Last night′s Republican presidential debate in Arizona may be the last time we see all four candidates on stage together. CNN carried the GOP debate, which was the 20th for this election season. So who won and who lost? Most of the pundits are giving Mitt Romney the win and name Rick Santorum as the loser last night. I would agree in the context that between the two of them, Romney was able to trip up Santorum, while Rick tripped himself up several times. Newt Gingrich did very well, including another shot at the Media. CNN moderator John King raised a question from the Internet about the recent discussions about contraceptives and birth control coverage by employers. While the crowd booed King over the subject, Newt said that there is a valid issue concerning the power of the State over the Church. But Gingrich then blasted the Media for not raising the subject of Barack Obama supporting infanticide legislation during the 2008 debates. This earned Newt one of several rounds of applause.
Santorum has never done well during these debates. In most of the first dozen or so, he was largely ignored by the moderators, lucky to get one or two questions posed to him. During some of the later debates, Santorum was able to land a punch or two, mainly at Romney and Ron Paul, over differences in policies. So it may be no coincidence that Ron Paul helped Mitt out last night in attacking Rick. Santorum got booed several times, including his feeble attempt to defend earmarks and then his support of the ′No Child Left Behind′ policy. I suspect that both Romney and Paul had people in the audience with instructions to be disruptive, but Santorum′s answers were just so bad last night that any campaign shenanigans were unnecessary.
Romney was relaxed for the most part as he sparred with Rick. Much of what Mitt said was either mush or outright lies, but nobody really challenged him. Once again, Romney even complained about Santorum taking more than 30 seconds to rebut a statement, showing him as petty as ever. One example of Mitt′s fibs were his declaring that he would repeal Obama Care, even though Romney′s own surrogate, Norm Coleman, said that no Republican president would be able to. Another came during his bragging about saving the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, which was helped considerably by an earmark from the federal government, courtesy of Rick Santorum. Romney also continues to fib about how he balanced the budget in Massachusetts, while not raising state taxes per se, he did raise state fees across the board and passed off funding of programs to county and local governments, resulting in the tax burden of residents increasing by more than 15%.
Thus concludes the 20th and possibly final GOP debate. CNN broadcast the Republican presidential debate from Mesa, Arizona. Since Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul have generally stunk at these debates, they have all decided to not participate in the next two scheduled for before Super Tuesday, forcing both to be canceled. Only Newt Gingrich, the most intelligent and complete candidate left in the race, is ready and willing to debate anyone, anywhere. The next possible debate is scheduled for March 19, to be aired by PBS from Portland, Oregon. We shall see if Mitt Romney has the guts to agree to appear. Should Santorum defeat Mitt in the Michigan and Arizona primaries next week, Romney may find himself scrambling for attention.