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Post CNN Debate in SC

Having just finished CNN's GOP Presidential debate in advance of the SC Primary, a few observations.....

  • Mitt Romney was terrible in the FOX Debate on Monday night. As weak as his performance was tonight, it was not the debacle that he struggled through on Monday. His poor performance will likely lead to a loss on Saturday in the SC Primary that would've seemed unfathomable less than a week ago. Note: His now-loss in Iowa only serves to damage his earlier aura of inevitability that was an earlier linchpin to his campaign.
  • Newt Gingrich likewise did not have an equal performance to Monday night. However, he was good enough to continue benefiting from that earlier success. Looking at his momentum after recent debate performances and endorsements, a SC victory (that he himself declared a must-have after New Hampshire) has moved from realm of possible past probable to likely. Note: Rick Perry's departure and endorsement in the hours prior to the debate likely cemented the Saturday outcome.
  • Ron Paul held his own even though he was at times completely ignored. He handled it well; on topics like healthcare, he (a doctor by trade) made some pretty good jokes of it. CNN avoided asking Paul questions about foreign policy which kept that campaign weakness out of the discussion. Based on his campaign model and makeup, he will likely remain in the race regardless of SC's outcome.
  • Rick Santorum had what was probably his best debate performance tonight in the same way that Rick Perry's best night was in Monday night's FOX debate. He got the added bolstering of the pre-debate announcement that the Iowa GOP had actually certified him (not Romney) the winner of their caucus. Unfortunately for the former Senator, momentum that he should have gotten from this win was weakened by the fact that the race was over a couple of weeks ago & the announcement is just not being made. Regardless, Santorum (after what will probably be a last place finish in SC) is the next person to join the quickly-growing list of "former" Presidential Candidates. He will soon begin facing the same external influences to "acknowledge reality" that led Rick Perry to step aside - and it will likely be suggested to occur in advance of Florida.

Give the debate win to Santorum even if that proves to be an empty long-term victory for his campaign. He is poised to finish last among the final four on Saturday in the primary. Good odds are that he will be out of the race in a matter of days....