Tag Archives: Cain

MSM Contradicted: Cain Preferred by Tea Party


So much for racism. I know polls are not worth much now when it comes to elections, but Gallup’s latest poll says that Herman Cain is favored by Tea Partyers and southerners, illustrating that the Tea Party and people who are from the South are NOT racists. Now Democrats and the MSM will have a more difficult time playing the race card.

A poll that Gallup released Friday, October 14, 2011, (conducted October 3 – 7) of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents who identify themselves as supporters of the Tea Party, show they favor Cain by a 9 percentage points over Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Cain was the top choice among self-described conservative Republicans, just as he was the top choice among self-described Republican Tea Party supporters.

Poll results showing Cain leading among Republican Tea Party supporters contradicts the view that the Tea Party is racist and motivated by a desire to remove a black president from office. Morgan Freeman, appearing on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” on September 25, 2011, said, “Look at the – look – the Tea Partiers, who are controlling the Republican party, their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term. … What underlines that? Screw the country. We’re going to do whatever we need to do to get this black man, we can, we’re going to do whatever we can to get this black man out of here.” No word yet from Morgan Freeman about these poll results.

Cain is also leading among Republicans in the South, where Cain is at 21%, with Perry at 19%.

Bloomberg TV is an Actual Channel: GOP Economic Debate Recap

Tuesday night saw the latest GOP debate as the Washington Post teamed up with Bloomberg TV (it’s a channel; I looked it up) to present the first exclusively economic debate of the primary season.  Charlie Rose was fairly benign as the moderator of the literal round table debate.  The candidates sat at a large table and spoke face to face instead of the typical podium format.

Conservatives and Republicans across the nation were paying particular attention to this debate for several reasons.  This marked the first debate for Herman Cain as a viable frontrunner since his explosion in the Florida Straw Polls nearly two weeks ago.  Many were anxious to see how his newly minted “top-tier” status would change the dynamics. This promised to be Cain’s strongest debate, as many recognize he is quite experienced in matters of business and economics.  Cain did not disappoint.  As predicted, his economic shorthand was appealing and seemed to resonate in the crowd – or at least as much as one can tell, since Rose and company refused to allow the crowd to clap or cheer.  Why does Bloomberg TV hate fun, I wonder?  Cain’s 9-9-9 plan has come under some fire in recent days as impractical, but the beauty of that plan is its simplicity and sound-bite ready alliteration.  It’s a slogan -something voters and viewers can remember easily.  Cain managed to mention 9-9-9 twice in the opening thirty seconds of the debate.  He took every opportunity to mention it thereafter.  Other candidates mentioned the plan.  Cain even had the moderators saying “9-9-9”.  Now that’s branding!  At one point the whole debate began to seem like the 9-9-9 show, which I thought was rather brilliant on Cain’s part.  He may not have the political experience and temerity of a Romney, but as the former CEO of a pizza company, Cain knows the importance of branding.

Mitt Romney had a typically strong showing.  It is obvious Romney knows what he is doing.  He is extremely politically experienced, he understands the primary circus and he knows the rules and how to play the game.  He is almost a campaign machine, but without the outward mechanics of a Jon Huntsman.  There was nothing particularly moving or interesting about what Romney had to say in the debate.  His answers were pretty standard Romney fair, but the ease with which he answered every question and every challenge was almost disturbing.  His strategy was nearly flawless.  Clearly Romney understands Perry is falling and Cain is surging.  He chose not address Cain directly, but vaguely targeted Cain’s tax plan and economic focus.  The one opportunity he had to ask a question to another candidate, he used to address Michele Bachmann.  One might have expected him to take it to Cain, but Romney seemed to understand to do so would only serve to acknowledge Cain’s legitimacy and give him more time to highlight his own plans.  Well played on Mitt’s part.  I’m sure his hair was proud.

Perry did nothing to improve on the dismal performances of the last two debates.   It seemed a round table discussion might suit him more, but faced with very little time from the moderator, Perry seemed to wither.  His answers were warmed over and repetitive and he looked almost lost at times.  Perry has waned in the debate process.  The best President isn’t always the greatest debater, but Perry may not have a chance to prove that if he continues to slide.  He’ll need to show significant improvement next week if he wants to win over new support.

