GOP Debate at Reagan Library: Daily Beast Contributors Respond

Daily Beast contributors weigh in on the GOP debate at the Reagan Library.

Jae C. Hong / AP Photo

Perry Emerges Unscathedby Howard Kurtz

The GOP’s new frontrunner shows he can land a punch and ignore inconvenient questions. Howard Kurtz on why Romney came up short.

Rick Perry and Mitt Romney went at it from the opening tipoff over who had the best record of creating jobs. By the end of the exchange, Romney was left arguing that Texas was a right-wing, right-to-work state while he had to govern in deep-blue Massachusetts. Perry won the moment—and with it the debate.


A Two-Man Race: Perry and Romneyby Michael Tomasky

From here on out, the GOP primary race will be between a man who’s trying to act like a radical but isn’t, and a man who’s the real deal, says Michael Tomasky.

The most meaningful moment of the night came when Rick Perry and Mitt Romney squared off over Social Security. This will almost certainly be a Romney-Perry race, a fact that tonight generally demonstrated. And the race between those two will be between a Republican who’s trying to act like a radical but isn’t quite, and one who is the real deal. In reusing the phrases “Ponzi scheme” (which means he believes Social Security is illegal, right? Mr. Ponzi went to jail) and “monstrous lie,” Perry showed his stripes—and after all, backing down wouldn’t be very Texas. Romney’s willingness to say that Social Security has actually been good for millions of people was one of the first times I’ve ever heard the guy say something in front of an audience that ran the risk of displeasing it (and his avowal that he’s not a Tea Partier was the second).



Rick Perry Falls Shortby Kirsten Powers

The Texas governor couldn’t live up to the hype at the GOP debate, while Mitt Romney held steady, calling Perry out on a Social Security stance that will sink him with older voters.

Gov. Rick Perry showed up to the MSNBC/Politico debate on Wednesday night wearing his “Mitt kickers” as expected, but Mitt Romney was hitting back. The two sparred over job creation and, most notably, Social Security.

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Perry’s Promising Debutby Matt Latimer

The expectations were low for the Texas governor in his first GOP presidential debate. Matt Latimer on how he cleared the bar with ease.

Wow. Watching the good folks at MSNBC run a Republican debate is like viewing a college football game refereed by the cast of The Munsters. It was such a strange scene that I kept waiting for Al Sharpton to amble onstage and place the candidates under citizen’s arrest.



Mitt's Best Nightby Paul Begala

Romney was confident and smooth, running rings around Perry and the other participants. But don’t count Perry out. He’ll fight hard, says Paul Begala.

As George W. Bush might say, I may have misunderestimated Mitt Romney. The often awkward and aloof campaigner was confident and smooth. His best debate performance of the 2012 campaign.



The Mitt and Rick Show by Michelle Cottle

Romney won on points, but Perry drove the story line—and the two left the competition on the sidelines. By Michelle Cottle

Perry. Perry. Perry. That’s all we heard heading into Wednesday night. Would he show up? Would he screw up? Would he whip out his 12th Man towel during breaks to fire up the crowd? With such hyperventilation over the governor’s debate debut, it’s a wonder the rest of the field bothered to take the stage.



Perry’s Smash-Mouth Debate Styleby John Avlon

At the Reagan Library, Rick Perry showed he’s no shrinking violet, but Mitt Romney won’t go down easy. John Avlon on why things are going to get ugly as the GOP tests how far right it can go.

So much for the 11th Commandment.

At the start of the Republican debate at the Reagan Library, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry came out swinging, with the former Massachusetts governor jabbing the Texan as a career politician, followed by a Perry roundhouse that compared Mitt’s Massachusetts job creation unfavorably to that of Michael Dukakis.



7 Best Moments From the Debateby The Daily Beast Video

The night belonged to the sparring Mitt Romney and Rick Perry in the GOP faceoff Wednesday. From jobs to healthcare, it was official: The gloves are off. Watch video of the best moments from the debate.

Romney and Perry Come Out Swinging

Gov. Rick Perry might have left wildfires in Texas, but he walked right into the heat at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Wednesday. Both Perry and Mitt Romney came out swinging on jobs, the first issue on the evening’s agenda. After Romney compared Perry’s success in Texas to factors out of his control akin to “Al Gore saying he invented the Internet,” the Texas governor shot back, “Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.”