The Republican presidential candidates gathered for a debate in Iowa where they all admitted that they have no idea what it like to be financially struggling. This and four other reasons to be glad you didn’t watch the ABC Iowa Republican debate.
1). The GOP Candidates Have No Idea How To Create Jobs – This debate got off to a blazing start by Diane Sawyer asking the candidates for a distinguishing idea for how to create jobs, a framework to create jobs and how many and how long it will take to create them. All of the Republican candidates suggested tax cuts and reducing the size of government. Romney claimed that he could create over 11 million jobs in his first term with tax cuts. You know the same way George W. Bush did. (The US lost 653,000 private sector jobs during Bush’s two terms).
2). Newt Gingrich Plays The Teddy Kennedy Card On Mitt Romney - Do you want to know why Newt Gingrich is the new GOP frontrunner? Mitt Romney started with his I’ve spent my life in private sector spiel, and Gingrich responded by saying, “Let’s be honest, the only reason you aren’t a career politician is that you lost to Ted Kennedy in 1994.” Romney tried to spin it by saying losing to Kennedy was a good thing because it sent him back to the private sector except when he was governor of Massachusetts, and running for president constantly since 2007.
3). Mitt Romney Claimed That He Is Against The Individual Mandate, But Back In 2008….- Mitt Romney swore up and down that RomneyCare is different from ObamaCare and he is not in favor of an individual mandate at the federal level, but back in 2008 during an ABC News GOP debate in New Hampshire this exchange took place:
CHARLIE GIBSON: But Gov. Romney’s system has mandates in Massachusetts—although you backed away from mandates on a national basis.
MITT ROMNEY: No, no, I like mandates. The mandates work…Everybody in our state has to have health insurance and that’s a model which I think has some merit more generally.
4). Newt Gingrich Claims He Told The Historical Truth About The Palestinians Being An Invented People – Gingrich characterized himself as a Reaganite and truth teller when he claimed that the Palestinians were invented people. Romney tried to portray Gingrich as rash and speaking for Israel. Romney gave Gingrich a chance to back off his statement, but instead he doubled down on it. Gingrich tried to dodge criticism by claiming that he was speaking as historian when he claimed the Palestinians are an invented people, but he can’t have it both ways. Is Newt Gingrich a historian or a presidential candidate?
5). The GOP Candidates Couldn’t Spell Poor If You Gave Them The P-O-O-R – The Republican presidential candidates were asked the last time that they were forced to economically struggle and forego a necessity, and Rick Perry’s answer was 1978. Ron Paul answered that he grew up without much in the 1930s and 1940s, and Mitt Romney was forced to admit that he grew up rich, has been rich, but he has seen poor people before. Gingrich said that he has family members who are going through hard times, and he tried to pretend that his wife runs a small company, and Bachmann claimed that she still clips coupons.
Winners and Losers:
1). Newt Gingrich - The new frontrunner has turned into the worst nightmare of Mitt Romney. Gingrich isn’t afraid to go toe to toe with Mitt. He talks the conservative talk, and unlike Romney he knows what it takes to get the nomination. Newt is running a primary campaign while Romney continues to position himself for a General Election that he may never get to. Gingrich kept his mouth under control and didn’t implode which means he walks away from this debate as the frontrunner.
2). Ron Paul – As usual, Ron Paul was Mr. Consistent. As usual, Paul’s positions on issues like the Patriot Act and foreign policy leave him with no shot at the nomination. This was Rep. Paul’s best debate appearance of the year. He was plain spoken and clear, but he will not sway Republicans to his side with many of his policy positions.
3). Rick Perry - Perry was in the mix all night. He is battling with Michele Bachmann to be far right conservative alternative to Gingrich and Romney. Perry dismissed the flap over Gingrich’s comments and turned them into an attack on Obama. The problem for Perry is that he can’t get out of his own way. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign died a death by a thousand gaffes long ago, but he got more airtime than Bachmann so into the winners he goes.
1). Mitt Romney - From frontrunner to denial. The GOP candidates finally took off the gloves against Romney, and it got ugly fast. Gingrich’s destruction of Romney’s lifetime in private sector by bringing up the Kennedy race demonstrated just how far the former frontrunner has fallen. Romney got hit on individual mandates, and his inconsistent positions. Romney was under attack from Gingrich, Perry, and Bachmann. Romney’s state of denial is so deep that he claimed Obama was the reason he started running ads in Iowa, not the fact that Gingrich’s surge is forcing him to compete there. The night got even worse for Mittens when had to admit that has never been poor, or struggled, or had to sacrifice for anything. Mitt Romney is in big trouble, and admitting that he can’t relate to what most of America is going through right now was a disaster.
2). Rick Santorum – There were only six candidates on the stage, and Rick Santorum was still invisible. At least, it will all be over for Santorum in less than a month.
3). Michele Bachmann – All you need to know about Bachmann’s night is that the main question she was given in the second hour of the debate centered on whether she agreed with Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich about the Palestinians being an invented people. Bachmann was reduced to playing the role of on stage audience member. It’s all over for her.
Final Verdict: This debate was not as horrid as the previous five, but it was a tedious event. If you can’t laugh at this, you have to cry because this is the saddest collection of candidates to ever challenge for a major party nomination. Barack Obama will sleep well again tonight because these sad sacks are his competition.