The 10th 2012 presidential debate was held last night, in Las Vegas, Nevada. This was probably the most “fiesty” debate of the season, which is exactly what the CNN moderator, Anderson Cooper, was looking for. As we’ve seen with the liberal moderators in several of the prior debates, Cooper presented questions designed in such a way to encourage the candidates to go after each other, instead of Obama, and that’s exactly what the audience got last night.
For the first time, Rick Perry actually had a little fight in him. While I supported Perry getting into the race, fully expecting him to “wow” me in the debates, I have been quite disappointed in his performance. Last night, he showed a little more fire, but I still can’t say I was impressed. The juvenile exchange between Perry and Romney probably didn’t score him any points. He was actually booed by the audience on more than one occasion. While I agree with his energy plan, and he was strong on the border issue last night, he’s going to have to do more to win back his supporters. He may be a strong campaigner and fundraiser, but his lackluster performance in the previous debates may have done irreparable damage.
Herman Cain was able to withstand the extensive questioning and criticism of his 9-9-9 plan. Some in the liberal media said he lost the debate, when he failed to effectively explain how the middle class will NOT be paying more taxes under his plan. I don’t agree that he lost the debate. I do, however, think he missed an opportunity to sell his plan by giving a more detailed description of how it works, and reminding people that this will eliminate the payroll taxes. It came across, not as a replacement tax, but as an additional tax, as they would be paying a state sales tax AND a national sales tax.
I have to applaud Gingrich. He refused to take the bait and trash the other candidates. He handled his questions in a very classy way, and he reminded the others that they need to remain focused on Obama, instead of going after each other. While he made the point that Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would be a very tough sell in Washington, he also gave Cain a lot of credit for coming up with a new, bold plan, and giving the candidates something of substance to debate.
Governor Romney has been consistent and strong in the debates, but he seemed very agitated last night. His comment about Perry being testy because he’s had a rough couple of debates, was totally uncalled for, and simply rude. I, for one, have little patience for bickering and personal attacks on the stage. On the other hand, it was kind of refreshing to see Perry and Santorum rattle Romney.
Ron Paul reminded us, yet again, why he will never be elected POTUS. He commented that we should not give aid to Israel. That’s all I needed to hear. While he brings up a lot of good points, when it comes to over-reaching government and the Constitution, his foreign policy views scare me. He doesn’t seem to care if Iran has a nuke, and he doesn’t want to support Israel with foreign aid funding. And….we’re done. I don’t care what else he stands for or against.
Michele Bachmann held her own last night…nothing overly impressive and nothing damaging. That said, it will be difficult for her to regain the support she’s lost over the past several weeks.
Rick Santorum got into it with Romney on Romneycare, and got quite testy, constantly interrupting him, then telling him he was out of time. That behavior doesn’t help anyone. Someone noted, after the last debate, that he’s already at an “11” when he comes on to the stage. I would agree. He’s just waiting to pounce, and gets worked up too easily. He’s not getting through to voters, despite having some good ideas about getting manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.
In my opinion, if anyone won this debate, which the idea of that alone is debatable, it was Speaker Gingrich. He stayed above the fray, and I have to give him credit for that. He’s also strong on policy, and provided clear, concise answers. I don’t know that there was a clear cut loser last night. For me, it was Santorum and Paul. Santorum acted like a poor sport, and Paul is off the rails on foreign policy. In a time with so much unrest around the world, we need a strong leader, who will defend American’s interests and lead with a “peace through strength” philosophy, as we saw in Ronald Reagan. I don’t see any hint of that in Ron Paul.
The next debate will be held on Wednesday, November 9th, at Oakland University, and televised on CNBC.
What are your thoughts on last night’s performances?