Last night’s SC debate can be considered the best of all the previous debates. Romney rivals tried to plant doubts about the front runner , while Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum quarreled over who is the most conservative to challenge Mitt Romney. While Romney held his own, Newt Gingrich even received a standing ovation. While candidates exchanged punches, there were plenty of attacks on the incumbent in the White House.
Romney continued to lead in the polls prior to the debate and his opponents were well aware that they had to score a few points, if not a knock out punch to continue their quest for the White House. Newt Gingrich started out with his Bain Capital attack, although in fairness the first question led him into it.
“There was a pattern in some companies, a handful of them, of leaving them with enormous debt and then within a year or two or three having them go broke,” Gingrich said. “I think that is something he ought to answer.”
Romney responded by stating that he was proud of his record and that people will want someone that understands the economy. He said he is the candidate to best take on Barrack Obama.
“I think if people want to have someone who understands how the economy works, having worked in the real economy, then I’m the guy that can best post up against Barack Obama,” he said.
Both during the debate and in the spin room afterwards, Romney said that he had created 100,000 net jobs, stating that somewhere in the neighborhood of 120,000 jobs were created, while 10,000 jobs were lost. To Sean Hannity he said, “Do the math.”
Gingrich, after his initial salvo at Romney over Bain Capital, highlighted why he would make a better president. He said he balanced budgets, worked within Congress to pass legislation and helped reduce the deficit.
“We need to satisfy the country that whoever we nominate has a record that can stand up to Barack Obama in a very effective way,” said Gingrich.
The five men on stage also sought to outdo one another in calling for lower taxes.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul won that competition handily, saying he thought the top personal tax rate should be zero.
In South Carolina, a state with a heavy military presence, the tone turned muscular at times.
Gingrich drew strong applause when he said: “Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear idea about America’s enemies. Kill them.”
Perry also won favor from the crowd when he said the Obama administration had overreacted in its criticism of the Marines who were videotaped urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. FOX News
Newt Gingrich probably had one of his best performances in this debate and scored the most points. Whether this will translate into votes remains to be seen. With four contenders taking on the front runner the negatives will probably be distributed. Gingrich, Santorum and Perry need a good result in the SC primary or it is all but over.
Gingrich said during the post debate interview in the spin room that he has five days to highlight the differences. The debate was feisty, lively and had enough meat to allow those undecided to make up their minds. Kudos to Brett Baier and FOX News for presenting a great debate.
Real Clear Politics Poll this