Hey everybody, it’s our 19th! This might be the last one that matters, though. The next one isn’t scheduled for almost a month from now. If Romney wins Florida, I’m thinking this thing is over. If Gingrich wins, well, the two debates set for between now and Super Tuesday will be critical.
UPDATE: By now, it’s unlikely that any relevant question has not been put to these Republican debaters at some point. We all know where they stand, I think. The most significant part of this debate is stylistic. What will Gingrich and Romney convey about themselves, and about each other?
I’m really tired of Ron Paul taking every other question in these debates back to his anti-war beliefs (which I support, by the way) or his views on federal monetary policy.
UPDATE.2: OK, it’s on — Romney pummeling
Mitt Newt now, effectively, on his immigration attacks. “You know, our problem is not 11 million grandmothers, alright?” Romney scoring. Gingrich wobbles.
UPDATE.3: Good question on Latin America.
“I think we’d be a lot better off trading with Cuba,” says Ron Paul. ”I strongly believe we should have friendship and trade with Cuba.” The man has cojones, saying that in Florida.
UPDATE.4: According to Politifact, Gingrich didn’t specifically call Spanish the “language of the ghetto,” but it was clear from the context of his remarks that he was speaking of Spanish. So Romney is substantially correct in his ad.
I really do think Romney is getting the best of Gingrich in this debate, especially on the Fannie/Freddie lobbying point.
UPDATE.5: Santorum is going to be Romney’s vice presidential pick.
UPDATE.6: Weasel Newt tried to get out of answering Blitzer’s question about an accusation against Romney. Blitzer rightly wouldn’t let him out of it: ”Mr. Speaker, you made an issue of it this week.”
Romney jumped: “Wouldn’t it be nice if people wouldn’t make accusations somewhere else that they’re not able to defend here?” And then Romney gave a clear, capable, winning response — the first time I’ve seen him do that. He’s running away with this thing. Newt is looking like a chump.
UPDATE.7: Ramesh Ponnuru tweets: “A politician investing in Freddie doesn’t strike me as nearly as bad as Freddie investing in a politician.”
UPDATE.8: Oh law, NASA. Good for you, Romney, saying that it’s too expensive to create a base on the moon. Gingrich sounds like he’s trying to back away from his grandiose claim that he’ll build Fort Lunatic in his second administration. And what does Newt mean, saying he wants to have an American on the moon before the Chinese get there. Um, Newt, we got there over four decades ago.
Santorum: “We’ve got to start cutting federal programs, not talking about how to grow them.” Excellent attacks on Gingrich’s space gooniness. “Those are things that sound good, and maybe make big promises to people, but we’ve got to be more responsible in how we allocate our resources.” Gingrich really is out on the limb here. The Romney-Santorum-Paul triple-team on the space issue really does highlight how kooky Newt can be.
UPDATE.9: Newt, is it really the case that we don’t have corporate investment in space shots because there’s a government monopoly on space exploration? Really?
Romney is on fire tonight, accusing Newt of going from state to state, pandering to local voters, spending gobs of money. “That’s what got us into the trouble that we’re in now. We’ve got to say no to this kind of spending.”
Unless he has a major stumble tonight, Romney has won this thing already. He’s made a fool of Newt.
UPDATE.10: Daniel McCarthy tweets: “If 13,000 Americans were living on the moon, they could apply for statehood, says Newt. That really happened.” It did!
Santorum is on a roll against Gingrich and Romney on healthcare, and flip-flopping. Santorum has exactly one tone, though: frenzied.
UPDATE.11: New NBC/WSJ poll finds Newt with a huge nine-point lead nationally over Romney, among GOP voters — but far more vulnerable against Obama than any of his opponents.
UPDATE.12: Good grief, if I had to listen to Santorum’s hectoring voice for four years, I’d shove hatpins into my ears to save my sanity.
UPDATE.13: How in the world does Ron Paul know that Hispanics are less inclined to war than other people? What a weird thing to say.
UPDATE.14: Alex Massie tweets that Newt will say he knows Callista will make a good first lady because he’s interviewed other candidates. Heh.
UPDATE.15: “It is our responsibility to share the gift of freedom with people throughout the world,” says Romney. Oh brother.
UPDATE.16: Puerto Rican statehood? Now’s a good time for Your Working Boy to go to the kitchen for a diet Coke.
UPDATE.17: Ron Paul has no good answer on why he’s the best one to beat Obama, because it’s not possible to make that case.
Romney is screwing up this answer too. He ought to have landed the final blow on Newt right here. A stupid mistake. The correct answer is something that puts the question to voters, “With so much at stake, do you really want Mr. Moon Colony going up against Obama?” But he’s done very well tonight, so it probably won’t hurt him too bad.
Gingrich blew it too. His main case is that he’s not a wishy-washy fair-weather conservative, but the kind of guy who can tear into Obama. This is why he’s doing so well today: he sent that message out from South Carolina. Romney must have taken all the fight out of him tonight.
Santorum had the best answer to this question. But he’s not going to win.
Romney won this debate, and probably Florida, and so the nomination. Newt collapsed, as bullies and blowhards often do when somebody fights back. Santorum auditioned for Romney’s VP, and greatly enhanced his chances. Ron Paul shines on, that crazy diamond.