Six Takeaways From The Arizona Debate
Whew! Last nights debate, the 220th one during this primary season….what? It was only number 20? Seems like 220. Anyhow, it came and went, and Politico’s Maggie Haberham breaks it down with six takeaways
1. Rick Santorum didn’t get it done
The evening could have been Santorum’s moment to move the needle in his favor, and he simply couldn’t make it happen.
The former Pennsylvania senator, who has been an agile debater with a surprising ability to take the fight to Romney in past debates, seemed nervous, tired and uncomfortable at the outset. The seating dynamic, with the four hopefuls at a table, nearly bumping elbows, may have played a part in that.
I only saw a small bit of it (was working), and he did seem a bit tired. His body language was a bit off. At one point, after he attempted to skewer Romney, Santorum was leaning way back in his chair as Romney skewered him. Perhaps Mitt needed a Certs? It was almost a “whatever, dude” moment, like a kid being scolded by his dad. Not quite as bad as Ron Paul wearing his big brothers ill fitting suit, though.
2. Mitt Romney won
It wasn’t a knockout, and it was far from Romney’s best performance of the year. But the former Massachusetts governor did what he needed to do, on a night that was far from stellar for his rivals.
Romney was buoyed, as he was in the Florida debates, by a crowd that favored him – a product of a favorable state, or smart campaign advance work, or both. Either way, he was cheered on repeatedly, and it worked for him.
The crowd did seem to be with him. So did the CNN moderator, in the few questions I heard.
3. Santorum and Romney really don’t like each other
On this, who cares?
4. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul were basically non-factors
With the exception, of course, of how they worked to ding the other candidates. This was most pronounced in the case of Paul, whose “bromance” with Romney is now an openly-discussed fact of the 2012 campaign, including by the Texas congressman himself.
Again, I only heard a short bit, but Gingrich gave an excellent, though off question, response regarding government over-reach and the problems with the federal bureaucracy. Paul was his usual “America is a nation of warmongers, and illegal wars, and, why doesn’t anyone take me seriously?”
5. Some issues will last long after the debate
6. The likely season finale went out with a whimper, not a bang
From what I’ve read about the rest of the debate, the questions asked missed quite a bit. Illegal immigration was addressed a bit, but, what about housing? That’s a huge issue in Arizona. The questions were designed to get the candidates fighting, rather than lay out their own positions, and even to keep them off of mention the horrific job Obama has done as president, comparable to Sun Microsystems Jonathan Schwartz.
What’s your take?