The latest debate among the GOP primary candidates for President took place Thursday night at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
The best line of the night winner was lobbed by former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson who said, "My neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel ready jobs than Barack Obama has". Kudos, Governor Johnson.
Not much new was said. Those participating were: Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and Gary Johnson.
Going into the debate, the polls were showing a strong leaning towards Perry by Florida voters. The interesting thing was after the debate watching the focus group with Frank Luntz. This group has flipped to supporting Romney. So, this means the Florida CPAC straw poll this weekend may be a bit different in its results than predicted. Unless the Paul campaign stuffs the ballot box again.
The ongoing bickering between Perry and Romney over the books written by each and the quotes from them is getting tiresome. Move on already.
Newt was his usual smart guy self. The audience appreciated some of his answers and he may survive a bit longer.
Rick Santorum is obnoxious. I can't abide his piousness. He chose to go after Rick Perry tonight so maybe he hopes to be Mitt Romney's vice president pick. He is hopelessly stubborn about our involvement in Afghanistan and that is unfortunate.
Herman Cain is truly improving on the stage. He is relaxed and his responses don't sound like sound bites anymore. He sounds more conversational. The audience gave him a long, loud standing ovation when he was mentioned as a cancer - stage 4 - survivor. He makes a compelling story against Obamacare using his own experiences.
Gary Johnson was strong. He is still largely unknown but he makes a lot of sense on most issues.
Michele Bachmann softened up her tone as she attacked Rick Perry over Gardasil issue. And over the border, in specific the fence and illegal immigrant children receiving in-state tuition for college in Texas.
Jon Huntsman was stronger than usual, too. He may not last much longer but he made some good points about economic policies being the most important and the need to re-gain America's leadership among the world leaders.
Ron Paul was Ron Paul.
Rick Perry has to get into a more relaxed response about his weak spots. He needs a less defensive tone on Gardasil and border security. He's going to continue to get hit on those issues and he needs to just roll with it.
Mitt Romney had a good night. He still looks presidential and his answer delivery is calm and confident. He has tuned up his comebacks to criticisms over Romneycare.
We are still a long way out from going to the voting booth and choosing a nominee. Settle in and pay attention.