Okay, I know this is a bit late, but here’s my impression of the New Hampshire debate.
Romney had a good night tonight and wasn’t hit nearly as hard as many people were expecting. One of his strongest moments was where he stated that any of the candidates would do a better job than our current president. He spent most of his time hammering Obama’s failures, rather than going after his republican opponents. From the looks of things, he’s going to end up being the Republican nominee. The only moment where he didn’t do as well was when he stumbled when the moderators were hammering him.
Perry’s strongest moments are when he touted his job record in Texas and talking about how the country needs an outsider to get the country working again, doing everything in his power to distinguish himself from the other candidates. When talking about his economic plans and his energy policy is where he manages to do well, stating that we have hundreds of years worth of energy under the ground.
However, I have to say where he didn’t do so well is when he said that we should send our troops back into Iraq, although I wouldn’t go so far as to call it campaign suicide. Granted, he gave some legitimate reasons, like the fears of Iran gaining influence, and not losing what we fought so hard to achieve, but that being said, that certainly isn’t going to help him any. This is the clip that will go viral, I guarantee you. Overall, he survived, but he didn’t give a sensational performance.
There’s not much to say about Ron Paul. He went on a rant about how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are unconstitutional, unwinnable, etc. Apparently making drugs illegal equals racism and not only that, he claimed that it was racist because whites are never arrested. The speech sounded like it could have come from the NAACP. To his credit, he does well when discussing economics, but when he gets on any other topic, he sounds like a raving nut. He was also by far the most aggressive towards the other candidates.
From the sounds of it, the old Gingrich is back. He took a couple of jabs at his fellow candidates, but didn’t turn into the “angry old man” persona that many were expecting him to do. Where he did get somewhat miffed is when Ron Paul went after him, calling him a “chickenhawk”, to which he responded by talking about his life in a military family.
In my opinion, the best moment of the entire debate is when he called out the moderators for their bias, stating that bigotry and prejudice swing both ways, and that the media is virtually silent on bias against Catholics. Prejudice is not acceptable, no matter who the target is.
In my opinion, Santorum had an average performance. He wasn’t hit tonight nearly as much as I would have thought, considering his surge in the polls. The accusations of corruption that Paul threw his way aren’t going to go anywhere, since he is a likable person, whatever you might think of his qualifications for president.He sounded relaxed and well-informed on the stage.
His problem is, though, sometimes he’s still treated as a second-tier candidate, in spite of his upset in Iowa. Also, there are parts of his record that are big government, which will hurt him, even if allegations of corruption won’t.
Jon Huntsman didn’t do too badly, either. He tried to portray himself as more conservative than he’s attempted in previous parts of his campaign. He went on to discuss the “trust deficit” that the American people have developed with both government and Wall Street. His low point was when he starting talking in Mandarin during the middle of trade policy, earning a disbelieving look from Romney. I don’t think that was intentional, but it’s not going to help him any.
Now for the big loser of this debate: none other than ABC news. George Stephanopolous went on and on and on about a hypothetical scenario where a state banned contraception. This wasn’t a brief topic; he continued to hammer at it, to the anger of both the candidates and the audience. To me, he sounded like he’s just fond of listening to himself talk. Now we’ve got a national debt at about 15.2 trillion, on track to adding another trillion by the time of the election, we’re borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend, our unemployment rate is 8.5% (11.5 if you add the people who have simply given up). Health care costs are skyrocketing, despite Obama’s bill promising to lower them, and social security and medicare will collapse if we don’t do something.
However, a debate about contraception and gay marriage was far, far more important than any other issue our country currently faces. The republican candidates were quite unhappy about constantly being hammered on this, and based on the loud boos, the audience didn’t respond to it very well, either. They’re not even pretending to be fair anymore.
Where all of the candidates made a mistake is attacking Obama for planning to cut the military. Granted, I think they’re correct, but nonetheless, the media will spin that as proving that they don’t care about the country. A better method would have been the question: where are the other cuts? Why isn’t Obama planning to cut anything else? Where are the cuts on discretionary spending? Why have we done nothing to reform social security or medicare? That’s what would have been more effective: not hitting him for cutting the military, but for cutting the military alone.
To summarize things, there was no candidate who really broke away from the pack, either positively or negatively.