Note: A winner is defined here as someone who has helped their chances in the debate while a loser has hurt their chances. Being a winner (especially for a second tier candidate) DOES NOT mean that they are likely to win the nomination.
Biggest Loser: Rick Perry
He did not have a good night. Like the at the last few debates he started off strong, then in the second half he faltered. Perry made a pitiful attempt to attack Romney as a flip-flopper on healthcare but failed spectacularly in the delivery. He continues to lack a conservative defense of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants even though the issue has been brought up multiple times in the previous two debates. The “don’t you have a heart” defense is not going to cut it with this crowd.
Loser/Winner: Mitt Romney
Romney was a winner in the sense that he did better than Perry. As Perry fades it’s Romney who stands to benefit in the short term and in the end he came out stronger in the debate. However, this seemed to be his worst performance yet and if Perry manages to get some better coaching Romney might be in trouble.
Loser: Rick Santorum
He did not answer the question from the gay soldier well. Between this and the Google fiasco (google his last name and see what you come up with) it looks like gay people are Santorum’s cryptonite.
Winner: Gary Johnson
Woody Allen once said that half of life is showing up. So in that regard being invited is a huge improvement from the previous debates.
Winner: Herman Cain
He probably had the best performance of the night. Here he is connecting healthcare policy and his fight with colon cancer:
Putting aside the fact he’s talking about a single payer system rather the healthcare bill passed last year, he really shined on that response. Winning a debate like this is not about answering a specific question or even having all your facts in line. It’s about making a connection with the audience, portraying a image people want to vote for, and having one or two moments that people will remember the next day. A couple more moments like this combined with the decline of Perry and Cain might have more of an impact on the race than the poll numbers currently suggest.
All the others were neither winners nor losers. Bachman will probably continue to fade, Paul will continue to be the odd one out, and Gingrich will continue to entertain.
So that’s the last debate until October 11th. Thank God.
Posted By Max Viscio