Mitt Romney Central: Google, FOX News, RPOF Presidential Debate Details


Gov Mitt Romney shakes hands with Rick Perry at the GOP CNN Tea Party presidential debate held in Tampa, FL on Sept 12, 2011. FOX News, Google, and the Republican Party of Florida are hosting tonight's presidential debate in Orlando, FL.

Mitt Romney supporters are geared up for a rousing GOP presidential debate tonight in Orlando, Florida!

Bret Baier, debate moderator, reported today on FOX News that when Rick Perry toured the debate venue, he told Baier that he was the target at the last debate (his first debate) but “they oughta get ready because I’m comin’ after ’em tonight.”

We have no doubt that the participants are prepared and looking forward to it – especially Governor Romney.


Sponsors: Republican Party of Florida, FOX News, Google

Time: 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM ET, FOX News pre-debate show 8:30 PM ET

Location: Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, FL

Moderator: Bret Baier, anchor of Special Report, FOX News.

Panelists: Chris Wallace, host of FOX News Sunday, Megyn Kelly, anchor of America Live, Shannon Bream, FOX News contributor (Note: Text questions and questions submitted prior to the debate on YouTube will also be part of the proceedings.)

Candidates: Rep. Michele Bachmann, Gov. Rick Perry, former Sen. Rick Santorum, former Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, former Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Gov. Gary Johnson. (Fox News invited Johnson to the debate despite objections by the Florida Republican Party.)

FOX News reported today that all the candidates have toured the debate venue. In this video from yesterday, Bret Baier gives us a behind-the-scenes look:

Viewing/listening options:

TV – FOX News Channel (FNC)

Live Stream – and,

FOX News Radio

FOX News Mobile

Post-debate viewing:

“Hannity” will follow at 11 ET. Host Sean Hannity will talk to five Republican presidential candidates: Romney, Bachmann, Gingrich, Paul and Cain.

The debate and “Hannity” will be repeated from midnight to 3 a.m. Friday and again from 3 to 6 a.m.

As the debate gets underway this evening, we invite Romney supporters to join us here on MRC chat!


► Jayde Wyatt

Rasmussen Poll: After Debate Debut Perry Slips, Romney Gains

According to Rasmussen polling, pre-presidential debate Rick Perry was leading Mitt Romney by 11 points. After Perry's debate debut, Romney has gained ground. (See article below.) 9/21/11

It’s been a while since we’ve posted a poll; today’s news from Rasmussen deserves capital letters:


The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely GOP Primary voters shows Perry with 28% support and Romney capturing 24%. Before Perry entered his first debate, the Texan held an eleven point advantage over Romney, 29% to 18%.

Trailing far behind the frontrunners are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at nine percent (9%), Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at eight percent (8%), Georgia businessman Herman Cain with seven percent (7%) support and Texas Congressman Ron Paul who earns six percent (6%). Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, draws the vote from three percent (3%) while ex-Utah Governor Jon Huntsman draws support from two percent (2%). Michigan Congressman Thad McCotter comes in with just one percent (1%) of the vote. Another 11% of GOP voters are undecided at this time. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

These latest numbers show a significant decline for Bachmann and some improvement for Gingrich.

Among conservative GOP primary voters, Perry leads by nine. Among moderates, Romney leads by 12.

Perry is supported by 36% of Evangelical Christian voters along with 31% of Catholic voters. Romney is backed by a plurality (31%) of Protestant voters.

At a glance…

Rick Perry – 28%
Mitt Romney – 24% (Before Perry’s first debate, he polled 11 pts ahead of Romney.)
Michele Bachmann – 8%
Herman Cain – 7%
Ron Paul – 6%
Rick Santorum – 3%
Jon huntsman – 2%
Thaddeus McCotter – 1%
Undecided – 11%

Romney best against Obama:

A generic Republican candidate holds a five-point advantage over President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election match-up for the week ending Sunday, September 18. However, when GOP candidates are named, they don’t do as well. Romney currently is very close to the president, while Perry trails by seven, and Bachmann trails Obama by double-digits.

(emphasis added to survey) See more details here.

► Jayde Wyatt

CNN/Tea Party Pres. Debate: Favorable Reviews for Mitt Romney

GOP presidential candidates appear on stage at the CNN/Tea Party debate last night in Tamp, FL. 9/12/11 (photo by David and Holloway/CNN)

What a night for Mitt Romney at the GOP CNN/Tea Party debate in Tampa, Florida! He more than held his own and by some early accounts – won – in a crowd that clearly had a likin’ for Rick Perry (although Perry faded in the last half; the crowd didn’t like his gardasil vaccine mandate and he received boo’s on his immigration stance.)

