The Fox News-led GOP debate last night in South Carolina gave the first formal glimpse of the emerging 2012 GOP presidential field, though more thought was perhaps spent on the presumptive (selected & vetted by the establishment) big name contenders who have yet to enter or debate. Congressman Ron Paul was perhaps the most well-known face next to a field otherwise unseen in 2008. With him were former Senator Rick Santorum, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, businessman and former KC Federal Reserve chair Herman Cain and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson.
After the debate, an artificial-esque buzz quickly centered around Herman Cain, who has positioned himself as a Tea Party candidate and gained popularity for his ‘tough’ rhetoric.
A Fox-focus group fielded by the notorious Frank Luntz quickly established that Herman Cain had won the debate (in lieu of a poll, apparently). Cain charmed a majority of the 29 handpicked and carefully-handled likely Republicans in Luntz’s focus group. After all, he’s a fresh face, he talks about smaller government, ending the economic crisis and he’s a successful businessman.
Just as in 2008 with dud-candidate Fred Thompson, Luntz used the perception of a quick turn-around of support to promote the candidate as a possible front runner. Luntz declared the reaction to Cain as “unprecendented” and suggested a spontaneous surge in his viability.
Fox News’ website coverage of the debate features a poll– but on top issues rather than candidates. This effectively obscures the already existing base of substantial support for Ron Paul, which does not exist for the other candidates on the stage. A CNN poll released Thursday (prior to the debate) found Ron Paul did best against President Obama, garnering 10% next to potential candidates like Gingrich, Huckabee, Romney, Trump and Palin.
Fox New’s hoax that Herman Cain won the debate is but an opening salvo in a familiar pattern of downplaying Ron Paul’s bid for the presidency to restore sound money and the Constitution. Perhaps that is why Ron Paul snubbed a post-debate interview with Ron Paul, instead going to a Tea Party event.
However, a sober look at Cain’s statements tonight and his past record show little to be enthused about. He stands diametrically opposed the fundamental positions of pro-liberty candidates like Ron Paul. Cain is pro-war and appears to be pro-Empire, against a Federal Reserve audit, and has been supportive and apologetic about the bailout. Free market is incompatible with crony capitalism and Fed intervention.
Herman Cain, 2012 hopeful: “There’s No Reason To Audit The Federal Reserve”
Herman Cain, former Chairman and Member of the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, flippantly denies the need to Audit the Federal Reserve while hosting the Neil Boortz Radio Show on 12/29/10
The crowd was definitely more cheerful on Ron Paul than on anyone else. Too bad Donald Trump wasn’t present so he could spice up the debate.
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