Who Won the GOP Debate? [VIDEO]

The spotlight found Herman Cain, but New Hampshire people say the frontrunner fared best.

Herman Cain's rivals were calling 911 over his 999 plan in tax-free New Hampshire.

Rick Santorum blasted it during the Republican presidential debate at Dartmouth College on Tuesday night, saying Cain's proposed 9 percent sales tax was anathema in a state without a sales tax.

"How many people here are for a sales tax in New Hampshire? There you go, Herman, that's how many votes you'll get in New Hampshire."

Michael Dennehy, who helped John McCain win two New Hampshire Primaries, called it a critical moment for Cain, a businessman who is trying to claw his way out of the second tier of candidates.

"Santorum just hit a major, major point regarding Herman Cain," said Dennehy, who is not with a candidate. "It makes it extremely challenging for him here."

Cain got plenty of face time in Tuesday’s debate, getting in dozens of plugs for his 999 plan. But in the end, local political observers said Mitt Romney had the most consistent performance. He entered the night as the frontrunner, and none of his opponents did anything to change that.

“It was a very good night for Mitt Romney,” said University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala. “He was very commanding out there, pretty comfortable.”

But he said Cain also did well. “If you turned it on and had been paying no attention to anything before tonight, you would think it was Cain and Romney who are the top two candidates, and it’s certainly starting to look that way.”

Perry, by comparison, continued his downward slide, people interviewed said.

“I don’t think he did anything to change the story about how he seems to be a bit of an empty suit,” Scala said. “Not an impressive debate performance.”

Rich Killion, a former senior adviser to Tim Pawlenty in New Hampshire, also called Romney the big winner.

“Many candidates had a chance to directly question him, and he easily swatted them away like flies,” he said. “The economy was the sole topic, and it was lodged right in his wheelhouse.”

Killion also thought Cain looked good, but pointed out that Romney never engaged him on his 999 plan.

“Romney knows the national sales tax component won't wear well for the long haul here in New Hampshire,” he said.

Amelia Chasse, a Portsmouth Republican, had Romney and Newt Gingrich atop her rankings, with Cain and Michele Bachmann close behind.

“Romney gave his usual polished performance, but started off sounding a bit irritated, smug and hurried, like he couldn’t be bothered with the debate,” she said. “He is clearly ready for the general.”

Chasse said Perry failed to impress her.

“Perry is the talking points candidate,” she said. “He completely falls apart when talking about any specifics other than Texas stats. Makes him look dumb, although I suspect he isn't really a dumb guy.”

Bedford Republican Stephen Poschmann said Romney was “in command,” while Cain also fared well. He said Perry “did not do what he needed to do.”

He added that following the debate, there is no real reason for Santorum, Jon Huntsman and Bachmann to stay in the race.

“Romney is still the winner,” added Jeff Hatch, Romney’s Salem town chairman. “He wasn’t hurt at all.”

He called Perry the biggest loser. “Was he even there the first hour?”

Chris Buck of Dover, former New Hampshire campaign manager for Thad McCotter, thought Cain won the debate.

“Love it or hate it, 999 got more play than any other issue," he said. "Voters like simple solutions that they can understand and champion. Even if Cain does not win the nomination, he is demonstrating a model of political messaging. Keep it simple, and hammer the message over and over again. Remember how George W. Bush got elected?”

Several people complained about the debate format and the answers the candidates gave.

Conservative blogger William Smith of Merrimack said he thought moderator Charlie Rose struggled reading the questions and showed no control.

“Poor lighting, poor sound,” he said. “Lots of stuff, really.”

Andrew Hemingway, chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, called the debate “more of the same,” saying he was disappointed with the lack of specific answers from candidates.

“A lot of the Republican candidates aren’t painting a picture of a brighter future,” said Hemingway, who was in the debate hall Monday night. “They’re so consumed in the details of right now… I think they’re missing the bigger picture. Paint for us the bigger picture of what America will be, where we’re going under your leadership.”

