The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Fox’s Special Report with Bret Baier

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

On Monday’s Republican debate in Myrtle Beach, SC:

This was not one of the debates that was muddy. There was a clear [winner]. It was Gingrich. He started out wobbly… still on the Bain stuff and the ads. But as soon as he pivoted away, he won the night, obviously, not only when he answered the question about food stamps and the poor and handouts, but I thought he got lucky when he was the one who was given the question after Ron Paul had answered [Baier’s] question about [whether he disapproved of] the bin Laden raid. That was the lowest [point] in the Paul campaign and lowest moment of the evening — when Ron Paul gave an answer that was self-contradictory, meandering, incoherent, in the end, quite weird. I thought it was the worst answer since the Perry “oops” moment.

I think anybody could have swatted it out of park after that, but when [Gingrich] started saying that Usama bin Laden is no Chinese dissident, you could have ended the fight there and said it’s a TKO.

Look, I have been tough on Newt, but when he is good he is really good. And last night he was really good.

Romney I thought played defense. He was OK. He got winged a little bit. He defended himself when he deflected the attacks on Bain. But he still hasn’t given a good answer on how it’s good for the economy and the American worker that we have private equity.

Santorum I thought was OK, but he is in competition with Gingrich. And considering how well Gingrich did, I think he lost ground.

Perry in the end I think did really well compared to any of his other performances. But it’s late, and he also had that gaffe on Turkey where he was out of his depth, but got away with it because… it was almost unnoticed.

On the possibility that a recount would show Rick Santorum to have won the Iowa Caucuses:

If he did it would be too late. It’s like the ‘92 New Hampshire race between [Pat] Buchanan and George [HW] Bush, the president, where in mid-evening it looked as if Buchanan had a stunning upset, and those were the headlines in the morning. He ended up way back behind by 10 points, but the impact of original headlines already had the effect and Buchanan had a moral victory.

The fact that a party of 12 changed over [from Romney to Santorum] in the final count in Iowa is not going to make any difference. Santorum’s problem is he is in a race with Gingrich — Gingrich had a good night….

Gingrich, I think, overestimates — in the claim he would be the best candidate in the general election — he overestimates the importance of debate in the general election. It’s been extremely important up until now in this [primary] race. We have had 16 of them and they shaped the whole campaign. The [general election] debate in October — there will be three debates at the end, an hour-and- a-half. They’re rarely decisive. He may win in a debate, but the question is who will win in the election?

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”


The Latest