Big Night for Cain, Tough Night for Perry

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


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The Republican presidential debate last night may prove to be decisive in the race. Rick Perry received the biggest boos and criticisms, and Herman Cain had a terrific performance that could vault him to the head of the second-tier group, as Michele Bachmann seemed to fade away.

Rick Perry suffered the most in the debate. He was loudly booed by the audience when he defended granting in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants, stating that “you don’t have a heart” if you oppose their education. He was less intensely booed when he defended his mandating of HPV vaccinations for schoolgirls, saying he erred on the side of life.

Perry and Mitt Romney accused each other of flip-flopping, and Perry scored points when he said that Romney removed a line about national health care from the paperback version of his book. Perry came off more likeable during this debate, smiling to Romney during their exchange and saying, “It’s like badminton.” He also sparked laughter when he was asked which candidate on the stage would be his favorite running mate. He said he’d want to find a way to “mate” Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, to which Romney responded by saying that he’ll have trouble forgetting that image.

Romney performed very well, but did not have a stand-out moment. Instead, he received less enthusiastic, but more consistent, applauses. He is benefiting as the other candidates focus on bringing down Perry, as they want his spot as the alternative to Romney. The answers that were the most well-received were the attacks on Perry’s record on illegal immigration and that the U.S. mustn’t “allow an inch of space between” itself and an ally like Israel.

Herman Cain had a spectacular night, winning both the loudest and most consistent applauses. He appears to have accepted criticism that his answers lacked substance, and has changed his style in a big way. Chris Wallace’s mere mention of Cain’s 9-9-9 economic plan generated cheers. He had the biggest applause of the night when the moderators mentioned how he survived cancer and that he said he’d be dead if ObamaCare was in place. On foreign policy, he had the strongest line of the discussion when he said, “If you mess with Israel, you’re messing with the U.S.” He only criticized Romney for not proposing a transformation of the tax structure, saying, “That dog won’t hunt.”

Newt Gingrich had a great night, as usual, but was outshined by Cain for the first time. His biggest applause line was when he called for making English the official language of government and offering Pell-type grants to K-12 students to go to schools of their choice. He actually got an even bigger applause when a moderator reviewed whether each candidate previously said that Obama is a socialist and Gingrich’s answer of, “yes, of course” was brought up. Gingrich is tied with Bachmann for third place nationally in two polls and fourth in another, but his growth may be stunted by Cain’s stellar night. Gingrich is revealing his “21st Century Contract with America” on September 29 in Iowa to give his campaign momentum.

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  • Walter

    Herman Cain just might be the best choice for the nomination. Romney is certainly not a conservative. In the last presidential election the Republicans nominated a moderate conservative and they were eaten alive for it, and our country now suffers this social liberal who's motto is spend spend spend.

    • tom chastain

      herman cain has a new book coming out called this is herman cain by herman cain

    • Upaces

      He is a very nice man; however, he changed his mind 5 times in 72 hrs on important issues. The mind changing involved allowing gays to serve in his administration (1st he says it is a sin. Then he turns around and says "he would allow them in his administration."
      He changed his mind 3 times on Muslims in his Administration. a) I would have a Muslim in my administration; b) I mis-spoke; then changed it again.

      • MarkJ

        That's part of the vetting process, and especially for someone who has not been a politician before. The big thing to look at is how they evolve as candidates. Do they get better at answering questions? Do they play politics by evading the difficult questions or answer them directly? I like Cain a lot because he wasn't a politician. I think that's in his favor.

      • Corey

        He has never said anything about gays serving in his administration. He said he would have a problem with muslims who believe in Sharia Law into his cabinet.

        You sir are the worst kind of person to comment. Either you are the most disingenuous person on this forum, or you really believe everything Rachel Madcow tells you to believe.

  • StephenD

    Each time they get together the one consistent is Gingrich. I don't understand how he could be viewed so poorly. He appears to be well versed in all the important issues and exudes the air of a true Statesman. I've been told it is because of the "baggage" he carries. Well, I've heard of a former President that dishonored the office by having sex in the Oval Office, lied to America about it, and is still well liked and taken seriously. Are we conservatives so bunched up over the past indiscretions of a man as to let it interfere with what may be the best for our country? Again, I just don’t understand the poor showing of Gingrich.

    • Spin

      You might want to look at who Clinton is still liked by, the party thats moral compass broke long long ago.

  • Steve Decker

    The debates are like a candy store for a kid with a sweet tooth. Any of these fine people will beat BO. I am afraid, however, that Perry's Texas style is wearing thin on the rest of us who don't wear cowboy boots. I have no problem at all with his stance on immigration and college tuition. Those kids are residents of his state, whether he wants them there or not and it was a Texas decision, not his. And I am sending Michelle B a coupon for Kohl's so she can get a new outfit.