Tara October 12, 2011 at 03:10 AM
Tara October 12, 2011 at 03:12 AM
I think he was hurt in tonight's debate. (See the article I posted above.) And for saying that Greenspan was a good Chairman of the Fed.
Jeff Hatch October 12, 2011 at 03:13 AM
Another lesson in debate 101 classs tonight. When the candidates starting asking each other questions Perry & Cain made the rookie mistake of asking Romney a question about something he's been asked over and over again. Thus giving Romney more face time with the voters. When it was Romney's turn. He threw softballs at Bachman that she could answer without mentioning anyone elses names being involved
Larry L.Clifton October 12, 2011 at 03:27 AM
romney is a Rino and always will be. as to the critics of Cain's 999 plan...• I respectfully disagree w/the naysayers. The Cain 999 plan followed by the Fairtax will fuel an economic boom that will prove to be unrivaled in our history. The 'system' in place now is a disaster. In all its 70,000 pages of confusion it stifles and/or punishes productivity and keeps the already funky economy down. To defend the current system one would have to either be delusional and/or disingenuous. It is terrible in theory and in practice AND it is totally unfair. When 49% support the other 51% something way wrong. A tax system that doesn't require 'skin in the game' by everyone who is able is UNFAIR. I happen to agree with this statement by Congressman John Linder..."If we were to get rid of the income tax and the payroll tax and all compliance costs, we would be so ferociously competitive in a world economy that corporate America would not be competed with unless foreign corporations started building their plants in America". Millions and millions of jobs would be created and all Americans would prosper. A strong financially 'flush' America is the goal of these bold tax plans. That my friends is sorely needed in these troubled times. Support Cain, his 999 plan, and the coming FairTax.
ItBeMe October 12, 2011 at 04:14 AM
I agree that the tax system we now have is a total disaster. Let me add to your statement - "To defend the current system one would have to either be delusional and/or disingenuous" OR A LAWYER. With Washington the way it is, they'd never pass a simplified plan such as "999". Half of the legislators we have are lawyers and they make their money by having complexities in every system including life itself. That's why we have so many regulations and the tax code is 17 feet high. The last thing any of these lawyer-politicians want is simplification. If, by some miracle, you were able to get 999 or any simplified tax system implemented can you imagine how many lawyers, tax attorneys, lobbyists and CPA's would be out of jobs? Not to mention all the IRS auditors that wouldn't be needed. That's exactly why it would never happen. So let's be real here. I like a lot of what Cain says but 999 is pie in the sky.
Nathan Nieuwsma October 12, 2011 at 04:31 AM
I disagree, Ron Paul if given fair time. Then he would mop Herman and Romney
Nathan Nieuwsma October 12, 2011 at 04:36 AM
Congrats if you vote for a man the can say one thing over and over. 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999 999. Very Smart man... If you like Corruption vote the rest. If you like 22 yrs of truth vote Ron Paul 2012 !!!!
Nathan Nieuwsma October 12, 2011 at 04:41 AM
Jesus, could this article be anymore pro-cain???? Damn Pathetic It's like he wrote it himself.
James Knight October 12, 2011 at 05:15 AM
My two cents as a guy who doesnt ususlly get all caught up in this mess. Perry has no business there. He just is not smart. Santorum (too mean), Huntsman (who?), and Bachmann (cant believe she thinks having been a tax lawyer gives her cred). Newt is scary smart, but President Newt would make the dicks (Chene=y and Nixon) look like pussycats, and everyone knows it which is why his campaign is DOA (he knows it is, I think he's just having fun). Paul is a joke. A JOKE. STOP please. He is our Nader. Stop. He has Zero chance of getting elected. Zero. Stop....sh..stop please. Romney is smart, but he is boring and stiff. Cain knows how to get his message out, he is confident, charismatic, and smart. He also has a great story. In fact, the best story of all the hopefuls. I am personally very happy that somebody is talking about torching our tax code. I don't know if he can get the nomination but I am certain he is the only one who can beat Obama.
JR October 12, 2011 at 05:29 AM