The reviews…

The Weekly Standard – Fred Barnes (my favorite article)

Romney’s Win

If a debate more than four months before the first vote is cast can influence the outcome of a presidential nomination race, the debate last night among eight Republicans should aid Mitt Romney’s candidacy. Seldom has there been as clear a winner.

Romney was crisp and succinct, prepared and focused, and aggressive in going after his chief rival for the GOP presidential nomination, Texas governor Rick Perry, when he needed to be. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, showed once again that he’s a far better candidate now than he was four years ago.

He did well in these instances, among others: spelling out the differences between the health care plan he championed in Massachusetts and Obamacare; explaining the problem with the Fair Tax is that it gives short shrift to the middle class; pointing out the built-in advantages Perry has in Texas in governing successfully; and refraining from boasting, except to say that “if America needs a turnaround, that’s what I do.”

Romney challenged Perry on Social Security at the outset of the debate, which was held in Florida and billed as a collaboration of CNN and various Tea Party organizations. It was Tea Party people who asked the questions, mostly better ones than a panel of reporters or pundits would probably have asked.

The first question was on Social Security, which Perry has called a Ponzi scheme and a failure. Romney has suggested Perry’s view makes him unelectable.

When Perry didn’t back down from those comments, Romney jumped in with questions, and host Wolf Blitzer let him proceed. Romney asked Perry about his recent book in which he said Social Security is unconstitutional and might be better run by the states.

Perry didn’t have a ready answer, or at least not a persuasive one. Nor did he offer the one thing that I expected from him in the debate: a Perry plan for fixing Social Security’s looming insolvency. […]
Back to Romney. The candidates were asked what they’d bring to the White House – what thing. Romney gave the best answer after repeating the Winston Churchill quotation that America always does the right thing after trying everything else first. He said he’d bring the bust of Churchill, sent away by President Obama, back to the White House.

The Daily Beast – Howard Kurtz

[…] Romney seized control of the tempo in what may have been his strongest performance so far. He seemed at ease taking the fight to Perry and got the better of their heated exchanges. The former Massachusetts governor was clearly trying to position himself as the reassuring grownup on stage and Perry as the fearmonger.

Let’s unpack their verbal clash and see what it tells us about each man and his strategy.

Perry tried to clean up his mess from last week’s MSNBC debate, when he attacked Social Security as a Ponzi scheme without suggesting how he might fix it. This time he offered those near retirement age a “slam-dunk guarantee” they’d get their benefits before hailing his own “courage” in criticizing the ailing system.

Romney didn’t miss a beat, calling Perry’s Ponzi language “over the top” and “frightful” before delivering his strongest punch: that the Texan had called Social Security unconstitutional and “not something the federal government ought to be involved in.”

The Fix (The Washington Post) – Chris Cillizza


Mitt Romney: Four debates. Four times Romney has wound up in the winner’s circle. It’s not a coincidence. Romney proved yet again that he is the best debater in this field with another solid performance in which he effectively downplayed his liabilities on health care and accentuated his strengths on jobs and the economy. Romney played more offense than he has in previous debates, taking the fight to Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Social Security. He also got a major assist from Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) and former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.), both of whom relentlessly bashed Perry. But that’s how debates work. Romney also, smartly, ignored the tea party audience in the hall — who occasionally booed him — and focused his messaging on the much broader audience of people watching the debate on CNN.

More good reading after the fold…

Click here to continue reading

Who Won the CNN Tea Party Debate? FULL DEBATE VIDEO ADDED

Boy, that sure was a very favorable crowd for Rick Perry at the beginning of the debate. However, it was very interesting and telling to see the crowd grow less and less favorable towards Rick Perry the more they heard about him. Whether the topic was healthcare, the HPV vaccine, immigration/border security, or even national defense, the weakening response from the crowd was very noticeable.

UPDATE: Our friends at Evangelicals for Mitt have collected a couple important observations from the debate.

It’s pretty interesting that the All-Star Panel on Fox’s Special Report overwhelming gave the debate to Mitt. Both the republican and democrat on the O’Reilly Factor picked Mitt as the winner as well.

