CNN Republican debate turned into 'Ocean's Seven': It was Vegas, baby!

Repub-Debate

Image Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The “Western Republican Presidential Debate,” televised by CNN, began with a heavily produced intro that made sure you knew the debate took place in Las Vegas. A gritty-voiced narrator ran down the current odds for the candidates, their pictures placed on playing cards tossed onto green felt. The poker game where “the stakes are high”! Where Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Ron Paul are “wild cards”! Wayne Newton was in the audience!

Moderator Anderson Cooper was, in this scenario, the dealer representing the house, the Venetian casino. He sure had his hands full. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry were at each other’s throats; Herman Cain was condescended to by most of the panel (“I’ll bump plans with you, brother,” said Perry to Cain — ick); Newt Gingrich looked like he was counting cards; Michele Bachmann went all-in on a gratuitous attack on President Obama; and Ron Paul and Rick Santorum spent most of their time folding.

To drop the gambling metaphor, Perry had a rough night. He was booed when he persisted in bringing up an old story about Romney hiring illegal aliens to work on his property: “You hired illegals; [that is] the height of hypocrisy.” He was booed again when Cooper asked him a question and he chose instead to respond to something Cain said, saying sneerily to Cooper, “You get to ask the questions, I get to answer like [sic] I want to.”

“It’s been a tough couple of debates for Rick,” said Romney. And this was supposed to be a tough debate for Cain, who’s rising to the top of a number of polls, and the media had predicted the pizza executive would be the main target. Wrong again, news media.

Bachmann made for good TV by providing the rhetorical crazy. She said she’d build a “double-walled fence on [sic] the entire border.”

She said, “I’ll tell you who has an illegal alien problem: President Obama. It’s his uncle and his aunt who are illegal aliens.”

She said, “I’m Michele Bachmann, and this is one night when I hope that what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.” Ocean’s Seven, baby! Where was Clooney?

Gingrich came off most forcefully in excoriating the concept of the so-called “super committee” and slashing defense spending, referring to “historically illiterate politicians in both parties … suicidally stupid,” although he added, “I’m a hawk but I’m a cheap hawk.” He was also a scold, primly reprimanding his opponents for “maximizing bickering.” Which is another term for “televised Vegas debate.”

More and more, Romney is starting to look like a brunet version of 7th Heaven‘s Stephen Collins, with a wide smile and the demeanor of a smiley minister. This pose helped him a few times, making him sound like a voice of reason. At one point, Santorum started losing his train of thought during his accusation of Romney as an architect of “Obamacare.” When Romney interrupted Santorum’s dithering to answer him, Santorum started whining, “You’re out of time, you’re out of time!”

Too much of CNN’s time was taken up by this foolishness of having people in the audience, on Twitter and Facebook, ask the same questions that a moderator like Cooper could have asked more quickly and concisely. This social-network democracy was “out of time.”

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (128 total) Add your comment
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  • LOL

    Did they all arrive in the same clown car this time?

    • Just sayin’

      All except Bachmann, she rode her broom. At least she didn’t bring the Flying Monkeys.

      • Alyssa

        AH HA HA HA!!! Good one. Witch one is stuck under the house Palin or O’Donnell? Sorry, couldnt help myself.

      • Tom

        The republicans have this in the bag. If they screw this up they have nobody to blame but themselves.

      • quan

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      • bob

        Correction, She did bring the flying monkeys, all on stage with her.

      • Just sayin’

        i didn’t see anything on that stage that was likely to fly.

      • Jose

        I’m coming back as a trophy wife in my next life. Working hard to get an education and balance a high pressure career with raising children SUCKS in comparision to saving the money on the ivy-league tuition and graduate degree, being gorgeous and having a man let me spend his money all day. However, that is not to say I want to come back as an Orthodox baby-making factory either. I have something a little more glamourous in mind and I hope it includes a hot pool boy.

    • LMAO

      These buffoons are so far off the deep end, they can’t even remember the lies they told last month. The GOP is a cesspool of ignorance.

    • Redeyecat

      The only thing weaker than Cooper’s impotent attempt at “moderator” is Tucker’s lame liberal analysis….

      • …..

        +1

    • IMPRISON OBAMA

      All kneel and praise President-Elect Romney! His first action will be to imprison the criminal from Chicago on his first day in office in January of 2013! Only a few more months and our long national nightmare will be OVER!!! LOL!

      • Alyssa

        That must be some strong dope you are smokin dude. There is no reason to imprison President Obama, Bush and Cheney will be in the slammer before he will for whatever reason your thinking.

    • Nestor

      There are no longer dinrefeft courses that are posted. There is a range with the number of repeats for the distance or time. The athlete determines the number of repeats that are completed based on their ability to maintain proper technique/mechanics for the distance or time and the distance of the race or event they are training for. It’s all explained in the FAQ

  • Dan

    CNN is such a shill for the Republicans. Pandering to the right…crazy right that is!

    • kate middleton

      Wow – have you ever watched CNN? That is laughable.

      They are doing these debates so they can actually get ratings (stuck in 3rd all the time normally).

