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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Reagan debate leaves Perry, Romney in control

(By Ed Morrissey, Hot Air) - The first Republican debate with former frontrunner Mitt Romney as a hungry challenger took place last night, and in many ways it unfolded largely as I predicted. Romney mainly stuck to his above-the-fray strategy except for a couple of notable exchanges in the beginning with the new frontrunner, Rick Perry. Perry avoided looking or sounding scary despite the best attempts of the moderators to make him stumble. Michele Bachmann may in fact have been the only real loser of the debate despite giving a credible performance.

Let’s start with Perry, who was the focus of the attention for his first debate. The Texas governor did well, especially on a late question on the death penalty and when he challenged both Karl Rove and Dick Cheney on Social Security. He gave a good explanation of how the current model of Social Security is indeed a “Ponzi scheme” for the younger contributors who have no hope of seeing any benefits without serious reform, and rejected the idea that telling the truth was so provocative that it shouldn’t be done in an election. Romney had one of his weakest moments when he scolded Perry for scaring people while conceding that Perry was right, which made Mitt look as though pandering rather than telling the truth is preferable.

On the other hand, Perry gave a surprisingly weak answer on a gotcha question about climate change (“Can you name any scientists”?), a topic for which he should have been prepared. Bachmann did better on the follow-up. Perry also revealed a tendency to pause while reaching for the right words, which some speakers usually fill with trite phrases like “Let me be perfectly clear.” He needs to improve if he expects to joust with Barack Obama in the general election, who looks more natural on the debate stage than Perry. However, he didn’t give anyone a reason to not support him as a nominee and should keep his momentum intact. Perry certainly came across as a fighter and a plain speaker, which will boost his chances among the Republican base.


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