  • Mark Koenig

    Good analysis, Ryan – I agree that Herman Cain shone last night. He's my choice for the nomination, and I think he finally got the attention he deserves. I must say, however, that I was disturbed by the booing that occurred during/after the gay serviceman posed his question via YouTube. Very inappropriate – and reflected badly on conservatives in general. I wish someone had called out those people as being disrespectful.

  • BS77

    Herman Cain is a great guy…..His 9-9-9 (9% flat income tax, 9% national sales tax, and I think the third was 9% capital gains tax) is a great idea. He is a remarkable man….and has recovered well from serious health issues and surgery. He would make a great president….or high level Cabinet member. I was not too impressed by Perry. I like Romney. It's time for some of the low per centage candidates to drop out…like that nutty Ron Paul. He will NEVER win…he's too old and too peculiar.

  • maturin20

    This debate was hilarious. It's gonna be a fun election season.

    • PETER GRUSH

      I too really like Cain. Ron Paul is excellent for domestic policies, but irrational on the world and foreign policy. The world is NOT populated with reasonable people who have been screwed over by U.S. foreigh policy time and again over the last 60 years. Blowback my a**. There is, however, a military-industrial complex that needs to be defanged.

      • maturin20

        Do you disagree with the "populated with reasonable people" part, or the "screwed over by foreign policy" part? Because the world could be populated with reasonable people who haven't been screwed over, or populated with unreasonable people who have been screwed over, if that scans.

  • http://apollospaeks.blogtownhall.com/ ApolloSpeaks

    OBAMA IS UNREELECTABLE

    Whoever wins the Republican nomination will be the next president of the United States provided he/she runs against Obama.

    Click my name to read my two widely linked townhall pieces:

    OBAMA, GEORGE KAISER AND SOLARGATE

    and

    BARACK OBAMA, THE BUFFETT RULE AND TAX HIKE HEAVEN

  • Russ

    Gingrich is the most able, which is why he won't be nomonated. Cain is the least able, which is probably why his chances are improving. It's perception and not substance that counts these days, which is why the country is in a mess.

    It would be much better if these candidates were allowed to debate without having to play to an unrulely booing and cheering mob. We could all benefit without the distraction of a peanut gallery.

    • kerryzaputz

      And why, specifically, is Cain the least able? Because he was a successful business man? Oh, yeah, that's right. A former community organizer would be so much better at growing the economy and adding jobs.

  • Stephen_Brady

    Folks, I know very little about Rick Perry, but as a professional performer, I know something about the stage. How many times is Perry going to bomb, in these debates? Was he like this when he ran for governor of Texas? Is there a disconnect between his brain and his mouth?

    His last exchange with Romney was most telling. The man was talking about Romney's policy flip-flops, and he had three of them in mind. He got the Second Amendment out weakly, but then, he seemed to forget what the other two flip-flops were supposed to be. It is physically and intellectually painful to listen to this man.

    Don't get me wrong, anyone. Romney is exactly the kind of smarmy, snotnosed, fast-talking guy I used to hate, in those long-ago days of High School. The only reason I would vote for Romney in the general is because he's NOT Obama. But Perry has to give me more of a reason to support him, and he's not doing it.

    By the way, does anyone else agree with me that Gingrich and Cain are actually running for VP, rather than President?

  • Jim

    Any of the Candidates can appear on the radio show of" he whose name we can not mention" and get a fair interview with out interruption by a cheering or booing section.

    The "unnamed one" surprisingly has been very calm and to the point in his interviews. Of course no political liberals appeared on his show.

    The" unnamed one" is known to man handle people who call in and talk like Seminar Callers.. On top of that he still insults his listeners and they seem to love it.

    He brings out the best in the conservatives he interviews.

    Some are intimidated by his forcefulness but as I come from the same area as Him he just sounds common place to me. That's the way people are in that neck of the city.
    In fact he went to high school in Jamaica Queens a few miles and many hours from where I went to high school.

    Listen to the "Unnamed one" and if a candidate is by chance on you will end up knowing the most about that candidate;at least more so than on Big "Booby Trap" Media

    Now I most go and insult some people I like.

    • donnafrflorida

      I met Cain today. He is not only my first choice but he is also the most electable. He will clean Obama’s clock. He is not a politician. He is approaching the fixes based on business models. He is brilliant in math. Please give serious consideration. If we can get him on our ticket HE WILL WIN.

      • Bob Root

        I totally agree. Voting for Perry or Romney is like voting for McCain again. We need someone who has tea party values not Agenda 21 values.

  • BLJ

    Huntsman is the biggest fraud in the group. He is no Republican.

  • Russ

    While it is true that Cain is a successful business man, that's simply not enough, just because he has a few good sound bites. He displayed his ignorance on foreign affairs. After all, Obama was a successful community organizer, but look where that got us.