Michele Bachmann was in her element as she spoke about Obamacare and the crushing regulatory burden small businesses face.  Her background as tax lawyer for the IRS informs her opinion of the economic crisis we face and it shows.  She is rightly passionate about the need to repeal Obamacare and the horrors that are actually outlined in the bill.  Both she and Newt Gingrich took the opportunity to point out that the “Death Panels” concern is very real and should be taken very seriously.  That being said, every time Bachmann spoke she continued to make it clear why she would make a better fighter in the House.  Nothing is more important to the health of this country than the repeal of Obamacare and Bachmann knows more about the legislation than almost any politician out there.  Conservatives seem to recognize that.  Although Perry has dropped significantly, Bachmann hasn’t yet earned back the voters he siphoned off in the first weeks of his candidacy.  It would be surprising if her campaign survives until the first primaries in January.

Newt Gingrich is the smartest man alive.  Even his jowls are smarter than most people.  He should be working in any administration that comes to pass in 2012.  He adds a sense of gravitas and accountability to the GOP field.  He is not a great Presidential candidate, but he sure is a joy to watch, and I think it’s been good for conservatives to have him present during this process.

After a great showing in the last debate, Rick Santorum was once again relegated to the redheaded stepchild status.  He was hardly heard from and had to fight his way in once or twice to even be seen.  Santorum is fantastic on social issues and clearly he is a committed conservative.  He was the only candidate to (rightly) point out that the breakdown of the American family is one of the biggest reasons for economic failure in this country.  It’s hard to imagine Santorum fairing well in a general debate against Obama.  He is not nearly strong willed enough.  He’s nice.  He seems like a good man.  He does not seem like a strong personality, and that will be vital in the upcoming elections.  Still, he always makes good points and the crowds seem to enjoy his perspectives.

Jon Huntsman was there.  I’m tired of talking about him and his robotic candidacy.  This guy is not anywhere close to any Republican’s dream candidate.  He’s about the only person in the race who would hands down lose a head to head election against Obama.  I’m sure he was a good ambassador but he’s a terrible candidate and he needs to take his tools and his software package and his IT doctors back to Utah.  He has a record there.

Ron Paul hates the Fed.  Also, Ron Paul loves Austrian economics.  Ron Paul is raising a lot of money as I type this.

It seems that Mitt Romney is the man the mainstream media has anointed as the next Republican candidate for President.  While there is a raging debate among conservatives as to the validity of that position, one thing is for certain – the man knows what he is doing.  He is nearly unbeatable in the debate setting.  He is unflappable and even charming at times.  It will be very, very difficult to beat Romney on the debate floor.  Those vying for his status will need to find other ways to challenge him.   Romney wins the Post-Bloomberg debate.  Cain comes in right behind him.  And for as confident as Romney looked Tuesday night, there can be no doubt that he is looking over his shoulder at the tea party candidate, Herman Cain.

Bloomberg TV gets an honorable mention tonight for proving to the public that it actually is a real channel.  You can find it on cable…somewhere.

 

 

Cain Wins Florida Straw Poll

Supposed “backburner” presidential candidate Herman Cain may have just turned up the heat by a few degrees.
Cain not only won the non-binding poll, but won it big.  Garnering 37% of the votes cast Cain easily doubles the finish of the current national front runner, Governor Rick Perry, who weighed in with 15%.  Former
Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took the bronze with 14%.  Former Senator Rick Santorum finished with 11%, Congressman Ron Paul garnered 10.5% and former Utah Governor could only muster 2%, Congresswoman Michelle Bachman, who won the coveted Iowa straw poll only a few weeks ago, closed out the field with only 1%.

 

Straw polls in general are not regarded as true and accurate assessments of the voting public in general, since the format is less precise than the standard primary.  However, Herman Cain has been turning heads with his down to earth style and easily digestible economic plans.  He has made good to great showings in all of the debates to date, but the straw poll victory could indicate a turn in the numbers.

