The First Debate: Pawlenty & Cain Win
Two winners came out of the South Carolina Republican Presidential Debate.Let me start this off by noting that Frank Luntz’s panel went for Herman Cain first and Rick Santorum second. Why? Their effective takedowns of Obama. In fact, Republican candidates need to note this, Santorum scored big tonight in his very effective take down of Obamacare.Now, to the real winners.The first winner is Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. Handicapped by being Minnesota’s Governor, many pundits on the right have struggled to put him in the top tier of Republican candidates. He was largely a no-named candidate compared to a Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, or a Sarah Palin — the other Governors in the race. Tonight, he proved he is Presidential material. Maybe it was because of the people surrounding him — the one eyed man is king among the blind. But I think it was more than that. He came across polished in his own right and not just in comparison to the others. His answers were solid. His admission of error on cap and trade was solid. His jobs answer was golden. His attacks on the President were spot on.Keep your eye on Tim Pawlenty. I think he is going to go far. People forget he is an evangelical and will relate well in Iowa. People also forget he is a conservative who won twice statewide in Minnesota, where Al Franken is a Senator.The other big winner is Herman Cain.In fact, in the Frank Luntz gathering after the debate, Cain dominated. He went from being unknown to a household name. Herman Cain gave the best one liners and a brilliant defense of his lack of elected experience. He pointed out all the guys in Washington who have been elected and asked, “How’s that working out for ya?” It was a golden moment.Cain also shined because of his business experience. He stood out from the crowd in knowledge of private sector job creation, the effects of government regulation, etc. Chris Wallace asked him how he could be elected President. Tonight we know – through sheer force of personality.While I pray I never have to see Gary Johnson in another debate ever again, Herman Cain will hopefully be in every debate from here on out. The more the voting pubic hears of Herman Cain, the more his rivals are going to come after him. He is this year’s Mike Huckabee.