N.H. debate: Romney, Bachmann up; Cain, Pawlenty down

Quick take on the New Hampshire debate:

1. Mitt Romney did nothing to diminish his front-runner status and may have even burnished it, so he’s the winner.

2. Michele Bachmann is the biggest upward mover. She was well-prepared, well-spoken, paid attention to the details and should have shed the “Palin Jr.” tag.

3. Herman Cain is the biggest downward mover. He didn’t do anything bad, but he’s starting to sound a tad repetitive and he seemingly was ignored by the questioners for long stretches of time. To be fair, just about everybody had at least one such stretch without speaking, but Cain seemed rather invisible. The expectations are higher for him now, and I don’t really think he met them Monday.

4. Newt Gingrich just might have done well enough to persuade some people to work for him. Seriously, though: He had a mostly good night, but it’s still hard to see this campaign ending with success for him.

5. Tim Pawlenty had some good answers — on growth, on labor laws, on faith — but I’m afraid his night will be remembered for backing off the “Obamneycare” line he threw out on the Sunday morning talk shows and wouldn’t stick to when asked about it in front of Romney. The race is shaping up as if someone’s going to have to knock Romney out of the lead spot, and Pawlenty shrank back from an opportunity to start doing that. This was not a good debate for him.

6. Ron Paul was Ron Paul, no more and no less. He stuck to his principles and made some interesting points. But ultimately he isn’t going to win.

7. Rick Santorum had some decent moments. Not enough to make an impact in the race.

I’ll be accused of spinning for the Republicans for writing the following, but here goes anyway. None of the candidates was helped by the herky-jerky format: Short answers (with time limits enforced unevenly); questions that skipped around and changed topics quickly; questions on social issues that were bound to draw more of a distinction between the GOP field and a generic Democrat than among these primary contestants themselves; too little time spent on the economy; an embarrassingly small and belated amount of time spent on the military and foreign policy for a country involved in three-plus wars (and the first of these questions had to do with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”).

What would serve the voting public well, and allow the cream to rise to the top, would be a debate format that drilled down into questions that are likely to be at the forefront of the public’s mind. As Cain put it, the three E’s: the economy, entitlements (I’d broaden this to include the entire budget) and energy. Add foreign policy. And make the candidates answer follow-up questions that get into specifics. Two hours on those four topics would have been far more revealing than the gimmick “This or that” questions about deep dish or thin crust, Coke or Pepsi, Elvis or Johnny Cash.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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164 comments Add your comment

skponggol

June 13th, 2011
11:10 pm

The Seven Dwarfs of the Republican Party at NH debate:

Romney and Bachman grow up by an inch while Cain and Pawlenty shrink down by an inch.

President Obama vs the GOP Seven Dwarfs : BRING IT ON !

JB

June 13th, 2011
11:20 pm

OBOZO couldn’t run a wendys restaurant much less this country! Just look at the unemployment rate still over 9.1 percent in year 3 of OBOZO with billions in stimulus spent! I can’t say FAILURE any louder! This idiot president will get trounced no matter if sleepy was running against him! Bank on it! Obozo will lose in a landslide because he has virtually no independent support this around and even many moderate dems don’t like him now. I can’t believe we elected a president who said there is 57 states in america!!!! That says all you need to know about OBOZO!!!

TheBringerOfTruth

June 13th, 2011
11:30 pm

JB, you are a little sheeple so typical of all the brainless right. I bet those sheets fit you well you racist jerk. You are also a liar.

MarkV

June 13th, 2011
11:30 pm

JBozo is an idiot.

Darren

June 13th, 2011
11:39 pm

Obama will not loss because the country remembers eight years of republican failures and lies cut taxes for the rich n well connected steal from the poor and the elderly you ripoffs stand for nothing a working man or women could vote for.

