I know quite a few of you watched last night’s GOP debate in New Hampshire. I thought it was notable for its lack of bloodletting, especially against frontrunner Mitt Romney. The villian of the night was President Obama. I suppose the plan was for each candidate to show how much they were going to go after the president. The big loser IMO (and many others as well) was Tim Pawlenty. Here’s the exchange of the night, the one that will make all the headlines – it’s Pawlenty about his “Obamneycare” line that he’s been using recently:
“I just cited President Obama’s own words that he looked to Massachusetts as a blueprint or a guide when he designed ObamaCare,” Pawlenty said. “Using the term ObamneyCare was a reflection of the President’s comments that he designed ObamaCare on the Massachusetts health care plan.”
After Pawlenty initially passed on a chance to go to-to-toe with Romney, King pressed Pawlenty to reiterate and explain his use of the term “ObamneyCare.” Again, Pawlenty demurred.
Unbelievably it looks even worse on video because Pawlenty looks so uncomfortable. Watch Mitt Romney’s face during the exchange. I think even Mitt was surprised.
Most of the debate was a real snoozer. The candidates sought to show how hard they were going to cut taxes and proclaim their love of free markets and private enterprise. They all declared their contempt for the other villian of the night, the government. They even seemed a little sudued in the gay bashing.
The other interesting part of the evening was Newt Gingrich. I expected to see him more fired up since his campaign is on life support. The only times I noticed him was in his quite detailed discussion of NASA and his discussion of the Ryan plan. If I understood him correctly, he said he doesn’t support the Ryan plan because the American people don’t support it. All the other candidates loved the Ryan plan, apparently. Cain and Santorum want to privatize Social Security as well while they’re at it.
I thought the audience members asked pretty good questions. They were trying to get some specifics from the candidates about employment, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Medicare. I don’t think those questioners got the answers they were looking for, and the applause from the audience seemed really tepid to me.
The take away: Mitt Romney declared that Americans should turn their back on their fellow Americans in times of disaster, that we should allow our debts to default in order to prove we are creditworthy, and that we should stay until the Taliban says we can go.
And remember, Mitt was the most sane guy on stage.