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Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:47 AM

Paul Begala: The Strangely Silent Jan. 23 Debate in Tampa

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/01/24/paul-begala-the-strangely-silent-january-23-debate-in-tampa.html

Paul Begala: The Strangely Silent Jan. 23 Debate in Tampa
by Paul Begala Jan 24, 2012 12:10 AM EST

Without the cheering and jeering crowds to whip him up, Newt was oddly subdued. That left Mitt in the spotlight, squirming about his tax returns.


snip//

Lauer’s NBC colleague Brian Williams gave Romney and his competitors a chance to discuss issues without the cheering, jeering, booing, embarrassing crowds we have seen in prior GOP debates. Without the roar of the crowd, Newt was much less effective. Like all bullies, he feeds off the mob. But tonight, at the urging of Williams, the crowd was mute and Gingrich’s faux fury, so effective in prior debates, never materialized.

Romney got what he wanted—a quiet room where he could coolly rebut Gingrich’s attacks and then launch his own preprogrammed counterattacks. His super-duper PAC is already savaging Gingrich on television, spending millions to inform Florida Republicans about Gingrich’s ethical woes, his lucrative Beltway consulting gigs, and his sofa sharing with Nancy Pelosi.

This will not, I believe, stop Newt’s momentum. And it does not do anything for the central problems facing Romney’s candidacy: middle-class voters don’t like him and conservative voters don’t trust him. Romney simply cannot connect to what Bill Clinton used to call “walkin’ around folks.” He looked especially phony when talking about undocumented workers “self-deporting” and squirmed when asked about his tax returns.

snip//

The tax issue will continue to dog Romney, even after he releases one or two tax returns. Voters will want to know why Romney reportedly has multimillion-dollar investments in the Caymans. Romney will be asked endlessly what he’s hiding: were there years when he paid even less than 15 percent? Did he ever pay zero—or close to it? These questions simply will not confine themselves to quiet rooms.

Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, two talented debaters who know their minds and are not afraid to speak them (unlike, too often, Romney) were often left in the dust. Santorum was asked about his aggressive intervention in the tragic case of Terri Schiavo, the Floridian whose husband wanted to honor her wish to be disconnected from life support. You could almost see the thought bubble over Newt Gingrich’s head when the topic turned to a helpless woman in a hospital bed: “Obviously, you divorce her.”

OUCH!

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Reply Paul Begala: The Strangely Silent Jan. 23 Debate in Tampa (Original post)
babylonsister Jan 2012 OP
southernyankeebelle Jan 2012 #1
livetohike Jan 2012 #2

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:54 AM

1. I think if they have any more debates than it should be like last night's debate without the

 

screaming and yelling. I hope they put that into play for the general election. It has gotten way out of hand. Audiences need to be more respectful. They waste way to much time and last night they had a chance to answer questions fully.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Tue Jan 24, 2012, 08:54 AM

2. Boom! Here is the hammer coming down on Newt's character

Thanks for posting this

I haven't watched the debates, but I was wondering when someone was going to bring up Terry Schiavo and Santorum's intervention in a private, family matter.

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