So, after 992 debates, what have we learned? Rick Perry isn’t a debater and probably isn’t that smart. Hell, in Texas, that has been rumored for years. I have met Rick Perry and was not impressed. We didn’t have to have a debate to prove that. I think that what we’ve proven is that debates cannot be won, but instead they can be lost. Mitt Romney was the front runner before the debates and he is the presumptive front-runner after the debates. I don’t think that he had a particularly good performance in any of the debates. Newt Gingrich had some really good performances and that may have boosted his chances, but then he had a disastrous performance in Florida and that tanked his campaign. He performed relatively well tonight using an old playbook in which he attacked the media for asking a valid question. Herman Cain didn’t really perform that well in any of the debates and he is on the outside looking in. There was Tim Pawlenty, who seemed to be always be in the background. There was Michele Bachmann, who tripped over herself and her staff on every occasion.
Tonight, Rick Santorum had to hit it out of the park. He didn’t. As a matter fact, he dropped the ball on a number of occasions. There comes a time in a presidential race when you are in position to win. You have to strike when you’re in position. Rick Santorum had a genuine opportunity to make a very big move towards the Republican nomination. He knew that Mitt Romney would come out and attack him. He needed to be ready. He wasn’t ready. He had not one thoughtful answer to the Arlen Specter attack. There are lots of great things he could’ve said. He could’ve stood up for Arlen Specter as a great Republican. He could’ve stood up for Arlen Specter as a great American who has served his country well, both as a Senator and also on the Warren Commission. He could’ve gone on the offensive and mentioned that Arlen Specter in 2004 was pro-life, just as Mitt Romney, in 2004, was pro-life, but he didn’t. In a couple months, when Mitt Romney is accepting the Republican nomination, Rick Santorum can look back to this night and blame himself. He clawed, scratched and fought his way this far only to lose it with an absolutely abysmal performance tonight. The performance was bad. It wasn’t Rick Perry bad, but it was bad nonetheless.
The debate in less than 100 seconds –