Campaign Buzz February 22, 2012: CNN Arizona Republican Debate — 20th GOP Debate — Rick Santortum Center Stage, Under Fire, on the Defensive Takes a Beating from Debate Winner Mitt Romney

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

The candidates debate in Mesa, Ariz. | Jay Westcott/POLITICO

IN FOCUS: CNN ARIZONA REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE — 20TH GOP DEBATE — SANTORUM CENTER STAGE & UNDER FIRE — REMAINS ON DEFENSIVE FROM ROMNEY ATTACKS

  • Live Blog: Arizona Republican Presidential Debate: Rick Santorum is taking his turn as the principal opponent for Mitt Romney during a debate in Arizona Wednesday night hosted by CNN. Stay tuned for live updates, tweets and analysis of the best moments in real time…. – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Live blog: GOP candidates spar in Arizona debate: We’re live blogging the GOP presidential debate broadcast from Arizona, the final meeting of the candidates before Tuesday’s pivotal primaries in Arizona and Michigan…. – USA Today, 2-22-12Liveblogging CNN’s GOP debate in Arizona with Bloomberg Businessweek, Jeff Greenfield, Yahoo News & ABC News Yahoo, ABC News, 2-22-12
  • FACT CHECK: 20th GOP debate was a trip down memory lane, featuring familiar factual stretches: Twenty Republican presidential debates later, the head-scratching claims kept coming. Did Mitt Romney really cut taxes as Massachusetts governor, as he asserted yet again? Or did he raise them by hundreds of millions of dollars… – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • Arizona Republican Debate Fact Check: New York Times reporters take a closer look at some of the statements made by the Republican presidential candidates in Wednesday night’s debate…. – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Winners And Losers From Final GOP Debate: Maybe it was the fact that the candidates were forced to sit in an odd, uncomfortable configuration. Or, maybe it was that after twenty of these debates, these four candidates are just really tired of the routine…. – ABC News, 2-22-12
  • Republican debate in Arizona: 6 takeaways: Romney came out on top in the possible final debate of the primary season….
    That may have been all, folks.
    The 20th Republican debate came and went on CNN Wednesday night, a painfully long and often personally biting affair — and the last debate the four remaining GOP presidential hopefuls have committed to in the primary season….

    1. Rick Santorum didn’t get it done
    2. Mitt Romney won
    3. Santorum and Romney really don’t like each other
    4. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul were basically non-factors
    5. Some issues will last long after the debate
    6. The likely season finale went out with a whimper, not a bang

