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New Hampshire Debate

New Hampshire Debate

Endgame Analysis:  Romney has to be happy.  He came away unscathed.  No one went after him in a confrontational manner.

The prevailing wisdom will be that Newt failed to attack, but Newt’s in a no win situation.  If he attacks aggressively, he’s bad, angry Newt; if he doesn’t, people complain.  Newt attacked in what I think was an effective manner — he cited the NY Times article and the upcoming mini-documentary on Bain, and the Wall Street Journal article on Romney’s “timid” economic plan.  In other words, he made the attacks he wanted to make without making himself appear petty.  This will not be the majority view, but I think it’s right.  The nasty fight will be on the airwaves in South Carolina.

Santorum was good, but my sense is that he didn’t advance himself much.  Clearly Romney, Newt and Santorum are the big three in the race.

Ron Paul fought with everyone, I don’t see this helping him.  Rick Perry had good answers, but hardly was called on.  Jon Huntsman is done.

Tweets and videos of night to follow.


At the third breakNot sure anyone won this segment.  Romney, Newt and Santorum all were strong.  Paul almost non-existent.  Huntsman weak.  Perry had a couple of good answers, but seems tangential.

At the second break – This round goes to Newt, who had the two big moments on Catholic adoption services being force to compromise faith or leave adoption services (which is what they did), and foreign policy on misguided policy as to Iran and energy independence as being crucial to putting pressure on Saudis to stop spreading Wahhabism..  Others did fine, but my sense is that this was a weaker segment for Santorum then the first.  Much of the dialogue was “I agree with Newt.”  To the extent Romney was not hurt, he also was a winner.

One of most bizarre questions was Stephanopolous trying to pin Romney down on whether states have right to ban contraception.  Romney assumed Newt-like indignation at question.  The moderators then went on to gay marriage, gay couples adopting children, etc. and wouldn’t leave it alone.

Newt then turned it around about Catholic charities being forced to stop adoption services.  Huge crowd applause.  How good was the answer?  Both Ann Coulter and Jennifer Rubin praised it on Twitter.

At the first break – Winner so far is Romney who has stayed above the fray as Ron Paul argued with Santorum and then Newt.  Some damage to Romney on Bain (see below) but not much.  Newt not much of a presence, as moderators direct questions to others.  Perry a couple of good answers, but again not getting many questions.

Romney’s tenure at Bain was big topic.  Stephanopoulus brought out upcoming attack ads from pro-Newt SuperPAC.  Newt said watch film and see if accurate, if it is, as NY Times has reported about at least one company, consider it.  Said not enamored of raider style of investing.  Bain raised by moderator without Newt having to bring it up.

Romney gave the 100,000 “net net” job creation at Bain.  That will be interesting for a fact check, because Romney’s campaign previously said it was only jobs created.

One of the oddest moments was Ron Paul hitting Newt (but not Romney) on not serving.  Surprisingly, even many Romney supporters on twitter found it funny that Paul said his racist 20 year old newsletters were ancient history but Newt not serving in the 1960s was relevent.


I’ll be giving my assessment at the breaks. I’m not going to try to catalog everything that is said.


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[…] The good news for Republicans is that Obama is the issue and is a likely loser with his miserable record of treachery, corruption, and boobery. Additional good news for Republicans is that the tougher Romney opponents get against Romney the better prepared Romney will be against the Obama thugs. Watch out Willard. […]

I didn’t realize Mr. Snuffleophogous was debating the GOP candidats.

Why does Newt continue to argue against the free market’s creative destruction? Citing the NYT and some leftist film is not the way to win conservatives.

I predict Ron Paul will increasingly be seen as “that peculiar uncle” living over the garage.

    punfundit in reply to WarEagle82. | January 7, 2012 at 9:30 pm


    Congressman Paul, you never served as a police officer. By your own logic, you have no right to discuss law enforcement or crime.

