CNN's John King must have thought he had Obama's back by bringing a smoking gun to a knife fight. Unfortunately for King, it was nothing more than a peashooter and he got hit with a Newt-lear retaliatory strike, which garnered a well-deserved standing ovation. You can watch the video over at this post by Don Surber.
Following the debate, I turned on Greta Van Susteren. She played the entire debate-opening exchange between King and Newt Gingrich, which allowed Fox News to highlight the embarrassing hypocrisy of its major cable news competitor. Greta deserves a bonus from her bosses for that.
To me, King seemed to try to direct the questioning during the debate in such a way as to allow Mitt Romney to come across as the nominee, letting Gingrich and Rick Santorum have at it with each other, and bringing in Ron Paul once in awhile when necessary. Surber had mentioned that CNN needed to regain its credibility and blew it; in the process, they very well may have given Gingrich the nomination.
I'm not so sure that's the case, although I've no doubt Gingrich helped himself. It was quite a lively debate after, albeit one overshadowed by the opening.
I believe all of the candidates did rather well, although each exhibited weaknesses that have to be corrected.
Gingrich's fiery retort to King correctly highlighted the Democrat media's attempts to protect God-King Barack. On most of the questions directed at him, Gingrich again displayed how he really is the smartest guy in the room and ready to engage Obama and put a wrecking ball to the Obama regime. He, as did everyone else, reiterated his policy positions on the various topics, which included how Gingrich wants to handle illegal aliens (and no, he doesn't support amnesty). He also differed from the others with an excellent point indicating he would work with Republicans in this Congress to put forth a policy agenda to not only get him in the White House, but to get a Republican majority in both Houses. Gingrich did well to note what he believes is the responsibility the federal government has for all veterans, especially those returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. He defended himself well against the various attacks against him from the other candidates. Most of the time, he didn't do a bad job hitting the others with relevant attacks. However, Gingrich still exhibited shades of "evil Newt" early on when he tried to nail Romney on Bain again. My advice, SHUT UP! But all in all, Gingrich did well, and his opening Newt-lear strike should benefit him greatly.
Mitt Romney did an excellent job in promoting his work in the free market, deftly ignoring the previously-mentioned pointless challenge from Gingrich. In addition, Romney was the first one up on the stage who attacked President Obama over the latter's idiotic cancellation of the Keystone pipeline (and yes, it was a cancellation; Clinton's stupid State Department has stated it will most likely force the Keystone builders to start the whole bureaucratic nightmare from scratch). He highlighted a major difference between himself and Ron Paul, saying a freer market economy will allow the U.S. to maintain a military that no miscreant will want to challenge. Romney also highlighted how much more of a Washington outsider he is as compared with the other three, and successfully attacked Gingrich (IMO) for being too Washington-centric when it comes to jobs (I will note that Gingrich defended himself fairly well here, but a half-point goes to Romney). But, he defended Romneycare again. As with Gingrich, my advice to Romney, SHUT UP! More so than anything regarding Gingrich, Romneycare is going to be a boat anchor the size of the Titanic around Romney's neck. He better be praying regularly for the Supreme Court to overturn all or part of it. Romney really hammered Obama, and I think now it's possible he could debate Obama forcefully and successfully. He has to keep this up.
Santorum did well tonight as well, especially since he was able to open with a reminder that he won Iowa; however, Santorum showed mild exasperation at times towards his fellow candidates when it wasn't necessary. He got in a stinging rebuke of Paul's conservative rating, and really hit Romneycare hard. Santorum also leveled some blows at Gingrich for the latter's leadership issues, along with defending himself against Gingrich's ridiculous attempt to encourage an end to Santorum's campaign.
I want to interject something here. Gingrich mentioned that the Democrat media has already taken their shots at himself and Romney and that they would eventually get around to smearing Santorum and Paul. With regards to Santorum, Gingrich is a little late. A few days ago, one of Tina Brown's fellow harridans at The Daily Beast/Newsweek (no, it wasn't Andrew Sullivan) wrote a sadistic, ugly, and pointless story about Santorum's wife Karen in order to smear them for supposedly being pro-life hypocrites. I won't link to it here as it is utter trash and just as disgraceful as the ABC and CNN hit on Gingrich. But if you really want to read it, Google newsweek+tom+allen and it should be first on the list. Make sure you are sitting down and completely composed before reading it or you will need to buy new hardware.
Even Ron Paul did ok tonight, avoiding the blame-America issues that I believe will ultimately keep him from getting the nomination; and if he does, Obama will crush him. He was good at using his economic positions to fix much of what is wrong with the country. He was great at pointing out the responsibility the federal government owes its veterans (I think he topped Gingrich's response). But things came out that showed me he isn't as much of a small-government conservative as people claim he is. Yes, he rightly wants to cut a trillion dollars out of the budget in the first year. Yet, he didn't get into many details about how he would reform entitlements, other than Medicaid. In fact, I believe he is too fixated on his weak foreign policy as a means to resolve the U.S. entitlement problems. Plus, his foreign policy is a conundrum; Paul says he supports foreign trade, yet he wants weaken the conditions that allow the foreign trade to take place. While I would vote for Paul over Obama if the former is the Republican nominee, my vote would be an anti-Obama vote more than anything else; with all of the other candidates, it would be a vote for them.
John King and CNN should accept the fact they humiliated themselves with how the debate began. And, they may have to resign themselves for potentially handing Newt Gingrich the Republican nomination.
Cross-posted at Scipio the Metalcon.