    Politico, 2-22-12

  • Republican debate: Mitt Romney v. Rick Santorum get personal in Arizona: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum tore into each other’s records on government spending during Wednesday night’s GOP presidential forum, quickly turning the crucial Arizona debate into a flurry of bitter charges and counter-charges on the size of … – Politico, 2-22-12
  • 2 Seek to Claim Control of Field at GOP Debate: Mitt Romney assailed the Congressional voting record of Rick Santorum and raised pointed questions about his background as a fiscal conservative in a fiercely combative debate on Wednesday, taking urgent steps to try to regain his lead in … – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Romney, Seeking Traction, Duels With Santorum: Mitt Romney challenged Rick Santorum’s credentials as a fiscal conservative in a fiercely combative debate on Wednesday, trying to redefine Mr. Santorum as part of the problem in Washington and regain his footing in the fight for the Republican Presidential nomination…. – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Republican presidential candidates debate in Arizona: The debate, sponsored by CNN and held at the Mesa Arts Center, is the 20th of the GOP primary race and perhaps the final showdown. It came as Santorum has been eroding Romney’s lead in several key states, including Arizona and Michigan…. – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • Takeaways: A few notable moments from Wednesday’s GOP debate in Arizona: Notable moments from the GOP presidential debate Wednesday night in Mesa, Ariz. ___ SANTORUM UNDER FIRE = Rick Santorum’s first debate since surging to the top of polls might be one he’d like to forget. The former Pennsylvania senator took fire from all sides — even from an unsympathetic audience that twice booed him during answers…. – AP, Boston.com, 2-22-12
  • Santorum at center stage in Arizona Republican debate: Rivals heaped criticism on surprise front-runner Rick Santorum in a debate among US Republican presidential candidates on Wednesday, hoping to stall his surge at a pivotal period in the 2012 campaign…. – Reuters, 2-22-12
  • Arizona Republican debate review: Trying to stop the Santorum surge: For much of the time during Wednesday night’s CNN Republican debate, the candidates did their best to try and put the surging Rick Santorum on the defensive. Ron Paul called Santorum a “fake” when it comes to “being fiscally conservative … – Entertainment Weekly, 2-22-12
  • Santorum gets hit from all sides in debate: Nineteen debates later, it was finally Rick Santorum’s turn at center stage. His prize: Fire from both sides.
    Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney accused Santorum, the latest leader in national polls, of being a big spender who as a senator from Pennsylvania voted five times to raise the debt ceiling and to approve earmark spending. Texas Rep. Ron Paul called Santorum “a fake” and said he was running as a conservative after voting for big government programs like No Child Left Behind…. – USA Today, 2-22-12
  • Santorum May Be Winning By Not Losing: With the exception of Rep. Ron Paul, whose genial schtick about personal freedom seems beyond the reach, or maybe the comprehension, of his opponents, none of the Republican candidates in the CNN debate is particularly in their groove. Which may be good for Rick Santorum, who was due to take his turn as the night’s piñata in his first debate as a front-running candidate.
    Mitt Romney and CNN moderator John King have tried their best to shatter Santorum’s cool, and the former Pennsylvania senator has been roughed up on issues like earmarking and spending. But Romney looks tired, and defensive at times, and he is not giving Santorum the bruising that he gave Newt Gingrich in Florida.
    Santorum was helped by the focus, in the opening 45 minutes, on economic and fiscal issues. It allowed him to speak like a reasonable conservative, about debt and Social Security and the evil of the Wall St. bailout, without scaring independent voters with his pronounced views on faith, sex and reproductive freedom…. – National Journal, 2-22-12
  • Republican Debate: Newt Gingrich Rolls Over, Plays Dead: The three words to best capture Debate Number 20: Blah. Blah. Blah…. – Daily Beast, 2-22-12
  • Republican debate: Romney fights to win against surging Santorum: Mitt Romney used Wednesday’s Republican debate to go head-to-head with his leading challenger, Rick Santorum…. – AP, CS Monitor, 2-22-12
  • Santorum takes heavy fire in Arizona Republican debate: Rivals piled criticism on US presidential candidate Rick Santorum at a testy debate on Wednesday, attempting to blunt his surprise surge at a pivotal period in the Republican race. Looking to build on a late rise in polls…. – Reuters, 2-22-12
  • Republican candidates round on Santorum: Rick Santorum was attacked from all sides during a Republican presidential debate on Wednesday, weathering the onslaught that comes with being suddenly at the front of the pack in the tumultuous nomination contest…. – Financial Times, 2-22-12
  • Gingrich is winner for 1 night: Newt Gingrich didn’t have a game-changing moment in Wednesday night’s Arizona debate. But the former House speaker’s newest approach to the Republican presidential race — staying above the fray, avoiding attacks and focusing… – Politico, 2-22-12
  • Rick Santorum on the defensive over earmarks, contraception in Arizona debate: Former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), riding a surge of momentum in the polls, found himself on the defensive Wednesday night as former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) slammed his record on earmarking and his conservative credentials at a Mesa, Arizona debate…. – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • GOP debate: A blow to Santorum’s appeal: Wednesday’s Republican presidential primary debate looked like something of an ordeal for Rick Santorum, the sudden but perhaps tenuous front-runner in the national polls. Mitt Romney accused Santorum (accurately) of voting to fund Alaska’s “bridge to nowhere”… – LAT, 2-22-12
  • Santorum makes zero mention of jobs in CNN debate: In total, the four GOP contenders mentioned the word “jobs” only 10 times over the span of two hours — and former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) uttered the word a grand total of zero times. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) … – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • Romney quickly attacks Santorum on spending in GOP debate: Mitt Romney quickly targeted Rick Santorum’s Washington rap sheet in tonight’s CNN debate, a clear effort to blunt his momentum with conservatives in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination…. – LAT, 2-22-12
  • Debate reveals dangers of earmark bashing: Earmarks have been a favorite talking point for this crop of GOP presidential candidates, but a discussion of the topic during Wednesday night’s debate revealed none of the candidates is quite as pure as they’d like to seem…. – LAT, 2-22-12
  • Santorum fights charges he’s a “fake” conservative: Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Wednesday night fought back against charges from his GOP rivals that he’s a “fake” fiscal conservative, pointing to the ratings he received as a legislator from conservative groups and his plan to … – CBS News, 2-22-12
  • GOP debate: Romney says Obama undermined religious freedom: When the issue of contraception came up in tonight’s Republican debate, it offered the frontrunners an attempt to finesse their positions on social issues to address seeming weaknesses…. – Chicago Tribune, 2-22-12
  • Romney and Santorum trade barbs over Santorum’s support of former Senate colleague Specter: Republicans Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are sparring over Santorum’s support for his former Senate colleague, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Romney and Santorum traded barbs Wednesday night in a nationally televised debate in Arizona … – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • GOP candidates debate government loans to auto companies: Republican candidates for president had a spirited debate tonight over the government rescue of General Motors and Chrysler, with all four opposing it…. – Detroit Free Press, 2-22-12
  • Newt Gingrich Lost the Arizona Republican Debate: The two have sparred in past debates and many people expected that this debate would show Gingrich at his most pugnacious and aggressive…. – PolicyMic, 2-22-12
  • Republican Cast Returns From Hiatus, With No Encore Presentations on Horizon: After 20 debates, a long-running television series appears to be wrapping up…. – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Tonight’s GOP debate: Why are viewers suffering fatigue? Policy vs. personality: Even with more than a month since the last GOP presidential candidate debate, after nearly 20 debates, voters (and viewers) are still feeling a sense of fatigue coming into tonight’s Republican debate in Mesa, AZ–and there’s no … – WaPo, 2-22-12
  • Republican debate: What to watch for in Mesa: The Republican presidential contenders will square off in Mesa today in a high-stakes debate that promises to set the tone for a crucial stretch of the campaign through the Arizona and Michigan primaries and Super Tuesday…. – AZ Central.com, 2-21-12
  • Republican Cast Returns From Hiatus, With No Encore Presentations on Horizon: That was the position that political junkies found themselves in on Wednesday as CNN prepared to televise the 20th Republican presidential debate of the 2012 nomination race. There are no more debates on the conveyer belt – an abrupt change for a … – NYT, 2-22-12
  • Arizona Republican debate: What to watch for: It’s the last debate before Super Tuesday and perhaps the last debate of the 2012 GOP presidential race. And there’s a lot at stake…. – WaPo, 2-22-12
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