Yesterday, August 11, 2011, Fox News conducted the 3rd Republican presidential debate in Iowa. Brett Baer was the moderator, and the ever annoying Mike Wallace was one of 3 other questioners. Many questions were designed to have candidates attack each other, and that caused considerable fireworks, so this was (in my opinion) the most spirited and interesting debate thus far.
Immediately after the debate, Joe Trippi and Frank Luntz sat with Shawn Hannity and discussed the performances. Luntz said that Pawlenty hurt himself the most, by attacking Michelle Bachmann. Trippi said that Newt Gingrich was the most effective debater, and “won the battle but lost the war” because Romney made no errors and looked the most presidential. He also said that Newt had made himself relevant again, and I concur.
The participants and my comments about them follow:
- Mitt Romney. He maintained his position as frontrunner well. He handled all attacks against him beautifully, and looked presidential.
- Michelle Bachmann. She probably lost ground, because she had to defend herself against Pawlenty’s vigorous and somewhat unfair attacks. She gave as good as she got, but had little opportunity to offer solutions. She called herself a fighter, but was a bit repetitious.
- Ron Paul. Crazy Ron occupies the Libertarian niche, and received some of the loudest applause for what he said, but I don’t think his campaign will go anywhere. However, I fear he’ll become a 3rd party candidate and hurt the Republican Party. I hate listening to him, and cringe every time he opens his mouth. Sometimes, to my horror, I find I agree with what he says, usually for different reasons. He does favor limited government and adherence to the constitution, and that appeals to many people.
- Newt Gingrich. Newt came out fighting, and displayed more detailed knowledge and understanding of issues than any other candidate. His response on the secret goings on within the Fed was masterful. He may have helped himself greatly, and may move into 4th place behind Romney, Bachmann, and Paul. He may even have moved ahead of Paul. Rick Perry’s entrance into the race will hurt him, however.
- Herman Cain. Cain casts himself as a “problem solver”, and impresses, but is now irrelevant.
- Tim Pawlenty. He hurt himself the most, both by attacking Michelle, and because of her counter-charges against his record. IMO, he is now irrelevant and should drop out of the race.
- Rick Santorum. He made good points, but may have hurt himself when he argued against Michelle that the debt ceiling had to be raised. He is a fighter, and will probably stay in the race despite all odds, but at this point is irrelevant.
- John Huntsman. He appears unsure of himself when he speaks, whether he is or not. He is irrelevant, and should drop out.