CNN's "Tea Party" Debate

As I am extremely busy at work this week, here is the short version...

Despite looking nearly identical to last week's GOP candidate debate at the Reagan Library, there was a palpable shift in mood at last night's debate.

Michele Bachmann really went after Rick Perry on the Gardasil issue. I was surprised that she removed her "Eleventh Commandment veneer" the way that she did. Despite Perry's protestations, Bachmann maintained that the Texas governor was forcing "little 12-year-old girls" to get a government vaccine. Damaging.

Bachmann also had the strangest quote for the evening:
I would bring a copy of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States , the Bill of Rights, and that’s it.
Rrrright. The last time I checked, the Bill of Rights was a part of the U.S. Constitution -- as it contains the first 10 amendments.

Herman Cain was in attendance.

Newt Gingrich tried to maintain the peace. He continually tried to emphasize that all of the candidates on the stage are similar. I felt that Gingrich was trying less to be a candidate, and more of wise sage to the other candidates. He appeared to be spouting talking points that would not necessarily benefit his candidacy. Rather, Gingrich looked like he was a GOP cheerleader. I would not have been surprised if he said, "Look, I don't care who wins the GOP nomination. Really. I just want to beat Barack Obama."

Jon Huntsman was doing great until about halfway through the debate when he called Rick Perry's stance on immigration "treasonous". Really? Do you guys know what treason is? Perry has said that Ben Bernanke could be guilty of treason. Now Huntsman is levying a similar accusation at Perry.

That and the very strange Nirvana reference (in regard to Mitt Romney's tome, No Apologies) really struck me as odd.

Ron Paul was, well... Ron Paul. He's consistent.

Rick Perry was uncomfortable. It was the second straight evening of playing the "Let's Pile On Rick Perry" game. My guess is that the Governor of Texas is likely tiring of that game.

To me, it looked as if Perry's skin was crawling. In particular, when the conversation turned to Gardasil (HPV vaccine), both Bachmann and Santorum really took the governor to task.

Rick Perry also had the most awkward moment of the evening.


Rick Santorum, like Michele Bachmann, really laid into Rick Perry for his Gardasil debacle. Santorum had a few really good one-liners -- but largely he was background noise to the Romney-versus-Perry debate.

Mitt Romney was, in this writer's opinion, the winner of the debate (if these things can actually have a "winner"). Romney did a good job outlining what he would do as President -- whether the Tea Party crowd agreed with him or not. Moreover, Rick Perry was the candidate to beat and Romney did it. While the entire line of candidates was sniping at Perry, Romney was able to keep his cool and look like the front-running candidate.

That's the quick'n'dirty.

Photo: CNN