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Punditry Quotes of the Week: Ron Paul Edition

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What the media said about Congressman Paul after his Sioux City, Iowa debate performance

ronpaul10.jpgWith two weeks remaining before the caucuses, Iowa Republicans do not yet seem to be listening to the media as to which Republican candidate they are expected to get behind when picking their presidential nominee.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul entered the Republican debate in Sioux City last Thursday surging in Iowa and eclipsing the 20 percent mark for the first time in over 100 public opinion polls conducted during the 2008 and 2012 presidential election cycles.

While Paul generally received satisfactory marks by pundits for his responses in the FOX News debate on domestic policy, he was roundly criticized for his discussion of foreign policy - particularly on questions related to Iran.

Criticized, that is, not simply by some for his policy positions per se but also for how those positions were deemed to hurt his appeal to GOP voters.

The Texas Congressman was judged by many in the media as having missed his chance in the debate to expand his base of support, and thus was seen as emerging from the debate as a much weaker player in the Republican field both nationally as well as in the crucial State of Iowa.

It therefore must have come as some surprise to Paul critic's Monday morning when the first polling numbers were released out of Iowa and the nation with Paul performing better than ever.

Representative Paul now sits at the top of the leader board in the Hawkeye State, with two polls of likely voters showing him in the lead (both conducted in the field after the GOP debate): Paul came in at 23 percent in a new Public Policy Polling survey and 24 percent in a poll by Insider Advantage.

Congressman Paul also recorded 14 percent support in the latest CNN nationwide poll - tied for his best ever national numbers, alongside an August 2011 USA Today/Gallup survey.

The early evidence suggests many pundits got it wrong in Sioux City, as the debate has not yet had the deleterious effect on Paul's campaign that many said it would.

Here are some choice quotes undoubtedly serving as bulletin board material in the Paul camp:

"Ron Paul had a really bad debate." "I thought the big movement was Paul moving down." - David Brooks (New York Times) on NPR (12/16/11) and Newshour (12/16/11)

"I'd say the big loser is Ron Paul... He might as well have gone up there and said the rich aren't paying fair share. It's time to raise taxes. The audience would have been aghast. For Republican primary voters, if you are going to make the case to adjust U.S. foreign policy, there is a way to do it. You may have receptive ears, but using the Moveon.org talking points is not the way to do it." - David Drucker (Roll Call) on Special Report with Bret Baier (12/16/11)

"Losers: Ron Paul: The Texas Congressman spent WAY too much time defending his isolationist foreign policy views -- including his belief that the biggest danger Iran posed to America was if the next president "overreacted". Bachmann effectively bashed Paul -- she said she had "never heard a more dangerous answer" than he gave on Iran -- and the Texas Republican, as is his nature, unhelpfully doubled down on his position." - Chris Cillizza, Washington Post (12/15/11)

"For New Hampshire primary voters who thought a vote for Ron Paul might be a vote for clear, reasoned conservatism, Thursday night's debate in Iowa should have disabused that notion... As a contender for the presidency, he simply is not credible." - Union Leader (NH) Editorial (12/18/11)

"Mr. Paul may have showed the limits to his appeal among Republicans when he argued forcefully against aggressive action to rid Iran of its nuclear capabilities." - Jeff Zeleny and Jim Rutenberg, New York Times (12/16/11)

"The big loser yesterday in my opinion was Ron Paul. I think when he started talking about -- he sounded like -- he sounded like -- who was that guy, the prime minister in England, Chamberlain?" - Vincent Cianci, former Providence Mayor on Hannity (12/16/11)

Of course, with the great volatility at the top of the GOP field this election cycle, it is quite possible the analyses above will eventually ring true and Congressman Paul's support will start to decline.

But it does not appear thus far that the Texan's performance in the Iowa debate will be the trigger for this hypothetical free fall.

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2 Comments


  • In that Paul is the only candidate with a medical degree, one would expect that he could recognize senilety when it stares at him in the mirror.

  • Congressman Paul after his Sioux City, Iowa debate performance media tells the full details of it and its very interesting post.

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    Remains of the Data

    No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

    Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

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    Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

    Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


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    Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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