Perry and Santorum and Paul just don’t speak well in public. They are so much less articulate than Romney and Huntsman.

Santorum is such a dweeb. I’m enjoying watching Paul rip on his voting record.

Huntsman needs to stop pursing his lips like a prissy girl.

Romney looks manic.

Perry sounded good in the 30 seconds he’s been allowed to speak. Same with Gingrich.

Jusuchin (Military Otaku) | January 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm

And I completely forgot there was a debate. Ah well, GMU won against Georgia State and I just earned around 4 hours of work.

This is terrible. They are falling into this trap, fighting each other than Obama.

Is anyone listening to the blabbers on ABC?

This should be called the Ron Paul comedy hour…I wonder which idiot, oops….’moderator’ decided to make him the star.

Please make George go away…

“Contraception? It’s working just fine. Leave it alone.”

Is Diane Sawyer drunk?

Hunstman’s attempt at humor is not working.

“Get off the topic!” – Audience Member on contraception question

Perry is not getting any questions,by design.

    My thought exactly.

      workingclass artist in reply to Joy. | January 8, 2012 at 12:09 am

      Agreed..The few Perry got though he did very well.

      He was the only candidate to speak about Right to Work Legislation as it relates to the economy. NH has passed the legislation which the Governor vetoed and the legislature is battling to overturn the veto…they lost the first round. I hope SC pays attention.

      Took guts to answer on Iraq/Iran too…Perry is very concerned about Iran’s influence spreading into this hemisphere.

This is my Newt! Right now. Taking it to the liberals and taking it to the media.

Why is Ron Paul getting so many questions and so much coverage? Is he the front runner?

The media is losing this debate

Good answer Perry on Obummers attacks on Christians.

Newt for the New Cold War.

Perry is right about Iran taking over Iraq. It’s time to start attacking Obummer. Let’s go guys!

    WarEagle82 in reply to damocles. | January 7, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Who knows. But the Arabs and Persians hate each other. The Arab Shi’ites in Iraq will re-learn a bitter historical lesson if the become puppets for the Persian Shi’ites…

      retire05 in reply to WarEagle82. | January 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      Wrong, they’ll team up. While the Sunni hate the Shites and vise versa, they hate us worse.

      “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

      Radical Iraq will join with crazy Iran to try to defeat both the Big and Little Satans.

Awesome answer about not bowing to another Saudi King.

And now we will have another 15 minute diverting entertainment from our crazy foreign policy uncle Ron.

And the clown car rolls up.

ROFL, punfundit!

More with the ” ifrastructure?”. I thought Obama’s $787 billion fixed it all forever! How could we need more spent on roads and bridges!

    Darkstar58 in reply to WarEagle82. | January 7, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Yeah, Obama’s stimulous went into union pockets and to his Democrat-friends. We all know that.

    Anyway, Infrastructure is what our taxes are supposed to go to – not all this “welfare/Nanny” nonsense which has become a fungus eating the country alive

    Besides, our roads and bridges are in absolutely horrific shape because of all the funds which have been redirected away from where they were needed (or merely handed to Unions at 4x the cost to do poor work). In the next few years, sadly, most bridges in America will need to be refurbished, rebuilt or replaced. We just don’t/wont have any money for it unless we drastically cut

Finally, Perry interrupts Paul’s diatribe. We want jobs and energy independence. Go Perry.

Everything Perry just said about energy was right but he said it so badly!

    retire05 in reply to WarEagle82. | January 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Who the hell cares how a candidate says what is true. Rick Perry is the ONLY one on that stage that understand the Middle East is about to blow wide open with the advances of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Iran in a position to take over Iraq (and don’t think that ain’t gonna happen).

    So Mittens thinks because he has been to Iraq ONCE that makes his a military man? What a joke.

    There are only two candidates on that stage that should even be considered, and Mitten, Santorum, Paul and Huntsman ain’t them.

