Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gingrich, Santorum, Even Perry Have Shining Moments in SC GOP Debate

And while Romney pulled into a narrow lead in SC there is still time to close the gap before Saturday's voting!

It was the best debate of the entire season last night. With fewer candidates on stage, candidates had more time to deliver their answers and to respond to their rivals. Best of all, the format allowed the non-Romneys to put the front runner on the spot and test how he performs under fire.

No Accountability for Romney in Super Pac Attacks

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum ruffled Romney when he criticized the ads run by Romney's Super Pac for false and misleading ads describing Santorum's position on restoring voting rights to paroled felons [video]. Santorum scored by pointing out that as Governor, Romney went beyond what Santorum proposed: ""in the state of Massachusetts when you were governor, the law was that not only could violent felons vote after they exhausted their sentences, but they could vote while they were on probation and parole."

Romney refused to accept any responsibility for the negative ads run by his Super Pac even though Newt Gingrich has publicly called on his own Pac to change ads that were shown to be false. Later, Romney told Sean Hannity that "ads that we have, have all been positive." I don't know what ads Romney is referring to but his campaign, under his name, have been running some very negative ads in South Carolina in addition to the outrageous attack ads his Super Pac has directed at the other GOP candidates.

Good Night for Rick Perry

It was a good night for Rick Perry. Had he been this focused during the first few debates he might still be the front runner. His best lines of the evening came early:
Rick Perry [] zeroed in on Romney’s tax records: “Mitt, we need for you to release your income tax so the people of this country can see how you made your money.” He went on, “Listen, here's the real issue for us: As Republicans, we cannot fire our nominee in September. We need to know now. So I hope you'll put your tax records out there this week so the people of South Carolina can take a look and decide if, you know, we've got a flawed candidate or not.”
Romney continued to refuse to release his tax records in advance of the SC vote but did suggest he might do so in April by which time it would be too late to influence the nominating contest but just in time for Obama and the Democrats to make the most of it.

Newt Scores Again

Newt shines in nearly every debate and in this one he even outperformed expectations. The crowd clearly loved him after this exchance with Juan Williams when they gave Newt a standing ovation for his answer:

Newt Gingrich: Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any President in American history. I know among the politically correct you are not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable. Second, you are the one who earlier raised the key point. There's an area on I-73 that was called by Barack Obama as an area of shame because of unemployment. Has it improved? No. They haven't built a road, they haven't help the people, they haven't done anything.

One last thing. So here's my point. I believe every American of every background has been endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness, and if that makes liberals unhappy, I'm going to continue to find ways to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn to get a better job and learn some day to own the job.
While Romney may hold the upper hand in recent SC polls, the race is far from over. SC voters have the chance to slow down this rush to anoint Romney as the nominee and give the other states the opportunity to have their voice heard before an irrevocable decision is made. Wouldn't it be better to be sure Romney has what it takes before he is the nominee rather than wait until September when it's too late to change?

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