 

Lest we forget, a so-called “second tier” candidate named Mike Huckabee stepped straight into the major leagues with his upset win in the Iowa Caucuses and eventually rode it to second place in the primaries.  Lest we also forget, that Ronald Reagan won the Florida straw poll in 1979, George H.W. Bush won in 1987, and Senator Bob Dole topped the vote in 1995.

 

Cain’s showing at last Thursday’s Republican debate was the catalyst for his victory in the straw poll. With Perry and Romney busy trading barbs, Cain was able to not only reinforce his strong “9-9-9” tax plan, but took high honors in the emotion category for his personal testimony of being a stage 4 cancer survivor.

 

Again, only time will tell if this is a wave that will vault Herman Cain into the top echelon of candidates, but he will definitely get some attention and, one would figure that his VP stock may have just doubled.

Fox/Google GOP Debate: "Search"ing for a Leader

The Fox/Google Republican debate was held in Florida Thursday night and it turns out Gary Johnson is still running for President.  Yes, the New Mexico governor is far more notable for his stance on legalizing marijuana than his Presidential aspirations – a fact his team should probably have noted before they allowed him to appear on television in a patterned tie that displayed psychedelic effects under the glare of the cameras.  Gary Johnson doesn’t seem like a bad guy.  He seems sort of smart.  But also, kind of high.  His lazy speech and obvious nerves gave the impression of a buttoned-up, paranoid stoner.  His stance on education was appropriately Republican and Johnson has an attractive air of sincerity about him.  But also, he may have been high.

The debate threatened to be the Romney/Perry show in the beginning as the Fox moderators devoted ample time to spirited back and forth between the two candidates.  Thankfully they moved on after about 30 minutes and were able to provide quite a generous amount of time to most of the other candidates from that point on.

Rick Perry looked tired.  His wrinkles seemed deeper and he even looked smaller in his high collared shirt and long suit jacket.  He didn’t seem like he really wanted to be there at that debate.  He stammered at times and began to repeat himself, especially on health care.  His foreign policy answer was a bit drawn out and difficult to follow.  It almost seemed as if he lost his place at one point. Perhaps he is still smarting from his collapse in the second half of the last Republican debate.   Where Perry was the strongest, as usual, was on states’ rights.  Perry even skillfully turned a question about his rumored rift with George W. Bush into a monologue on his strong support of states’ rights.  It was his strongest moment in an otherwise lackluster performance.  Perhaps the only other bright spot for Perry came when he defended his stance on the Texas “Dream Act”, refusing to back down from his obviously unpopular (among conservatives, at least) view.  The crowd seemed to appreciate that and offered applause.

Romney had strongest showing yet.  He may have been emboldened by Perry’s poor performance in the last debate.  He was well rehearsed, but loose.  Romney gave the best explanation of Romneycare he has offered to date, touting it as a states’ rights issue and breaking it down against Obamacare.  It may not be enough to erase the blemish, but it was a solid explanation and he made sure to assert that Obamacare is bad law and should be repealed.  Romney stopped short of guaranteeing a repeal, but he did guarantee waivers to all 50 states immediately.  Romney is hitting his stride and beginning to sound like he’s laying out a general election platform.  I didn’t even notice his hair tonight, so that says a lot.

Herman Cain garnered the most touching moment of the debate when Chris Wallace alluded to Cain’s recovery from cancer.  The audience offered a long, heartfelt applause to the man who had survived Stage IV colon and liver cancer.  Cain’s big, genuine grin as he thanked the crowd actually put a little lump in my throat.  You go, Herman!  Cancer is stupid and I’m glad you kicked it’s ass.  Cain had another strong showing, although it is quite obvious that he remains weakest on foreign policy.  He did try his best to let everyone know that he has a clear vision on Israel, and wants America to be as clear as possible when making it clear to other nations that we clearly stand behind our clear allies.  Clearly, Cain is still searching too much when it comes to foreign policy questions, but he is so strong on other issues, he seems able to make up for that shortcoming.  Cain took every opportunity to mention his 9-9-9 plan, as he has been doing consistently over the last few debates.  The plan is perhaps his greatest policy strength at the moment.

