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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The New Hampshire GOP Debate From An Undecided Voter

A few thoughts after watching the debate last night with the eyes of someone who hasn't made up my mind who I would vote for in 2012 but was interested in seeing the candidates speak and not just the sound bites the media likes to edit up, answers they cut portions from, or the spin they decide they want their readers to believe.

Media is supposed to report the news, bloggers give opinions and good bloggers, in my mind, provide links to the data that forms their opinions so that readers can look for themselves and determine if they agree or disagree.

CNN and King failed miserably. To much of a circus and King was more confrontational than a moderator should be and lacked even a pretended objectivity.

The GOP candidates were Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich.

I will admit upfront and honestly that I am one of the many that believe "anyone but Obama" is better than Obama and whoever the GOP nominates in the end will have my support because I personally believe the damage Obama has done will take decades to undo.

With that said, there are a few I simply cannot see getting that far. While I did not see any clear cut winners last night, I did find a few losers.

Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, all three seemed to under perform, appeared to be boring almost with Gingrich seemingly defensive, argumentative and uncomfortable.

If I am to be totally honest, Pawlenty and Santorum actually bored me to the point that I started hearing a loud buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz in the my ears every time they answered a question. They simply do not have the charisma or personality needed to gain supporters in the numbers needed to win the GOP nomination.

Ron Paul, not my favorite candidate and his "spin" when asked about a five year old illegal and whether they should be treated medically if brought to the hospital was almost sad. Say yes, then explain how to address the problem so that question would not be relevant in the future but the beating around the bush did nothing but give the impression of evasiveness.

On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised at some of Paul's other answers and while I did not become a fan overnight, I think he showed decently considering this is such an early debate in terms of the campaign season.

Herman Cain decently showed and probably gave him a little additional support because to me, his major disadvantage is that he doesn't have the name recognition the rest of the candidates have at this point. So, as an introduction to those that have never heard of him, it wasn't spectacular but he will be recognized now by more people.

Now to the meat and potatoes: Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney.

Bachmann caught the spotlight early by announcing she had filed the paperwork to run. Her answers were clear and concise and many who only knew her through the media's attempt at spin by using soundbites to mislead their readers, were probably pleasantly surprised. She didn't pull punches, she was eloquent and she got her point across in a manner that made her likable, which right or wrong, a candidate must be to win in a general election.

I would not be surprised if she bumped up in the polls considerably after her performance last night.

Mitt Romney did well also. Romney has appeal, he speaks well, has executive experience and with the economy in the tank he was a strong candidate going in and remained so. He is likable, friendly even, has charisma and is knowledgeable on the issues of the day. In an election that most probably will be focused on jobs and economy, Romney should do very well.

I still maintain that a Rick Perry entry into this group would shake up the entire field in a good way and I am not the only one mentioning this again.

On the whole, stepping back from judging winners and losers within the GOP field, I think the GOP candidates made a politically smart move in uniting against Barack Obama, reminding viewers at every opportunity the mess he has made on healthcare, the economy and unemployment with lack of job recovery ideas.

Plenty of time to go up against each other in the upcoming months and argue ideas and individual plans, but showing respect to each other this early on and focusing on the Obama administrations failures was politically advantageous and smart.

Before hitting publish on this, it is worth mentioning an AP News Break which reports that "Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is getting into Republican presidential race."

Let me be the first to say "Big Whoop!".

[Update] CNN has the transcript from the debate up.