Mitt Stumbles, Newt Shines at Debate


gingrich-romneyThis was not one of Romney’s stronger debate performances. He stumbled when confronted by Rick Santorum about super PAC ads. His answer on whether he’d release his personal tax returns was a muddled mess.

But, it wasn’t bad enough to derail his momentum as the frontrunner going into Saturday’s Republican primary in South Carolina.

As has been the case for the entire primary process, none of Romney’s opponents was able to make a clear, consistent or substantive case for why Romney shouldn’t be the nominee – or, more important, why one of them SHOULD be the party’s standard bearer this fall.

Instead, it felt like four candidates going through the motions of yet another debate (their 16th), while one – Romney – tried to run out the clock.

Gingrich had a solid debate performance, perhaps his strongest since the ABC/Des Moines Register debate in early December. Yet, his most memorable exchange was with Fox News moderator Juan Williams, not Romney.

Santorum tried to engage with Romney early on but, as he has done in previous debates, he spent more of his time arguing with Ron Paul over foreign policy.

Perry, who is in a distant fifth place in South Carolina, took some swings at Romney early on, but by the middle of the debate his focus wavered to attacking Washington and the Obama administration.

In the end, Newt’s performance could help give him some needed momentum over Rick Santorum is nipping at his heels.

Still, this debate did not have the feel of a “game changing” event. If one of these candidates really, truly, wanted to distinguish himself from Romney, this was the night to do it. No one did. That means the ultimate winner tonight, by default, was Mitt Romney.

{ABC News/ Newscenter}


  1. It is important for the Republicans
    to attack Obama on his socialist ideology
    which is wrecking the economy.

    Furthermore, Republicans and
    Conservatives should stop illegal immigration.
    In particular, stop the influx of illegal
    aliens from Mexico. (There is an ongoing
    drug war down there. America must get control
    of that border before it is too late.)

    Romney or Gingrich or some other candidate has to get tough
    about that open border.(Nobody has stepped up to the plate on this issue.) With high unemployment, America cannot afford to deal
    with millions of undocumented aliens.

    There is also a grave risk to America’s security. (How about demanding
    identification of voters at the polls?
    Republicans should be demanding this.
    When you and I go to our neighborhood bank,
    we have to show our ID. Why isn’t the same
    demand not made at the poll?)

  2. To #2: “How about demanding
    identification of voters at the polls?”

    Newt has suggested this several times. He got slammed by the NAACP and the press (of course).
    This is ultimately a good sign.