    • LMAO

      CNN had gotten into bed with the Teabaggers. The myth of the “liberal media” goes up in smoke again.

      • Jedzmhar

        Nu blveir jeg helt forvirret – jeg troede at det var Sarah Louise, som var direktør/ejer af Dreammodels?

    • FLGrl

      It’s not like there is a Democratic Party debate to televise, so you can’t accurately say it’s “pandering to the right.”

    • Manhandler

      Last year CNN pandered to Obama, dumping on Hillary Clinton at every turn. This year, they can’t find a positive Obama story anywhere. They’re trying hard to make a contest out of this for ratings (aka profits) purposes. Remeber this is a corporation.

  • c.e

    There will be some who will say that this debate should not be on ew.com….but it was far more entertaining that the skits SNL tried these past few weeks. Also it laid down that Obama will win 2012, but for the same reason Bush won 2008…there was nobody better

    • deedee

      So true…

    • kate middleton

      Wow – I had no idea that Bush won in 2008?!?

      • Emma

        Maybe Bush won in “2008″ (it was 2004, btw) because Americans can’t keep their facts straight.

      • Brad H

        She is British, Emma, not American. Speaking of problems with keeping facts straight. ;)

      • Stupid America

        America and Americans are stupid plain and simple. China will take them over by 2014 and the world will be a much better place for it.

    • c.e

      don’t blame me for forgetting the date…blame the government (runs)

    • Broomhilda

      Bush will have a longer lasting negative impression than the Republicans realize.

      • Gigi

        Every Republican is painfully aware of the legacy he’s left and realize they will be fighting an uphill battle because of him for a long time.

      • Auth

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  • Forget About It

    Anderson, what a failure! You are so full of your 360 that you can’t even moderate a preschool debate. Next time, let’s try without a moderator, or at least without A.cr@p360.

  • Tom Strong

    I could smell the burning crosses through the TV set.

  • kate middleton

    Ken, did you write about Democratic debates in 2008? Ever write about the rhetorical crazy they brought (Biden, Mike Gravel, etc.)? Just curious.

    I am not fan of Michele Bachmann and wish she would go away….but it’s not crazy for her to say that Obama has an aunt and uncle who are illegal aliens (and have been threatened with deportation) – that is a fact.

    • Kat

      @kate Bachmann bringing that up is the equivalent of slapping down a red herring. It’s ineffectually distracting and it smells up the place. All the candidates should stick to what they would do for the country, how they would handle issues and crises, and explain their plans and policies. But of course that rarely happens…

      • Anna

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    • kate middleton

      Kat, I agree with you. I just don’t agree with Ken saying that was an example of Bachmann bringing the “rhetorical crazy.” I don’t think a fact can be classified that way.

    • Broomhilda

      Bachmann is an illegal ” ALIEN” in her own way. She goes through every looney toon in one day. For all we know she is Marvin the Martian

      • poop

        Bachman didn’t take part in the 2010 US Census. I think she’s an illegal alien.

    • jana

      it’s crazy to bring up because she wasn’t debating Obama. she’s loony.

  • James Davidson

    Ron Paul won the debate. He is the only one with any real plan to cut the budget. Most of the others all have the same ideas in a slightly different package. Cain may be a one trick pony. It may get hard to sell a tax plan where most of the people have to pay more.

  • F. Stephen Masek

    I finally had time to watch a GOP debate, and it mad several things startlingly clear. Ron Paul is the only candidate who understands that all empires flopped when they became over-extended, and that we must make dramatic cuts to our massively over-sized government. Romney came off just another in a long line of slick big government politicians who created the mess, and had not even a weak defense for Romney-care being used as the model for Obama-care. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would be far better as 9-0-0 (9% national sales tax, no income tax), but he clearly understands that big government will destroy the USA if we do not stop it, and clearly could also be an excellent president. Rick Perry proved that he is not suitable for the job, and might even loose. Bachmann was grasping at straws and added nothing to the debate, while Gingrich added excellent information to the discussion to help inform voters. Santorum pathetic answer that he could not find a penny to cut from defense was enough to know that he could not begin to solve the massive government over-spending problem.

    • Alyssa

      That may be but Paul has ties to the Tea Party, that is a movement – that people would rather back away from.

    • arm

      Of Cain’s poorly considered tax plan, it’s the 9% national sales tax prong that is the most onerous: regressive and likely to stifle domestic sales of new products.

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  • Mary Gentles

    Shame on the American media. The coming election is SERIOUS. Yet when each debate ends, only the ‘colorful’ hopefuls receive any notice. And how do they achieve notice? By being rude or ‘cute’ or throwing out ‘sound bites’, No mention is made of Congressman Paul’s common sense and experience or Michelle Bachman’s obvious knowledge of foreign affairs. Are the American people really so SILLY that we need continuous entertainment, hyped up to an outrageous level? I repeat, to the people of the country, this is (above any election in my lifetime, at least) serious business. Let’s have some adult, level-headed information about who ALL the candidates for nomination are and a good look at who can do the best job for America. As far as beating the incumbent, I believe just about any warm body should have a good chance of that!

