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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, May 6, 2011

First Debate and the GOP Field

At the Washington Examiner, Byron York reports on the first GOP debate, in Greenville, SC. The event featured Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, and Gary Johnson. Pawlenty, the only one of the five who strikes most pundits as viable, did make some points. But York notes:
For all that, Pawlenty didn't deliver the sharp, clear statements that win debates. He praised President Obama for the killing of Osama bin Laden but didn't have a tightly-focused critique of Obama's foreign policy. He was gentlemanly with an absent possible opponent, Mike Huckabee -- "I love the Huck…he's been a colleague and friend" -- without making much of a case for why voters should prefer him over the former Arkansas governor. And he was equally gentlemanly in refusing to criticize the evening's most prominent no-show, Mitt Romney, for his Massachusetts health care mess -- "Governor Romney is not here to defend himself, so I'm not going to pick on him" -- but he didn't offer a sharply-defined statement on reforming entitlements.
York says that Cain produced the head-scratch of the night:
It started when moderator Bret Baier asked Cain about a statement Cain made in an interview in January in which Cain said that as president he would rely heavily on whatever his generals and the experts told him should be done in the war. "You're running for president," Baier said to Cain. "After almost ten years in Afghanistan, you don't have your own plan yet about what you would do in Afghanistan?"

"No," Cain answered. 'Because it's not clear what the mission is. That's the bigger problem. It's not clear what the mission is…"

Baier followed up: "How would you define winning in Afghanistan right now, as you're looking at it as a candidate?"

"My point is," Cain explained, "the experts and their advice and their input would be the basis for me making that decision. I'm not privy to a lot of confidential information."
Meanwhile, Andy Barr reports at Politico, Ron Paul scored outside the debate hall:

Ron Paul hauled more than $1 million just on Thursday via a debate-day money bomb.

Paul’s presidential exploratory committee alerted his supporters to the 24-hour online fundraising via email and social networks and were able to sit back and watch $1,028,436.56 roll in.

The successful money bomb capped off a big day for Paul’s camp, as he attended a tea party rally ahead of the presidential debate and was shown to run stronger against Barack Obama than any other candidate in an new CNN/Opinion Research poll.
And at Bloomberg, Lisa Lerer reports on another potential candidate who remains potential:

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said he would announce within weeks whether he will seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

“I know I owe a lot of people an answer,” he said on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,”airing this weekend.

Daniels, 62, described his family as apprehensive about the prospect of a national campaign. Their concerns, he said, are“a very, very important factor” in his decision.

“I may be up for bungee-jumping, but this is one where you have to strap on some other people,” he said.