GOP presidential debate: Did you notice?

GOP presidential debate: Did you notice?

November 15th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

Republican presidential candidates former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, left, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, businessman Herman Cain, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, pose before a Republican presidential debate at Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Mich., Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Photo by Associated Press /Times Free Press.

POLL: Who would be the best GOP candidate to run against President Obama?

There was another televised debate Saturday night among the Republican presidential candidates.

Did you notice?

If you did, did it make any difference in your preference for a GOP candidate to replace President Barack Obama in the 2012 election?

Unlike in some previous debates, there were no major stumbles or gaffes.

But also as in some of the earlier debates, there was not a great deal to make any one candidate stand out clearly from the others.

With the debate focusing on foreign policy, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney pointed to Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and said he, unlike Obama, would keep Iran from achieving that goal.

Georgia businessman Herman Cain said he would have a knowledgeable set of military and other advisers as he makes vital decisions about national security.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman denounced waterboarding of terrorism suspects as torture -- though we doubt waterboarding will be a key issue for most Americans as they head to the polls.

Reportedly, Romney and Cain are running neck and neck. Perhaps a bigger surprise, though, is that former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich is now in contention as well. It wasn't so many months ago that practically everyone had written off his campaign. And yet now, despite a limited budget, he has pulled within striking distance of the lead.

Undoubtedly, his ability to articulate his conservative arguments in the debates and his commonsense approach on a number of issues is making inroads with quite a few Republican primary voters.

Whatever time any of the other candidates has to start attracting big support, it's surely short.

With Washington and Lincoln unavailable for re-election, next year's choice appears to be, for now at least, Obama versus Cain, Romney, Gingrich or (fill in the blank.)