The Night-Day Double Header Debates
Saturday January 7, 2012
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There was nothing about the ABC debate which changed any minds in New Hampshire, South Carolina, or American Somoa.
If the national press corps was teed up for "Mitt's Weekend from Hell" because of two debates within 12 hours, they could have taken the night off. Mitt Romney sailed through the hour and forty minute debate not only unscathed, but untouched.
The other candidates - including Newt Gingrich - chose to make the case for their proposals and not spend precious time attempting to beat up on Romney.
The best candidate-on-candidate action was between Ron Paul and Gingrich on whether Paul would repeat his charge that Gingrich was a "chicken hawk," someone who was in favor of going to war but never served in the military himself.
Gingrich said he was exempt from service because he was married with a child. Paul countered he had been married with two children but when he was called he served. Paul was a flight surgeon in the Air Force.
Gingrich came back later in the debate after the moderators had tried to stir up trouble on social issues - namely same-sex marriage, same-sex adoptions, and contraception - with an excellent counter charge that the media should spend a little bit of time examining the issue of governments denying public funding to Catholic charities solely because the governments disagree with the Catholic position on abortion.
Rick Perry got off to a fast start with his first two answers but, as he has in every previous debate, simply disappeared from the debate after about 45 minutes. The Twitter-verse was giddy about his early energy, but then began to wonder why he had faded yet again.
Jon Huntsman was reasoned, smart, experienced and a non-factor, pretty much as he has been throughout this process. Toward the end of the debate in a discussion with Romney over China policy, Huntsman who was Obama's Ambassador to China, said something in Mandarin which appeared to cause the audience to gasp.
The other winner, in addition to Romney, was Rick Santorum who has very quickly grown into his role as, if not runner-up, certainly in the top tier. I thought he looked calm and sounded knowledgeable. If he does as well tomorrow, I feel certain he will come in second on Tuesday.
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