Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fox News/WSJ debate highlights

And now it's down to five. Last night was the first of two debates to be held this week before the South Carolina primary. As can be imagined, everyone (but oddly Paul) was gunning for Romney; however, there was also a fair amount of sparring between the others to spread around. And now that the narrowing of the field has taken place, the intensity was glaring with a sharper tone, that one might argue needs to be shared by the moderators when it comes to consistent & pertinent questioning.  Anyway, let's get started...

Santorum came out swinging early in the debate, besting Romney over his fallacious Super PAC ads.

Since he stuck to the principle of Romney's actions and record, and not just about the Super PAC, Santorum fared better than Newt's later challenge to Romney's Super PAC ads against him.  Santorum also differentiated his economic plan from both Romney and Gingrich's, one in which the host, WSJ, has on a previous occasion scored 'bolder than Romney's'.  And then of course, Rick had the inevitable spar with Paul, but once again came out the better gentleman.

Despite the rough past week, Newt had a genuinely great night. The highlight of the entire night was probably when Newt owned Juan Williams over his race-baiting questions, receiving a partial standing ovation for it in the end.

This was back to classic debate Newt, but even more improved by not even acknowledging the media bait, just flat out pummeling the moderator by exquisitely answering the questions.  And in lieu of the Super PAC discussions, Newt lit up the audience on several occasions throughout the night (check out Newt's plan for America's enemies, how 99 weeks equate to an associates degree & how educational powers should return to the local level).

Perry actually had a pretty good night as well. Among the memorable moments was when the governor tore into the Obama Administration, laying out many of the state intrusions and proclaiming that the states are "under assault" and "at war" with a federal government that is "out of control."

And on many other occasions, like defining precisely what a despicable act is, Perry took the opportunity to remain on the trajectory of targeting the Obama Administration's disdain.  Although he was later asked about some of the 'vulture capitalism' remarks that had previously caused him grief, he managed to make the focus of his answer about Romney releasing his tax records.

As for Romney and Paul's performances...aside from my opinion that they weren't on their game, I'd refer you to any establishment publication for unending praise of the former, and the multitude of newsletters & fanatical sites for the latter...

All in all, a pretty good debate from the candidates (which a lively crowd likely energized that much more), aside from wanting more substance from the moderators, which I've past holding my breath for.  So next stop, we'll see how CNN handles theirs on Thursday night...

Check out the entire debate here, courtesy of theRightScoop.

ADDENDUM: Levin went on Fox & Friends this morning to promote his new book, and ended up talking primarily about the candidates and Monday night's debate, saying, "Nothing really changed. Newt's a good debater, Santorum's a good debater, Romney's a good evader, and Ron Paul wants to unilaterally disarm."

"What we want is an articulate, consistent, confident, relatively charismatic conservative. He'd wipe up the Republican primary, he'd wipe up the election. Obama is low hanging fruit.  His record is a disaster, his philosphy is a disaster.  The American people, you look at the polls, they are not in love with this guy, they're not in love with his policies."

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