Primary Debates and Forums
Sponsors: CNN and the Western Republican Leadership Conference (WRLC).
Santorum. (Former Gov. Jon Huntsman was invited, but
up the Western region of the United States will
be in the
Broadcast: CNN, CNN en Español will take the debate live with simultaneous interpretation, and the debate will be carried live on CNN International. CNNPolitics.com will live stream the event.
Format: Instead of formal opening statements, candidates provided brief introductions of themselves. One minute to answer questions; 30 seconds for responses. No buzzers or bells. Some questions from the audience and Twitter.
week. According to the CNN press
release, Western states and issues were to "take center stage" at this
debate; there were questions
on the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository and foreclosures, but
all in all most of the debate had a national focus. The debate
up where the last one ended, focusing on Herman Cain's 9-9-9
plan; Cain's competitors panned the plan.
During the course of the evening, there
were a number of
sharp exchanges. Adam Graham, writing at "Race 4 2012," observed
that, "Cooper was not so much a moderator, as he was a provoker.
viewing the debates as an opportunity to educate the voters, Cooper’s
questions set out to draw Republican candidates in cage fight style
confrontations and it worked several times." (+)
the Weak" blog, Wes Hemings observed that, "Tracking
time was the most difficult yet with all the temper tantrums on
display..." While some of sparring may have been due to Cooper as
moderator, several of the candidates seemed primed to attack.
Mitt Romney seemed to be the prime target. For example, Santorum
took Romney to task, stating "...you just don't
have credibility, Mitt, when it comes to repealing Obamacare."
Perry launched the most direct broadside,
charging, "And Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my
you hired illegals in your home and you knew about it for a year.
the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you're
strong on immigration is on its face the height of hypocrisy."
(This was a story from 2006-07 about a
company Romney had hired to do lawn care). The tone became very
testy. At one point Romney told Perry, "You have a problem with
allowing someone to finish speaking. And I
suggest that if you want to become president of the United States, you
have got to let both people speak."
Analysis by the website "Dawn of the Weak" of candidate talking time during the debate found a somewhat more even distribution of time than in the last debate. Romney had 15:11 of total talk time (20:78%) followed by Perry (11:01), Paul (10:05), Bachmann (9:58), Santorum (9:50), Cain (9:06), and Gingrich (7:53).