Republican Debate Reaction

Mitt Romney had another good debate performance and none of his rivals really laid a glove on him. His experience really shows. He plays the game on an entirely different level. In fact, his biggest rival might be himself. When he rambles answers to questions, he comes off looking slick and untrustworthy.

Herman Cain proved he’ll be in the top tier for at least a few more weeks. Much of the debate focused on his 9-9-9 tax plan which was only good for his profile. He took some heat from his rivals — particularly from Ron Paul on the Federal Reserve — but handled it well enough. He doesn’t get rattled easily.

Rick Perry did almost nothing to distinguish himself. Once again, he seemed tired and incoherent. Perry needed a good performance to turn around the narrative that his campaign is flailing but didn’t have one.

Of the remaining candidates, only Newt Gingrich seemed to shine. He frequently put himself into the discussion and made good points. But at the end of the day, he’s more of a pundit than a presidential candidate.

One other note: Karen Tumulty did a wonderful job asking questions. She was the best prepared on the entire stage tonight.


Extra Bonus Quote of the Day

“We don’t need to be focused on passing this policy or that policy.”

— Rick Perry, during the Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire.


Word of the Day

From the political dictionary, on Republican debate night: “11th Commandment


Warren Announces (Again)

In a great parody video, Elizabeth Warren announces her bid for U.S. Senate.

See more…


Perry Refused to Repudiate Pastor

Rick Perry refused to disavow a Dallas pastor who called Mormonism a cult, the APreports.

Perry announced his decision through a spokesman after Mitt Romney called on Perry to repudiate Rev. Robert Jeffress, who said Romney was not really a Christian.

Howard Kurtz: “Will the press keep pounding away at this anti-Mormon outburst? Why, 50 years after JFK broke the Catholic barrier, is a candidate’s religion again emerging as a major issue?”


What if Nothing Changes?

While many have begun to hope that the 2012 elections will return the government to its normal course of business, Chris Cillizza floats the possibility that things will stay exactly the same.

“While they may know that the two parties have very different solutions about the best way forward when it comes to the economy, the public simply doesn’t believe that anyone in office can make a real change for the better. That sentiment has borne itself out in each of the last three national elections — particularly at the House level where 2006, 2008 and 2010 each produced a wave dynamic… The wild swings in the electorate are directly attributable to a belief that neither party really knows what it’s doing and so once one side is given a chance for two years and nothing changes, voters — especially independents — are more than willing to give the other side a try. And then when that side produces few results, the cycle repeats itself. What does all that add up to in 2012? Volatility. Again.”


Bonus Quote of the Day

“I’m going after Romney.”

— Herman Cain, quoted by the Washington Post, previewing his plan for tonight’s Republican presidential debate.

He added, “I don’t need to go after Perry.”


Giuliani Not Running Either

Despite recent hints he was still considering a presidential bid, Rudy Giuliani announced he would not run, Politico reports.

Said Giuliani: “If it’s too late for Chris Christie, it’s too late for me.”


Documenting Romney’s Flip Flops

Ben Smith points us to a new DNC YouTube feed and notes it’s “really just brutal, and a roadmap to Romney’s Republican foes: It’s not just what he says, but the total forcefulness and sincerity with which he says it.”


Cain Leads in Iowa

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Herman Cain now leads the Republican presidential race in Iowa with 30%, followed by Mitt Romney at 22%, Ron Paul at 10%, Rick Perry at 9%, Michele Bachmann at 8%, Newt Gingrich at 8% and Rick Santorum at 5%.

Key finding: “Better news for Cain even than his lead is that his supporters are much more solidly committed than Romney’s. 50% of them say they will definitely vote for him compared to only 34% who say the same for his co-front runner.”


White House Braces for Defeat of Jobs Bill

Bracing for the defeat of President Obama’s jobs bill, White House officials told The Hillthey would work with Senate Democrats to break the bill into smaller portions that might find support.

“The officials emphasized their view that it is Republicans who are holding up the president’s $447 billion plan, and they downplayed Democratic defections.”

However, Greg Sargent notes Democrats may not even be able to muster a simple majority for the bill.


Christie to Endorse Romney

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is expected to back Mitt Romney in the race for GOP presidential nomination, National Journal reports, “a major coup for Romney that could help him solidify his front-runner status and build an aura of inevitability around his campaign.”

Christie is expected to be the “special guest” who will endorse Romney at a campaign appearance at 3 p.m. in New Hampshire.


Obama Isn’t Like Carter

Jonathan Bernstein rejects the notion that President Obama’s governing style is similar in substance or results to that of President Jimmy Carter.

“While Carter did have some senior staff who had a strong party background, his White House was a very personal operation… That wasn’t true about Obama-era equivalents… As a result, even if it’s true that Obama’s instincts were to ignore politics, the people around him have been likely to temper those instincts, not reinforce them. And as a result Obama’s relationship with Hill Democrats — though of course rocky at times — has been far better than was Carter’s.”

“Where was Obama’s staff weak? Carter’s staff, above all, specialized in Jimmy Carter. Bill Clinton’s staff learned part of that lesson, adding Hill experience and therefore party connections. Obama’s staff improved on Clinton’s by adding White House experience. But none of them had much in the way of experience with the departments and agencies of the executive branch, and that’s been in my view a possible explanation for why Obama hasn’t been quick to use that part of the presidency to his benefit (and the nation’s benefit).”


Did Perry Even Qualify for Last Night’s Debate?

