We watched the Republican debates last night and if debate performance is any indicator of who the nominee will be then Mitt Romney is the guy. Romney’s latest performance all but ended any speculation over who Republicans will task with the job of defeating Barak Obama. Romney was poised, polished and cool under pressure. He was clearly the most “Presidential” guy at the table.
Herman Cain held on to the position of presumptive Vice President Nominee. Cain held firm to his 9-9-9 economic plan. The other candidates allowed Cain to prattle on about his plan without really forcing him to dig into the details. In the end he justified his #2 position at the table but did nothing to unseat Romney as the front runner.
The big loser last night was Rick Perry. Needing a strong performance to reverse his falling numbers Perry again seemed to almost disappear. So dismissive of Perry was Romney that during a portion of the debate when candidates were to direct questions to each other Romney looked right past Perry and directed his question to Bachman. It was as if Romney was saying: “If you were my chief rival I would put you on the spot with a tough question about your record…but you are no longer of any consequence.” When pushed about his failure to put forth his own economic plan Perry whined: “Governor Romney has had five years to put together his economic plan…I’ve had eight weeks.” This is what happens when back in July someone whispers in your ear that you ought to run for President. You can stick a fork in Perry. He’s done!
In addition to winning the debate Romney took home the coveted prize of Chris Christie’s endorsement. Christie officially threw his support behind Romney and indicated his willingness to serve as Romney’s surrogate out on the stump. Christie will be an effective attack dog against the President; a task that has proven difficult for Romney. Christie’s endorsement will also allow the Tea Party faction to make peace with Romney. Tea Partiers have long been concerned about Romney’s tendency to flip flop on the issues; but Christie’s plain spoken approach will put that to rest. Speculation surrounding Christie filling the VP slot on the Romney ticket has already begun.
Now all Romney has to do is convince voters that he is a true conservative and if he defeats Obama he won’t turn into another version of the free spending George W. Bush.