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Debate Reactions: Cool Hand Mitt

11:05 PM, Oct 11, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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Michael Barone --  " Mitt Romney sounding presidential at Dartmouth":

The award for smoothest performance, once again, goes to Mitt Romney. Close observers may be growing tired of his “only 8% were affected” dodge on his Massachusetts health care program and by the way he segues into attacking Barack Obama as ill-prepared and clueless. But I thought he had a truly extraordinary response around the 30-minute mark when Julianna Goldman asked him what he would do if there were financial collapse triggered in Europe comparable to the financial collapse triggered by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Romney appeared astonished that Goldman kept insisting this hypothetical question wasn’t hypothetical, but quickly recovered and embarked on a monologue that, briefly interrupted by another question, seemed to go on considerably longer than the one-minute time limit. In my view he showed a deft ability to make intellectually and politically defensible statements and arguments, and to convey the assurance that he would be a surefooted leader in such a crisis.

John Hinderaker -- "Impressions of Tonight's Debate":

Rick Perry, during the half of the debate that I saw, bordered on invisible. I don’t know whether the pundits who say this was make or break for Perry are right, but it certainly was not a strong night for him. One thing that strikes me as odd is how little mileage Perry gets out of his job creation record in Texas. He mentioned it a time or two, but, as in prior debates, he didn’t use it effectively as the foundation of his claim to be the strongest candidate.

Philip Klein -- "Cool hand Mitt glides through another debate":

Tonight's debate was largely uneventful, but if there was one moment that epitomized the current state of the race, it came during a segment when candidates could choose to ask a question of any one of their opponents. Mitt Romney directed a softball question to Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., about how she would get the economy going again. The move demonstrated that Romney is highly confident that he is in the driver's seat to win the Republican nomination and doesn't see anybody as a real threat. And after another smooth debate performance, Romney has very good reason to be confident.

Stephen Green -- "Drunkblogging Tonight’s GOP Presidential Debate"

Newt: I love America. Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama don’t, and they’re also much more political than I am. Also, I love these candidates and their good ideas. Charlie Rose, you and China suck.

I think I got all that right.

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