Early in the debate, Perry brought up Romney's past use of a landscaping company that employed illegal aliens. Though Perry's charge was accurate, I groaned as he carried it way too far. But I think it was worth it. Perry's attack tested the Romney temperament and we got to see what Mr. Smooth looks like when crossed. Do you like him when he's angry?
I give Perry credit here for great self-control. He somehow managed to ignore Romney's hand-on-the-shoulder restraint, an effort by Romney to get Perry to shut up and listen to daddy. It was a clear power move if ever there was one.
Judging from their cheers, the Romney fans apparently liked the snippy, patronizing side of Mitt. But I found his overdone bwa-ha-ha laugh, the condescending touching, his anger at being talked over, and the snide comment about Perry's previous debate performances very unattractive.
Santorum nailed Romney on the travesty of Romneycare:
The final point I would make to Governor Romney, you just don't have credibility, Mitt, when it comes to repealing Obamacare. You are -- you are -- your plan was the basis for Obamacare. Your consultants helped Obama craft Obamacare. And to say that you're going to repeal it, you just -- you have no track record on that that -- that we can trust you that you're going to do that.And kudos to Newt for bringing up this shining example of how Romneycare is "right" for Massachusetts.
As for the approaching precipice, the only guy who seems to feel the urgency of our dire fiscal condition and who talked about making real cuts in government was . . . Ron Paul. Sigh.
Byron York on Perry's "rattling" of Romney (emphasis added):
Romney tried to laugh it off and to deny the story. "I don't think I've ever hired an illegal in my life," he said. Romney tried to explain, but Perry kept pushing, leaving Romney protesting that Perry was ignoring the rules -- just as Perry had planned.Heh. That comes near the end of the clip at the top.
"Rick, again, Rick, I'm speaking," Romney said. "I'm speaking, I'm speaking, I'm speaking. You get 30 seconds. This is the way the rules work here…Anderson?"
By the time Romney appealed to CNN moderator Anderson Cooper for help, Romney seemed flustered, almost frantic. "Would you please wait?" he said to Perry. "Are you just going to keep talking?"
When Perry finally told Romney to "have at it," Romney explained that he had hired a company to do lawn work and had no idea the company hired illegals until it was reported in the paper. But in the course of that explanation, Romney dropped his guard for a moment and uttered a few words he will likely hear again in the coming campaign.
"We went to the company, and we said, 'Look, you can't have any illegals working on our property,'" Romney said. "I'm running for office, for Pete's sake, I can't have illegals." It wasn't clear whether Romney thought hiring illegals was bad in itself or whether he just thought it would look bad for a candidate pursuing the Republican nomination for president.
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