Toward the end of the debate someone from the audience shouted something, and it seemed to startle the moderator as well as some of the candidates. Does anyone know what was said?
Dan Tuohy October 12, 2011 at 05:36 AM
Before the debate, WashingtonPost.com had a post with a "Heckle Risk Analysis." The Post posted: "The motto of Dartmouth College is ”Vox Clamantis in Deserto,” Latin for the “voice of one crying in the wilderness.” Could you ask for a more blatant promotion for debate heckling?"
Carlos Ponce October 12, 2011 at 07:52 AM
Nathan Nieuwsma October 12, 2011 at 10:15 AM
Herman was the Chairman of the most desructive (private) Bank in US history the Federal Reserve. I could never ever vote for someone that worked for them muchless says Alan Greenspan was a good FED Chairman and that we don't need to audit the FED. It would be boring(nothing to see here folks move along). When a partial audit revealed they Printed 16 TRILLION dollars and bailed out Bankster home and abroad with the money....Please. The the dick says if you don't have a job and you are not rich it's your own damn fault ?!?!?! In this economy get out of here. Lastly, Ron Paul is not unelectable I'm sorry if you have been conditioned and Brain washed by the media into believing that. But I say this is America and media is not picking my candadite for me. So I am choosing to believe in the people's voice. RON PAUL !!!!!
Nathan Nieuwsma October 12, 2011 at 10:17 AM
I almost forgot Herman Cain also was and is still in favor of all the Bankster Bailouts that are on the books. Not the hush hush ones. Hello, Inflation
Vicky October 12, 2011 at 10:32 AM
Agreed..a little ."skin in the game" would cause many to perhaps have a little empathy for their fellow man who carries so much of the burden. Jealousy and envy has been promoted as a divisive tactic for far too long. What type of leadership would do that anyway. Horrible way to run a country...shows a real lack of integrity. The additional revenue created by the 20 million illegals alone with a 9 percent national sales tax would go a long way towards covering debt if handled wisely and wisdom is sorely needed in these times. I want a man of integrity and character in the Oval Office this time. I do not want a candidate who has already shown signs he is willing to agree to participate in hijacking this election also by playing electoral slight of hand. Bumping up primaries because the American people appear to be becoming too interested in the candidate the GOP does not want. As though the GOP knows best. Arrogance. We the people should be allowed to choose our own future,...not have it manipulated by those who have failed us already. I choose Cain.
Vicky October 12, 2011 at 10:40 AM
I like the way you put things. Love it when someone can make excellent points while making you think and laugh at the same time.
Ken Ross October 12, 2011 at 11:09 AM
Herman Cain, as a former board member of the Federal Reserve, has denied the need for an audit of the Federal Reserve and called those who demanded a regular audit "ignorant." A video of this is posted on the Internet. At the Oct. 11 debate, Cain attempted to deny this. It will be interesting to see how network news pundits deal with this lie since He Who Shall Not Be Named exposed the lie and He Who Shall Not Be Named is central to the issue. Michele Bachmann, although seemingly more honest than Cain, could face similar problems by portraying herself as a 'rebel in the belly of the beast' during her employment at the IRS.
Douglas Charles Kittredge October 12, 2011 at 12:03 PM
It became much more clear that all of these candidates are operating from the same traditional tax and spend model that has brought the nation to it's current crisis...and the one guy we didn't get to hear from on anything other than the Federal Reserve to accurately portray this reality was Ron Paul. It was wise for Ron to stay out of the embarrassing popularity contest that was on display here (nothing new in Presidential debates these days)...who seems more interested in discussing the ideas and solutions that trying to "win". Where the other candidates come off as calculated and awkward...Ron just waits for an opportunity to get serious. This debate was not such a forum.
Mike October 12, 2011 at 12:07 PM
