The two worst aspects of this exchange? The smug look on Pelley’s face when he challenged Gingrich on this point, and the “no” you can hear him utter just as Gingrich started his smackdown of Pelley. Regardless of the context of this exchange, this is a perfect encapsulation of why these media debates are utterly worthless, and why the Republican Party needs to force a format change. Pelley isn’t running for President, and we don’t need to have Pelley debating the presidential candidates. We need them to debate each other. It’s only made more ridiculous when a moderator-turned-participant ends up as far out of his depth as Pelley was on this question.
As I mentioned, I didn’t watch the debate, but from my Twitter feed and a few e-mails, it seems that many thought that Gingrich and Romney were strong as usual, Rick Perry did surprisingly well, and Herman Cain spent too much time deflecting with promises to have a team of experts look at the issues once he’s elected President. I don’t know how Rick Santorum did in the debate, but his team sent out their spin e-mail with the subject line, “Draft Template,” which leads me to conclude that he at least flunked the post-debate. Either that or he’s looking to back a new candidate named John R. Template for the Republican nomination.