    • Jim

      NBC reported this night that Cain once again broke the bank at the most recent debate.
      A few good sound bites or not or his knowledge of foreign affairs great or small makes little difference. When the public hears what he has to say he walks away with the trophy.The reason being .more than any of the candidates the public know best what the public has been going through. The public knows best what needs to be done. When the public hears Herman Cain they are hearing their own voice, their own solutions and not the befuddled unworkable non sense we get from Obama, Mit. the Texan or any of the other representatives of the Grand Old Men of the party.

      The election is not about IQ scores else Ted Kaczynski would be our leader.
      The election is not the GE College Quiz Bowl else the late Kim Peek should could have been our president.
      The election is not even about gravitas else Paul Mason should be our president.

      Let Herman Cain be heard and the people will decide. It is the voter not pundits who invent irrelevant criterion about what the qualifications for president should be

      The Grand Old Men will be doing their best to make Cain obscure. He is not on their pay role.

  • Amused

    Herman will not get the nomination , he's not radical enough on "the big important issues " , like gays ,gay marriage , gays in the military etc .
    Newt wont get the nomnination , because he's not radical enough , imagine that Newt , he can actually put the country before ideology , and is able to reach bi-partisan agreements in Washington .
    The teabaggers are taking the republican Party down another losing path .

    • Corey

      Yes because getting the government back to it's proper role that's laid out in the constitution is just sooooooo radical.

      The only people in history to refer to the US Constitution were Joseph Stalin, Benito Mousilini, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

      If the liberals continue to accuse people who believe in the constitution as radical and extreme, we will find the democrat party in minority status for at least the next 20 years… So by all means keep shouting your ignorance and naiveté all over the Internet.

      • Corey

        The only people in history to refer to the US Constitution as radical were Joseph Stalin, Benito Mousilini, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

        • Amused

          Hey it aint me , it's your own party members and voting base . If a candidate doesn't follow lockstep on those "important issues " [ guess you missed the satire ] then he wont get the nomination . That's why you're gonna be looking at another 4 years of Obama , unless the Republicannparty shed its radical morons .

  • Clinton

    Those who should drop out and stand ZERO chance of getting the nomination –Johnson, Huntsman, RINO Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachmann. They’re distractions to the real process of finding a candidate.

    There are only 3 candidates who stand a chance of winning the nomination as it now stands Perry (damaged, but a solid conservative), Romney (a moderate who defends the status quo) and likeable Herman Cain.

  • Paul

    This isn't a game folks and as likeable as old Herman is he has no international experience. At a time when the worlds economy is teetering and here at home we have 15-20 percent unemployed and another ? percent underemployed its time for dramatic innovative (contract for America) type ideas. Newt may be an ass in his personal life but of all the media made candidates for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES the rest of this crew is not ready for prime time. NOW is the time to think criticaly about finding a man with the capcity to think past sound bites and turn the direction of this country around. Ginrich is a least candid enough to say it will take 8 years to implement a real program of recovery. Romney is not the man for the job.

    • Jim

      Mit's international experience is?
      The Tall Texan's international experience is?
      George Bush's international experience is?
      Obama's international experience is?
      Bill Clinton's international experience was?
      Reagan's international experience was?
      By the way Newt got drummed out of congress.
      The public must be allowed to listen to Herman Cain and vote according to their criterion not arbitrary criterions invented by campaign talking point administrators.
      By the way what economic back ground does Newt Have. We know he was a history professor and a politician but what business back ground does he have what connection does he have with real world economics..Does he have more of the same old WTF plans as the other candidates. Does he want to repair a bridge to nowhere like the others Does he want to reform the educational system like the others. Does he pump the notion of giving more tarp to wall street welfare queens?
      Remember if the world economy is on the brink let us ask our selves who caused it to be so and why did not the the great men in power stop it before it got out of control

      Remember the Queens Question. She asked "Why did not the economists tell us that this was going to happen.?"

      The tired old politicians that walked us into the mess have had their day. Now it's time for likeable adult supervision.

  • BS77

    I 'd like to see a Trump-Cain ticket. Charisma. Executive experience. Conservative financial wisdom. The dream ticket. Flat taxes. Shrinking government bureaucracies.
    Innovation. American manufacturing resurgence. Less spending. More private sector expansion. A return to American greatness and prosperity.

    • Jameela

      Kill the Tea Party Terrorists & Kill Them NOW

      The Tea Party has made no secret of their evil intentions to take America back to what it was at the point-in-time that existed during the Boston Tea Party, a time when African-Americans were slaves and deemed a fraction of a person. The Tea Party’s objective is to kill African-Americans by attrition, by denying us employment; they are taking our jobs by busting the government unions, laying us off in droves, as those dirty-white, garbage racists know that African-Americans overwhelmingly are employed in government jobs, they want to take away healthcare, Social Security and anything else that allows African-Americans to thrive and live with dignity. At a time in America’s racist history when blacks and poor whites thought our lives would improve under a black president, the racist Partier’s, under the guise of “reducing the debt limit” seek to punish blacks for electing a black president, by proposing legislation that would in effect enslave African-Americans, ultimately ending in our deaths by attrition.