The General Public just doesn't get it. Left-wing wants Romney to be POTUS. Why? Because he is weak. Cain has the economic answers with the 999 plan which is a good start to economic recovery and JOBS, JOB, JOBS, I am amazed that FOX news has and is pushing Romney whenever they can. If you think there was a winner then you are only hearing what you want to hear.
Mike October 12, 2011 at 12:11 PM
Forgot the millions and millions and millions of taxpayers in New Hampshire that are resisting a sales tax. Seems like the New England states dictate to the rest of the U.S. at every turn and keep electing block heads like Kerry, Kennedy etc., etc.
Whackadoodle Dandy October 12, 2011 at 04:06 PM
My kinda folks! ...well, except for Huntsman, maybe.
BadSpottedDog October 12, 2011 at 06:33 PM
I totally agree. Misinformation is Cain's biggest enemy. Please learn about what he is doing here http://www.hermancain.com/999plan AND fairtax.org
BadSpottedDog October 12, 2011 at 07:10 PM
@ItBeMe ... Cain's gifts are .... his passion for this country, his confidence in his ability to turn things around, his ability to communicate, and his honesty. No one thought he would even be in the running. When he achieved that, most thought he would be left by the wayside .. right? If anyone can push 999 through, followed by the fair tax, it would be Cain. He has a gift (like no other I have seen) to communicate his ideas well, and to motivate people. I've even seen liberals change their tune after listening to him speak. Yes ... it will be very difficult to implement his ideas. Going to the moon was "difficult" too. If everyone had your attitude of, "it'll never work", we would never achieve anything outstanding. Why not instead, believe and support what is "right"? A little faith and a lot of tenacity will help achieve dreams. Be informed, and pass your knowledge on. This social media thing is the best for spreading information. The only people who would be against this plan, are the ones who don't have the complete picture, those who have a lot to lose, and those who are hopeless in the belief that things will remain bleak and status quo. http://www.hermancain.com/999plan fairtax.org
ItBeMe October 12, 2011 at 10:00 PM
@BadSpottedDog - I like Cain and a lot of his ideas including "999". He's is a fantastic communicator as well. But, I’ve already heard "He has a gift (like no other I have seen) to communicate his ideas well, and to motivate people." That’s pretty much what was said about Obama. So, look where we are now. He's been totally paralyzed by the Washington system. So much for “hope and change”. I agree, “going to the moon” was difficult too. But remember, everybody was on the same page when we did that. We had the same goal. Do you think that’s the case in DC? I wish Herman Cain the best in his quest and would even vote for him if he was the nominee. But, again, you must be realistic about it. People (not me) had such high hopes for Obama and just look at us now. I applaud you idealism and I hope you’re right and not me.
Ancient_Future October 13, 2011 at 01:29 AM
Buaahahahahah! Are any of these articles even aware Ron Paul is running for president? This is embarrassing. So many articles, an so many don't even mention his name. Sad to say, but many of these guys are afraid to face the cold truth, that people don't want anything they're being fed anymore. Obviously Paul is among the top 3 contenders and is undoubtedly the most qualified for the job and the strongest candidate the relublicans have. Unfortunately, peace, honesty, integrity, sound money, and common sense, are not popular in Washington or with most Americans. It will be a truly sad day when America turns down one of the greatest presidents they could ever had, because they enjoy being pandered and lied to. The corruption in the United States is noxious and a need for real change should have been apparent after the Obama fiasco. Well, here we are again, but this time they want to take a step back into familiar territoy, little do they realize, that is the same ground we have just tread and it won't be any better the second time around. VOTE FOR PEACE, VOTE RON PAUL!
ForThePeople October 13, 2011 at 03:19 AM
