May 7, 2007

Why Romney Won the Republican Presidential Debate

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Thursday night, Republican presidential candidates squared off in their first debate. While everybody had their eyes on McCain and Guiliani, the candidate who emerged as the true winner was former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. He gave fluid answers to every question with both style and substance, giving him an almost Reagan-like appeal. While I’ve highlighted five issues to analyze in this post, you can go to his website to see videos of his answer to every question in the debate.

War on Terror

Demonstrating a commanding knowledge of the war on terror, Romney talked about more than bin Laden and al-Qaeda. He identified the central problem in the war on terror as an extremist ideology behind not only al-Qaeda but also many other terrorist groups in the Middle East. To confirm his wisdom, recall that killing the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, did not bring an end to al-Qaeda in Iraq and certainly did not bring an end to terrorism in general in Iraq. Likewise, taking out bin Laden or even all of al-Qaeda will not stop the war on terror. Furthermore, by making a key distinction between moderate Islamic governments and jihadists, Romney avoids the senseless mistake of isolating Islam as a whole for the sins of a few extremists.


Let’s face it. Most people from both parties would love to get out of Iraq, regardless of whether or not it’s the right decision. Romney includes himself among those, but at the same time, he gave the best warning I have ever seen against a premature exit, which would have consequences extending far beyond the borders of Iraq. His stance on Iraq does not rely on bashing Democrats (although he does take a shot or two at them in the debate); it relies on the enormous policy implications of every move we make in Iraq.

Health Care

By far, this is one of Romney’s strongest points. He emphasizes how he implemented a bipartisan (don’t ask Washington what that word means) plan for universal health care in Massachusetts. Even better, he shows how the conservative principles behind the free market and capitalism played huge roles in his health plan. It gives him an enormous foothold in the area of domestic policy, which has been more often perceived as a strong spot for Democrats.


Romney knows that the major battles with abortion takes place in the courtroom, so he wisely avoids a sweeping, polarizing denunciation of abortion. At the same time, he focuses on smaller, realistic pro-life policy initiatives that appeal to social conservatives.

However, Romney has drawn a lot of fire for “flip-flopping” from pro-choice in his earlier days to pro-life today, but he responds to this criticism superbly. First, he explains that he never took a true pro-choice stance. As a younger politician, he showed respect for the law of the land, whether it was pro-life or pro-choice (it just happened to be pro-choice in his state). Then he turns the tables on his critics by showing how his time supporting pro-choice laws woke him up and showed him the flaws of abortions, providing him with a more enlightened view on why he is pro-life.

The American Family

I like Romney’s claim that families are the heart of the Republican party. It gives Republicans a wonderful image that is sometimes forgotten, due to the war hawks and religious fundamentalists in the party. Many social problems in America stem from single parents and broken families, and Romney addresses the need for healthy families and marriages while still compassionately reaching out to single mothers. His position on the family can really help him capture a segment of the Republican base forgotten, to some extent, by the Bush administraion.


    #1 Top Internet Search Term – WOW! “Ron Paul” is now listed as the #1 Internet search term by Search for “Ron Paul” to vote in this poll!
    MSNBC – Six Categories of Performance Debate Poll – The real conservative Dr. Ron Paul, MD besting the competition after 65,000 votes with the lowest negative and highest positive ratings!
    MSNBC – Rate The Candidates – Again, Dr. Ron Paul gets HUGE post-debate surge, with the lowest negatives and highest positives of all candidates after more than 85,000 votes.
    C-SPAN Capital News 1st Debate Poll – The real conservative leading the field with upwards of 70% of the vote!
    ABC NEWS Poll – Ron Paul now way out in front! – FINALLY includes Dr. Ron Paul after censoring only him and deleting/censoring his user comments.
    Ventura County Star – Ron Paul way ahead of the pack!
    US Chamber of Commerce Poll – Ron Paul capturing over 85% of votes!
    Conservatives Betrayed Poll – Ron Paul with nearly 80% support!

  • Romney is missing it in a few areas, small business, seniors

  • Anonymous


    Ron Paul won the debate!

    He is the best hope for America!

  • David Link

    What planet are you Mitt supporters living on. The GOP is never going to win any election with a Pro-War candidate. Did you not pay attention to the whooping (according to Bush) we got last year by the Democrats? Do you not read any poll that puts Bush and his NEO-CONs at less than 30% aprovall ratings? Did you not hear that your man Mitt “let’s double guantamo” Romney at the debates where he was pushing the NEO-CON agenda? Are you not paying attention to Ron Paul and his viral internet campaign – when he doubled his campaing funds overnight after the SC debate.

    Bury your heads in the sand and give the keys to the Whitehouse to Clinton or Obama, or maybe that is your plan all along.

    Ron Paul is the GOP’s only chance to crush the Democrats in ’08.

  • LadyHawk

    I was invited to attend Cornell in the early 1970’s. I passed on the opportunity and instead went to and graduated from Bennington College in Bennington Vermont.

    At the time of my decision, I followed an inner sense — a gut feeling that Bennington would somehow encourage a higher quality of personal growth and expansion.

    Now, in reading this mindless report on the good-looking, smooth-talking Mitt Romney (a BS artist much like our current Mr. Bush), I am convinced that I made the correct decision. At least Bennington provides its students an opportunity to stretch, to think outside the box and to stand in courage for what is right — to the core. Mitt Romney doe not represent that kind of honesty. He’s a show, a song and dance routine — just more of the same version of politics that is already intent on subjugating the freedoms of the American people.

    Vote RON PAUL. Vote to Return to the Future. Hooray!

  • Anonymous

    As Dr Ron Paul gains exposure via ANY DEBATE HE IS INVITED TO HE WINS. And the message is clear we need to clean house
    in Washington and he is the man to do it. RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT IN 2008

  • TL

    I’m sorry, but look up the word conservative. Why are most of us raised to distrust politicians as liars and cheats? Look at Ron Paul’s record and you see nothing but truth in his message. It bums me out that so many find it difficult to see through the fakeness of the other candidates on both sides of the aisle.

    Look at campaign contributions and see that Ron Paul has the highest percentage of donations of under $200 than any other candidate. He gets little to no support from special interests. I will cast a vote to the person most likely to defend my rights than I would vote for someone more likely to be the same old type of politician overflowing the halls of power in Washington.

    This lifelong Republican has turned lifelong Constitutionalist thanks to Ron Paul. Give me liberty or give me death. I will never again be a sheep being led to slaughter by the wolves. Freedom used to mean something in this country, instead we get perpetual warfare and global empire. How is this policy “American”?