The Great Middle

June 13th, 2011
11:42 pm

The great middle decides elections after these folks have to pander to the hard right and hard left in their own parties. The first thing the great middle DOESN’T buy are the arguments by ideologues who traffic in the simplistic and particularly cheap shot name-calling like you hear out of school-age adolescents. Unfortunately as far as sensible conservatives as I consider myself, the weapons the cheap shot artists use are like this little man above, calling the president Obozo, as if that impresses mature people. The right seems more addicted to that at the present. I remember well their standard line of any criticism on George W: “Even if you don’t respect the man, you should respect the office.” It is sad and pathetic that it has come to this for both parties and the extremists in each.

JW

June 13th, 2011
11:50 pm

I agree with JB. Obama hasn’t fullfilled ONE campaign promise except Obamacare , that was done in the middle of the night behind closed doors. Not on CNN as promised. Can anyone name anything that Obama has done other than make it worse?

Laura Bell

June 13th, 2011
11:56 pm

For one thing I can’t understand why the Republicans would have their first GOP debate on CNN. The time allowed to answer a question was absurd – 30 seconds. However, many of the candidates went over the time, therefore, not strictly enforced. And I felt the commentator/host was all over the map. It wasn’t organized in a fair manner. I wanted to see more of Herman Cain, and he was somewhat slighted. I also feel the questions should have been spread out more evenly then they were. And even though I am not an Obama supporter, I was tired of the candidates pointing out how he has failed. Duh…I already know that. What I felt this turned out to be was a campaign ad for many present. The candidates were asked questions related to unemployment, Obamacare, the economy, etc., and I felt they just kind of skimmed the surface and really didn’t say much. Totally disappointing.

Laura Bell

June 13th, 2011
11:57 pm

To Darren, What do you think Obama is doing now? You need to really educate yourself on the facts and the truth. You have been drinking way too much kool aid.

Bachmann2012

June 14th, 2011
12:24 am

Michele Bachmann For President!!

Phil

June 14th, 2011
12:25 am

Bachman was a breath off fresh air. As a tea partier I was looking for an independent thinking republican like Reagan. Saw that in Bachmann tonight.

MtnMan

June 14th, 2011
1:24 am

It seems like the best candidates for the job have already been discounted. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul had better answers than any of the other candidates. Instead of blowing sunshine up the rear of anyone who would listen, or proclaiming their candidacy with the intent and purpose of getting the spotlight, Ginrich and Paul had straight answers. We need leaders who aren’t afraid to hurt feelings to get this country back to the way it should be!!!

Why can’t Gingrich and Paul win the nomination and go on to defeat Obama?

Why should we allow the media to control how we view these candidates?

Pay attention America, the next phase of the future of the United States is being debated here and now!

Truth Squad

June 14th, 2011
1:28 am

President Obama will win close to 400 Electoral Votes.

There was not one new idea asserted for the economy tonight. Americans just are not going to buy that lowering taxes and less regulation (like making it easier for large oil spills to occur) are going to create jobs.

Romney’s job creation record during his tenure in Massachusetts along with his breaking up companies and firing people for profit, isn’t going to persuade people he has a better plan to create jobs.

And what does it say that every Republican up on that stage, as well as a few unannounced ones (Palin, Perry, Guiliani) would not win their home states? Anyone who believes the American people would let Bachman anywhere near the nukes has got to be high.

Americans still like President Obama, even those that disagree with him, and the folks up on that stage are not more likeable. At some point, the Republican nominee will have to talk about the Bush tears and assure voters that they have different policies.Eventually, someone will be nominated by the Republicans and the party will coalesce behind that person. Bush and Cheney will be trouted out at some point. At that point, voters will be reminded that this mess didn’t start in 2008.

Let’s be real here. The economy will still be sluggish in 2012 and that will be the only thing Republicans have going for them. In the end, it will be a choice between the inspiring guy who got bi Laden, and some angry person who wants to destroy Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, and who you will not feel comfortable answering that 2am call.

