Michigan Debate Reax

Andrew Sullivan —  Nov 9 2011 @ 10:37pm


Rich Lowry:

That might be the most uncomfortable moment I’ve ever witnessed in presidential politics.

Larry Sabato:

To my memory, Perry's forgetfulness is the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate.


[Perry is] down to 4.9 percent now on InTrade; before the debate he was at 9.3 percent. Remember two months ago when he was going to be the guy who saved us from Romney? 

Adam Sorensen:

Watching Rick Perry fail to recall the third part of his own answer in tonight’s debate was like watching a thoroughbred get euthanized on the track. It was shocking, grisly and impossible to look away. 

Alex Massie:

You can stick a fork in [Perry], he's done.

Joe Gandelman:

I wonder: Will Rick Perry remember which office he’s running for? Impressions: I can’t see Cain losing any ground with this debate (even if it increasingly seems like a fitting campaign slogan for Cain would be “The White House or bust.”) Romney holding firm. Gingrich waiting in wings as Anti-Perry understudy for Cain.

Aaron Carroll:

Many of the answers the candidates gave on health care reform already exist. We have HSAs. States can apply for Medicaid waivers and experiment right now. Medicare advantage has been around for years. Tort reform has been tried, and it doesn’t reduce costs. So I want real answers. I’m as frustrated as the candidates by the 30-second format on this issue. But nothing is preventing them from speaking at other times or putting out a comprehensive and detailed plan. Why don’t they?

Matt Yglesias:

[N]obody should be allowed to get away with hazily waving at whole cabinet departments without talking about what, exactly, it is they’re saying should happen. My strong suspicion is that Perry actually has no idea what the scope of the Energy department’s defense-related activities are and is just running his mouth off.

Adam Serwer:

While having the majority of women you've met not accuse you of sexual harassment might seem like a low bar for a human being, let alone a presidential candidate, the debate audience cheered enthusiastically.

 Ewen MacAskill:

Cowardice on the part of the journalists on the debate panel. Having raised the sexual harassment issues with Cain, they backed off after being booed by the audience. Having raised it, they should have seen it through, putting it to at least a few of the candidates.

Daniel Foster:

It should not be lost that Herman Cain called a person who could plausibly be third in line to his presidency “Princess Nancy.” I don’t care for Nancy Pelosi. I might even, in a stroke of inspiration, call her “Princess.” But I am not running for president.

Ace of Spades:

 I'd like to know if people really think non-super-partisan Americans will be similarly willing to overlook the fact that Cain doesn't seem to know anything.

Will Wilkinson:

Romney continues to finish better than second while somehow now exactly "winning". Herman Cain's failure to show any development in the breadth and depth of his ideas is making it increasingly clear that he's little more than a genial bullshitter. Huntsman again had several opportunities to really stand out by articulating an intellectually credible moderate position, but he lacks killer instinct. He can't rhetorically close the deal even when he's won the point.  Perry's senior moment seemed like accidental seppuku. 

Joseph Lawler:

Romney was on point, as usual. Tonight he faced only the weakest and most halfhearted criticisms of his record, including on health care. At one point he echoed Ron Paul's call for free-market, patient-centered health care — without drawing comment from any of the others. Maybe the others have just given up on attacking Romney on health care.

Taegan Goddard:

Mitt Romney prevailed in yet another GOP debate. He was the home team candidate on his home turf: the economy and jobs. He's comfortable on the stage and is at least a full notch above the other candidates.