      WarEagle82 in reply to retire05. | January 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      You are wrong. Politics is “sales” and Perry is doing a poor job of selling himself.

      And I think Newt probably has the best understanding of the Middle East.

      But nobody really gained on Romney tonight. He will win NH big and the next front will be SC. I hope the remaining candidates will get their acts together.

        retire05 in reply to WarEagle82. | January 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm

        Well, if you’re interested in buying a president, then you already have one in office. Of course, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse are betting their money on the Man from Bain.

        And Mittens releases his tax returns in 3………2………

          WarEagle82 in reply to retire05. | January 7, 2012 at 11:25 pm

          Perry is obviously doing a very poor job marketing himself to voters. The polls show that every day. Like it or not, it is reality.

        workingclass artist in reply to WarEagle82. | January 8, 2012 at 12:12 am

        When Perry was selling himself the chief complaint was people were sick of hearing about Texas or that he sounded too much like Bush.

Mitts stuttering and poorly placed dramatic pauses are getting way beyond annoying.

He’s like David Caruso when he knows what he’s saying, and my 69 Chevy when he doesnt.

Romney sounds great, but his actions do not match his words. Perry may sound halting, but you can be sure, every word he says is the truth, and he has the record to match the rhetoric.

Sharks circling?

Hunstman: “I know kung fu!”

ROFL Punfundit, you are on the money tonight!

Do they make contrceptives for debates? Can the states outlaw it? This has largely been a snooze fest. Nobody gained any ground on Romney here tonight.

“We would like to get you back to the debates, but by popular demand, we have decided to show an image of cats to fill the remaining time, enjoy!”

Diane Sawyer looked like she was rubbing her leg up against Snuffy when she asked her question.

Thank goodness that’s over. There is nothing new coming out of these debates any more, just idiotic gotcha questions and canned responses. I think it may be better to look at the candidate records and their plans going ahead. I did think that Santorum was much less whiney tonight,probably because he didn’t have to fight for airtime. Huntsman’s pseudo humor grated on my last nerve.

    Darkstar58 in reply to damocles. | January 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    The debates are not for those of us who watch each one though – they are for the undecideds who are paying attention for the first time.

    I think that is why it was so wise for Newt to stay away straight attacks on Mitt. The people are listening to the media claim one narrative, while they just watched the complete opposite transpire in front of their eyes.

    these are more posturing then anything at this point – trying to show the new viewers the light they want to be perceived in.

Newt delivered the most powerful statement of the night with the Catholic adoption remarks.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | January 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm

OMG, Newt led most of them into a trap with the last question about what they’d be doing tonight. First, he accidentally said he’d be watching the college basketball championship game. That won’t be until March. The college championship football game is not tonight, but on January 9, or Monday.

Yet, Newt, Santorum and Willard all said they’d be home watching the game tonight.

Somebody is going to create a narrative that they all wanted so desperately to look like “regular guys”, yet none of them knew the game is actually Monday and not tonight. Obama really is a bit of a sports fan. He must have been laughing his ass off. Embarrassing.

Why do you say that that Huntsman is “done” while Perry had “good answers”? I saw about half the debate, and while Huntsman isn’t my first choice, I thought he did very well, certainly better than Perry. Whether one agrees with him or not, I thought his answers on trade war with China were very good.
It appears to me that Perry is as “done”–if not “doner”–than Huntsman.

    retire05 in reply to dwlayman. | January 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Really? Perry is done? How so? When he is the only one on that stage that understands, truely, what Obama is doing to destablize the Middle East? Why doesn’t Huntman ever discuss China teaming up with Iran and Hugo Chavez?

    WarEagle82 in reply to dwlayman. | January 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Perry has at least a fighting chance in the south. I don’t think Huntsman does. He is a less well known Romney clone. He isn’t going to clean up in SC. He may drop out if he does poorly in NH.

      retire05 in reply to WarEagle82. | January 7, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      Look at the delegate count. It’s not going to be over until the first week in April. It is just mathematically impossible before then, and Mitt will bomb in the Deep South. Santorum is a one trick pony and Newt, well, Newt is subject to self destruct at any time.

