Shootout in South Carolina: South Carolina Debate Round Two

Posted: January 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

The news before the debate was almost as good as the debate itself.  Today Perry was out and Gingrich submitted his taxes and spent the afternoon bracing for a tell-all interview by his ex-wife.

The debate started with sparks and ended much the same way.  Gingrich was immediately asked about the interview as the first order of business and he fired back at debate moderator John King.  Unfortunately for Mr. King he was the victim of Gingrich saving face.  Gingrich took no prisoners as he personally attacked John King.

The rest of the candidates echoed America’s sentiments by basically saying, “Can we please move on to something important?”  As much as it appears to be an attack by the mainstream media on Gingrich it does deserve to be discussed.  The question remains, is Newt Gingrich the kind of moral leader we want in the White House especially if he at one time tried to enter into an open marriage?

Soap opera drama not withstanding, the rest of the debate was full of intelligent arguments and a few gotcha moments as well.

The big winner tonight had to be Rick Santorum.  He went on the attack from the moment he got on stage.  He skillfully crafted his response to the Gingrich scandal in a way that he conveyed the now infamous Christian forgiveness but also reminded voters that we must forgive but not forget.  He also went on the pro-life attack against Romney and Ron Paul.

Santorum suggested that Mitt Romney crafted some of his legislation so there was room for interpretation and thus allowing Planned Parenthood in on state dollars while keeping his pro-life persona intact.  Santorum then went on to remind South Carolina that Ron Paul has a pro-life voting record of a little over fifty percent adding that it is only slightly better than that of Democratic senator Harry Reid.

Santorum really seemed to come alive in this debate as well as the last one in Myrtle Beach and now seems less timid and more ready to play with big boys in the campaign.  Whether or not this will play to a better outcome for him in South Carolina remains to be seen.

Romney had another quiet victory, as Santorum and Gingrich seemed to do most of the slugging this evening.  Romney had some good points and seemed to really close strong which is what put him almost in a tie for the number one slot tonight.   The pro-life debate hurt him though as he seemed to really not have a very good answer for the charges that were laid on him.  It seemed more like a half-hearted side step than a strong defense.

Social issues are going to be a weak point with Romney through the rest of the primaries and into the general election as he attempts to rally the conservative Christian Right.

Gingrich started out well with his boisterous response to John King and his own personal attack on Romney’s pro-life claim.  However, he more or less ended up coming off as angry and defensive more than in command of the debate.  He argued some strong points but unfortunately for Newt his message was drowned out by what was going on at the Nightline studios this evening.

Ron Paul once again made a few good points but still is hurting himself by throwing out very radical opinions and with a demeanor that tends to put off most mainstream Republicans.  He is also now making a concerted effort to play up his military service and try and play upon this mystery base of military support.  The Paul campaign seems to insist that Ron Paul has more military support than any other candidate but proof of this still remains “M.I.A.”

All of the candidates put on quite a show this evening in South Carolina and you can tell that we are approaching a turning point in the primaries.  With Romney still the firm frontrunner nationally he seems content to sit back and let the other candidates slug it out for second.  Gingrich is very close in the South Carolina polls and it will be interesting to see if these new revelations will hurt his prospects going into Saturday’s voting.

Santorum seems to be hanging on and my even pick up some momentum off of the latest Gingrich scandal as the Christian Right decides whether or not they can handle the moral turbulence that is Newt Gingrich.

As for Ron Paul he seems to be in it for the long run and time will tell how he fares.  This will be the first semi non-friendly state he will be in and it will be interesting to see where he lands when the dust settles in South Carolina.

With twenty-four hours until voting begins it is almost a certainty that there is still a lot to be said before South Carolina is finally heard.  Until then all we can do is stay tuned.

For more on the 2012 election please visit my site Lights Out Politics and also Truth About Bills and The College Conservative.  You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

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