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Post Partisan
Posted at 12:20 AM ET, 11/23/2011

Republican foreign policy debate winners: Romney and Gingrich


Some notes from Tuesday’s GOP debate:

You’re not in jogging shorts, and Wolf Blitzer is not a coyote: Rick Perry greets Blitzer by making his fingers resemble a gun and “shooting” the moderator.

Someone remind him — he’s running for president: Blitzer asks Herman Cain whether America should continue to fund foreign AIDS and malaria relief programs. Cain responds: “It depends upon priorities.” Well, yes.

Michele Bachmann’s latest inanity: She claims that President Obama has outsourced the CIA to the ACLU. Apparently the ACLU is a lot better at plotting the death of Osama bin Laden than it has ever gotten credit for.

Michele Bachmann’s surprising non-inanity: She argues that immediately revoking aid to Pakistan could complicate America’s war against insurgent networks in the region.

A (tiny) crack in Mitt Romney’s pandering on immigration appears: He grants that he wouldn’t split up families to deport illegal immigrants who have lived in America for 25 years, paid taxes and become churchgoing members of their communities.

This might hurt America’s image abroad even more than the GOP primary: Rick Santorum proposes that federal authorities subject Muslims to enhanced scrutiny at airports.

Most predictable moment of the night: Newt Gingrich insists that American agents should have any technique at their disposal with which to interrogate potential terrorists. Ron Paul insists that would be an outrageous infringement of liberty.

Least predictable moment of the night: Cain doesn’t utter “9-9-9” a single time.


(Win McNamee - GETTY IMAGES)
This would be big news, if he had any chance of becoming president: Perry suggests that America should establish a no-fly zone over Syria.

Did he mean it that way? Blitzer prefaces a question on Syria with, “Herman Cain, you may not know this, but...”

The bottom line: Romney and Gingrich won. Romney because he is still the putative frontrunner and the likely nominee, and he did not mess up tonight. Gingrich because he held his own in the spotlight, unlike some of the previous anti-Romneys in this primary campaign. Otherwise, Perry still looked tired, Bachmann still sounded kooky, Huntsman was still too moderate, Ron Paul was still Ron Paul, and Cain still gave no sense he belonged on stage, even among this cast of characters.

By  |  12:20 AM ET, 11/23/2011

 
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