Mitt Romney, as in previous debates, was the best prepared and gave solid answers to all questions. But this time he had a worthy adversary in Newt Gingrich, who is clearly emboldened by his high polls numbers (and his own intellect). The thing to watch: Will Gingrich's "humane" stance on immigration be the issue Romney can use to knock him off in Iowa?
Jon Huntsman had his best debate yet. It's clear he's given significant thought to these issues while living abroad as an ambassador.
Michele Bachmann also did reasonably well but strangely asserted that President Obama met with Iranian leaders. Nonetheless, it was her best debate in weeks.
Herman Cain is clearly out of his league. His solution to every problem is to get smart people in the room to decide. There's clearly stuff still twirling around in his head.
Rick Perry didn't implode but he didn't distinguish himself either. He used nearly every answer as an opportunity to attack President Obama without actually offering workable solutions.
Rick Santorum was an afterthought.
However, it was most fun to watch Ron Paul. His positions are clear, consistent and interesting. On issues like the Patriot Act, drug trafficking and the Iraq war, he highlights a major split between the libertarian and neo-conservative wings of the Republican party. Paul's problem is that his wing is probably no more than 20% of the Republican party today.
It's not clear to me who actually "won" the debate. But it is clear that Romney still hasn't pulled away from the pack despite his string of solid performances.
Taegan D. Goddard is the founder of Political Wire, one of the earliest and most influential political web sites.
Goddard spent more than a decade as managing director and chief operating officer of a prominent investment firm in New York City. Previously, he was a policy adviser to a U.S. Senator and Governor.
Goddard is also co-author of You
Won - Now What? (Scribner, 1998), a political
management book hailed by prominent journalists and politicians from
both parties. In addition, Goddard's essays on politics and public
policy have appeared in dozens of newspapers across the country,
including the Washington Post, USA Today, Boston Globe, San Francisco
Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer and Christian Science
Goddard earned degrees from Vassar College and Harvard University. He lives in New York with his wife and three sons.
PRAISE FOR POLITICAL WIRE
"There are a lot of blogs and news sites claiming to understand
politics, but only a few actually do. Political Wire is one of them."
-- Chuck Todd, NBC News political director
"Concise. Relevant. To the point. Political Wire is the first site I check when I’m looking for the latest political nugget. That pretty much says it all."
-- Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report
"Political Wire is one of only four or five sites that I check every
day and sometimes several times a day, for the latest political news
-- Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report
"The big news, delicious tidbits, pearls of wisdom -- nicely packaged, constantly updated... What political junkie could ask for more?"
-- Larry Sabato, Center for Politics, University of Virginia
"Political Wire is a great, great site."
-- Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC's Morning Joe
"If I were on the proverbial
desert island and had only one web site to access, Political Wire would
-- Dotty Lynch, CBS News political consultant
"Taegan Goddard has a knack for digging out political gems that too
often get passed over by the mainstream press, and for delivering the
latest electoral developments in a sharp, no frills style that makes
his Political Wire an addictive blog habit you don't want to kick."
-- Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post
"Political Wire is one of the absolute must-read sites in the blogosphere."
-- Glenn Reynolds, founder of Instapundit
"I rely on Taegan Goddard's Political Wire for straight, fair political news, he gets right to the point. It's an eagerly anticipated part of my news reading."
-- Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist.
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