Republican Florida Debate Part 1

Pt. 1 – GOP Republican Presidential Debate – University of North Florida – January 26, 2012

Here are some thoughts from Politico:


1) Mitt Romney landed some blows on Newt Gingrich

Romney not only stanched the bleeding in this debate, he went on the offensive — unloading his clip at Gingrich early on and then firing off another round further in.

He was not animated in his delivery, but he kept at it until he made contact. He hit his rival repeatedly as a lobbyist, questioned his consistency and used the new line he’s been message-testing on the Florida campaign trail about the former House speaker having to resign in “disgrace.”

His goal was clear — to prevent Gingrich from having one of his signature “moments.”

Romney seemed a bit overprogrammed in some of his answers, but he kept Gingrich from getting under his skin — that had been a problem for the former Massachusetts governor in past debates.

He still managed to provide fodder for YouTube clips. His answer on his tax returns remains, even on his third debate try, too halting, a signal of just how difficult the issue is for him to address. He also recycled a line that he seems to like — but that may not be well-received in foreclosure-heavy Florida — about forcing Ted Kennedy to take out a second mortgage on his home to try to keep his seat when Romney ran against him in 1994.

He pandered a bit — saying he would sign a version of the DREAM Act if it were focused on a provision involving military service, a nice idea if that version of the bill existed — and introduced the phrase “self-deportation” into the 2012 lexicon.

However, he had a few genuinely good moments and found his footing toward the end of the taxes answer when he talked about not apologizing for his success. And he gave one of his more coherent answers yet about Bain Capital, speaking in anecdotes about people who’d been helped rather than about numbers.

The good news for Romney? Gingrich didn’t have a truly standout line. The bad news? There’s no headline from this debate that will obscure the news out of the release of his tax returns Tuesday.

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