Friday, January 20, 2012

CNN S.C. debate highlights

From dusk 'til dawn, Thursday proved to be one hell of a game changer in the GOP presidential race.  With Perry's dropout, Iowa ultimately called for Santorum, and Newt riding high in South Carolina despite the allegations, things were bound to heat up in Thursday night's debate, and it certainly didn't take long at all.

With the very first question, the boiling point was reached, and Gingrich delivered the showstopper. Now for the most part, the media are collectively using the verb 'attacked' to describe what happened. I prefer to use a different one: Newt Gingrich ANNIHILATED John King...

No apologies...this was so well deserved, particularly the final line delivered: "I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans." Notice, Gingrich received not one, but two standing ovations during his response, and it wasn't simply for categorically denying the ‘open marriage’ charge, per say. It was for letting the media at large know precisely what conservative America has been feeling over the past four years. And 'Bravo!' for it. It's easy to see why many have now said, Newt won the debate in the first question.

Rick Santorum remained as assertive throughout tonight's debate as I've seen him. And whether it worked successfully to his advantage every time or not, he forced both Newt and Mitt to explain & defend their records. One such successful moment was when he criticized both on their past support for top-down government-run healthcare. As theRightScoop points out, "Something that has been lacking for the most part in past debates is exposing Romney’s continued support for RomneyCare. And Santorum does that quite well here as he casts Romney as untrustworthy."

Newt also had a response to that one, but perhaps the most memorable exchange between Santorum and Gengrich, and I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed both responses, began with the issue of who should get out of the race and who should stay in. It grew from there into this riveting exchange...

There was a particular question of the evening in which all but one (Newt's succinct and sufficient answer) simply sucked air on, and that occurred when the four were asked about releasing their tax returns. Seems like a simple enough question, right? Listen to these responses...

Then Romney was further pressed by King, and not only was Romney initially heckled for his response, but as Aaron Goldstein ponders with the rest of us, "That he can't give a simple answer to a simple question is mind boggling."

It was at this point in the debate that I noticed how stuttery Romney appeared, yet how contrastingly comfortable Gingrich seemed.  However, with news of Mitt's loss in Iowa to Santorum (which I'm sure factored into his assertiveness), as well as Newt's steady rise in the polls, surpassing Romney, one could see how the cracks might begin to form in whom we've been repetitiously told by the establishment was our inevitable nominee.  We learned just how significant the events of one single day can make in this all-too-important race.

I'm going to help readers out by abbreviating the rest of this and simply mentioning some of the other notable moments throughout the debate over the following discussions:

on the economy: Paul, Gingrich, Romney, Santorum
on illegal immigration: Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, Paul (to note: here's NumbersUSA's ratings)
on abortion: Newt and Romney, Paul, Santorum (I feel I should make the distinction between Santorum's observance of the Declaration's endowment by our Creator with the unalienable right of life, as opposed to Paul's advocacy for a confederacy, as he practically makes about every stance)
closing statements: Paul, Gingrich, Romney, Santorum

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