Debate transcript may be found here. (There are four sections; see right-hand column.)


The rest of the debate can be see below the fold Click here to continue reading

Romney Ready For CNN/Tea Party Presidential Debate in Florida

Here’s the low down on the show down in Tampa tonight…

The CNN/Tea Party GOP presidential debate begins tonight at 8:00 PM EST in Tampa, Florida. Wolf Blitzer (CNN) will moderate:

CNN and the Tea Party Express, along with more than 100 local tea party groups from every state across the country, will team up Monday, September 12 to present a first-of-its-kind debate from the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention: Tampa, Florida. Eight Republican presidential contenders will face questions from moderator and lead political anchor Wolf Blitzer during the two-hour event, which will air live on CNN from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. from the Florida State Fairgrounds. The debate will focus on a wide-range of topics, including the role, size and scope of government, with a specific emphasis on issue number one to tea party members and all Americans: the economy.

In addition to questions from Blitzer, audience members inside the debate hall, made up in part by members from tea party groups in 31 states and the District of Columbia, will be invited to ask questions directly to the candidates. Questions will also be taken live from tea party members at debate watch parties in Phoenix, Ariz.; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Portsmouth, Virginia. Online, CNN will solicit questions via comments on, the CNN Politics Facebook page, and by using the #CNNTeaParty hashtag on Twitter.

(emphasis added)

Debate preparation preview:

Tim Pawlenty, Romney’s new National Campaign Co-Chair will be a guest of The Gov’s at tonight’s debate.

CNN – 8 PM EST- 10PM
CNN replay- 11 PM EST – 1:00 AM

Here and here

The debate will be available via live stream in the CNN Apps for iPhone, iPad and Android.

Expect a ROBUST exchange between Gov Romney and Rick Perry tonight. So, Mitt supporters, pop some corn, pop open your laptop, and pop in right here on MRC chat to join the fun when the debate begins!

Go get ’em, Mitt!

► Jayde Wyatt

Who Won the MSNBC/Politico Reagan Debate? UPDATE: Video Added

Here’s how I rank tonight’s debate performances:

1. Mitt Romney
2. Newt Gingrich
3. Ron Paul
4. Michele Bachmann
5. Rick Santorum
6. Herman Cain
7. Rick Perry
8. Jon Huntsman

Welcome to the race Rick Perry. I’m guessing he wasn’t expecting as rough of a night as it was. He tried to deflect some of the devastating points made by others by his troubling record bu saying he felt like a pinata, but he ain’t seen nothing yet. He decided to foolishly throw the first punch in the debate while Newt and Mitt tried to keep the focus on President Obama. Mitt defended himself like he should, but he never threw the first punch. With ads running against Perry by the Bachmann super pac and Ron Paul’s campaign right before the beginning of the debate, Mitt was able to stand back and let the light shine on all the cracks in Gov. Perry’s facade.

I’m not quite sure Gov. Rick Perry realizes how badly he got hurt tonight. So many topics were brought up that are going to haunt the rest of his campaign. It actually reminded me of the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart technique from Kill Bill where the person can take a few steps after the technique, but then they just collapse. I don’t know when Rick Perry will collapse, but tonight might have been a fatal blow because Rick Perry is a fatally flawed candidate that could win before the internet age perhaps, but not today with a more informed electorate.

VIDEO of entire debate:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

If anyone wants to learn more about the other candidates or has any information to add, check out the what we’ve got so far.


Just look at all the people on-the-record at Politico saying Romney won:
Former state Sen. Jeff Smith
David Biespiel
Eileen Shields-West
Richard M. Skinner
H. Whitt Kilburn

Gov. Romney was on the Sean Hannity radio show and he correctly pointed out that the GOP “Will Be Obliterated” If Candidate Against Social Security Is Nominated. Also, it’s been reported on Mitt Romney Radio that “Mitt Romney” was the 4th most search term on the internet after the debate! How sweet is that!?

GOP Presidential Debate at Reagan Library: Eyes on Romney, Perry, Bachmann

A look at impressive Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA, where the GOP presidential debate will take place this evening at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT. Sept 7, 2011

Air Force One Pavilion is where it’s happening this evening!

Located at the magnificent Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, the pavilion will be the setting for the presidential debate at 8:00 PM ET. Eight Republican presidential candidates will battle it out as they kick off a busy month of debating. The debate is sponsored by NBC News, Politico, and the Reagan Library Foundation; NBC News Anchor Brian Williams and Politico Editor-in-Chief John F. Harris will moderate.

