Friday, January 20, 2012

CNN SC GOP Debate Winners: Gingrich – He Dominates - Romney, Paul, Santorum – In Order – Gingrich Get’s Second Standing Ovation.

Gingrich - Commanding, Clear and Concise through-out the Debate - Image CNN

The second GOP South Carolina debate hosted by CNN last night was billed as the “Fight for the South” – it was, from the start, a large and boisterous crowd, and the CNN crew was ready – excellent format, and a moderate and balanced approach as far as the distribution and control of the flow of discussion.

The opening questioned posed by CNN”s John King, regarding the allegations Gingrich’s second wife was making on national news outlets CBS and the Washington Post (a story, which had run in length a year prior and summarily dismissed as old news), in an “interview” just prior to the South Carolina primary – elicited a lecture by Newt and a righteous scolding of King and the media as a whole – it was greet with extreme applause and a standing ovation by the crowd. The support for Newt was indicated upon introduction of the candidate, what some in the media have taken for “booing”, is actually enthusiastic, “Newt, Newt, Newt” – which, was heard at several points throughout the debate – there was no doubt that Newt Gingrich was comfortable in him role – and as he is now in leading Romney in South Carolina Polls, and in a statistical tie in national polls, he can be considered one of “the front-runners”. He also was able to deflect criticism, specifically charges from Rick Santorum, who was obviously trying to knock down both Gingrich first, and then Romney.

Gingrich continued as usual, with smart, concise answers to questions and attacks by his peers, which were mostly directed by the new winner of the Iowa Caucus, former Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum won Iowa in the final vote tally by 25 votes – giving Romney second place. Therefore, Romney can no longer be considered the front runner. Should Gingrich win the south, and given the reception and display of support for Gingrich, and his first debate performance on Fox, it is more than likely he will carry the Palmetto state, the stage is then set for a more lively primary with the ability of those who are at all interested in an alternative to President Obama, an opportunity to fully vet the candidates as they stand on the stage and are called out on issues by their peers.

Romney, perhaps, gave the best performance to date, yet waffled heavily on the question of the tax returns, and also managed to somehow leave the impression that he was brought up as a poor individual, who clawed his way to the top through his own entrepreneurial skills, rather than be given a better start in life – nice narrative, however, not exactly accurate. He did however, jump on his Mexican heritage, which may be a tad late due to his stance on immigration – not exactly endearing him to those who may be of Spanish heritage be it from the mother country, or Central, South America or the Islands. Overall, however, he appeared more genial, with his smile more genuine, and had several interesting exchanges with Newt Gingrich which were congenial, both men being attacked by Santorum in a lengthy and hot-headed statistical manner. One charge leveled by Santorum on Romney, however, is to be noted: the fact that his ability to debate the President on the Massachusetts Mandated Health Care might be compromised due to the failure of the system (One need only check the Massachusetts budget, the fact that the State Run arm: Commonwealth Care” is so overburdened they cannot accept any more enrollees, and the fact that insurance premiums in Massachusetts have risen above the national average due to the Romney’s plan, is, in Massachusetts, a given) – Romney continues to support the plan, and looked somewhat uncomfortable with that line of questioning. Ron Paul, was on target on all points, and managed to give as good a performance I the debate arena as any to date. Frankly, it was difficult to choose a second on virtue of sheer debate points, between Romney and Ron Paul.

Rick Santorum, although passionate in his delivery (which is an improvement over his dry delivery in the past), played the “party line” regarding Newt Gingrich and his contentious history with the Republican Party – with the basic story line of someone who has big ideas yet is inconsistent and does not follow-through. He addressed the fact that the Speaker was ousted by his own Party, laying the framework as being Gingrich’s inability to lead, which led to his ouster rather than relying on facts. Facts, which, if one was present, or watched the History Channel from time to time, would understand that Gingrich not only had big ideas, he also managed to force his programs on both the Republicans and the Democrats, while working in concert with President Clinton – It is known that Gingrich refused to support former President George H. Bush, when then President Bush wanted to raise taxes, Gingrich was considered to have “stabbed Bush in the back” as Bush announced the plan, Gingrich had left to rally, across both sides of the aisle, to put a bill through that would not allowed for Bush’s tax plan, thus making an enemy out of the Republican hierarchy – Bush blamed Gingrich for his loss to Bill Clinton, and the rest, as they say, is history – woe the successful speaker who is able to work with both sides of the aisle to get things done for the American people, even if he is bucking his own political party. The fact of the matter was, Gingrich was then caught between an angry GOP and a Democrat Party who saw the opportunity to oust the Speaker who was able to twist the arms of their own members, and therefore, ethics charges were brought up against the speaker, which led to his ouster, it was the Democrats, joined by those Republicans who felt he was not “loyal” to his party, (rather than the American people), who ended Gingrich’s career. Santorum was one of those “party loyalists”, therefore, Santorum’s suggestion that character counts, should be taken to heart. Especially when he has re-written historical fact (there are video’s, 8 X 10 color glossies and an entire treatment at (the Congressional Record), to support the facts, rather than Sen. Santorum’s narrative.

Romney and Gingrich post debate: congenial, balanced - image LA Times

Therefore the only two candidates that can stand on that stage and claim outsider status, are Gingrich and Romney: Ron Paul is a sting Congressman, although to be fair to Paul, he has bucked the system all the way, and Santorum would still be in the Senate had he not lost his seat in the wave of losses suffered by the GOP in 2008 in the wake of an 8 year media narrative that destroyed George W. Bush and anyone associated with the Republican Party.

Gingrich, to his credit, has a long history (which is verifiable) of writing legislation and supporting sound legislation, oftentimes from those across the aisle – of all the candidate, with the exception of Ron Paul, he has a public record of achievement that is both outstanding and available.

Santorum, for his part, is fighting for the South, the Pennsylvanian, therefore, must use everything necessary, including a bit of deception, in order to prove he is equal to the other candidates.

Gingrich for his part, deflected and delivered, and, as is his usual, answered each question poised, and each rebuttal with conviction backed by fact.

Overall, those in South Carolina have choice to make between now and Saturday when they go to the polls. It will be these last two debates that will give to take away from each candidate, not only in South Carolina, but in national polling as well.

Best Headline: Chicago Sun Times, Lynn Sweet (not exactly a fan of Conservatives) : ”Newt dominates South Carolina CNN debate; deflects "open marriage" charge”

The second comes from CNN: Gingrich Delivers Show Stopper at Beginning of CNN Debate

Complete with video:

Gingrich deflects the charges made by his ex-wife, as well as the fact that Gingrich had sent evidence to the fact that his second wife’s chargers were false, and the fact that his daughters had personally tried to intervene on his behalf. To his credit, Gingrich did not make assertions regarding his ex-wife’s well-known bitterness and vindictive character that has led to her telling abstract tails over the years regarding the speaker. ABC, which aired the interview, was also being touted by one Barack Obama while in Disney Word, in a joint presentation on tourism. The timing could not have been more perfect for those on the outside comparing campaign tactics. It is evident now, that the Obama campaign and the media feel that Gingrich is the greater threat to Obama. A fact that, if one has to go back and grab a bitter ex-wife to make claims that, that frankly, have been repudiated before, as well as summarily dismissed, and run them through every major news outlet (and they are), it speaks volume about the threat level Gingrich presents to the Presidents reelection campaign.

Full Debate Video:

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