      Vice-President Joe Biden called the Tea Party “terrorists”, and in America we KILL terrorists. Rep. Maxine Waters is also well aware of the Tea Party’s evil intentions for African-Americans and that is the reason she stated on 8/21/11: “…The Tea Party can go straight to Hell…” However, an intelligent person can read between the lines and conclude that people cannot go to Hell unless they are DEAD. On 9/5/11, Teamsters President, James Hoffa took the call to arms further and stated: “…take those SOB’s out…”, aka kill those SOB’s. Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana also alerted African-Americans to the danger of the Tea Party when he stated on 8/30/11: “…some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me…hanging on a tree…”
      Death by bullet, tree or attrition is irrelevant, as the end result is the same, death by homicide. The Tea Party has made their hostile intentions quite clear and self-defense is not only our right, it is our duty according to the revered and often–repeated, President Ronald Reagan, who stated: “…self-defense is not only our right, it is our duty…” I urge ALL freedom-loving African-Americans to respond to former President Ronald Reagan’s, Rep. Maxine Water’s and James Hoffa’s call to action and take up arms against the enemies of the black race and take those SOB’s out aka KILL them. Shoot when you see the white’s and don’t stop until you run out of ammunition or die hard. KILL those dirty-white, Trailer Trash Terrorists and kill them NOW, or be killed by them. LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD!

      Jameela
      Messenger of Allah
      & Defender of Islam
      & Founder of AAS (Al Qaeda, American Style)
      18 September 2011

      • Gerald

        Are you the same Jameela who used to rant and rave at Jihad Watch a few months back?

    • Jim

      You betcha.

  • Jim

    James Hoffa is being ousted from the Teamsters by a reform group because he is corrupt.
    Maxine Waters was installed by Enron as her predecessor was against NAFTA
    Obama has opened the flood gates to illegal workers who throw black workers out of jobs.

    Hate your enemies but make sure you know who your enemies really are.
    Herman Cain is your best friend he will restore every ones jobs. He know the score.

  • Amused

    Perry's fading already and Herman stole the show again in Florida . It's easy to see why ….he's the only one to have a plan . The "get rid of obama routine " is only gonna fly so far ….sooner or later the candidates are gonna have to put up or shut up . Newt and Herman are beginning to look better every day , Romney's a jellyfish , Bachman's lost already , Perry's being found out for what he really is , a politician in the pocket of big oil , Santorum a non-sequitur .

  • lorraine

    It seems to me the debates are one way to choose a candidate, but when I think of the difference between this and how private business hire, I wonder if this is the best way. When applying for a job a person has to write down their experience that qualifies them for a job. For the most important job in the country, it’s who can win the debate. It’s like having an American Idol contest for the most important job in the country. It just seems odd to me.
    I guess that’s why we ended up with President Obama, he’s a great debater, who had absolutely no experience to prepare him to be president.

  • kim segar

    How blind,,,Cain was the FED's man, now a plant…Romey is dead wrong for the job, flipy floppy …Perry is a fake, for abortion, for illegal imigration and is for same sex marriage..and calls himself a consertive….and gingrich..is on the council of foreign relations..that plan to make us all a one world gov. I don't care for any fast talking idiots..I would choose Paul any day. why..he is a complete Constutitionalist..something we all want before we loose all our freedom and don't go around the world starting wars…to the political idiots, war is monty , monty is war..why follow a herd..check each on out for yourselves before we have nothing. How anyone could believe in global warming..stop drilling here safe, pay 35 cents for a gal of gas etc..food sky high, half of America on food stamps, millions more will loose their homes.. regulations killing our economy.. people trying to rule our freedom of religion ..I say welcome to America, now go home..

  • MKS

    Get the Democrats out of office and keep them out indefinitely, and then we can discuss what flavor of conservative (Libertarian, Republican, Constitutionalist,…) is best.

    Herman Cain received a degree in mathematics from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. He then received a master's degree in computer science. He worked for the U.S. Navy as a ballistics analyst. He climbed in management in the food industry, including Pillsbury, Burger King and then Godfather's Pizza. He is an excellent radio talk-show host. He served as one of the regional Federal Reserve System directors, which some may see as a negative, but I think an knowledgeable view of the FRS may be valuable to a President who wants to change the system. I think his 9-9-9 proposal demonstrates that he is not for economic business-as-usual. That change to the tax code would be fairly revolutionary.

    I certainly prefer Mr. Cain's background and experience level more that of most congressmen, and prefer his experience more than nearly all diplomats.