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The Insiders
Posted at 10:15 PM ET, 02/22/2012

Arizona Republican debate: Romney good, Gingrich a zombie

From decades of movies and other personal experiences, we all know the danger of zombies. They are slow but persistent. Thanks to today’s super PACS, sponsored by a small group of very rich people, we now have zombie campaigns and candidates who are undead. They should be dead, but some quirk of nature, or in this case a surge of cash, has kept them going. They can kill other campaigns but they can never live themselves. Hence, in 2012, we have the Gingrich campaign. At the CNN debate the other candidates were aware of his strong presence and were able to stay away from him. No harm done, but he is still among the undead.

Rick Santorum was okay: He avoided the clumsy talk about Satan and contraceptives that has left him off-balance, but tonight he was on the defensive much of the time. He had more flat moments than good moments. At one point Santorum actually said he was against Title X in the Senate before he voted for it. It was so awkward and such a wince-inducing moment that I was waiting for another candidate to pounce - but noone picked it up. They all let him walk. I’ll bet they will recover and we will hear more about it.

Ron Paul was at his most lucid and engaging ever. I have no idea if he will get more votes as a result. He hit Santorum with the charge that he was a “get along, go along” type in the Senate, which is a weak spot for the former Senator.

Mitt Romney was good but not great. If you were leaning toward Romney you were mostly reassured. He didn’t change many minds but he made his soft supporters a little more confident. His command of serious facts and his ability to speak like a president should is improving.

Tuesday’s primary fights are still hand-to-hand combats with uncertain outcomes. It’s exciting and bewildering at the same time.

By  |  10:15 PM ET, 02/22/2012

 
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