Michele Bachmann looked solid, but seemed to shy away from directly attacking Perry, which many expected her to do tonight.  The upcoming Florida straw poll will determine whether or not that was the right thing to do.  While she made sure to highlight her strong conservative values, she may have made a fatal mistake by choosing not to aggressively attack what many see as her biggest obstacle right now – Rick Perry .

Jon Huntsman was able to sound almost human in this debate.  Perhaps it was the amount of time he had to speak.  Thursday’s debate was the most time he has been given in a debate thus far.  Mentioning that he feels his family of seven children has been like a “clinical trial” at points did nothing to dispel me of the suspicion that Huntsman is actually very sophisticated alien technology.  But his daughter has juvenile diabetes so you see, he’s human.  Huntsman did seem the most animated he’s been through this whole process.  The only problem with Huntsman is that, no matter how human he seems, he’s still Jon Huntsman.  It will be hard for him to overcome…himself.

It was another strong showing for Newt Gingrich.  In this debate Newt came off less as “cranky Uncle Newt at family Thanksgiving” and more like “Jovial, witty Grandpa at Christmas time”.  He actually seemed warm at points, and even stirred up a few laughs.  As usual his answers were biting, provoking and intelligent.  His only low point in this debate is that he kept reminding viewers how old he was, and how he is such a part of the past in this country.  His goal was to highlight his history and his experience, but it came off as reminder that he is perhaps too connected to the “old” politics, and this is the “tea party” era.  It was another great performance for ultimate cabinet pick Newt Gingrich.

Honestly- and I’m being completely serious- I forgot Gary Johnson was even there until someone asked him a foreign policy question.  So, it turns out he was actually there, and his answer was quite logical and intelligent.  Also, he may have been high.

Rick Santorum debated with the passion and sincerity of a man who seems like he knows he has nothing to lose.  Santorum was straightforward, passionate and very engaged.  Much to the delight of the audience he stood clearly and strongly against the repeal of DADT, Obama’s attitude toward Israel, and benefits for illegal immigrants.  It seems unlikely that Santorum can win this nomination, but he hasn’t yet proven that he will lose it either.  He has made quite an impressive comeback during the two most recent debates and it will be interesting to see if he can maintain this momentum.

Ron Paul has clearly been through all of this before.  He speaks like a man who knows his platform by heart, and is inherently comfortable with it.  His answers were true to the libertarian position and as usual, the Paul fans were rolling deep in the debate hall.  Paul’s best moment may have come when he was asked to expound on his (somewhat) bizarre statement regarding a border fence working to keep Americans in rather than simply keeping illegal immigrants out.  Wallace asked Paul if he noticed many Americans rushing to take their money and leave the country.  It could have turned into another tin-foil hat moment for Paul but instead he turned it into a chance to explain that indeed, many Americans are taking their money and investing elsewhere because of stifling government regulation and taxes. It was a skilled turn-around, but then he went on to talk about data banks and tracking illegals meaning every body will be put in data banks one day (pssst…Google already does that. That battle has been lost).  Ron Paul proved why he’s lost two previous Presidential bids – Ron Paul is simply too libertarian for the Republican Party, and nowhere does that show more than his foreign policy opinions.

The closing question wasn’t the worst “fluff” question we’ve seen to date (that honor would be reserved for CNN’s “This or That”) – Who would you choose from this stage to be your running mate?  Newt refused to play the game, as usual, but did so with a rare showing of light-heartedness.  Relatively speaking, of course.

Bachmann declined to pick one opponent as well, instead taking the opportunity to speak directly to conservative voters and highlighting her qualities as a strong, true conservative candidate.  Bachmann obviously knows her base.

Perry wanted to mash Gingrich and Cain together in some bizarre, sicko, The Fly-ish experiment.  Well, he really just wanted to combine their personalities, but Romney rightly pointed out that it was a disturbing image, nonetheless.

Romney refused to answer either, but used the time to remind viewers that the real objective is to defeat Obama, and he would be just the man to do that – LAYING OUT HIS GENERAL ELECTION PLATFORM.

