Sunday, November 6, 2011

"[I]f Gingrich had wanted to run circles around Cain, he could have."

Cain had a rather embarrassing moment when he had to defer to Newt on a question because he didn't understand what the question meant. And then even when it came to his turn, he still didn't seem to understand the question.

Byron York wrote of Saturday Night's debate:
In fact, the Gingrich-Cain debate pitted the candidate with the most detailed policy knowledge against the candidate with the least detailed knowledge. It was a good thing for Cain that it was a friendly encounter; if Gingrich had wanted to run circles around Cain, he could have.
York continues:
Gingrich's words, plus a look at his standing in the Republican presidential race, suggest three reasons why the Cain debate might turn out to be a benefit for the Gingrich campaign. First, Gingrich understands that many Republican voters are disgusted by the arguing that has taken place at GOP debates. They want to see it stop. To the degree that Gingrich is seen as participating in civil discussions, it's a plus for him.
Second, Gingrich, now in third place in the Republican race nationally, benefits from being seen on friendly terms with the frontrunner Cain. At the end of the debate, Cain made a joke about the possibility of Gingrich being on a Cain ticket. For Gingrich, it doesn't matter how unlikely such a scenario is. Cain enjoys the goodwill of a lot of Republican voters, and it can't hurt Gingrich if some of that goodwill is now reflected on him after a friendly and mutually-admiring debate in Texas.

Third, and most important, Gingrich could gain support in the future by moving closer to Cain now. At the moment, Cain has the very dedicated support of many conservative Republicans. But after the rise and fall of Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, many Republican insiders do not expect Cain to go the distance for the Republican nomination. If Cain were to fade, it's not a bad thing for Gingrich if Cain's supporters think of Gingrich fondly. Should they find themselves looking for a new candidate to support, they might well turn to the former Speaker, who for many was their second choice all along. At that moment, Gingrich could become the main challenger to frontrunner Mitt Romney.
York concludes by writing:
Gingrich helped himself by meeting Cain at The Woodlands Saturday night. It's no wonder he's thinking about doing it again.
From the New York Times:
Over all, Mr. Gingrich seemed to earn more hearty and spontaneous applause for his answers than did Mr. Cain, who took a pass on one question to let Mr. Gingrich “go first,” as he said. He also used some of his time to take a second shot at answering a question that he acknowledged he did not address well on the first try.

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