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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Dartmouth GOP Economic Debate

Here's a quick overview of how the candidates fared at last night's Economic Debate held at Dartmouth College and televised by Bloomberg.

The format was a welcome change and helped some of the candidates really push their message while it hurt others. The production values and moderators were so amateurish I thought I was watching some local access cable television program, so, enough said on that.

In order of finish:
  1. Mitt Romney: Like him or not, he won this debate hands down. He was good on facts, responses and that indefinable quality -- gravitas. The obvious animus between Mitt and Rick is working in Mitt's favor. Trending: Up
  2. Newt Gingrich: Now that he's stopped being combative his true strengths are surfacing once again. The fact that he's channeled his earlier churlishness into some good old-fashioned directness should make Newt a force to reckon with. Calling Congress "stupid" was the best line of the night. Trending: Up
  3. Herman Cain: In real danger of becoming a one-trick pony with his constant 9-9-9 messaging. While I understand marketing, Mr. Cain needs to show his complete depth of knowledge lest he be accused of having no depth at all. It was fun to see Cain respond to attacks though, and it shows that at least in the minds of some of the other candidates, Cain is a front-runner. Trending: Flat
  4. Ron Paul: Seriously. When it comes to matters of economics, there is no one better than Ron Paul, at least to this libertarian free-marketeer. This debate did his image good too. He can't win but I sure would love to see him as Secretary of Treasury. Trending: Up
  5. Rick Santorum: The angry politician act is starting to wear thin. He's struggling so he has no other viable strategy (in his mind) than to be in constant attack mode, which will only make him struggle more. He has become a one-trick attack pony, and there is nothing more annoying than an attack pony. Trending: Down
  6. Michelle Bachmann: This is where it gets really tricky. There is a dead-heat for last place, but I have to do better than just scoring them in a tie. Turning Cain's 9-9-9 into 6-6-6 as some sort of Fundamentalist scare tactic was just stupid. She had no answer of any import, but her hair looked great, so I put her in sixth. Her forced laugh at Huntsman's "price of a pizza" line about Cain's 9-9-9 plan gave me those special chills with that special name I won't name here. Trending: Flatline
  7. Jon Huntsman: His hair was not as good as Bachmann's but it was better than Perry's. There is an old adage: Comedy is best left to the funny. Huntsman is not funny but his constant attempts to prove he is are simply, well, not funny. "I thought it was the price of a pizza." Dope. Trending: Flatline
  8. Rick Perry: There was a shot of Romney answering a question about something hard with Perry in the background. He looked like a hearing person at a sign language convention. He also didn't seem even slightly interested in being there. I think Governor Perry is finding out that national politics is tough. Trending: Stick a Fork in Him   

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