The contestants were selected with care for their appeal to the liberal network, the undesirables weeded out in the pre-selection process. The host was quaffed just so for his role, the questions light and fun..
No, this wasn’t The Dating Game, but what was supposed to be the first major debate among the GOP potentials for President. The fact that it was being held on CNN was my first tip that it may not be all that I had hoped. The “this or that” personal questions were laughable and a waste of valuable debate time, meant to somehow help us relate to these people who could possibly be in charge of the most important decisions in our country soon. However, I know now that Herman Cain would pick deep dish pizza and Newt Gingrich prefers American Idol to Dancing with the Stars. Definitely critical points for choosing a nominee for President.
Keeping up with the #CNNDebate hashtag was nearly impossible, but I caught quite a bit and was not the only one who seemed uninspired by the venue, King as moderator, or the course of questioning. Overall, however, there were a few surprises… and a few not so unexpected responses.
I was impressed with Michele Bachmann overall, and may have to take a closer look at the things that will impress me more than the number of times she has given birth or her stance on DADT. She was composed, prepared, intelligent, and much more interested in talking about her and moving forward, than bashing Obama.
Mitt Romney was completely predictable and ambiguous on many fronts. I remain convinced that he will do more damage than good at this point, but from the comments on Twitter he seemed to come out on top, or a very close second to Bachmann, with mainstream Republicans. I firmly believe that a person can learn and grow, even a politician. I hope that Romney does so soon.
Governor Pawlenty let far too many prime chances pass to show how committed he is to fiscal sanity. He played it low key, and was quickly forgotten by me, and I think by John King. His answers near the end of the debate seemed as rote as say.. Obama reading his standard “Let me be clear” from the teleprompter.
Rick Santorum started off strong enough, and he has a following, but his answers are already fading from my mind. He has the gung ho, but I just don’t think Santorum is getting out there enough and his appeal to the middle is about nothing at this point.
Ron Paul was as steady on his stances as he has been for the last forty years. He even semi-joked about his feelings for the Fed, which got a laugh from the audience. What was different this time is that, despite New Hampshire being a traditionally mainline GOP venue, he got more applause than any other candidate during the debate. Love him or hate him, he is still in the race.
Herman Cain was the biggest disappointment for me tonight. I genuinely like Cain and like his answers on many topics. I admire that he is still in it, and still touts that he is not a politician, but in a debate that can really hurt. He was stumbling and unclear on many points and should have stood his ground on the question of a Muslim in his Administation. Though I know he is a supporter of free markets, all I will remember now is that he said he supported TARP in the beginning. At least he knows what kind of pizza he likes.