So how did the candidates do this time?
Perry: According to staffers, Perry’s plan was to get more sleep in order to improve his debate performance. Nobody thought he would do so during the actual debate itself. He looked tired and he spoke without energy, which created quite a contrast with the tanned and affable Romney. The silver lining was that he didn’t get enough questions to do himself serious damage. However he failed to stop his slide and if this is the Rick Perry that shows up in the next few debates it’s hard to see how he recovers.
Cain: He did well. He gave a semi-convincing defense of his 9-9-9 plan and so far the scrutiny doesn’t seem to be hurting him much. There is a risk in being so committed to this one idea and if it loses credibility among the conservative base Cain would find himself in serious trouble. He didn’t help himself with his praise of Alan Greenspan or his “secret” Fed chairman picks, but that’s nothing he can’t fix in time for the next debate. Look for him to maintain his number 2 position and pick up support from Perry and Bachman voters.
Romney: He did very well. It seems that he’s developed a good defense for all of his policy apostasies and no one was really able to land a punch against him. As the other candidates falter Romney remains steady.
Bachman did better than in previous debates but she probably won’t rise that much in the polls. Paul was Paul and Santorum was Santorum. Given that this was on Bloomberg (not many people watched) the media echo chamber will be very important in deciding its impact.
Thought: How about having Newt Gingrich moderate these debates? He seems like the papa bear of the Republicans right now and it seems that at this point in the campaign he’s more interested in selling books than getting votes.
Posted By Max Viscio