CNN's John King moderated the final GOP debate for the 2012 primary season.
The fireworks which were expected last night during the Republican candidate’s final debate on CNN never materialized. There was a period a few moments in when Mitt Romney and front-runner Rick Santorum started to mix it up but it fizzled.
Two of last night’s four candidates used the forum to attempt to reverse the public’s views on women’s rights and healthcare; and one was unusually quiet. Only one out of the quartet remained constant in his views and behavior, drawing more applause from the audience for this than anyone else.
Santorum used every chance he could to soften his views on birth control and women’s rights. While he said that he still holds these views, he said he would do nothing to enforce his views on others if he were president. Yeah right, then why talk about it at all?
Romney attempted to cast off Republican attitudes that he is responsible for President Obama’s healthcare program; the truth is that parts of the law – including the mandate to carry insurance – are modeled after the Massachusetts healthcare law which Romney signed when he was governor. But instead of addressing the issues directly, Romney chose to blame Santorum!
Newt Gingrich was unusually quiet; gone was his sharp-edged criticism and rhetoric; and he was sullen. At one point he mouthed the words “good job” to Romney who was seated beside him. Don’t be surprised by this however. It’s not that Gingrich has found a new admiration for his rival; it’s more that his casino-mogul benefactor told him to back off from criticizing Romney if he wanted any more money to support his campaign.
One of the most interesting moments came toward the end of the debate when moderator John King asked each candidate to use one word to describe themselves. The candidates answered as follows:
Ron Paul described himself as "consistent" a term which fits him perfectly.
Ron Paul said he was “consistent” which describes him perfectly. Like him or not, Ron Paul is who he is; he doesn’t pander or placate to get voters. To his credit, he answers questions directly no matter the consequences. An example came last night when John King asked Paul about a campaign ad and why he called Rick Santorum “a fake.”
Paul answered, “Because he’s a fake.”
Rick Santorum described himself as having "courage" even though he admitted to "taking one for the team."
Rick Santorum used the word “courage” to describe himself. Really? He admitted almost in the same breath that he “took one for the team” by consenting to vote for No Child Left Behind even though it violated his principles. Some courage!
Mitt Romney described himself as "resolute" even though he can't make up his mind on anything other than wanting to be president.
Mitt Romney described himself as “resolute.” The only thing Romney has made up his mind about is that he wants to live in the White House!
Newt Gingrich described himself as "cheerful." Has he seen any video replays of himself lately?
And finally, Newt Gingrich said he was “cheerful.” On what planet? A look at any videos of himself would reveal to Newt that he is anything but cheerful!