Eyes will be on the Romney/Perry/Bachmann trio. Perry’s debut on the national debate stage will afford us the opportunity to see if his reputation of employing smiling deflections on significant matters of controversy in his record is true. Bachmann is on the line to win back ground she has lost to Perry since he overshadowed her Iowa Straw Poll win. It goes without saying that the other candidates will be poised to create breakout moments for themselves, as well.

Romney has already had a stellar week with his strong performance at Senator Jim DeMint’s Palmetto Freedom Forum and his grand jobs creation speech yesterday in Nevada (“Your pay phone strategy doesn’t work in a smart phone world, Mr. President!“).

We are looking forward to seeing The Gov at tonight’s show down!

Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum

Options to view the debate (starting time 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT):

MSNBC cable channel


Cell phone livestream – Politico Mobile appsMSNBC iPhone and iPad app and Droid app, Blackberry app

Romney supporters are invited to join the fun here at MRC chat throughout the debate!

Knock it out of the pavilion, Mitt!

► Jayde Wyatt

Video: Mitt Romney at the Palmetto Freedom Forum

Finally the whole truth comes out about why Gov. Romney wasn’t originally scheduled to appear at this forum:

When Mitt Romney’s aides told him last month that the main reason they were skipping Sen. Jim DeMint’s Labor Day forum was that he had already committed to attend an event in New Hampshire that day, the candidate was not pleased.

“So you’re telling me the reason we’re not doing this is logistical?” Romney asked, according to one aide. “That’s not good. We’re going to the DeMint forum. Make it so.”

In case you missed it… the reports are that Mitt once again shone brightly at the Palmetto Freedom Forum today that was held in Columbia South Carolina.

Here are the videos of Mitt’s portion of the forum: (each candidate answered questions for 20 minutes)

Part 1: (Mitt starts at the 5:45 mark)

Part 2:

Jennifer Rubin: Romney has his best outing in South Carolina

As for the rest of his performance, he was able to answer a series of questions on whether he’d repeal Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley and whether he’d privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He gave some of his best answers of the campaign, explaining how Sarbanes-Oxley killed the middle market of businesses, making it unduly onerous to go public. He got in a shot at the authors of Dodd-Frank, pointing out that they were in charge of regulating Fannie and Freddie and should have been the last people to draft financial regulation.

On foreign policy he was asked what he’d do differently from Obama: “I’d have one.” He then gave a discourse on projecting American power and chastised President Obama for “kicking Israel under the bus.”

Byron York: After Perry bails, Romney shines in South Carolina forum

Had Perry shown up, he would have had his hands full dealing with Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor originally turned down DeMint’s invitation and decided to appear only after seeing Perry rocket to the front of the Republican pack. But once on stage, especially when faced with a series of questions on financial regulation — Dodd-Frank, Fannie and Freddie, the Community Reinvestment Act, Sarbanes-Oxley — Romney delivered a masterful performance. Asking Romney about financial matters and the economy is like asking former Sen. Rick Santorum about abortion — it’s something he seems to understand deep inside himself.

And even on the issue of abortion, on which he has famously flip-flopped, Romney found a way to shine. Conservative Princeton professor Robert P. George, one of the questioners, asked each candidate about a hugely unlikely scenario in which Congress, relying on the 14th Amendment, would pass a law overturning Roe v. Wade and set up a constitutional showdown with the Supreme Court over abortion. Repeated over and over, the question had the feel of a personal cause rather than an urgent national issue. Romney’s carefully phrased answer was, in effect, no thanks. “I’m not looking to create a constitutional crisis,” he told George.

Emily Friedman: Romney Gets Personal at South Carolina Forum

Romney has mostly stayed mum about faith during his campaign, but today offered a rare glimpse into his personal relationship with God and how it relates to his ability to cope in difficult situations.

“I go on my knees,” Romney said of his decision-making process. “I’m a person of faith and I look for inspiration.”

The biggest applause of the afternoon came when he was asked what he would change about President Obama’s foreign policy.

“A lot,” Romney quipped, audibly delighting the crowd. “First, I’d have one.”

(click each of the titles to read the rest of the article)

Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich and Paul also participated in the forum today. Rick Perry was scheduled to be there as well but excused himself just hours before to attend to emergencies in his state of Texas due to wildfires.

