Our friends at “The Fix” provide the rundown on last night’s Republican Presidential debate. Mitt Romney did well. Michele Bachmann did not. And Rick Perry…well:
* First 45 minutes Rick Perry: With all eyes on him, the Texas governor started out strong – delivering a solid answer on jobs and showing a willingness to mix it up with Romney. He was confident without being brash and seemed well versed – or at least well rehearsed – on the issues of the day. If the debate ended after 45 minutes, we might be talking about how Perry had dispelled all doubts about his readiness for the national glare of a presidential race and all it entails.
* Last Hour Rick Perry: After a strong start, Perry seemed to lose focus – meandering on his answer on Social Security and badly fumbling on climate change. Some of Perry’s struggles in the middle portion of the debate had to do with the fact that he was getting tough questions and having to weather a steady attack from his opponents – he joked at one point that he had become a “pinata” – but that’s what you get when you’re the frontrunner. Perry salvaged the second half of the debate with a very strong answer on the death penalty. But his uneven performance will likely keep the conversation about whether he is a clear frontrunner alive, which is not what the Perry forces wanted.