Throughout the primary season, we have watched debates that were held by FOX News, CNN, and MSNBC. Even Twitter held a unique style of debate. Bloomberg happened to host their first debate of the primary season just now. The debate was moderated by Charlie Rose and featured Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum. With Chris Christie and Sarah Palin confirming that they're not running, these eight look like the candidates that will be highlighted in debates and featured in a vast majority of the polls. Gary Johnson, Buddy Roemer, and Fred Karger remain in the tier just under them, and they are followed by those who are running little known campaigns or are featured in only a select amount of states.
This debate was set in a kitchen table style environment and concentrated on America's biggest concern... the economy and anything having to do with the economy.
A lot has changed between the last debate and this. Herman Cain has made a surge in the polls and could be considered a front-runner alongside Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. In fact, Perry's numbers are beginning to slip due to Cain's surge. Romney still remains in the lead.
As always, I will evaluate each candidate and grade them based off of how well they did during the debate.
Jon Huntsman- Huntsman got a good amount of speaking time, given his low poll numbers. However in this debate, Huntsman had very little speaking time and a small amount of time to stick out. However, he did use his speaking time wisely and gave his points as to what he would bring to the table, how his dad was an inspiration, and a backing to his time as U.S. Ambassador to China. His final statement quenched how aggravating the times are and gave a great counter-one-liner to Perry and Santorum having to do with gas in America. The most gas is not in Texas or Pennsylvania, but in DC. Little speaking time, but a quick wit. B+
Michele Bachmann- Bachmann spoke her side and her position as a representative and as a citizen. She was the first to have the opportunity to take a stab at Cain's "999 Plan" and reaffirmed her stance against raising the debt ceiling and allowing Obama wider limitations as to how much of our money he could use in his projects. She also brought up the frustration as to what former Senator Chris Dodd and current Representative Barney Frank did with their housing plans and how they didn't work. She did flub with the names of "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac," but got her point across. Her numbers will probably continue to remain at the point in which they are at. B
Rick Perry- This wasn't a Romney vs. Perry debate like it was in September, but instead a demotion for Perry and a promotion for Cain. Perry has been unable to take advantage of his debate time and this has caused his numbers to drop. So much as to having strong Republican figures, such as Nancy Reagan, looking to Chris Christie to enter the race. He reaffirmed that he would not be running and so this is your field. This debate wasn't much different, just staying on the same track. C+
Herman Cain- Now that Cain is in the upper tier, he's getting the spotlight that an upper tier candidate receives... and that means upper tier punches. Cain's signature idea is his 999 plan, which completely eliminates the current tax code, and leaves it with just a 9% corporate tax, a 9% personal income tax, and a 9% national sales tax. He did such a good job defending this plan, especially with the strikes he received from candidates like Bachmann, Romney, Santorum, and even a moderator when it came to the numbers matching up. The biggest attack came with how this tax plan can simply create a pipeline for politicians who are serving to jack the numbers up even more when they feel like doing so. While it goes to show you how there are plenty of dark spots in the plan, Cain still stuck to his plan and showed no signs of fracture. The economy is sure his element. A
Mitt Romney- Romney is establishing himself as a front-runner and he comes off as being the clear definition of a politician. Sometimes this is a good thing and sometimes it's not. In this debate, where the attacks were much less frequent than expected, Romney played it cool throughout the night. He stood strongly by his belief in how we need to get rid of Obamacare, how we need to take steps in getting back in the right direction, and strongly stated how we need to improve the way that we trade with other countries, China in particular. While his plan is not as clear and fully detailed as Herman Cain's, his agenda seems more clear than Rick Perry's. After tonight's debate, he'll likely remain high up on the polls. A-
Ron Paul- After a bit of fading in the September's debates, Paul had himself a night with strong statements. He stated that our mistakes can be traced back further than just the last few years and how our spending overseas is coming back to haunt us here and now. He also pointed out that the Republicans hold some blame in the situation and how Alan Greenspan is not as great as Herman Cain pointed out. During this debate, it seemed like Ron Paul got a fair amount of time. Not like the last debate, where he got the second least amount of speaking time (only Gary Johnson got less), despite the fact he was third in most polls at the time. He stood his ground as being the second opinion in the field of a fairly similar agenda. A-
Newt Gingrich- Gingrich is always a highlight in the debates. He always seems to say something that sticks in your head. He goes after the moderators, he goes after Obama, he goes after Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, and anyone else that could have been hands on with our major problems. He even went to the degree of imprisonment to some of these people and how the politicians should take a strong amount of blame for putting us in the position that we are in. When all is said and done, Gingrich gets along with all of the candidates and is in this primary race to more so spread a message as oppose to clinch the Republican nomination. He will likely give a memorable speech at the Republican convention that caps off a memorable run in 2012. That is what he'll most be remembered for. B+
Rick Santorum- Santorum slung some mud around, but not as much as he's generally known for doing. Like Huntsman, this have returned to planet Earth for low polling candidates like Huntsman and Santorum, and they have received a small amount of speaking time. Surprisingly, Santorum didn't argue about getting a small amount of speaking time, as to any of the candidates. Overall, there wasn't much to take out of Santorum's performance in the debate besides a few good points that are typical for any candidate. B
This debate about economic issues, which many agree to be the most serious issue of this current time period, will be remembered for being extremely laid back and surprisingly civil with light arguments here and there. With the new responsibility of front-runner status, Herman Cain did a fine job standing his ground and defending 999. While there have been flaws to this program, it didn't shatter the debater and that's what a debate is all about. Mitt Romney and Ron Paul also did a fine job during the debate and brought important points and strong showings. Romney's performance will pretty much help him remain in the position he is in, as Paul's performance simply strengthens the second opinion that he possesses.
The next debate will be held by CNN next week in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 18th.