Gary Johnson, who really doesn’t seem like such a bad guy, chose Ron Paul. So…there’s that.  Also, he said his neighbor’s dog made more shovel ready jobs than Obama had, which was a DIRECT ripoff of a joke Rush Limbaugh told earlier that day.  I happened to be listening to Rush on Thursday afternoon when he joked that his new puppy had created more shovel ready jobs than Obama.  Maybe Johnson just forgot where he heard it originally and thought he could get away with the joke as his own.  Because he was high.

Paul deferred until he is a member of the top tier of candidates.

Santorum said he would pick Newt.

Cain acknowledged that it was just a game but said he’d play anyway, to the delight of the audience, who laughed and applauded.  He chose Gingrich.  The audience liked that too.

Jon Huntsman used his time to tell people that he still has a chance to win.

The overall debate format was a success.  Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly were good-natured, provoking and flexible. Google did an excellent job of highlighting their products and technology while integrating them into the format.  I was particularly impressed with the way they used search engine results to bring to light what viewers and voters were searching for, topic-wise, and which candidates were getting the most interest.  The “word clouds” were a very good illustration of results, placing the most searched words in  “cloud” like formation and enlarging the words in order of popularity.  The audience really responded to each result.  One of the first results revealed two of the trending searches were for “marriage” and “marijuana”.  Apparently there were a lot of lonely stoners watching the debate.

 

Romney was the clear winner in the Fox/Google debate. He stood out and looked confident.  Cain and Santorum came a close second and third.  Now all the candidates head into the much heralded Florida straw polls this weekend looking to place strong.  We may see some big changes in the field coming after the results are tallied.

CNN/Tea Party Express Debate:Gardasil, Social Security & the Rise of the Tea Party

The CNN/Tea Party Express debate in Florida ended with a whimper, but otherwise will surely go down as the most lively and impassioned debate thus far.  With more questions from the regular Americans of the tea party movement, candidates were given the opportunity to directly address the concerns of average Americans, and that fact alone seemed energizing.

As predicted, CNN did its best to present the debate as the “Rick Perry Show w/Mitt Romney and special guests”.  Blitzer directed or redirected nearly every question to Perry and gave Romney ample time to counter.  Perry came out strong right away.  The first question regarding social security required Perry to defend his Ponzi scheme comment.  He did so, was unapologetic, and the audience responded with great appreciation.  The first half of the debate unequivocally belonged to Perry.  Bolstered by an inarguable record in Texas (Romney tried the argument, but failed), the Governor looked confident, easy and the crowd responded very positively.  Unfortunately, during the second half, Perry struggled quite a bit.  When the Gardasil question was raised, he provided a satisfactory answer and admitted he had made a mistake with that decision.  However Perry didn’t seem prepared for the pounding that question would get.  As Blitzer posed and then re-posed the question, several candidates took the opportunity to take the fight straight to Perry, and he did not seem prepared for that.  The final nail in the coffin came on immigration.  He defended his support of the Texas “Dream Act” and the accompanying “states rights” argument to the boos of much of the tea party packed audience.  After going a long long way to endear himself to tea party patriots across the country, Perry gave up a lot of ground with that answer.  The audience’s displeasure obviously threw Perry off his game, as he began to stammer and stumble through his defense.  It hurt him badly, and being at the end of the debate, left the viewer with that subpar image.  Perry comes off as a man of great stature and composure, and he has the ‘80’s Friday night soap opera eyebrows to back that up – he surely hasn’t lost the nomination in this one debate, but he didn’t win it either.

Romney looked tired, and has been looking that way for a couple of weeks now.  He may not have been properly prepared for the fight this process had turned out to be.  He held his own quite well and had several thoughtful and audience-rousing responses, but seemed out of his element in front of the blatantly conservative crowd.  He certainly did not score points by suggesting that Perry just got lucky in Texas with jobs creation.  His refusal to consider repeal of monstrous bills such as healthcare certainly did nothing to endear him to tea party voters, and his criticism of Obamacare rang quite hollow, considering his own healthcare boondoggle in Massachusetts.  That  will not be lost on conservative voters.  Mitt’s hair also failed to impress tonight.  He’ll pay for that.

