Who won the Bloomberg, New Hampshire Dartmouth Debate 10/11/11?

The spotlight was on New Hampshire last night, as the GOP primary debate aired last night on Bloomberg. Yes, Bloomberg and it was a welcomed change of pace to watch their people zero in on politics and strategy. They’re normally analyzing the market and reading graphs.

The round table format was terrific. Charlie Rose? ehhh. During the candidate to candidate QA, he did get his letters mixed up. “R comes before S” Rick Santorum declared in what was probably his bright spot of the night.

Let’s break it down..

Winners:

Mitt Romney finally starts acting like a frontrunner: He had to field questions from several of his opponents and batted down all of them. He’s developed an agreeable reply to Romneycare. He even tossed Bachmann a softball in the opponent question segment. Romney was the pinata at the party and he didn’t crack like Rick Perry. The Ronald Reagan video question could have done serious damage but he knew his history. This performance, as well as the Chris Christie endorsement should ensure he stays out front.

Newt Gingrich- a sentimental favorite: Not much substance but a lot of charm. His stories of the good ol’ days, as well as bringing up plans that have succeeded in the past displayed him as a friendly, agreeable candidate and awarded him the first round of applause from a tough audience. He might gain a little ground in the polls but when he loses, the nominee will take a look at him for VP.

Bloomberg: Question of the night? What channel is Bloomberg on?

Holding steady:

Michele Bachmann- a rare flash of humor: Odd that Bachmann who is typically a very straight forward candidate had the best joke of the debate. Referring to Herman Cain’s 999 plan “turn 999 upside down and well, the devil is in the details”. She also flexed her tax attorney knowledge throughout the debate. We don’t see her do that enough.

Ron Paul- better but not mainstream: He’s packaged his message in a more digestible manor. He’s calm down and refined his delivery. He’s going to have to steal Iowa from Michele Bachmann to keep his campaign interesting.

Herman Cain (barely) : Boy, I wanted to put him in the loser column because we know 999 won’t pass and that it’s not feasible. He says he won’t sign another economic plan. His recoil after being accused of being soft on the fed was impressive. Cain has got a demeanor that allows him to slug it out with a tremendous amount of class. When he gets asked about 999 he pivots away from the argument and can’t offer a strong rebuttal He didn’t lose supporters tonight and he received a good amount of applause but, 999 won’t give Republicans the White House.

Losers:

Rick Perry is no Chuck Norris: He needed a breakout debate performance tonight and he didn’t bring it. While he seemed better prepared he was invisible for most of the time. This guy can’t fight! If the Texas Governor can’t mix it up, he can’t beat Barack Obama.

Rick Santorum- Attack until you hit something : I’ve come to like Rick since Presidency V. I met the man and he wants a great America but, he came out looking awkward and wild eyed tonight. “You would think a guy from PBS would know that” his jab at Charlie Rose after he put S before R in the QA last night.

Jon Huntsman looking like Gary Johnson: The 999 pizza joke broke the ice but, he’s still not a serious contender. If he can’t steal New Hampshire it’s time to drop out.

This debate won’t shift much. It’s still going to be the Mitt Romney show featuring Herman Cain. Rick Perry looked like Tim Pawlenty out there and while he’s got the money to take him to the end you’ve got to wonder what’s next. Bachmann needs Iowa or it’s over for her. The rest of the guys need to try something different.

See you next debate!

The round table finally got the candidates face to face.