RQ

June 14th, 2011
1:51 am

Add Gingrich to that list of candidates who won’t carry their own states…

Uncle Joe

June 14th, 2011
4:14 am

So running for President is now to be compared with “American Idol”. Its not important what views and solutions and candidate has, but how much pizazz they produce ( read “BS” and “Breck” appeal). Personally, I prefer a “dull” President that gets things done, than a politician who says nice things and does nothing new. Vote for Herman Cain!
BTW, that CNN moderator, whoever he was, was an egotistical narcissist and embarassing!

I Report (-: You Whine )-: Thee Magnificent!!! mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

June 14th, 2011
4:52 am

Obama vows focus on jobs -Urinal

Headlines like these remind us all how simple minded liberals really are.

SaveOurRepublic

June 14th, 2011
5:18 am

If/when Dr.Paul doesn’t win the GOP nod, it’ll be solely due to his lack of willingness to shill for the Globalist Elite (as the long list of NeoCONs will gladly do). Dr.Paul is the only proven (strict) Constitutionalist, and thus the only one worth a vote.

P.S. – We’ll see who the Constitution Party nominates.

Eric

June 14th, 2011
6:15 am

Beating up on the idiot-in-chief .. kind of like making fun of the retarded kid at school, too easy and kind of sad. Guess it’s a pipe dream to believe that Barry would do what’s best for the country and walk off in to obscurity.

Any of the candidates last night would be a welcome relief from the 3 year disaster, but I think Herman Cain would be the best President. Prove to the world that a intelligent African American can be President.

independent tinker

June 14th, 2011
6:24 am

YAWN!! -LIKE WATCHING A BUNCH OF AMATEUR CLOWNS!

independent tinker

June 14th, 2011
6:33 am

Only one had anything intelligent to say – Ron Paul. None of them had anything intelligent to say about LIbya and our relationship with NATO, Mind you NATO is bound to protect us as well as Europe and follows our lead in the endless war in Afghanistan that has kept a corrupt leader in power for ten years. The Republicans want to have it both ways – we should lead and have troops on the ground in LIbya and Obama is a wooz or they now want us to stay out claiming they have better intelligence than NATO allies on who the real rebels are- big bad terrible terrorists who hate the US. I wonder who provides their intelligence- Rush Limbaugh or Anne Coulter?????? Forget about the humanitarian issues that Obama relied on to get the US invoved along with out NATO obligations- clowns in a lttle clown car. The best was Romney who said he would make decisions on troop withdrawals based on what the generals advise- he forgot he would run the military.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 14th, 2011
6:36 am

Obama vows focus on jobs -Urinal
———————-

Was that the 2008, 2009, 2010, or 2011 version?

Idiot Messiah: A failure on reducing unemployment, and inferior to Bush on this measure.

jeff

June 14th, 2011
6:42 am

What happened to Jon Huntsman?

oicu812

June 14th, 2011
6:47 am

Are you better off today than you were 3 years ago? If you can say “yes”, please vote for O’Bama because he deserves your vote. That should at least give him 2 or so votes. Smart but spineless. We are no longer a leading nation. As O’bama said it himself in regards to Libya, we are following France on this one. Following FRANCE???

Bill

June 14th, 2011
6:49 am

Said Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, the seventh contender on the stage: “As long as we are running a program that deliberately weakens our currency, our jobs will go overseas. And that’s what’s happening.”

As far as I can tell, no one called him on this. Can anyone explain how a weaker dollar makes jobs go overseas? If anything, the exact opposite is true.

wampum

June 14th, 2011
6:55 am

Mtnman: “Pay attention America, the next phase of the future of the United States is being debated here and now!”

Snort! Almost blew my coffee through my nose! Whoooboy….

Road Scholar

June 14th, 2011
6:58 am

I watched for 20 minutes. No one answered the questions put forward. One even went back to a previous question when he was told not to at the beginning. Bachman, who spoke well, didn’t even attempt to answer her first question instead she told us she announced and filed papers to run.