Rick Santorum was the pleasant surprise of the evening.  Although he still received considerable less time than the other candidates, his responses were impassioned and straight forward.  He did well to highlight his history of sounding the alarm on Social Security and the debate format played very positively to his everyman appeal.  Santorum proved tonight that he is an intelligent, conservative voice in this race, but his lack of aggression threatens to be his downfall. That being said, his performance was good and he cannot be counted out of this race just yet.  Also, Santorum obviously received the message regarding his pink tie from the last debate.  When you’re struggling to assert yourself as a front runner, vague shades of pink are not exactly the colors that scream “I’m your man!”… or A man, for that matter.

Bachmann was under the most pressure to perform tonight.  She is a tea party favorite and has been struggling in the polls since Perry announced his candidacy.  After a fairly wooden performance last week, she was expected to come out a little stronger in front of her tea party compatriots.  All in all she lived up to the expectations.  She seemed infinitely more relaxed and at home in this format.  Even her hair seemed to have more bounce than usual.  Bachmann was in her element as she explained that Obamacare was raiding Medicare for 500 billion dollars and hammered home all the appropriate tea party points of smaller government and full repeal of Obamacare and financial reform.  Her most forced moments came when she chose to take Perry head on, but as he seems to be siphoning off a good bit of her support, she likely had no other choice.  A loss for Bachmann in this debate would spell a certain end to her Presidential hopes.  She avoided that doom for now, but with every comment about her fights in the House, Bachmann seems only to solidify more and more the very reasons she should remain in Congress and fight for conservative values.  She seemed at home tonight, but it may be her true home is in the House.

Huntsman had his eyebrow greased and calibrated and ready to go from the start.  He seemed to have studied his Tea Party primer well, and was able to fire off a few conservative sounding responses, but as usual he was short on detail and long on eyebrow.  He also had some very awkward attempts at humor, most notably a weird reference to Kurt Cobain.  Who was he hoping to tweak with that remark?  Even the audience seemed embarrassed for him as he paused for the laughter that never came.  Obviously his comedy software program had not been installed correctly.  The amount of time CNN devoted to Huntsman tonight did not work to his advantage at all.  When the network that originally devised the “tea bagger” slur  devotes that much time to a questionable Republican such as Huntsman, it is a clear indicator to conservative voters that this is not who they want as their nominee.  The good thing is, Huntsman avoided the “my record in Utah” script; the bad thing is, without his record in Utah, Huntsman is nothing more than an empty suit with a lot of plugs and wires running down the back.  He doesn’t come off as “real” and if there’s anything tea party voters are looking for, its authenticity.

Cain did well.  The audience was clearly in his corner and his no-nonsense businessman approach was a guaranteed tea party favorite.  He wasn’t offered much time, but he used his opportunities wisely to highlight his 9-9-9 plan and his corporate experience.  Cain did not seem to advance much in this debate, nor did he lose any ground.  It was a solid showing, but surely not the breakout his team must have hoped for considering the forum.

Ron Paul turned in the usual Paul performance.  His highlight came when Blitzer posed a question about a 30 year old man who chose not to buy health insurance but then suffered a horrible health crisis: who should pay for that man’s health benefits?  Should we let him die?  Over the shouts of tea partiers (sure to illicit all kinds of hysterical coverage in the MSM tomorrow), Paul talked about the idea of personal responsibility and taking risks.  He reminded Blitzer that in the days before government entitlements, people in crisis turned to churches and community charity for help.  He  reiterated what every tea partier knows by heart: if the government stopped stepping in to provide every need imaginable, that man would find a way to save his own life.  Of course, Ron Paul got all Ron Paul-y on the military and foreign policy and elicited many hearty boos from the audience as he tried to justify extricating the United States from the Middle East.  The kooky meter was spiking a lot tonight for Paul.  What more can be said?  Some call him the Father of the Tea Party, but tonight it looked like the kids were ready to move dad to the old folks home.

