By Carole on Dec 11, 2011
After so many debates, interviews and speeches; Republican caucus goers and primary voters already know where the candidates stand on the issues. With just a few weeks before the first states make their decision, events like last night's debate in Iowa are more about pressure than policy. How do these would-be presidents handle the kind of stress that comes with the job they're trying to land? Will they whither under the onslaught of their political foes, the media, foreign adversaries and the relentless daily demands of the office?
In last night's verbal jousting match, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney no longer looked like the cool collected inevitable nominee and more closely resembled a flustered also-ran. He stammered when asked for specific differences between himself and current front runner Newt Gingrich seeming to have one of those "I've got all this stuff twirling around in my head" moments that former candidate Herman Cain made famous.
Next his boast of not being a career politician was pounced on by his intended target Newt Gingrich who shot back that the only reason Mr. Romney wasn't a career politician was his loss to Teddy Kennedy in 1994. "You'd have been a 17-year career politician by now if you'd won," quipped the former Speaker of the House.
But the lowlight of the night came during a disagreement between Mr. Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry over an alleged statement on health care mandates. In the challenge heard 'round the political world, Governor Romney tried to make a ten thousand dollar bet that he was right in front of a national audience for whom $10,000 is a good portion of their annual income. Governor Perry declined to wager saying he's "not in the betting business" but politically, he'd already won as Mr. Romney's nonchalant risk of such a large sum showed him to be at least unsympathetic to and at most out of touch with the financial worries of most Americans today.
Speaking of bets, it's a good one that Romney's self-exposure as an out of touch elitist who can't take the heat will cost him some points in the next polls. Meanwhile Governor Perry who handled his tough moments in early debates with grace and humor seems to be thriving under the increased pressure of the fast approaching primaries and caucuses. Stay tuned.
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