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November 22, 2011

Reaction to the GOP Debate

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.


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