Undoubtedly the one candidate who came out on top was Newt Gingrich. This was by far his best performance to date.  Having a tenuous relationship with the tea party, Newt faced the challenge of remaining true to his core political style while not alienating viewers with what can sometimes be his condescending tone.  He was up to the challenge and had the best, most provocative answers of any candidate on stage.  Newt was the only one who stayed focused on Obama and his disastrous policies.  Blizter, obviously still carrying a chip on his shoulder from the Clinton years, did his best to pose the bulk of the “gotcha” questions to Newt, but Gingrich slapped every one down with poise, passion and searing intelligence.  The crowd was with him the whole way.  Newt may not be able to convince a majority of the right that he should be President, but one would be hard pressed to find a single Republican voter who would not jump at the chance to see him in any influential cabinet position, or even as the White House spokesperson.  No one in Washington is smarter than Newt Gingrich. No one.  He proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt in this debate.

The debate format was an interesting marriage of far left media and the newly influential tea party movement.  Perhaps it was the specter of directly addressing the people as opposed to a table of stuffy moderators that allowed the candidates to appear more at ease.  Whatever it was, and despite the glitches, this format was the most notable and rousing of the debates so far.  CNN could have counted this as one of their most interesting programs to date, but for the last 10 minutes.  Perhaps it is just the dynamics of television producing, but the powers that be at CNN could not resist the pointless fluff question.  “If you were to win the White House, what would you bring with you?”  Newt looked the most fittingly annoyed with the question.  No one had anything particularly fetching to say.  Bachmann gave the pre-approved tea party answer of her copy of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.  I sincerely hoped Herman Cain would bring his grill and a few slabs of baby-back ribs, but he said he’d bring a sense of humor instead.  Santorum made a cute joke about adding an extra bedroom for his 7 kids (hey, Rick, it’s a mansion!).  Ron Paul provided the dowdiest answer, responding he would bring a “bushel basket of common sense” and a book about Austrian economics.  Sounds exciting.  Romney had a long answer that ended in him returning Churchill’s bust to the Oval Office.  I think.  It was  long answer.  Huntsman joked that his wife would kill him for saying he’d like to bring his motorbikes to the White House.  It shouldn’t be surprising that Huntsman has a fondness for motorcycles – they share the same parts.  Perry earned  the wife points of the night by saying all he needed was his lovely wife.  But it most likely wasn’t enough to erase his dismal ending to promising start.

Those are the highlights and low-lights.  Clear winners were CNN, which probably garnered more views for this one night than their whole year put together; and Newt Gingrich.  Santorum gets an honorable mention for finally being able to express his positions and doing it quite well.  Holding the line were Bachmann and Cain.  Romney and Perry were the clear losers tonight – Romney for being caught out of his element, and Perry for disintegrating in the second half.  However, above all, the tea party were the true winners tonight, proving definitively that the influence of this grass roots, American movement extends far beyond mid-term elections.  Politicians take note.

 

CNN/Tea Party Express Debate Tonight: Hobbits Allowed

Tonight in Florida the GOP Presidential candidates will square off in what should be an interesting debate, more so because of who is hosting it than who the candidates are.  CNN has teamed up the national tea party organization, Tea Party Express to present a two hour debate moderated by CNN lead anchor Wolf Blitzer.  The group will face questions from Blitzer, but also from audience members and tea party members from inside the debate hall and across 31 states. This debate stands to be of particular interest to conservatives and tea party sympathizers.  It will be the first debate in which the very people who have propelled the tea party to political influence will have the opportunity to pose questions based on their ideology and values.  This will be a chance for voters to take the “conservative temperature” of the candidates in ways they haven’t been able to before with professional moderators controlling the tone and temperament of the questioning.

Michele Bachmann, a tea party favorite, is most likely under the most pressure to perform in this format.  After a fairly wooden performance last week, look for her to inject some passion, spontaneity and values talk this time.  Of all the candidates, she seems to have the most to lose tonight if her performance goes south.

Herman Cain is another tea party favorite and is also expected to make a strong showing.  He’s been improving every debate and is moving up in the pack as a viable nominee.

Mitt Romney should be looking to explain himself to the tea party voters.  This debate could end up being very important to his chance in the longrun.  Tea partiers are very sensitive to his healthcare baggage and it is quite likely he’ll be asked about that from the audience.

Whatever happens, this debate will likely spell the end for at least one or two candidates, and a new beginning for two or three more.  Be sure to watch tonight, live on CNN at 8 p.m. ET and check back in with Conservative Daily News for coverage and recaps.

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