    • daisy

      I don;t know what fantasy land you live in Mary, but none of those clowns can beat Obama. The only one iwth half a prayer is Romney, and guess what he is just a white Obama pandering to crazies like you so he can get elected. Once there he would fall middle of the road just like Obama did. Get ready for 4 more years of the same exact thing, weather its a black man or a mormon doesn’t matter at all

      • SpellCheck

        The weather changes daily – whether you can tell or not.

      • momo

        @ daisy You are 100% correct. The problem is that nobody really has any new ideas. That’s why Cains ridiculous 9-9-9 is even getting any play. At least its something different.

    • Jo

      You’re right. I personally go straight to entertainment websites for serious political discussions, and think they should ignore all entertainment value – that’s what news sites are for.

    • Bernard Webb

      Bachmann’s “obvious knowledge of foreign affairs” is not at all obvious to me.

      • Blkais

        It is very itoprmant to realize that for most couples, “reduction” is not a selfish choice. Far more often than not, they are being advised, even pressured to abort by doctors who tell them it is irresponsible to not “reduce” the pregnancy–failing to do so, they insist, threatens the lives of all the unborn children. Many women will go to the fertility clinic and tell them in advance, “I won’t have a reduction.” But the clinic ignores this and implants multiples with reassurances and when multiples take, begin a relentless “you have to reduce” campaign, week after week, telling the woman this same thing until she gives in. Why? Because fertility clinics want to be able to report a higher rate of successful pregnancies carried to term. Report a low rate, and you get few customers. Report a high rate, you will get more customers. So they are strongly motivated to implant multiples to increase the chance that at least one thrives, and when multiple babies grow, to “reduce” them to make sure that at least one is born alive. In regard to profits, statistics matter more than the lives.

  • cam

    This is horrible!!! Cain is no way! (feed the rich) his plan will never work. Romney still looks like a kook_look into his eyes.(nuts-like really crazy) Perry is so vain its pitiful. Ron paul has the best solution. Gingrich is the second best. OBAMA GOING TO WIN AGAIN ON HIS PROPAGANDA? Come on America< quit being ### sheep!!!!!!! We are done!
    This is it!!! Wake up!!
    o

  • F. Stephen Masek

    Oops – I hit send too soon – typos corrected:

    I finally had time to watch a GOP debate, and it made several things startlingly clear. Ron Paul is the only candidate who understands that all empires flopped when they became over-extended, and that we must make dramatic cuts to our massively over-sized government. Romney came off as just another in a long line of slick big government politicians who created the mess, and had not even a weak defense for Romney-care being used as the model for Obama-care. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would be far better as 9-0-0 (9% national sales tax, no income tax), but he clearly understands that big government will destroy the USA if we do not stop it, and clearly could also be an excellent president. Rick Perry proved that he is not suitable for the job, and might even loose. Bachmann was grasping at straws and added nothing to the debate, while Gingrich added excellent information to the discussion to help inform voters. Santorum’s pathetic answer that he could not find a penny to cut from defense was enough to know that he could not begin to solve the massive government over-spending problem.

    • SpellCheck

      The word LOOSE and LOSE are not interchangeable. Bad spelling sheds a dark light on your otherwise intelligent commentary.

    • what??

      So he got one word wrong. He spelled all the others right. It was a typo that he didn’t catch. Lighten up.

  • bill

    Is there a point to having a debate every week? Pawlenty was the smartest candidate, he actually dropped out before the debates became redundant

    • kate middleton

      I agree that there are WAY too many debates. I am a Republican and watch news a lot, but I haven’t watched the last two – it’s too redundant and BORING.

    • Alyssa

      If Pawlenty was the smartest there was. That is sad, and there is no use debating anything. President Obama has another 4 yrs. coming if that is the case. Which is most likely is. I am a North Dakota resident and Minnesota would rather forget, Pawlenty and Bachmann.

      • Luddite

        As a Minnesotan, I wholeheartedly concur. Pawlenty and Bachmann have done nothing to help the state and much to hurt it (largely, it seems, in the name of quixotic presidential campaigns).

      • arm

        Too true! Pawlenty sure can brag about zeroing out the state deficit alright, he did it by an accounting trick, shifting huge tax burdens to the counties, municipalities, wrecking local education budgets in his wake.

    • JR

      Huntsman was also smart because he didn’t even bother to show up to this one.

  • cam

    i hope you arent my uncle bill<but you may be right. Obama will win again!!

  • gf120581

    You know who won this debate? Obama, because compared to this gang of clowns, he looks like a frigging giant. If I was a Republican, I would be curled up weeping after watching this fiasco.

    Oh and next debate, I would suggest seperating Romney and Perry or they may literally kill each other next time. Both had moments where they looked like they were going to go all “HULK SMASH!” on each other.

    • LMAO

      It was like watching two mannequins come to life and not know what to make of each other. Not a hair out of place as they spewed nonsense about the world that don’t understand.

  • ks

    What does that say? GOP Debates recaps on EW…….
    fun stuff

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