I have not posted about American politics here for a few days now. Wow, have there ever been changes in the race leading up to the South Carolina primary tomorrow, including two more presidential candidacies packing up and going home.
First of all, after putting on a brave face for a few days, Jon Huntsman dropped out of the race and endorsed Mitt Romney. Romney seemed to be flying high. However, he has been wilting in South Carolina under a heavy fire of attack ads. Then on Thursday, Rick Perry finally threw in his own towel and endorsed the suddenly surging Newt Gingrich. A few days ago he looked dead, but South Carolinians seem to like his take-no-prisoners approach to this primary race.
Then there came word that Gingrich's ex-wife was going to ABC News to rat on Gingrich, with sensational, explosive claims that Gingrich wanted an "open marriage" when she was married to him.
Wow. All I could say is that Gingrich really was in a lousy marriage, given this public backstabbing he got from this woman. on TV. She seemed really bitter. No wonder they split up.
Anyway, that led up to the infamous first question of the CNN debate later that night in Charleston, SC. Debate moderator John King lobs up the first question to Gingrich, asking him if he'd "like to take some time to respond" to the ABC interview and the open marriage allegations. To which Gingrich replies: "no, but I will."
Gingrich then puts King in his place, saying "I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that," and gets a big standing ovation.
Later on, David Gergen said on CNN that this was one of the most explosive moments in debate history and a home run for Newt, though he also defended King asking the question because it was the "elephant in the room". Maybe, but I have to say watching the whole exchange, even I was going: "way to go Newt."
Also in the debate, Mitt Romney hems and haws in fumbling an answer on when he is going to release his tax records. Then, when the moderator looked like he was going to skip over and ignore Ron Paul, the crowd booed. So they had to ask Paul the question!
Wild stuff, but I gotta say --- why were these questions relevant to this debate!? We all know Newt Gingrich's marriage troubles already, and as for these guys' tax records, who really cares?
CNN should really be asking these guys questions relevant to whether any of them would do any better than the current guy in power, Mr. Barack Obama. The next time these folks have a presidential debate, I want more time devoted to how these guys will fix the economy and deal with these rogue regimes around the world. That's what is important -- not this other nonsense they were dredging up instead.
Anyway, that's my take on the whole thing, and you can read the live blog about what happened here. I also watched the CNN live streaming from the spin room and it was fascinating stuff. I gotta say, I am hooked on this political coverage and quite frankly wouldn't be too sad to see the primary race last a few more weeks yet -- this is too good.
I suppose the other news we should mention is that now we are getting word that it was Rick Santorum who actually won the Iowa Caucuses by 34 votes, not Romney. But it really doesn't matter in the delegate count, anyway.
I'll be back with coverage of the South Carolina primary, tomorrow.