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Saturday, November 12, 2011

The CBS-National Journal Foreign Policy Debate

Just some random thoughts from watching the Republican foreign policy debate:

1) The most intelligent remarks are coming from the bottom-tier candidates such as Jon Huntsman, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul,  and occasionally Michelle Bachmann.

2) The top level candidates seem to be posturing to the crowd, especially Mitt Romney and Herman Cain.

3) Herman Cain denied that waterboarding is not torture but merely an enhanced interrogation technique. What are the odds that within 48 hours he will be claiming that he was just kidding or that he was misunderstood?

4) Rick Perry has used self-deprecating humor to some effect with a couple of references to his debate performance two days previously when he forgot the Dept. of Energy. But in terms of substance he is in the same league with Romney and Cain.

5)  Gingrich is much more articulate than either Cain or Romney, his first-tier competitors.

6) Michelle Bachmann used a question about cost-cutting in the military to grandstand about Obamacare.

7) Cain tries to either sound intelligent or gain time by rephrasing questions. And his fallback default answer is that he will consult the generals.  But he sounds like he obviously prepared for the debate.

8) The debate will probably do very little if anything to change the dynamics of the race. Huntsman, Santorum and Paul will still remain in the bottom tier. Cain's future will be determined by how caucus-goers in Iowa react to the sexual harassment scandal and by whom they tend to believe, and Romney will continue to coast while Gingrich continues to rise until he self destructs.

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