I think the appeal of Ron Paul has partly to do with his advocacy for legalizing drugs (a lot of his constituents, that's their biggest beef), and partly because he comes across as an intellectual. He's wrong, without a doubt, and you must accept that we have had countless intellectuals throughout history that were mistaken. I think people get a little starry-eyed when people try to sound smart- when behind the curtain there's not a lot of substance. I think the biggest thing about Ron Paul for critically thinking voters is that he has not described the free market with any detail on any of his interviews. Every question that he is asked, he has the same mannerism: his hands come up, he looks upwards as if bored with such a simple question, and says, "but the free market will fix all that." That is the definition of political handwaving. If he wants to be taken seriously, he needs to describe why businesses in the "free market" will not misbehave without regulations. And the very definition of free market; I don't see any mention of the bourgeois. "Because the free market will fix all that!" At the debates, he needs to stop pandering to his giddy audience, stop the handwaving, cut down on the one-liner snide remarks, and start talking about substance: taxes, poor, middle class, and rich, controversial issues, and JOBS. I find him amusing, eccentric, and without substance.
Carolyn Dube (Editor) October 13, 2011 at 03:31 AM
Hi JR, wanted to point you to an article we posted a few hours ago. Dan Tuohy tracked down and talked to the person shouting from the audience. http://merrimack.patch.com/articles/veteran-interrupted-presidential-debate.
William Delano Gaston October 13, 2011 at 12:27 PM
All he said all night was "9-9-9". He knows that the sheeple of the United States are typically apathetic and want some simple catch-phrase to rally everyone. Well, people are waking up....we do not want ANOTHER establishment persident who wants endless wars and Keynesian economics causing inflation and this country's bankruptcy.
Tony Schinella (Editor) October 13, 2011 at 12:57 PM
Thanks for all the comments folks. Two quick points: @ForThePeople, I think you're correct. Ron Paul's appeal (Gary Johnson's too), is the small L libertarian issues like drugs, the desire to be left alone, etc. But it is also the Federal Reserve/monetary policy issues which even Barney Frank agrees with and the fact that people are looking at our system and scratching their heads by some of the insane decisions coming from the central bank in recent years. I mean, bailing out foreign banks with trillions of American dollars? What were they thinking? They also advocate a "pure," for lack of a better term, free market, which is something that we've never had in this country (or maybe had before 1913, which the income tax was implemented). On Cain, I think the 999 plan is an interesting one. However, two things stand out: 1) the working poor will get nailed by this plan; and 2) basic necessities, like food, will be taxed at 9% (Gary Johnson wants it to be 27% but has a prebate). The plan will also nail "the rich" and major companies who don't pay anything in income taxes (or use loopholes to escape current rates). The middle income folks will see the biggest benefit from this plan since it eliminates the payroll tax and they tend to pay much higher income taxes than 9%. For them, trading a 20% income tax/7% payroll tax for 9% income/9% sales tax rate you may or may not make, would be a good deal.
ForThePeople October 13, 2011 at 06:58 PM
Why are you saying Herman Cain is going to "nail the rich" by imposing a 9% rate? They are supposed to be paying 35%. Warren Buffett paid 17%. Millionaires have been tax dodging for years. It's not "nailing" if they have been gaming the system right along. As far as companies go, I've repeated this many times: they hire people irregardless of the tax rate as long as the math works out that the company makes money with the employees work. It's not a charity system, and it is not a direct correlation with the tax rate. The living proof is the Clinton era. And companies like GE will still be able to dodge as long as they put their point-of-sale overseas. No, Herman Cain is giving a sweetheart deal to himself and others like him. If you listen to him talk, he often describes how amazing he is and how he fought all odds to succeed, and everyone who didn't it's their own fault because they had the same chance. This is fundamentally false; not everyone can be rich. Not even a majority can be rich. Only a select few... 1%! Does that sound like someone with an interest in society? When did he start caring about other people or America? All of the stories are completely self-centered. What's wrong with closing tax loopholes? That is Obama's idea; actually have the tax code without the special interest discounts.


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