~Nate G.

~Update from Ross
Our friends at ComMITTed to Romney have the text version of Mitt’s answers posted here if you want to use them in the future.

FL Poll: Romney Passes Obama, Romney Preferred Among GOP Field

Polling news from the key battleground state of Florida by Sachs/Mason-Dixon shows President Obama continuing to fade behind Mitt Romney. And, Romney is at the had of the GOP field.

The poll was taken August 18-22:

Barack Obama continues to fade in Florida, with a new poll showing Mitt Romney holding a 51-43 lead over the president and Obama in a dead heat with Rick Perry.

“Unlike 2008, if the election were held today, President Obama would face a stiffer headwind to hold on to Florida and its 29 electoral votes against a top-tier Republican challenger — and that could cost him re-election,” said Sachs Communications president Ron Sachs, citing the Sachs/Mason-Dixon Poll taken Aug. 18-22.
Romney led all Republican hopefuls with 28 percent, with Perry garnering 21 percent, Bachmann 13 percent, Herman Cain 7 percent, Newt Gingrich 5 percent and Ron Paul 4 percent.

The survey of 625 registered Florida voters also found 56 percent of respondents disapproving of Obama’s job performance vs. 41 percent approving.

(emphasis added)

At a glance:

Sachs/Mason-Dixon Florida GOP Primary

Romney – 28%
Perry – 21%
Bachmann – 13%
Cain – 7%
Gingrich – 5%
Paul – 4%
Santorum – 2%
Huntsman – 0%
Undecided – 17%

General Election

Romney – 51%
Obama – 43%
Perry – 46%
Obama – 45%
Obama – 46%
Bachmann – 44%

Further details may be found here.

► Jayde Wyatt

And the Winner of the 2011 Ames Straw Poll is… Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann is the winner of the Ames Straw Poll.

On a day when Gov. Perry announced he’s running for President in South Carolina, Michele Bachmann has taken the top prize. Congratulations to Bachmann and her supporters, a hard-earned and well-deserved victory.

May the best candidate win when the actual votes are cast in 2012.

2011 Straw Poll Results (Note, this is the first time write-ins were ever accepted at Ames.):

1. Michele Bachmann – 4, 823 (28.55%)
2. Ron Paul – 4,671 (27.65%)
3. Tim Pawlenty – 2,293 (13.57%)
4. Rick Santorum – 1,657 (9.81%)
5. Herman Cain – 1,456 (8.62%)
6. Rick Perry – 718 (4.25%)
7. Mitt Romney – 567 (3.36%)
8. Newt Gingrich – 385 (2.28%)
9. Jon Huntsman – 69 (0.41%)
10. Thaddeus Mccotter – 35 (0.21%)

162 votes were ‘scattered’ (0.96%).

Tweet from Governor Romney:

Congratulations to Michele Bachmann for winning the Iowa GOP’s straw poll. Look forward to crossing paths on the campaign trailless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

2007 Ames Straw Poll results:

1 Mitt Romney 4,516 votes or 31.6%
2 Mike Huckabee 2,587 votes or 18.1%
3 Sam Brownback 2,192 votes or 15.3%
4 Tom Tancredo 1,961 votes or 13.7%
5 Ron Paul 1,305 votes or 9.1%
6 Tommy Thompson 1,039 votes or 7.3%
7 Fred Thompson 203 votes or 1.4%
8 Rudy Giuliani 183 votes or 1.3%
9 Duncan Hunter 174 votes or 1.2%
10 John McCain 101 votes or 0.7%
11 John H. Cox 41 votes or 0.3%

Since Mitt didn’t pay for any tickets for his supporters this year, I think it’s very telling that he still garnered more votes than Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain did combined when they didn’t compete in the 2007 Ames straw poll.

UPDATE: A married couple, who supported Mitt during the 2007 Ames Straw Poll, showed up to vote today wearing the yellow t-shirts he handed out four years ago:

Jacqui Norman and her husband were both sporting yellow Romney t-shirts left over from a different time four years ago, when Romney was focused like a laser on winning the Ames straw poll.

We’ve had lots of people come up and ask us where we got our t-shirts, because they wanted to find them,” said Norman, a 40-year-old from Ames who volunteered for Romney’s previous campaign. “We had a couple dozen stickers left over, so we gave those to some people.”

'Iowans for Romney' 2007

Team Romney at Ames, Iowa Aug 11, 2007