Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Down to Four – The CNN Debate

Posted by Warren Peterson on January 20, 2012

Tonight’s debate on CNN was one of the best to date. Even John King’s first question, regarding the interview Gingrich’s wife #2 gave ABC News about his infidelity, was appropriate. We would have cheered if Clinton were asked about his moral character. Remember the GOP slogan “Character Counts” (and it does) used against Clinton? Rather than going off on the media, Newt should have apologized to his ex wife and the voters for his moral failure (some call it sin). He could have denied the charge that he wanted an “open marriage” but still acknowledged that he had acted foolishly, brought pain and suffering to several members of his family and possibly jeopardized his sincere desire to lead the nation in one of its most critical times in history. Finally, he needed to take a large bite of humble pie, ask for forgiveness and promise that his days of philandering were over. Such a tactic would far more likely put the issue behind him than his attempt to change the subject by attacking the media.

As to the rest of the debate, Ron Paul was Ron Paul, at his best when warning about a coming economic tsunami but not when offering his isolationist libertarian solutions. Gingrich displayed his knowledge and considerable debating skills. Romney was off his usual controlled game. He excelled at times but fumbled the “Will you release your income tax forms?” question and he still has not formulated a clear distinction between Obamacare and Romneycare. Santorum had his best performance yet. He offer solutions such as his support for manufacturing, challenged Romney and expressed concern about candidate Gingrich’s ego. Too bad Rick never served as a governor or even House Speaker or Senate Majority Leader.

Regardless of what happens Saturday when South Carolina voters make their choice, Romney still will have the edge. Money, organization and favorable states just ahead – Florida, Arizona and Nevada – make a rocky road for Newt or Rick and certainly for a new “great conservative hope” entrant in the race. Romney is not my first choice or even my second choice but if he can beat Obama, he’s a great choice.

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One Response to “Down to Four – The CNN Debate”

  1. Fredc said

    Well, Romney got what they call in South Carolina a “butt whoopin'”. And looking at the demographic distribution, Newt won handily in every category except ‘voters younger than 30’, which still goes to Paul. I agree that Newt is a very long-shot to get nominated for the reasons you have stated, but Romney should be very worried that the SC vote could be replicated unless he can change his game quickly.

    Dug out of the snow yet?

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