The bottom line is that the 100,000 figure was not actually calculated; it was just a composite of a couple of data points, and there’s no evidence that it’s actually a “net” figure, according to Romney’s own campaign. When challenged on the accuracy of his figures by Stephanopolous, Romney told the audience they should just trust him: “I’m a good enough numbers guy to make sure I got both sides of that.”
Josh Marshall thinks no one effectively attacked Romney:
It was the individual candidates (besides Romney) attacking each other; or the individual candidates getting distracted by moderators’ questions … If you’re Eric Fehrnstrom or the other folks in the Romney operation you just love that. Because Romney is far in the lead. And this kind of result is really the best you could hope for. The entire evening read like the other candidates are either resigned to Romney’s expanding lead or were simply unaware of it.
David Horowitz agrees:
[T]he clear winner was Mitt Romney. Watching the debate, you’d think Ron Paul was the frontrunner. All of the verbal altercations played out between Ron Paul and one of the other candidates. Romney was able to sit pretty throughout the entire debate, except for one monologue from Santorum at the end of the debate. Undoubtedly, the platform for the debate, along with the inane questions, wasn’t exactly conducive to attacking Romney’s liberal record as governor. However, they all had an opportunity during the opening salvo of the debate. They failed miserably.
Michelle Malkin is more blunt:
Forget contraceptives. We need GOP debate sponsored by Viagra to cure collective impotence of the non-Romneys.
So, let me answer everyone’s question (why isn’t anyone attacking Romney???) with uninformed speculation. This is a weirdo reverse-campaign, which is to say people not named Romney are not running to win, they’re running to not be kicked off the island. When it’s a race to stave off being thrown off the lifeboat, you look for some fingers to step on. Right now there are basically three slots available — the Romney slot, the Ron Paul slot, and the not-Mitt-who-isn’t-Ron-Paul slot.
I really hate Romney’s “This election is about the soul of America for the Declaration of the pursuit of happiness and exceptionalism so as not to be like Europe of a President who doesn’t understand America” spiel. It is just so phony-thematic. Coming from a different politician (Jindal, Daniels, maybe Marco Rubio) who had laid out the policy differences and the real life consequences of our choices, a less hysterical version of that argument might actually be powerful.
Romney, I thought, clearly dominated. He repeatedly took charge and rhetorically “won” exchanges in which his argument was the weaker.
Early on, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum went at one another like two jacked-up Pit Bulls. Despite his passion, however, Santorum came across as whiny. (Maybe he was unsettled without his sweater vests.) And the senator’s off-camera interjections when Paul was speaking made him come across like a kid mouthing off in class or a puppy nipping at the congressman’s wizened heels. By 10:30, it was hard not to want to change channels and find out what was happening on MTV’s “Teen Mom 2.”
If tonight’s debate has accomplished nothing else, it has demonstrated, beyond any last slim thread of doubt, that Texas Governor Rick Perry is criminally stupid. He would, he said, send American troops back into Iraq, today, so as to rebuff Iranian influence there — which arose, of course, because we went in to begin with.
Romney’s response to the first good economic report since the iPhone 3G was new is that Barack Obama can’t take credit for it. “It’s like the rooster taking responsibility for the sunrise.” A bit hard to imagine that playing for months if the economy actually recovers.
Obama went into general election in 2008 toughened by brutal warfare w/ Clinton. Romney’s going in w/ the world’s biggest glass jaw.