I'm a blogger for www.nuzcom.com. I say that because I posted there what I'm going to share here. I followed the Reagan Debate tonight (which is a weird title because they in no way debated Reagan) and wanted to share my thoughts on the evening.
So, hopefully you caught my tweetcast of the GOP Debate at the Reagan Library at Simi Valley, CA. Those candidates in attendance were Sen. Rick Santorum, Rep. Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Gov. Mitt Romney, Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Ron Paul, Mr. Herman Cain and Gov. Huntsman. The debate was moderated by Brian Williams of NBC News and John Harris of Politico.
The initial questions in the debate were threefold: First, how was Perry going to perform? This was the first debate that he would be able to attend since announcing his run for the White House. He could give a good speech but how would he hold up against Mitt Romney?
The other question was how hard they would go after one another. If you squint, there's not much of a difference between them. How they would try to disparage each other to come out ahead was at the forefront of most viewers minds. And I found out tonight that if you close your eyes and let your mind drift, Huntsman and Romney literally sound a lot alike.
Also, I made the resolution that I would take a shot every time that someone praised Ronald Reagan. A quick word on the Gipper to the GOP: You like him. We get it. Shut up and talk about what you would do not "what Ronald Reagan would do". Bachmann tonight said that Reagan would support a Balanced Budget Amendment. Then why did we have soaring deficits when he left office? And you can't blame Democrats for everything that goes wrong in your perfect world.
Brian Williams came out and asked the first question to Perry and then went to Romney, forcing them to rebutt each other. They played coy at first, but soon went for the throat. They both managed to say that they created more jobs than the other and both managed to agree (whether they knew it or not) that they had created more jobs than Obama. Right... better fact check that.
The one candidate that really seemed to lose the most was Newt Gingrich. Gingrich came across as whiney and beligerant, denouncing the media for trying to turn Republicans against one another. Gingrich refused to say anything negative the entire time... until he had to. Unfortunately, the former Speaker doesn't understand that it's a debate and you're going to have to talk down the other candidates at some point. If Gingrich thinks that the GOP can hold hands and cuddle through the nomination process, then why doesn't he step away from the campaign? The statement was nonsensical and a deliberate attempt to make a cheap shot on the old scapegoat of conservative politics: the media.
Gingrich also said that he would fire Bernanke immediately, were Gingrich president. I imagine on day one, someone would find the time to tell Gingrich that he doesn't have the power to do that as president. Good try though.
Bachmann, by and large, did not perform well in this debate. She didn't really get the chance to speak; most of the questions that would have been directed at her were sent over to Perry. As this blog predicted, a Perry entrance has drawn attention away from Bachmann. She did establish herself as anti-science, but there was nothing that came out of her mouth that we haven't heard before.
The one candidate that came out swinging (and surprisingly so) was Gov. Huntsman. He slammed Perry and Romney with his own record on job creation, one of the highest rates in the country... before he took the job of ambassador to China... under Obama... d'oh!
However, I would say that Huntsman performed the best in the debate. My hats off to him. If he survives the nomination process, he's going to be a tough candidate to defeat, no matter the standing of Obama.
Also, I did find something remarkable in Rick Perry. Though he stumbled and stuttered over it, he did compliment Obama on the handling on Bin Laden. We may as well call the time of death on his campaign, but he quickly remarked that the real thanks had to go to the Navy SEALS that pulled the trigger. I though I saw Perry look over his shoulder as if there was a mob waiting to tie him up for that.
It's hard to say if someone "won" the debate, especially when you have several candidates on the stage. My top three for performance were Huntsman, Romney and Perry (and in that order.) Romney was his usual polished self, with few errors and about 90% clarity. Perry was okay but towards the end had a lot of mumbles and stumbling around.
The losers in the debate were Paul, Bachmann and Gingrich, with Newt coming in dead last. Ron Paul did a lot of wandering around his ideas. While I will always commend him for being the most consistent through the years, he wasn't coming across as neatly as he needed to for the purposes of the debate. One thing that I was happy to see was that Williams was giving Paul a lot of attention, something that Fox News would not do. I don't know if this makes Paul a liberal (getting so much love from MSNBC), but maybe he should take what he could get.
Bachmann also came across as crazy and was totally uninspiring. Gingrich also looked and sounded like an immature brat. I think it's getting to be the time when Gingrich should start thinking about withdrawing from the race. You know, so Republicans don't have to turn on one another.
I'll post when the next debate is coming up. Remember, you can follow me on twitter @truthissoap and I'll try to tweetcast the debate.