Debate Winner: Mitch Daniels
11:31 PM, Jan 23, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
I’ve got to think Monday night’s debate further swelled the groundswell of support for Mitch Daniels. The liveliest part of the debate was at the beginning, when Mitt went after Newt—and Republicans all over America watched with fascinated horror at the thought that these are the two GOP frontrunners. The only spectacle in American politics more off-putting than Newt Gingrich in self-righteous defense mode is Mitt Romney in self-righteous attack mode. I thought Mitt’s attacks were somewhat more dishonest than Newt’s defenses were disingenuous, but it was good to move on to the rest of the debate, where little further damage was done.
My conclusion: If Mitch Daniels’s effective tax rate is 30 percent rather than 15 percent, and if he was never paid $1.6 million by Freddie Mac, he can be the next president.