The CNN GOP debate was fun to watch

The CNN GOP debate was fun to watch for a lot of reasons but mostly because you could begin to see the separation between the first tier and the rest or as I like to put it, “the haves from the have-nots”. First the winner: hands down, Newt. Smart, composed, vision for the country. Clearly for those tuning in the for the first time, no doubt Newt impressed. The Loser: Herman Cain. When you are asked a question in a foreign policy debate about Syria and your answer is about the economy—lights out. As for the rest, the only surprise was the way Huntsman finally began to sound like a man who could run the Free World  (as opposed to just talk about it). He did himself some good and maybe, just maybe, put enough pep in is his presidential step to stand a bit longer on that stage. Mitt Romney showed flashes of aggression but was his typically cool, calm and somewhat matter-of-fact self. No harm, no foul. Michelle Bachmann trying to keep at least a nostril above the water, was solid on China trying to buy influence in Pakistan, for example, but that dog is not only not hunting anymore, it stopped barking. Rick Santorum and Ron Paul each make powerful points, but I find it interesting that they, like Rick Perry or Michelle Bachmann are not the ones leading in the polls as tried and true conservatives, but rather the one person they detest the most—Mitt Romney. Then along comes Newt, who has been able at least to withstand the early assaults against him.

But the gold star for the night has to go to Newt who stood head and shoulders head and shoulders above the others. His answer on immigration, for example, showed strength AND compassion– Perry tried a few weeks back, but came off weak and irritated the base. Newt made the case the GOP has to make not just to mend their ways with Hispanics but because it’s the case that lady holding the torch in NY harbor has made for over a century. Those who think this will hurt Newt are wishing and hoping. We’ll see. So here’s a question for those who want to be president: If you don’t like Newt’s answer on immigration, then would you deport the mother of a us citizen? (in other words a mom who’s child is born here but who herself is here illegally).

How you answer that question could put the keys to the oval office in your pocket—or your purse.

Michael Steele