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Well.

The first thing that comes to mind when describing the Las Vegas ‘shoot out’ Tuesday night is one word;

Brutal.

Barbs and arrows flew across the stage during the debate, with candidates squaring off against one another literally at times.

Romney and Perry in particular had a very tense night. Perry may possibly have been feeling the pressures of poor debates that seem to have effected his poll numbers. In their exchanges, Romney stayed cool under pressure, and appeared for the most part unflappable with respect to the barbs.

Rick Santorum threw a punch or two as well, especially at Romney.

And everyone took a shot at Herman Cain’s 999 plan, except perhaps for Newt Gingrich, who acknowledged that Cain, at least, was talking about the problem at hand, and how to fix it. He applauded Cain for bringing a plan to the table, and looking for solutions to the problems now facing America. It wasn’t an endorsement, but more of a gentlemanly compliment. He did, of course, go on to say he didn’t think the plan would work.

I took notes as best I could in the fiery debate, often seemingly egged on by Moderator Anderson Cooper. That should be no surprise, since he’s leans so far to the left he has to have special shoes.

These were my observations with respect to Tuesday night’s winners and losers.

First of all, this debate was ugly. It was personal on several levels. These are my own views based solely on tonight’s debate. Remember, this is me rating the debate only, not an endorsement of anyone other than Herman Cain.

 

Romney; looked and talked more conservative. Worked very hard to distance himself from his past liberal leaning policies of the past. Thought he did do a good job drawing differences between Romney Care & ObamaCare, by pointing out that his plan was designed only for Mass. I don’t know enough about RomneyCare to say if he was accurate or not. Romney did very well on the real estate bubble question, and on his stance vs. Obama’s job plan. Romney responded well on religion question.

Cain; defended 9 9 9 for like first five minutes, lol. Spoke well for the most part. Was tripped up over the negotiation for prisoner exchange with terrorist, but stated that he didn’t understand it to be based on AlQueda(sp?). He clarified that later, in a post debate interview, but not inside the debate, so it has to be counted against him in the debate. Cain’s usual well spoken responses were fumbled a time or two, I thought. He did score well on Occupy question, and where the blame for the problems lie. Cain absolutely ducked the 14th amendment question. Period. Just ignored it.

Perry; he needed a good performance tonight, but despite doing better in this debate, he just didn’t deliver. His personal animosity for Romney just got in his way. He did perform much better, but his message was overwhelmed by the distraction with Romney. His attacks, I think, were a sign of his desperation. I could be wrong, but that’s my impression. Perry also ducked the 14th amendment question.

Ron Paul was the only candidate on the stage tonight who did not duck a single question! Took every question head on, and answered them. Paul stayed on message, especially about the debt problem. Paul also scored well on health care, wanting the decisions to be made by the patients and the doctors. Paul received much more time tonight, than in the last two debates. Paul’s best moment, IMO, was his comment about Empire Building, and that all empire’s fall. Great points on Military spending as well. He scored well on his rebuttal with respect to cutting spending. “show me some cuts”. Very good response. He also scored well on spending with Israel, and how we actually hurt Israel by arming her enemies. This is something he’s said before, and it’s completely on point. Paul did hurt himself saying Gitmo detainees weren’t terrorists, as this comment didn’t score well with the audience. Overall, he had a very strong debate.

Newt Gingrich. Looked, acted and spoke Presidential. He made excellent points, and was well received by the audience. And he stayed on message. Made good comments about the bickering and back biting being good for Obama, and no one else. Newt might see a bump in polling after tonight, but it will depend on whether or not his performance makes up for earlier flubs in the campaign.

Rick Santorum needs a pacifier. Seriously Rick, time to grow up.

Michelle Bachmann did better than I expected, but still offered no substance of any kind on the debate floor. She did resonate well with the audience, but a few of her comments, totally off topic, seemed more like a ‘please like me again’ plea. Moderate performance.

Based solely on tonight’s debate, without any other outside factors, I have to say that Romney came off the winner tonight. He stayed above the fray, and responded to personal attacks with decorum. Looked and acted Presidential. That doesn’t make him Presidential material, mind you, but in this debate, I think he edges out the others, if only narrowly.

Cain I think scored second, but not by a great deal. He seemed to have difficulty communicating later on, and I think that the attacks on 9 9 9 threw him for a curve. He did respond well to some questions, but like I said, completely ducked 14th amendment question.

Ron Paul has to be given third over Perry because he just flat out did better, hands down. Paul’s main problem seems to be communicating. If he works on that, I think he’ll see more main stream support later in the election cycle. His message is popular, and he has a strong grass roots campaign. He just needs to work on his delivery. His passion for the subject sometimes gets the better of him. Absolute kudos for Paul on NO QUESTION DODGING! ONLY CANDIDATE NOT TO DO SO TONIGHT! I don’t like all his answers, mind you, but he did answer every question. Have to give credit when it’s due. Well done.

The big loser tonight has to be Rick Santorum. What he needs now is a good friend to say, “Rick, it’s time to come home,”. He is, for all practical purposes, out, IMO.

Second loser, if there is such a thing, is Bachmann. She needed a big performance tonight to get her campaign back on track, and she simply didn’t deliver. Period. I think her days as a candidate are numbered. Maybe in single digits, but I figure before the year is out.

Perry and Gingrich are betwixt and between. Both had good shots at times. Newt has to find a way to overcome some of his earlier mistakes, and tonight was a good start. If he can keep at it, and manage to smooth the feathers he ruffled earlier in the year, then he may still have a shot.

Perry started good, and then just had some kind of melt down right on stage. He lost his cool, and that was it. Perry started strong, and has been in decline since his first debate.

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