This or that (It surely isn’t Pawlenty)

Tim Pawlenty couldn’t muster an inappropriate TSA patdown of Mitt Romney in last night’s debate let alone a solid punch or two. What would he do sharing a stage with Obama, bow? Jonathan Tobinon T-Paw’s slip-sliding away:

Unfortunately for Tim Pawlenty, he listened to those voices urging caution and that provided the debate’s signature moment. Offered an opportunity to hit his main opponent hard on Obamneycare as he called it just a few days ago, Pawlenty whiffed. In the end, it really doesn’t matter whether it was because he was too nice or not courageous enough to call out Romney to his face. Either way he failed. It was a key moment in this race and one that Pawlenty will rue in the months to come. He walks away from the debate clearly weakened by this astonishing failure of either nerve or imagination. Instead of winning the competition between the two mainstream candidates, Pawlenty is now in danger of slipping back into the second tier.

The beneficiaries of Pawlenty’s weak-kneed performance? Romney, of course, and Michelle Bachmann who stunned left and right with her poise. Philip Klein:

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who announced during the debate that she would be running for president, also had a strong showing. Though she’s portrayed in the media as a lightweight, she came across polished, knowledgeable and quite comfortable during the debate.

Allahpundit points to Democrats responding positively to Bachmann after the debate:

Among the 43 Democratic Insiders who responded, 38% of them said that Bachmann had been the most impressive while 28% said Romney was…

Democratic Insiders thought Bachmann was delivering a good performance in the multi-candidate debate format. “Great energy and personality,” said one Democratic Insider. “Excellent answers that were solidly conservative but sounded very reasonable.” Added another Democrat, “Bachmann is proving to be a strong debater, relaxed, concise and delivering good one-liners.”

Said one Democratic Insider who admitted to being surprised by Bachmann’s showing, “She is coming across as accessible and likeable; she is one of the only candidates up there who has smiled and is trying to connect with the ‘real people’ asking the questions.”

It will be much harder for the media to kookify Bachmann a la Palin. Not that they won’t die trying.

Finally, Mark Steyn assails the idiocy of the questioning. Color me cynical, but what do you expect of CNN? Boxers or briefs? Puff or pass? Little liberal minds.

Cross-posted at Pundit & Pundette. (Woot!)

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6 Responses

  1. I have to agree with you, Pawlenty did not have a good showing, though I don’t know if this totally kills his candidacy. He can still recover. But it does seem like it’s Romney. Does anyone know what Romney’s position is on abortion these days? I know he’s flipped around; I just don’t know where he flipped to lately.

  2. Pawlenty did look weak in that moment. He must have known that question was coming. He needed a Reaganesque line–polite, strong, but laced with humor.

  3. See I didn’t want to see them attacking each other yet. I want them to talk about the issues and how they would do things differently. The last thing we need is a long drawn out primary season that leaves them weak and too broke to win the general. They have time to take out the knives. Romney is doing a great deal of damage by giving up on social conservatives. So I am not worried about him.

    I thought Pawlenty did very well last night. He came across as a viable general election candidate.

    • I understand your point, JACG, but I think it’s better to get bloody now and get it over with than waiting for later. Later is too close to the general. Dunno.

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