According to published criteria from the Washington Post and Bloomberg, the sponsors of tonight’s Republican debate, in order to participate candidates had to win measurable support in national polls, raise more than $500,000 by the second quarter of 2011, and participate in at least three nationally televised presidential debates.

Yet Mother Jones notes Rick Perry wasn’t even a declared candidate before the end of the second quarter of 2011 and he has yet to file a single FEC campaign disclosure form.


Pawlenty Says He May Have Dropped Out Too Early

Tim Pawlenty admitted to the Minneapolis Star Tribune he’s had some second-guessing about whether he dropped out of the presidential race too early, but he added his calculation was simple: “We were out of money.”

Pawlenty said that “had he known what the race would become, he would have saved some cash to carry on. Instead, the campaign spent all it had and more in Iowa.”

Said Pawlenty: “That’s a decision we made and it was the wrong call.”


Daley Says He’ll Leave After Election

White House chief of staff Bill Daley tells NBC Chicago that he’ll leave his post after the election.

Said Daley: “I made a commitment to the president thru his re-election, which I’m confident he will do, and then my wife and I will return to Chicago.”


How the Campaign Season Got So Long

Larry Sabato points out that Jimmy Carter is primarily responsible the growing length of the public campaigns for presidential nominations.

“Before 1976, extensive private preparations notwithstanding, candidates almost always waited until the actual calendar year of the election before announcing their candidacy. Mr. Carter changed that when he practically became a resident of Iowa, site of the country’s first nominating contest, shortly after he left office as governor of Georgia in 1975. His successful strategy became the new norm, copied by candidates in both parties since.”

Meanwhile, TPM notes that “the explosion of televised primary debates are a relatively recent phenomenon.”


Elizabeth Warren’s Fight

Vanity Fair has a must-read profile of Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) and her emergence “as a champion of the beleaguered middle class, and her fight against a powerful alliance of bankers, lobbyists, and politicians.”

“Although heavily lobbied by leading Democrats to run, Warren was warned by many that the fight would be brutal… But the fight for Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat is expected to redefine brutal. A Republican golden boy and Wall Street favorite, Brown was rolling in campaign money — some $10 million — even before Warren’s announcement, thanks in large part to the financial industry’s largesse. With Warren in the race, the Republican party and the nation’s corporatocracy is expected to flood Brown’s coffers with even more cash.”


Cain Leads in South Carolina

A new American Research Group poll in South Carolina shows Herman Cain edges the Republican presidential field with 26%, followed closely by Mitt Romney at 25%. Rick Perry is third at 15%.


Perry Well Rested

Rick Perry’s son tells The Note that his father will be “well rested” and better prepared for tonight’s Republican debate by skipping a dinner last night in New Hampshire.

Said Griffin Perry: “He’s not here this evening because he’s resting up, you know. He was very focused on raising money and did a very good job at that. Now the focus will be the debates and when he gets focused he can do anything.”

Perry’s advisers said he didn’t do a good job a previous debates because he didn’t get enough sleep.


Romney Advisers Helped Craft Health Care Law

NBC News: “Newly obtained White House records provide fresh details on how senior Obama administration officials used Mitt Romney’s landmark health-care law in Massachusetts as a model for the new federal law, including recruiting some of Romney’s own health care advisers and experts to help craft the act now derided by Republicans as Obamacare.”

The records “show that senior White House officials had a dozen meetings in 2009 with three health-care advisers and experts who helped shape the health care reform law signed by Romney in 2006, when the Republican presidential candidate was governor of Massachusetts. One of those meetings, on July 20, 2009, was in the Oval Office and presided over by President Barack Obama, the records show.”


Behind the Collapse of Bachmann’s Campaign

Robert Costa writes that Ed Rollins never wanted Michele Bachmann to focus so heavily on the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa and that the decision ultimately broke her presidential campaign.

“By that August afternoon, when Bachmann finally beat Paul in Ames (albeit by a slim margin), it was supposed to be, as she said, the start of something big. Yet as the crowds rallied at ISU, internally, the campaign was in disarray, with nonstop infighting. Bachmann’s message, her policy positions, early-state plans, media strategy — everything became a quarrel. The senior-staff rift over Ames, which started as a fracture, widened into a gulf, with Polyansky and his on-the-ground political team operating separately from Bachmann’s on-the-bus sphere.”


Perry’s Last Chance?

John Avlon notes that tonight’s Republican debate gives Rick Perry — “still the GOP field’s most viable alternative, despite some early stumbles” — another chance to prevent Mitt Romney’s coronation.

“Yes, he had a bad last debate — but it wasn’t Tim Pawlenty bad. The man is, for better or worse, a professional politician of the kind we haven’t seen run for president since Bill Clinton. He may not be the smartest guy on the stage, but he’ll learn from his mistakes, play offense, and benefit from lowered expectations.”

“Most important, Perry’s base of support comes squarely from those twin constituencies driving the GOP to the right, the Tea-vangelist crowd.”

First Read: “It’s do-or-die time for him; nobody has more riding on his or her debate performance.”


Cain’s Moment

Herman Cain’s “newly energized candidacy is reshaping the Republican presidential primary race and creating a new hurdle for Rick Perry as he tries to catch frontrunner Mitt Romney. Those dynamics will be on display tonight in a debate focused exclusively on the economy and jobs and to be held in New Hampshire,” Bloomberg reports.

Washington Post: “If Cain’s top-tier status is without question, what he will do with it in tonight’s debate is very much up in the air. Cain can be a dynamic presence with his rhetorical gifts and ability to turn a phrase. But he can also fall too much in love with his knack for candor.”

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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