Missed the debate? Some reading to catch up on it

  1. Fact check from the AP. Especially useful for checking on the Romney-Perry Social Security squabble.
  2. The miniscule amount of time devoted to national security at the debate irritates Marc Thiessen.
  3. Ben Adler mocks the “magical thinking” of the candidates. He calls out the delusions on spending (being able to fix the deficit by eliminating waste) and lack of any honest solutions. Worth a read.
  4. Who won the debate? Well, Perry took a beating from multiple sides – Romney went in for the kill on Social Security, but Perry only partially backed down from his harsher rhetoric; Huntsman called Perry’s comments on the border “treasonous” but his campaign has said he was joking (I don’t think Perry appreciated the humor); Texas providing in-state tuition to illegal immigrants came under fire and Bachmann practically accused Perry of corruption while attacking his executive order on the HPV vaccine.
  5. The overall consensus seems to be that Romney came out on top, with Fred Barnes at the Weekly Standard declaring him a clear winner (of course, Barnes also thinks that Bachmann’s only problem is not appearing presidential enough). The LA Times says Romney wins narrowly on points. The Fix adds Newt Gingrich, Bachmann and the Santorum-Gingrich alliance to the list of winners, but puts Romney ahead of them.
  6. Ron Paul, challenged on his libertarian/personal freedom perspective by Blitzer with the theoretical 30-year-old uninsured man who needs six months of intensive care, said that’s his choice. Amazingly, Blitzer’s “so he should be left on the street to die?” follow up drew shouts of “YES!” from the audience. Paul, harking back to his defense of compassionate libertarianism last debate, talked about how government doesn’t have to do everything because communities and churches will take care of people.
  7. Santorum assaulted Ron Paul’s blog post on 9/11 titled “Ask the Right Questions and Face the Truth” in which he said the primary motivation for the attacks was “occupation.” This did not sit well with the audience and Paul drew boos as he tried to lay out his logic. Juan Cole would agree with Paul, as he cites the US failure to support a two-state solution for Palestinians as the primary recruitment tool of terrorist groups in the Middle East.
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