The CNN Arizona Debate is over and so are the GOP debates until after Super Tuesday, after about 14-additional primaries are over.
As with all of the debates, there were winners and losers. Who won, who lost and what’s next?
First the winners.
Whether Mitt or Newt won depends on who you listen to.
Gingrich was in top form tonight and was able to hold the position he loves to operate from. He was able to swoop in on certain questions and do really well, answering in a sly superior fashion. If Newt had nights like this in every debate, he would be much closer to being the nominee. Newt probably built up his vote share last night with his quips and insight, but every vote he gets back comes from Santorum not from Romney.
Mitt Romney also fell into the winner circle. Romney is not as good a debater as Newt but was prepared. Preparation can overcome a multitude of sins and what ever else you want to say about Romney, he does prepare well for debates, plus he is getting better at it. One of Romney’s advantages is that he comes across as presidential.
Former Clinton political advisor (now a Republican) and author Dick Morris wrote:
In last night's debate, Romney showed how he has grown through this contest and has developed into a presidential figure. By contrast, Santorum's performance was distinctly congressional. I found myself agreeing with Santorum on much of what he said, but willing to follow Romney. In sync with Rick, but trusting
Mitt.Santorum's replies were pedantic, tactical, and detailed. No inspiration there. He was like a lawyer advocating his case or a congressman battling for a bill. But Romney came across as a real leader - charismatic, bold, strong, and, ultimately, inspiring. See his full post HERE.
Ron Paul could have been a winner if he could have stayed away from foreign policy issues. Foreign policy, specifically Iran, is his Achilles heel. Iran is a threat to America. Radical Islam is a threat to America. We are not threatening Iran. Iran is threatening America and Israel; the big and little Satans as they call us. Ron did have some humorous moments last night. And what I do agree with Ron Paul on is that we need to formally declare wars before entering into them!.
CNN is a winner too. CNN did not hit any of the Republicans with any really bad gotcha questions and the really stupid questions, like describe yourself with one word, were kept to a minimum.
The Republican Party, with twenty some debates has also scored big with the Debates. They have been a big draw for the networks that have carried them so have been a good showcase for all of the Republican candidates. A year ago, who would have believed we would have had this many debates?
Rick Santorum. Santorum needed a knock out punch today to beat Romney. He did not get it. He stumbled. Not only did he not get his knock out punch, he was back on his heels most of the debate. He stumbled and fumbled in dealing with all of the candidates. Santorum did not have the worst debate performance ever. He did not forget which departments he would abolish. But his performance was not one of his best nights.
If Santorum had delivered with some of the strong points he had in previous debates he might have continued doing better going into Michigan and Arizona. This debate could have the same consequences as did the bad debates for Gingrich in Florida.
The Republican Establishment is also a loser of sorts. For years they have allowed the liberal media to call the shots on their debates. The Republican mainstream voters are tired of it. Blogs ranging from the Tea Party Nation to Red State and on have called the GOP establishment on this; even the National Review addressed this today.
Santorum started with momentum tonight, but he needed to have a debate strategy. Romney had his debate strategy down. He was going to get in someone’s face and push them back on their heels. Gingrich was in his preferred position and he had the strategy of being the Republican wise man, which he pulled off well and relished in. And Ron Paul was his independent self and really went after Santorum.
Santorum seemed to have no strategy other than to just showing up, and neither he nor Newt came across as presidential
We will know in the next few days how badly this debate hurt Santorum, since the voters have been so fickle this primary season. One thing is certain. Romney can probably breathe a little easier tonight and the polls in Michigan should keep tightening. Donald Trump appeared with Greta on the Record after the debate and Trump said he just saw that Romney have pulled into the lead in Michigan where Santorum had been leading. If Romney wins Michigan and Arizona he has a decided advantage on Super Tuesday.
The outcome of the upcoming primaries may shift the entire ebb and flow of the GOP race again and could end the talk of a brokered convention, one of the ongoing side stories in this roller coaster of a race. Some feel it could be the best thing that ever happened to the GOP, but most feel it would be a nightmare. And some still think there could be surprises ahead on both sides.
But if the American people don’t wake up as to the importance of this election… America and everyone in it is the loser. Only 4.5 million people watched last night’s debate, in probably the most important election of all our life times. That is a travesty! And truly if you are not paying attention you are not equipped to vote!
Another side story is the question of whether Ron Paul has been keeping his Mitts off Mitt in order to get his son, Rand, on the ticket? Ron or Rand Paul will at least get a speaking position and input at the convention if Ron keeps picking up delegates.
Like Father Like Son? Maybe but smoother around the edges?
Many feel it’s all coming down to this: Ron Paul is staying in this race, no matter what, in order to assist Romney, because he wants his son to be on the Presidential ticket with Mitt Romney.
As he travels around stumping on the basis of his limited government position, he is also fishing to get his son on the ticket with another candidate in this race. In tonight’s debate on CNN, the elder Paul had every chance to criticize Romney, but he didn’t, and instead spent his time hammering Santorum. Coincidence???
I like many of the things Ron Paul stands for in the domestic arena, but can the younger Paul effect policy changes as part of the Romney team, or will virtually none of Ron Paul’s positions be adopted in the end? It could be interesting if they can pull it off! As they say, politics make strange bedfellows and Romney’s presidency would be the antithesis of much of what Ron Paul has advocated.
At the conclusion of the debate on CNN, Anderson Cooper came on as the stage emptied of the candidates, and I watched with interest as Mitt Romney got up and directly went to shake Ron Paul’s hand and exchange a few words with him.
This is definitely season full of surprises!
Rubio’s Mormon Past Revealed - There is a definite question as to Rubio’s eligibility to be president/VP but on this issue… Obama’s father and step-father were Muslims and his mother and grandparents were progressive atheists… Obama himself, questionable and we are worried about Mormons? Really??