What did I learn in 20 minutes? We are in a world of hurt for leadership! I already new their stance on President Obama. They spoke in generalities when asked, which could be defended since they only had 30 seconds to respond. But they began each answer bandying around the subject and then had no time to answer it directly. Finally I learned that Palin will not run since Bachman announced.

wampum

June 14th, 2011
7:06 am

Better off now than three years ago? At the end of Bush’s bad decade? You wanna go back there? To the land of unicorns and unlimited job growth fueled by massive tax cuts that proved that deficits don’t matter?

jbraml

June 14th, 2011
7:08 am

The biggest loser was CNN. What a joke of a debate. Who cares if they like American Idol over Dancing With the Stars or a Blackbery over an Iphone. Don’t waste my time.

Greta van Sustenance

June 14th, 2011
7:11 am

Good summary of the Republican “beauty contest”, Kyle. Thanks.

enough already

June 14th, 2011
7:14 am

Only Newt, Herman, Romney answered any questions. Everyone else was me,me I,I. Give Herman Cain a chance and he will satisfy all questions. Overall no answers, no candidate. None of these folks as of today can win in 2012. Newt is best educated, but will never win. He’s too smart. Nobody will understand what he is saying. They also forgot Bermuda Grass or Fesue? Stupid CNN.

dcb

June 14th, 2011
7:15 am

Yes wampum. I’d like to go back three years ago – actually I’d like to go back seven years and hope that the Congress elected was not the Democratic controlled one that was responisble much more than Bush for the beginning of the debacle that our economy has faced ever since.

Dave R.

June 14th, 2011
7:24 am

Overall, a terrible format for 7 people, which will probably get worse as others announce.

Best thing to do going forward is to have a single debate theme (jobs, economy, foreign policy, etc.) and let them go back and forth. Felt like I was watching a ping-pong match.

Romney – No errors. Best answer on Romneycare vs. Obamacare thus far.
Pawlenty – Pure white bread. Boring as hell. Whiffed on his Obamneycare response.
Bachmann – Lowest expectations, best performance based on expectations.
Cain – Slipped a bit on the big stage. Looked a bit too concerned with the gotcha factor.
Gingrich – Red meat answers for the faithful, but those won’t play well to independence.
Paul – Best substantive answers, but still delivered in that “crazy uncle” manner.
Santorum – I kept looking around for Wally, Ward and June Cleaver every time he spoke.

Billyboy

June 14th, 2011
7:27 am

CNN was the real loser last night. The format was terrible, the questions spent little time on the key subjects and the follow-up questions where from a 10th grade high school journalist. CNN had now winning points. The cute in between commercial question was for Saturday morning cartoons.

Clinton "Skink" Tyree

June 14th, 2011
7:30 am

Those of you with selective memories regarding the Reagan years fail to remember he raised taxes eleven times. That’s eleven times in eight years.

Now, hear me right. These tax increases were in the best interest of the country at the time. They were needed, just like we need to increase revenue today. But the Republican/Tea Party has made a virtue of promising “no new taxes” to the point where it’s mindless and destructive to the economy.

Cuting spending is wise, but increasing revenue is necessary, too.

The Republican/Tea Party has moved so far to the right that Ron Reagan would not be an acceptable candidate for them today.

Dave R.

June 14th, 2011
7:33 am

Clinton, raising taxes in the middle of a recession is suicidal. Period.

Cut spending FIRST. Prove you can do that significantly, and I’ll consider enhancing revenues by removing subsidies, but NOT raising tax rates.

real john

June 14th, 2011
7:47 am

Kyle:

For the most part I agree with your assesments. However I thought Newt helped himself more and Bachman was just Bachman. I agree with a previous poster; Newt may be too smart for some people to understand. He is the only one in my opinion who could straight up defeat and pin down Obama in a debate. Bachman would get crushed by Obama in a debate.

I agree when its all said and done, Romney will probably win the Repbulican nomination. While I will support him, I’m not particularly jazzed about him

Progressive Humanist

June 14th, 2011
7:56 am

Dave R.,

I think you need to brush up on your history. Spending is supposed to INCREASE during a recession because the economy needs an influx of capital since citizens aren’t spending. If the spending is directed at infrastructure (as opposed to flowing to other countries in foreign wars), people are put back to work and immediately begin spending again, thereby strengthening the economy because businesses make better profits and tax revenues increase. The silly actions you describe are exactly the ones that caused the Great Depression.Ya gotta go back to school to relearn a few basics, Dave.