        WarEagle82 in reply to retire05. | January 7, 2012 at 11:21 pm

        Huntsman will be long gone before April. We will have to wait until then to see about the rest.

        But since my choices in VA are Romney and Paul, i will be voting for Paul to sendthe GOP a message.

    workingclass artist in reply to dwlayman. | January 8, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Dude…If Romney managed to win a lot of delegates after Super Tuesday…Perry practically ties him with Texas alone which has 155.

    That’s what they are trying to do marginalize Perry and starve him out before Texas…Obama and the DC/NYC rino’s want Romney because the same policies stay in place either way with Obama or Obamalite.

    Newt looked like he wasn’t serious…That’s why Perry jumped in.
    Newt or Perry are the only ones who could beat Romney.

Perry should have said: “Well, if I wasn’t here tonight and wanted to really relax, I would be at Red’s Range practicing with my Glock, just as I did yesterday morning. You see, I understand what it means to protect and defend.

I hope President Romney makes some good Cabinet choices.

    workingclass artist in reply to PhillyGuy. | January 8, 2012 at 12:14 am

    Dream on…Obama will say all he needs is a couple of more years to fix the mess Bush made & that Romney is the kind of rich prick who laid off people…Game over

Henry Hawkins | January 7, 2012 at 11:56 pm

If nothing else, I figured out who Ron Paul reminds me of so much:

huskers-for-palin | January 8, 2012 at 12:35 am

Andrew Breitbart was giving a great post debate analysis with Steve Bannon tonight (Upstream) and he nailed it on Palin.

What we’re seeing with the GOP’s lack of spark is payback for what they did to Palin (which is a message to any up-and-coming politico). After the Giffords shooting, the only one to come to Palin’s help was liberal lawyer Allan Dershawitz. Right now, the RNC farm club system sucks because many don’t want to step into the buzz saw and a fear that no one will come to their defense (like Palin who they could of defended but choose not to).

Andrew predicts that if Romney is the GOP and loses to Obama, there will be a slow coup de tat by the conservative base against the establishment.

Sawyer and Stephanopolous were horrible and drove the debate instead of just asking the questions. When is the GOP gonna learn that in their own debates, they should get their own GOP friendly commentators and format.

One theory that’s going around is that the establishment might try to push Nikki Haley as the next “Sarah Palin”. I hope Nikki knows that’s a trap to avoid.

    I agree with Breitbart’s analysis. I’ve never felt more hopeless. The GOP clearly deserves Romney and the coming defeat. These people are as dysfunctional and deluded as they come. I look forward to their total humiliation. But the rest of us do not deserve this end. Those who supported and animated the Tea Party certainly do not.

    Obama vs. Romney. Good God. It will have to rank as the most politically and spiritually desolating election in American history.

    I like Breitbart quite a bit and respect his work, but his analysis lacks a historical perspective. Conservatives have been trying to take over the Republican Party for a very long time. The first serious motion was toward General MacArthur instead of Ike, but it never caught fire. The conservative heroes of the ’50s were Bob Taft, Dick Nixon, and Whitaker Chambers.

    Conservatives won a small victory with Goldwater defeating the Northeastern Liberals, but his defeat was a major setback. Nixon had moved to a more pragmatic approach to domestic policy, concentrating on the geopolitical problems. By the time Reagan won the nomination, he was already the “next in line” anyway, and respected for campaigning for Ford after losing in ’76.

    Since then, the most conservative nominee has been McCain, so you see conservatives haven’t made so much progress.

    If we don’t beat Obama, though, there won’t be enough left of the country to save by 2016. Buy ammo and canned food.

huskers-for-palin | January 8, 2012 at 1:18 am

Let this ruminate in your mind….Jeb Bush 2016. If you think the elites were pushy for Romney 2012, think of the power plays for Jeb Bush 2016.

