The Great CNN Debate


It’s hard for me to compliment CNN on anything. But, how could CNN not be complimented on how they ran the Las Vegas Debate (October 18, 2011), especially Anderson Cooper who was the BEST debate moderator of all?

Cooper has come under criticism for the way he “enticed” the candidates to “duke-it-out”, which is ridiculous since that’s what the candidates should have been doing.


1 – The way they launched and staged the debate introduction was as slick and as exciting as one could imagine, considering where the venue was.

2 – CNN didn’t have a bunch of self-centered elitists asking stupid questions, more to make themselves look and sound good, than pertinent to what the candidates stood for.

3 – The tempo of the questions came fast and furious from the moderator, the audience, and the Internet. AND THEY WERE ALL GOOD QUESTIONS.

4 – The person responsible for the timing of answers was Anderson Cooper who notified the debaters when their time was up. But, unlike so many other moderators, Cooper didn’t insert himself into the exchanges.

5 – AND . . . ANDERSON COOPER asked hard but not GOTCHA questions, and then let the candidates answer in their own way, and then be challenged by other candidates.

This debate was indeed about the candidates and not the media. And perhaps more than any of the other debates, all the candidates really had the opportunity to let it all out.


From my perspective there was just one winner. There were some who didn’t really win or lose. But, there were a couple of losers. And one who I think lost BIG.

1 – I think one of the losers was Michelle Bachmann who scored no points on substance. She said all the same things about what she doesn’t support, but very little about what she would actually do if she were to become President.

Bachmann is also wearing quite thin every time she focuses on herself, as in . . . I DID THAT. I LEAD THAT. I VOTED FOR THAT. I WAS THE ONLY ONE . . . etc. Bachmann also made it clear that as a TAX ATTORNEY, she knew that Cain’s 9-9-9 would create “hidden” taxes, which was a patently false accusation.

In truth, Cain’s 9-9-9 would make her profession as a Tax Attorney redundant.

2 – I don’t think Rick Perry did anything to prove that he has what it takes to be the President of the USA. And spending his time during the debate trying to destroy Romney is neither policy nor inspiring.

3 – Ron Paul gave a great performance as usual, for someone who doesn’t have a hope and a prayer of getting the nomination, which makes it possible for him to say all kinds of stuff that could and would never work in the real world.

4 – Rick Santorum did very well. But, like Ron Paul, his chance of winning the nomination is somewhere between zero and forget-about-it.

5 – Newt Gingrich always does well, and might have actually increased his numbers in the polls. But not nearly enough, since I believe he has just about reached his ceiling.

If there was one criticism of Gingrich, it was in his final remark that scolded Anderson Cooper for making this debate a bickering match between the candidates.

That remark was untrue and unfair. What Anderson Cooper did was open multiple doors that the candidates themselves walked through in the fashion of their choice.

And as a result of the format of this debate, people like me were able to see things differently from previous perceptions.


6 – Cain almost held his own, but almost in this Big League isn’t enough.

Herman Cain did not defend his 9-9-9 plan the way it should and could have been defended. Instead of saying that his plan would eliminate the IRS and encourage private enterprise to go forward, and do what private enterprise does best, he chose to talk about “apples and oranges”.

Cain didn’t say a word about his plan eliminating all of the unfair advantages enjoyed by BIG BUSINESSES like General Electric that made BILLIONS in profits but paid no taxes.

Cain didn’t say that of the half of Americans (47%) who pay no taxes, all of a sudden with 9-9-9, EVERY American would have some skin-in-the-game.

He never spoke about lifting the HUGE tax collecting and cost burden off the shoulders of small to medium size businesses, which I assure all of you is no small thing.

BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY – Cain never said that his 9-9-9 plan would be the MOST transparent tax in American history, to the point that any politician who would want to mess with it would be in CLEAR VIEW of the people.

And he also never said that as the economy does better, 9-9-9 could easily become 5-5-5 or any other combination.

What Cain did during the debate, was to take a very simple and FIRST-RATE tax plan that he didn’t explain in simple terms. Instead, he told a huge and supportive audience who wanted to hear from him DIRECTLY, to read it for themselves on the Internet, WHICH WAS SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE.

Cain had to know that he would come under enormous attack on 9-9-9. And knowing this, he should have WELCOMED the opportunity to drive 9-9-9 home as his signature plank in his platform. BUT HE DIDN’T. Instead, he spoke about apples and oranges, and blew a platinum opportunity.

On the question about whether Cain would negotiate with TERRORISTS over a prisoner swap, Al Qaeda specifically, Cain’s response in two sentences was YES he would . . . and then NO he wouldn’t. THAT WAS THE MOST DREADFUL ANSWER POSSIBLE.

In the final analysis, at least to me, Cain’s performance was terribly insufficient, and not worthy of World Leadership. And that bothers me far more than just somewhat, since I had GREAT hopes for Herman Cain.

6 – Romney did his usual. He had his game plan down pat (100%). He was fast in every answer. He was never lost in thought. He was decisive. And he didn’t back down an inch.

Not only did Romney not back down an inch during one of his and Perry’s more aggressive moments, Romney actually invaded Perry’s space and placed his hand on Perry’s shoulder.

That shows the toughness of a STREET FIGHTER, especially when you’re walking into the personal zone of another real tough-guy.

Even though Romney established Romneycare in Massachusetts, which in virtually every way is a model for Obamacare, Romney doesn’t give an inch under withering criticism.

At first that bothered me, but after much consideration, I believe him when he says that he would repeal Obamacare as one of his first acts as President. And I also believe him when he says that he is a firm believer in States’ Rights.


This debate gave me much to think about. More than just whom I think amongst the candidates would beat Obama. It also made me think about whom of the group would be the best President if elected.

It made me think about whom in this debate held his or her won? Who really has a plan? Who is consistent? And who can take a punch, not flinch, and throw one back that is bigger and “badder”?

To me, after a great deal of thought and soul searching, especially after watching Cain’s terrible performance, the ONLY candidate who fills the above criteria is Mitt Romney.

There are issues about Romney’s past that I am displeased with, but there is far more about his today that makes his candidacy far more than acceptable.

I am very disappointed in Herman Cain’s performance under fire, but, again, to the credit of Anderson Cooper, he drew them all out giving the people the clear opportunity to separate the wheat from the chaff .

If knowledge, presentation, toughness and a Presidential persona is what the Republicans are looking for, I saw it during the Las Vegas debate in Mitt Romney, which I never thought I’d be writing.



Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov

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One Comment

  1. Howard, I agree with you, in principle … Not in what must be done, action wise. Impeachment definitely would be a “waste of time and energy”, since, nothing else would get done. We need JOBS and LESS spending by Congress. If, Obama plans on using the Veto … Our Congressional Leaders need to “Shut the Government Down!” Plus, the Leaders MUST go before the TV cameras, to explain EVERY move they are making, to the Voters!!! Since, we elected them, “We The People” have a right, to know!!!

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