Analysis Of The Republican Jacksonville, Florida Debate

by John Hawkins | January 27, 2012 12:02 am

So, we have our last debate for awhile. This one was moderated by Wolf Blitzer and as per usual, the debate started out with lots of fighting and then moved on from there into a relatively mediocre group of questions.

3) Newt Gingrich: If I absolutely had to split Mitt and Newt apart here, I’d put Newt in the three slot and Mitt in the four slot, but neither of them was good tonight. Newt, for reasons I don’t completely understand, chose to have a long, drawn out battle with Mitt over his immigration policy. Maybe he thought that would help him in Florida, but it didn’t really come across well with conservative voters. Additionally, I think Newt’s lunar colony idea is a good one and worth pursuing. We put a man on the moon in the sixties and warfare is moving to space — we should be working on building a lunar colony. Unfortunately, that idea doesn’t match up with the fiscally conservative zeitgeist of the times and it didn’t come across well. Newt did sting Mitt a bit on Fannie and Freddie, he hit Wolf Blitzer, and sounded generally good, but he also got hit a lot by the other candidates and he suffers from the expectation that he’s a master debater. The bar is set higher for him than everyone else.

Mitt Romney: There are a lot of Mitt Romney cheerleaders talking up his performance, but he actually had a really bad night. He was actually booed by the audience after he was caught lying about an ad that his campaign did on Newt, Newt zinged him because he said he hadn’t seen his own ad and didn’t know what his own investments were. I thought Newt won a back and forth on Fannie/Freddie, he said he’d like to have Mr. Amnesty himself, Mel Martinez, in his cabinet, and Rick Santorum stomped a mudhole in Mitt on Romneycare and walked it dry. Santorum did to Mitt what Newt did to Juan Williams on the subject. In addition, Romney had 2 or 3 long convoluted explanations of why he didn’t do anything wrong on taxes, Fannie, blind trusts, and the Cayman Islands. It just sounds bad.

2) Ron Paul: Paul got off a couple of good lines, was funny, had Newt pander to him, and because there was very little foreign policy, he didn’t go off the rails. Paul was a little better than his previous performances while Newt and Mitt both just weren’t very good.

1) Rick Santorum: He was extremely good tonight. In fact, if every Republican in American saw this debate, Santorum would probably be in first place tomorrow. He did the Newt Gingrich tactic of suggesting that they get back to the issues after a long Mitt vs. Newt spat, he destroyed Mitt Romney on Romneycare, he effectively criticized both Newt and Mitt, he came across as fiscally conservative, and he gave a really genuine, touching answer about his wife. It was an absolutely dominant debate performance that was, in large part, probably made possible since Newt and Mitt were so focused on slashing at each other.

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