The big news for the day are the results from the double barreled GOP Presidential Primary debates - the first hosted by WMUR / ABC News outside of Manchester, NH and the second hosted this morning by NBC's Meet The Press. 2 Debates in 12 hours - with voting taking place in New Hampshire on Tuesday to decide 12 delegates out of the 1,144 needed to gain the nomination.
The expectations coming into these debates is that Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman would come out in full fledged attack against the front runner Mitt Romney. However, the Saturday night debate didn't see this as Romney's rivals really failed to make any successful attacks.
What was notable about the debate was the absurd moderation by the ABC News duo, Diane Sawyer, and in particular former Clintonista George Stephanopolous. George took the debate into a no-where-land by driving much of the focus on gay marriage and contraception as if these are the two biggest issues facing the country today. This goes beyond asinine - and beyond hypocrisy when it comes to the media bias - and enter right into the realm of raging stupidity.
Romney was generally seen as the winner of the Saturday night debate - primarily on the basis of not getting sufficiently tagged by his opponents and remaining calm and Presidential in his approach and focus. Santorum did well too, except for his descent into a smack down on Ron Paul. Paul might be polling in 2nd place in NH - but he is so far out in the Lyndon Larouche land of foreign and domestic policy that Santorum is better served remembering that when he was being ignored in debates, smacking Paul was worthwhile - but as the leading 'Not Romney' candidate - he needs to be either hitting Obama or Romney. There are times when the piñata doesn't need to be hit - even if it is there.
Of the other candidates, none really acquitted themselves well - with Newt dropping into a barb exchange with Paul (and getting a bloody nose in the kerfuffle) that did neither well. Jon Huntsman also did little to really promote himself - and afterwards his people were busy trying to reset expectations of his performance in New Hampshire. When this happens, you know the end is near.
This morning's debate featured one major change from the debate last night. No, not the imbecilic moderation by NBC's David Gregory (you really thought that would change given Gregory?) but with the rivals finally opening up to go on a full fledged offensive against Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Jon Huntsman all accepted the invitation by David Gregory to attack Romney. Gingrich has one of the better lines - tagging Romney's efforts to slip the barrage of punches as 'pious baloney'. Huntsman was also on the rampage - seeking revenge for Romney's pile driving of his service as Obama's Ambassador to the People's Republic of China. Unfortunately, trying to compare this level of service to that of active duty military personnel, reflects why Huntsman will be the next out of the race.
Mitt Romney was wounded by the attacks - probably for the first time of the debate season - but then the barrage stopped as the debate moved on. When they remained focused on Romney trying to run to the left of Teddy Kennedy in 1994 or asking the question as to why Romney really didn't want to run for reelection as Mass Governor (he stood a strong likelihood of losing and wanted to be President), Romney was vulnerable. However as it shifted towards Gingrich whinging yet again about the Pac ads that damaged him so badly for things that Gingrich did do - the damage was on Gingrich, not Romney.
The Suffolk University daily tracking polls in NH are showing that for the last 4 days, Romney's lead has been whittled down with Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman getting the boost. But with NH being an open primary and the fact that many like messing with the polls (beyond the pollsters), we can take most of this with various grains of salt. Romney still has a large lead, Ron Paul will get most of his votes via crossover, and Huntsman / Santorum will battle for third. With only 12 delegates at stake it's not a huge thing except in perception.
One of the biggest lessons that do need to be learned about this campaign season is that whomever at the RNC is responsible for arranging these debates / moderators needs to be sacked immediately. Having some of the most biased liberal reporters in the industry moderate the debates has meant that the moderators have been far bigger parts of these stories than the candidates. The sooner that the GOP realizes that no matter what they say or do they will not get a fair or objective treatment from the mainstream media, the better the GOP will be able to function.
Giving us another example of the liberal bias in the media, Washington Post's David Ignatious writes an op-ed justifying and celebrating the President's decision to gut the US national defense by saying that the decision finally permits us to 'close the book on the 9/11 era'. There is few things more reprehensible than the liberal rush to return to a 9/10 mindset and ignore the fact that radical Islam attacked this country and murdered nearly 3,000 people while doing several trillion dollars in economic damage. 9/11 did happen and reflects a continued threat against the US....but that doesn't fit their agenda.
The State of Arizona, which last year passed a state law to prohibit the teaching of gender or race specific school programs, is targeting the The failure of the School District to stop this program could cost it millions in state funding. The proponents for the program are couching the program as being 1st amendment protected free speech. Unfortunately, this program and many like it in other schools and universities do promote racism and differences as opposed to unifying us all as Americans.
President Obama wrapped up his week long assault on the Constitution with the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano introducing new department regulations which create a defacto amnesty for all illegal immigrants within the United States - and ignores as irrelevant the Federal laws on the books with respect to illegal immigration. These steps are being touted as another 'outreach' by the Administration to gain the Hispanic vote. Combined with the DoJ's efforts to eliminate or prevent any Voter ID laws from taking effect - and we've got the framework to get millions of illegals voting in this year's Presidential election - and voting for Democrat candidates.
More violence in Syria this weekend despite the Arab League observers. In Homs, another 21 were killed in violence - with the Syrian military killing at least 10 civilian protesters while Syrian military defectors retaliated by killing at least 11 Syrian troops. The death toll in Syria is now over 6,000 - and the majority of the Western nations still remain on the sidelines - unwilling to take a stand against this oppressive regime and an ally of Iran.
Greece is starting to sell bonds backed by state property as collateral in their latest effort to be able to raise funds to avoid default...
On This Day in History...
1790 - President George Washington delivers the first State of the Union
1877 - Crazy Horse fights his last battle against the US Cavalry during a rear guard action in Montana. Outnumbered and outgunned, he retreats. In May, he will lead 1,110 Indians into a reservation in Nebraska and surrender to the US Government.
1918 - President Woodrow Wilson announces his 14 point plan for a post World War I Europe - including a forerunner to the League of Nations.
2011 - At a Town Hall / Meet & Greet in the parking lot of a Tuscon Safeway store, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others are shot by a gunman. The alleged gunman, Jared Loughner, kills 6. Despite being gravely wounded by being shot in the head, Congresswoman Giffords survived the attack. Loughner, after being found mentally incompetent to stand trial, remains in custody.
Yesterday's 'On This Day in History' incorrectly included the 1815 Battle of New Orleans. The Battle of New Orleans, a decisive British defeat that took place after the war was officially ended, actually took place on the 8th of January.