I did little research before this eighth (yes, eighth! and that doesn't even include the Twitter debate) Republican presidential primary candidates' debate. Check out this list for videos of each of them.
Luckily, I keep myself pretty immersed in news on a daily basis between online, radio, newspapers, a senior in high school who wishes he could vote and a sixth grader who made it onto student council and now wants to be vice president (of his grade, that is).
But to those who did bone up a bit before watching, it may surprise you to read my very first reaction, as transcribed by me while watching the debate live online:
Sitting at table with Charlie Rose?
Looks like it is a very serious group behind Rose
Yup - I didn't know about the table thing.
Some random impressions:
Perry: If you have only been working on your economic plan for 8 weeks, is that what we want?
Bachmann: On the "do you think it's right that no Wall Street people have gone to jail" question, she blames everything on the Federal government. I guess this is partly why she's previously said that we should all keep every penny we earn and pay no taxes.
Newt on whether any people who are protesting on Wall Street have real grievances: he says that they are all left-wing agitators except for the ones who are most likely Tea Partiers, whom he implies are far neater than everyone else
Me: So many attacks by Newt and Bachmann related to the banks and loans made and the federal government being at fault for everything. But there was not a single mention of George Bush or any of the Republican leaders of all the previous years. To me, just sayin' - to me, not earthshattering, but the effort to avoid blaming any Republican figure, and just "the federal government" seemed deliberate.
And how little it took to know that Perry is toast: There was a television break and when they came back, Perry was asked about a clip in which Ronald Reagan talks about millionaires paying their fair share. My notes?
Perry sounds terrible again
Perry is a goner - he is as out of touch with everywhere outside Texas as was Palin - they have zero appreciation for the diversity in this country
Versus my scribbles on Romney:
The guy is just so much more sure specific and convincing
Romney is the Hillary Clinton of these debates (i.e., Remember how Hillary always seemed to come off as "the smart one" - the debater who had all the specifics, yet pundits often reviewed her as being school marmish? As someone who would relentlessly correct everyone, and not be the one you'd want to have a beer with? Romney is in that role for the GOP right now and I was thinking, he will he suffer the same fate she did, but to whom?)
I need to give a shout-out to Dave Cote of Honeywell, who got to ask the candidates a question, because he used to be a Clevelander. (He was the head of TRW when it was based here.) Cote asked about the American competitiveness agenda and what would be on the candidates' American competitiveness agenda - asking them to make their responses focus on specifics.
To round out a mention of the other candidates: Ron Paul is as consistent as ever with his beliefs, but I don't like his style or his beliefs. Ditto Rick Santorum who, if anything, amped up his passion, of which he's always shown a lot, but he came off as totally not of the 21st Century: You may admire his desire to go back to when the American nuclear family rocked and ruled, but what he described is not a place within reach anymore. It is history. He should identify the values he cherishes from his fantasy of the American family and then fashion them into the realities of life in 2011, if he wants to be in sync not just with independents but even Republicans of a certain strain. I was imagining, how will he appeal to the Megan McCain-brand of Republicans, and others who talk about how irrelevant the issue of same-sex marriage or letting gays serve in the military is now to them?
I like Jon Huntsman, have from the start and I think he did fine to well. But whether it's convincing enough to those who will vote in the Republican primaries, I have doubts.
From around the 'sphere, left and right, a lot of the same impressions I had, with a lot more excitement about Chris Christie endorsing Mitt Romney and the dynamic performance - like him or not - of Herman Cain and his, dare I say it like everyone else is, 9-9-9 plan (or, the devil in the details 6-6-6 that Bachmann tried to make a funny out of):
Emmy Jo thinks we may see a Romney-Cain ticket.
Though I prefer Cain’s unwavering conservatism, the debate’s crown and scepter go to Romney. He is consistent and strong with clear cut answers. Cut federal spending. Introduce a Balanced Budget Amendment. Repatriate our dollars from overseas. Throw away Obama’s jobs bills – according to Newt, they’re “stupid”. Cut back on scale of government. No new taxes. Create jobs.
Romney-care worries me, but not as much as the whole of our current president. We have to focus on who can actually beat him, and a Romney-Cain ticket might just do it.
From The Reid Report, not a game changer (I agree) and sums it up well:
Mitt Romney needed to maintain the status quo. He did. Rick Perry needed to change it. He didn’t.
Those planning to vote in the Republican primaries, what's your take on this debate?
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