The GOP candidates continued to square off for their party’s nomination last night in a debate at the Venetian in Las Vegas, NV. I had a couple immediate thoughts from the debate after watching it:
- Newt Gingrich is by far the most intelligent individual in this contest. His vast knowledge of American history and his well-spoken answers really help him. I think he is struggling to push into the top tier of candidates due to preconceived notions about him and the lack of air time he receives from the snippets shown after the debate. However, out of all the folks running, I also believe he sounds the most Presidential avoiding the baseless squabbling we see between candidates such as Romney, Perry, and Bachmann. If he continues on this path and is given some more coverage, I think he becomes a real contender in this race. However, his well thought-out ideas do not play well as five second sound clips. This poses the question of if people are more shaped by the actual debate or the debate recap.
- I think Rick Perry is right on the edge of a drop. I thought his more aggressive stance both hurt and helped him last night. The personal attack on Romney hiring illegal immigrants did not help him, particularly in light of his stance on immigration for illegals in Texas
- Michele Bachmann is done. She continues to appear un-Presidential and shallow on her ideas. I did like that she defended her statement that ALL Americans should have to pay some taxes, even if it was a very small amount for low income earners. I actually agree with her on this.
- Folks do no like Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan for various reasons, and he struggled at times to defend it adequately, especially with one confrontation with Mitt Romney. Romney was leading folks to believe they would be paying additional taxes, just because their sales tax would now be more. What Cain needed to counter with was that income taxes are going to be increased for most people, so they will have more money in their pocket. With the 9-9-9 plan and the Fair Tax, consumers are given the choice to pay taxes, based on whether they buy the goods or not.
- My thoughts on Ron Paul are clear that he can be kooky at times. However, the last two days should be a real boost for him. His plan to cut $1 trillion from the budget in year one is solid. Others say that it is too much too soon, but these are the same people that continue not to cut anything. I also think he did a good job explaining his cut of the military budget without decreasing our defenses or national security. He simply wants to get troops out of areas where we continue to linger. He says our National Guard troops should quit guarding the Afghanistan border and be brought home to guard our border. I also agree here. Our National Guard continues to be used abroad rather than at home, which I believe is their better mission.
- Rick Santorum was pretty much MIA. However, I did like his sparring with Romney over Obamacare. He used references from Mr. Romney’s book to show his support for his healthcare plan in Massachusetts and its basis for Obamacare. However, I do not think this argument is a winner with the American people. Romney says, like the other candidates, that he would repeal Obamacare, and at some point continuing to belabor this point, as Santorum tried, becomes a lost cause.
So, I think Mr. Cain held his ground pretty well as a front runner and should not be hurt from this debate. He needs to continue to explain his plan in every mean possible, issuing further clarification. I think we will see some rise for Mr. Gingrich, stabilization for Mr. Romney, and a continued decline for Ms. Bachmann. I am interested to see how Perry will fair from this.