Whacks Eloquent

June 14th, 2011
7:56 am

jeff,

From what I understand, in order to qualify for the debate the candidates had to poll 3% in a NH poll and 3% in a national poll, which Huntsman has yet to do. They did make a mention of him, and I do think he will show up at some point. But, having seen an appearance of his before, he has all the excitement of tepid mashed potatoes. It will probably be Romney unless Bachmann or Cain can really get a campaign going to challenge his ideas. But that said, Romney impressed me more than he did last go-round.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 14th, 2011
8:02 am

wampum: Better off now than three years ago? At the end of Bush’s bad decade? You wanna go back there? To the land of 5% unemployment and $160 billion deficits and only two wars?
————————

Uh, yes?

Dave R.

June 14th, 2011
8:02 am

Progressive, I think you need to brush up on your economics.

With a $14 trillion debt (almost our entire GDP), and adding to that at a rate of $1.5 to $1.7 trillion per year, you can no longer spend your way out of a recession. That’s how you destabilize the entire world’s economy. Government has already created or saved less temporary jobs than they thought they would, and creating more temporary jobs that don’t pay for themselves is insanity.

HDB

June 14th, 2011
8:05 am

Overall, nothing new was learned last night…a persistent regurgitation of GOP dogma and NO solutions!! None of them gave a reason to vote FOR them…and every reason to vote AGAINST them!! (YAWN!)

jconservative

June 14th, 2011
8:06 am

Johnny Cash.

Scott D

June 14th, 2011
8:06 am

The CNN Debate was a farce.

John King was a horrible moderator. John King blended and delivered his Democrat supporting bonafides into the questions and was shot down 3-4 times. Good humor there.

The CNN format attempted to turn the GOP debate into a joke. CNN failed and John King led the way.

The next President of the United States was not on the stage in New Hampshire. When Rick Perry declares he immediately shoves Romney as front runner under the bus.

Sarah Palin will announce NO 2012–candidacy Rick Perry benefits and Obama and his water carrying MSM cronies knees buckle.

The White Guilt constituency that elected Obama in 2008 has evaporated. The students that voted for Obama in 2008 are unemployed and still living in their parents basements. The foreigners that massively donated to Obamas campign will be blocked in 2012.

When Obama can only be compared to Jimmy Carter he loses big time and the media can’t do anything about that.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 14th, 2011
8:07 am

Libtards always conveniently ignore the second part of their beloved Keynesian economics–when the economy is good, you’re supposed to cut spending and build up reserves to carry you through the next down cycle. They’re too busy GROWING government during expansionary periods and spending and buying votes from their parasite base to be bothered with this part of the theory.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 14th, 2011
8:10 am

HDB: NO solutions!
————————

Removing your Idiot Messiah from our White House is about 75% of the solution.

HDB

June 14th, 2011
8:12 am

@ wampum/dcb/LBB….I’d rather go back to the Clinton Years…where job growth…from 1993-1999. If you were affected as I was by the massive job losses as a result of 9/11 and lengthy periods of unemployment (2 years), you’d rather leave the Bush Years behind!! Am I better off now than I was three years ago….resoundingly YES!!!

GW

June 14th, 2011
8:12 am

Kyle,

Remind us again what the Republicans have focused their efforts on since gaining control of the House.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 14th, 2011
8:15 am

Glad to hear that, HDB, but you’re outnumbered by the 9.1% unemployed today and the near 20% underemployed.

Lil' Barry Bailout

June 14th, 2011
8:16 am

GW–controlling the Idiot Messiah’s obscene, un-American spendfest.

Dave R.

June 14th, 2011
8:16 am

Elvis.

And I can’t figure out why Bachmann couldn’t commit on one of the other.