This is what happens when we allow the media to control our debates – it becomes about whatever side topic they want to use to divert attention from the miserable failure of Obama.

Forget the media – even Fox won’t let us concentrate on what’s wrong and how to fix it. NO PANEL, just a timekeeper to make sure it’s even who does NOT ask questions. Let the candidates debate each other, using their time as they see fit. Get rid of the hacks angling to be the one who catches someone in a “gotcha” trap.

TeaPartyPatriot4ever | January 8, 2012 at 2:23 am

Excellent analysis and recap assessment of the NH debate Mr Jacobson.. Thanks..

Newt was awesome and sharp and right where you would expect him to be, in the heart and core and heat of the debate issues and questions, and the answers to those issues and questions, as always.. which we can always count on with Newt, who is without a doubt, unequivocably inarguably extremely intelligent, knowledgeable, experienced, and well informed, which goes without saying.. thus on top of the debate game.

Romney’s rope-a-dope strategy, always lets him off the hook, in having to answer the tough in your face direct core questions, of his cronyism, and corporate corruption greed as the CEO at Bain, which was obviously most painfully at the expense of the citizens of the hard working communities, in terms of their lost / stolen jobs, and the community gutting policies of Mitt Romney and Bain. And of course, Romney did the same thing to the people and State of Mass, which is the reason why he never elected to run for re-election, as he knew he would never be re-elected.

Santorum was ok.. I like him, but there are too many unanswered questions about his stand on conservatism, the Tea Party, Reaganism, the US Constitution, the US Miltary role, and world International affairs, though he has stated so somewhat, by attacking that libertarian nutjob Ron Paul, on these issues of vital US National Security concerns of contention.. He seems to be on record for being on both sides of the political fence, like Romney, in many self-inflicted political wounds.. But I really do not know enough about him, to make a definite assessment of him, either way..

didn’t the catholic adoption services have the option to not accept tax dollars and fund themselves as a private organization? why was it more important to them to cease operation in a snit because the government recognized the equality of gay citizens rather than to continue operating for the benefit of the children in need of a stable home environment? seems to me that they let politics and greed trump compassion and service.

    Canusee in reply to el polacko. | January 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Good Question. If you don’t like the stipulations, don’t accept the money. I wonder if Newt had thought of this comment in advance and was waiting for an opportunity to answer to his benefit. Here is what I wondered aloud on another post,

    “I see this from a different angle, I suppose. Newt came out of New Hampshire behind Santorum. He came across, to me, as poised to image he was defending the “little guy”, the “junior” of the bunch; presenting himself the wise mentor of Santorum. How many examples were “Catholic”? How did he say “Catholic”? Where did he look when he said “Catholic”. Why no mentions of the Bible studies not allowed in peoples’ own home? Why not expose a diverse group of Christians being discriminated against to prove racism? In my perception Newt’s response was a game plan to take “charge” of Santorum. What is Newt’s action history on fighting this discrimination? Did he actually champion this aggressively in the past, outside of verbiage?”

[…] last, but not least, Legal Insurrection breaks down the debates so that the rest of us could watch […]

My enduring memory of the 2007-2008 debates was watching Romney avert his eyes from McCain and Huckabee as they ate him alive. My consistemt memory of the 2011-2012 debates so far is seeing Romney staring with an awkward, condescending smile as Gingrich delivers one incisive, coherent and rousing deconstruction of issue after issue.

At the risk of sounding ahead of my time, I proposed this here on LI weeks or months ago.

He’d better include LI or I won’t watch:

You buried the lede that many local stations went with (such as ABC in Philadelphia) – Paul slamming Gingrich for avoiding the draft and hiding behind his family by pointing out he had a family and served anyway. One rarely sees a public figure’s hypocrisy so immediately exposed.