Mitt Romney admits he won’t release his tax returns until after he is the nominee, and 4 more reasons to be glad you missed the CNN South Carolina Republican debate.
1). Newt Gingrich Blames The Media For His Cheating Heart– CNN’s John King started the GOP debate by asking Gingrich about the claims of ex-wife #2 that he wanted an open marriage, and this allowed Gingrich to get all indignant and lecture King in his best how dare you voice for asking him about the story. Gingrich earned himself a standing ovation for blaming the media, and accusing the media of protecting Barack Obama. The other candidates jumped in on the bash the media narrative, and only Ron Paul pointed out that the media is corporate controlled.
2). Romney Falsely Claimed That Obama Is Cutting The Military Budget By A Trillion Dollars– Mitt Romney couldn’t really come up with a plan of his own that was different from what Rick Santorum suggested to help veterans who are returning home so he claimed that President Obama is cutting the military by a trillion dollars. This is simply false. The cuts that Obama announced amount to $487 billion over 10 years. The other $500 billion will come at the hands of congressional Republicans who caused the debt ceiling crisis, which led to a deal that caused the eventually failed super committee being formed, and an automatic defense cuts trigger that amounts to $500 billion.
3). Ron Paul Tells Republicans They Can’t Repeal Obamacare – As the other three Republican presidential candidates delighted the South Carolina debate audience with tales of how they will repeal Obamacare, Ron Paul told them the truth. Paul told the audience that theoretically they could repeal Obamacare, but the chances aren’t very good. Ron Paul = Republican killjoy
4). Mitt Romney Admits He Won’t Release His Tax Returns Until After He Is The Nominee – When pressed again on releasing his tax returns, Mitt Romney admitted that he will release this year’s returns once he is the nominee. When asked by John King if he would follow the example of his father and release 12 years of tax returns, Romney answered, “Maybe.” Mitt Romney is trying to hide his tax returns until after he is the Republican nominee, and his party is stuck with him. Republicans should be very worried about what is in those returns.
5). All The Republican Presidential Candidates Agree With President Obama On SOPA – Do you want to know how dead SOPA/PIPA really are? All four of the GOP candidates in tonight’s debate agreed with President Obama that SOPA is the wrong way to go. Ron Paul said that he was the first Republican to sign on with Democrats to try to stop the bill. Paul predicted that SOPA was dead, but he warned the Internet about the next bill.
Winners and Losers
1). Newt Gingrich – The surging anti-Romney candidate was throwing red meat out to voters all night long. Newt pulled out his old attack the moderator tactic, and he expanded it to an attack on the media. He weathered a strong attack on his time in the House from Rick Santorum, and generally had the audience with him all night. Gingrich made sure that he stole the spotlight by releasing his tax returns during the debate. Gingrich closed out the debate by dealing Republican voters the drug they crave most. He called Obama a Saul Alinsky radical. It is easy to see why Mitt Romney is so worried. Gingrich is definitely on the rise in South Carolina.
2). Ron Paul – Rep. Paul had himself a good night. Paul is always able to look good in debates that don’t highlight his differences with the Republican Party on foreign policy. One of the changes that has occurred in Paul’s campaign since 2008 is the ability of the candidate to take a softer tone on certain issues. Paul isn’t going to win the Republican nomination. He may not win a state, but his strong showing in 2012 may legitimize the Paul name as a candidate for the Republican nomination in future elections.
1). Mitt Romney – Angry and nervous Romney returned to the debate stage tonight, and his defense of his time at Bain as being punished for his success was a total dodge. The crowd got noticeably restless when Mitt Romney tried to squirm his way out of giving specific details on releasing his tax returns. All you need to know about the limits of Romney’s appeal with Republicans is that his biggest applause lines came when he attacked Obama.
2). Rick Santorum – The battle for the conservative vote continued between he and Gingrich tonight, and while Santorum was solid, he didn’t do anything to distinguish himself from Gingrich. When asked what he would change about his campaign if he had a do over, Santorum said nothing and proclaimed himself happy to be in the final four. Rick Santorum seems to know he is not going to win. He’s just happy to have made it this far.
Final Verdict: The first hour of this debate sizzled. The second hour fizzled. Mitt Romney may have lost South Carolina tonight. With only four candidates on the stage viewers were able to get a longer look at all of the candidates, and this did not benefit Romney. If Gingrich wins in South Carolina, it will raise questions about whether Mitt Romney has a problem with Southern voters, and it will extend the nominating process and expose more of Romney’s weaknesses. If Santorum or Paul can’t pull off a win in South Carolina, the GOP contest will become a two person race. Mitt Romney will have lost two of the first three contests, and the narrative of his inevitable nomination will be shattered.
The big winner tonight was President Obama, because he is going to get to face one of these four in the fall.