Barone names two ‘winners’ in the Republican presidential debate

Michael Barone‘s latest Washington Examiner article delves deeper into the outcome of this week’s GOP presidential debate:

There were two clear winners in the Republican debate. I have argued that there is no front-runner for the Republican nomination, but Mitt Romney certainly looked like one. His clear vulnerability is his Massachusetts health care program with its Obamacare-like mandate to buy health insurance.

But no one called him on it. Tim Pawlenty, who had criticized “Obamneycare” on “Fox News Sunday,” seemed to take that back at St. Anselm’s. Romney responded by saying that if Obama had asked his advice he would have said that Obamacare wouldn’t work.

In doing so he showed the sense of command that is one quality Americans usually seek in a president. And he continually brandished his businessman’s credentials by attacking Obama’s economic policies as disastrous.

The other clear winner was Michele Bachmann, who took the occasion to announce her candidacy and who was clearly well prepared for likely questions.

She batted back CNN moderator John King’s suggestion that she was irresponsible in opposing an increase in the federal debt limit by quoting another statement opposing it — by then-Sen. Obama. She declined King’s invitation to pick a fight with those who favor abortion in cases of rape and incest. She cited her opposition to the $700 billion TARP legislation in 2008 by saying that principle comes before party.

And she made sure to mention that she had worked as a tax attorney, raised five biological children and provided a home for 23 foster children.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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