First, from the Los Angeles Times:
In the most combative encounter of the 2012 contest, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty and other mid-tier candidates tangled repeatedly over their records and positions on the economy and other issues in a televised debate Thursday night.
That was the lede to the article, by the way. The turf battle between the Minnesota Twins was the highlight for the Left Coast Times, although brief (very brief) synopses of some of the other candidates' responses are noted.
Next, from the New York Times:
A withering critique of President Obama’s handling of the economy was overshadowed by a burst of incivility among the Republican presidential candidates who gathered here for a debate on Thursday night and fought to stay alive in the party’s increasingly fractious nominating race.
The simmering animosity that has been building among some contenders broke into full view during the two-hour debate, with Representative Michele Bachmann defending her legislative accomplishments, her economic ideas and her experience to serve as president. She batted away the criticism, smiling at times and swinging at others, trying to prove she could take the heat.
That was not the lede, merely the second and third paragraphs. Again, the wrangling between Bachman and Pawlenty seemed to be the focal point. I keep waiting for the voice of an older woman to come booming out, "Don't make me come back there."
I suppose the journalists can be forgiven for taking the easy way out in their reportage. After all, Mitt Romney had made his daily gaffe earlier on debate day when he suggested that "corporations are people," so he was going to stay away from any real thunder. He was content to remain above the squabbling. In other words, he was boring.
And two potential candidates weren't at the debate, although their presences were certainly palpable. Texas Governor Rick Parry will probably announce his candidacy on Sunday, and most of the pundits now see him as Mitt Romney's worst nightmare. Sarah Palin, who would challenge Michele Bachman as the Tea Party Queen, intends to pull her bus into Ames this weekend for the straw poll. I doubt she has any startling announcement, but she does love her some spotlight, which she will undoubtedly get.
So, last night's debate added little to the process, which, given the nature of the Iowa straw poll, was to be expected. If some of the lower tier candidates don't move up a bit, they'll probably drop out. Campaigns are expensive and the money spigots won't open until Republican donors feel they have a real horse in the race.
Sadly, I didn't need all the popcorn I popped for the event.
Labels: Election 2012