the EPA as the department he’d scrap and start over with was well received. His strongest moment was when he described his cancer and how if Obamacare was in place when he was sick that would have killed him. He was sincere, serious and 100% on the money. It was a poignant moment and the audience gave him serious applause for beating his cancer — they respond to his sincerity and that’s telling for me. He sold his 9-9-9 plan better and also had an answer on Social security with the Chilean model (which is growing on me the more I read). Even if he is not the nominee, someone has got to get this man working for us. He is totally in it for me.
Perry: Was given the first question and utterly stumbled through it. He seemed unprepared again. Perhaps he is not a great debater as it seems smaller venues and one-to-one scenarios we see him confident and shining. He’s going to need to really step it up. His big problem right now isn’t Social Security – he explained it and frankly it makes sense. His problem now is Illegal Immigration. The entire field ate his lunch on offering in-state tuition to kids of illegals. His rationalization of it did not sit well with me or the audience. His dismissal of building a fence and patrolling it also did not sit well with me. They hit him on the Gardasil issue again and his somber reply about his personal experience with a cancer victim seemed to settle the room. He’s in it, but he’s blowing it.
Romney: For me, was the winner last night even though he has problems calling Obama a socialist – which he is. The quibbling back and forth between Romney and Perry got very old very fast. You guys, we don’t care about your books. Answer the damn questions. His strongest push for me was on Education. His touting of school choice/getting the Fed out of our schools as key is good, but it is also a problem since earlier this week he was complimenting Obama’s ‘Race to the Top’ idea. His crafting of his answer as Education has to be on the State and Local level was on par with the rest of the field but he delivered it better. Now that he’s stuck his foot in that door he needs to get a detailed plan out in order to clean up agreeing with Obama’s plan. The whole field was in agreement on this topic. He traded places with Perry tonight for me and in the debate overall.
Videos of Note:
More can be found at FOX new’s Youtube Channel
Legal Insurrection: Florida Early Onset Debate Fatigue. Live Blog & Summary.
Doug Ross: The Top 10 Questions by number of votes received.
The Blaze: Herman Cain – If you mess with Israel, you’re messing with the United States, Perry – I don’t think you have a heart if you don’t support in-state tuition for kids of illegal immigrants (you really lost me tonight, Rick), Johnson – My neighbors two dogs have provided more shovel ready jobs than Obama (easily THE quote of the night).
Daily Caller: Perry-Romney accuse each other of flip-flopping while they flip-flop. Yep.
Gateway Pundit: Open Thread for the Debate, Perry nailed Romney on the disappearing quotes from his book, Romney flip-flops on Race to the Top; supported it earlier this week and in debate denounced it.
Yid with Lid: The Fox Google Debate -Who Won, Who Lost. Once again, Yid hits on a lot of the same things that either I liked or things that bugged me.
The Other McCain: FOX/ Google Debate Open Thread.
The Right Scoop: Johnson’s dog joke might have been Limbaugh’s first, VP’s -The Final Question, Herman Cain – Obamacare would have killed me, Santorum – Yes I’d reinstate DADT, Cain – I’d scrap the EPA and start over.
WSJ: Live Blog
Washington Examiner: While Frontrunners Feud, Santorum wins GOP Debate, Trained Romney out duels Perry in style, Romney, Perry exchange shots, Perry is blowing it, Romney not a credible attack on Immigration.
Fire Andrea Mitchell: nice collection of video clips of some of the better highlights of the night; Cain’s obamacare statement and Johnson’s dogs are among them.
Maggie’s Notebook: Live blog of the event. Well rounded commentary including all the candidates – mirrors a lot of my own analysis.
Yahoo: The AP attempts a Fact Check. The AP should maybe fact check themselves from time to time.