Yesterday proved to be a landmark event for debating, as it was the first primary debate to be held by the Tea Party. Moderated by Wolf Blitzer, the debate featured the top eight candidates who are seeking the Republican nomination for President Of The United States. These candidates in standing order included Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum. The key issues of discussion included the economy, jobs, taxes, Social Security, health care, as well as touching the issues of immigration and foreign policy. Front-runners Romney and Perry were mudslinging one another all night, as the others had strong showings as well. As always, I will be reviewing the debaters on how well they were able to directly answers the questions and hold up against the pressure of the moderators and other debaters.
Jon Huntsman- Huntsman had yet another strong showing during the debate. He's doing more and more justice to himself by representing the alternative position of Romney and Perry, despite not having the numbers to show it. He was the only candidate to mention that the day before was 9/11 in his opening statement and he mentioned his ideas directly and assertively. He's demonstrating more and more that's he there to win the race, not just because there's an extra podium in the room. We'll have to see how much more justice he does himself in the upcoming debates, as he may very well be excluded from some of them if his numbers shrink from where they are right now. Still a good debate. B
Herman Cain- Herman Cain was in his element tonight. He answered every question with a solution, which is exactly what we look for in these debates. We want solutions, not reminders that the other is causing a problem. The reason why we watch these debates is because we want to know more about you and we want to know why we should vote for you. Cain gives these solutions and he does it so clearly. There isn't much mud in his background that is bringing him down and he has an advantage of not being a politician in Washington, but instead, a businessman who worked his way up. His best one-liner of the night was when he stated that he knew how Washington D.C. works... it doesn't. This was a sample of the sense of humor he said he would bring to the White House with him if he's elected. While he doesn't get the time due to his poll numbers, he does get my praise in having an excellent debate. A+
Michele Bachmann- Much more justice was done on Bachmann's end. She was more clear about her plans, her contributions, and her guarantees to fight to repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. Her big moment came when she brought down Rick Perry for a law he signed in Texas that required preteen females to have vaccinations in order to prevent HPV. She took this moment to corner him to a wall and shred him to bits as much as she could. Bachmann seemed to have strong support until Perry's entry into the race and Bachmann would likely lose more support if Sarah Palin were to enter the race (which she shouldn't and probably won't). On the debating end, Bachmann did a fine job and targeted the man who took away her numbers. B+
Mitt Romney- Romney spent most of the night jousting Perry on issues. The two of them came out a bit dirty, but at the same time, Romney was able to discuss what he would bring to the table if he were to become president. Like Bachmann, he promised that he would bring down Obamacare. However, most of the night was a battle between himself and Rick Perry. He revealed four aces that Perry had going for him and how he did as the Texas governor, which is what was the big topic of discussion during the last two debates. I give Romney a lot of credit for being able to debate one-on-one against Perry, and at the same time, be able to share what he has to bring to the table. B
Rick Perry- Perry was targeted on many ends and I felt that things ultimately got a bit shaky for him. While he played it cool against Romney and his barbs having to do with the poker scenario and the four aces, he began to feel a bit tense when Bachmann cornered him to the wall on the issues of HPV vaccinations for preteen females. He admitted that he was wrong, and that's fine given that everyone is human. He was also targeted by Ron Paul, who is also from Texas and a taxpayer at that. Perry had a lot going against him and while he did a fine job standing up to the force, you could see some serious fractures that need to be resolved. C+
Ron Paul- Ron Paul's debate was on and off. At the beginning of the debate, when he was mentioning our problems with government, he was on the spot. His targeting of Perry, his targeting on military vs. defense spending, and the scenario in which a hot shot who doesn't think he needs health care gets into a serious accident. I was very pleased by his stance on that end. However, then he puts himself in a sticky situation with not using the presidency to make legislative decisions and saying that the Americans caused 9/11 by being in the Middle East. He was put on the spot by Santorum for what sounded like taking responsibilty for 9/11 on his blog and then received his first boos from the audience in the primary season (he often received applause). Paul put himself in a very shaky situation, which made for a very shaky debate. He was very clear, though, and from both sides his performances was average. B
Newt Gingrich- I like how Newt Gingrich shifts the problems on each other to the problems that Obama is causing for the country. He gave this statement in order to shift the problem from Romney and Perry, who are obviously in a heated battle. Next, he mentioned how the numbers were better in Utah, Massachusetts, and Texas while he was speaker of the house than when Huntsman, Romney, and Perry were governors of these respective states. Gingrich has simply come in on the position of being a debater and a voice of reason as to how these debates are being run and how the media is playing games with the debating system. He will likely not take the nomination, but he is definitely injecting some good ideas that are making for some really interesting debates. B+
Rick Santorum- Santorum is pretty much building on the stance that he has taken. He comes off as being the grouchy, angry debater who plays the role of the old man in the basement. He stands by his views and mentions how he didn't have to change his conservative views in order to do well in a liberal state, and then goes over similar points that he made before. He happened to be the one to corner Ron Paul on his comments about 9/11 on his blog, which Ron Paul had a fine rebuttal to, but showed that Santorum has the aggression to point out topics he disagrees with. A strong stance on foreign policy happens to be one of Santorum's stances. Besides that, it was just a typical night for Santorum as it's always been. B-
I think that when it came to giving assertive and direct answers to the questions that were asked in the debate, Herman Cain won again. He hit it big in the first debate, hit it big in CNN's first New Hampshire debate, and he won again in what may be a good debate. While Michele Bachmann really had a good debate and many said she was the one who had the best showing, it was Cain that had solutions at all times to the questions. The debates are only getting heated and will be coming on more often. The next debate will be a Fox News/Google Debate on September 22nd, in which the people will submit their questions for the candidates. I am guessing that the same eight candidates will be participating, but we'll just have to see. This should make for an interesting debate.