HERE ARE LAST NIGHT’S WINNERS AND LOSERS of the 1,590th GOP primary debate, according to dcdecoder:
Mitt Romney. At this point, it’s almost becoming embarrassing. Romney has just wiped the floor with his opponents at these debates, and tonight may have been his strongest performance yet. He seemed presidential, confident, and like the grownup in the room who’s ready to take over now. He hammered home his strongest selling point – that he “knows how to create jobs” – and came across as someone who can handle complex issues, dinging Cain and Perry as having overly “simple” approaches.
Herman Cain. Cain did, as expected, come under attack tonight – in particular, the bombs launched at his 9-9-9 plan may have sown some new doubts among GOP primary voters about the wisdom of creating a national sales tax. He also had some weird moments, referring to secret advisors and unnamed Federal Reserve appointees-to-be. But Cain projected his trademark confidence and optimism throughout and threw out the kinds of one-liners “I was po’ before I was poor” that have made him a favorite on the stump. On the whole, he seemed to have escaped largely unscathed.
Rick Santorum. He didn’t get much speaking time (as he noted). But we thought Santorum had some strong moments, criticizing Cain’s tax plan, and drawing attention to his fluid understanding of policy and his knowledge of how Washington works. He emphasized his steel-town roots, and said he would make it a priority to bring back manufacturing, with a bill he said he could pass “tomorrow.” If Cain starts to falter as the Tea Party favorite, Santorum could be the next to gain.
Rick Perry. Perry needed, by all accounts, a strong performance tonight, and it just wasn’t there at all. He seemed, frankly, like he just didn’t want to be there – bored when others were talking, uncomfortable and somehow in over his head when it was his turn to talk. He repeatedly seemed to suggest that his jobs plan would consist almost entirely of repealing regulations on energy producers (read: oil companies). Perry desperately needs to jumpstart his campaign and, if anything, tonight’s performance seems likely only to compound his problems.
Jon Huntsman. Please no more awkward jokes. It’s making us uncomfortable.
Oh yeah, and those other guys/gals:
Ron Paul. Largely invisible tonight. Other than slamming Cain’s admiration for former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, nothing memorable.
Michele Bachmann. Did anyone hear something new out of the Minnesota Congresswoman tonight? Us either.
Newt Gingrich. See “Bachmann, Michele” above.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW — the debate in 100 seconds via TPM: