master debaters

What You Missed During the 17th GOP Debate

Republican presidential candidate former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R), next to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, makes a point during a debate at the North Charleston Coliseum January 19, 2012 in Charleston, South Carolina. The debate, hosted by CNN and the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, is the final debate before South Carolina voters head to the polls for their primary January 21.
Holy crap, Mitt, the audience doesn't care that I wanted permission to cheat on my wife!

Number of Candidates Who Mouthed the Words to the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the Outset of the Debate: 2 (Santorum, Romney)

Number of Candidates Who Hate America: 2 (Gingrich, Paul)

Number of Times the Candidates Said Reagan: 15

Number of the Times the Candidates Said BushOnce, a reference to George H.W. Bush.

Number of Times Mitt Romney Referred to His Own Massachusetts Health-Care Reform as RomneyCare: Once, possibly for the first time ever. 

Longest Continuous Media-Bashing: When Newt Gingrich scolded moderator John King for a solid three minutes for daring to ask about his marital infidelities: 

Most Timid Moderation Moment: When John King declined to defend the relevance of questions about Gingrich’s glaring character flaws and gross personal failings. 

Most Gingrich-ian Sentence:The third thing you could do, frankly, is fundamentally, radically overhaul the Corps of Engineers.”

Least Bold Stance: “My view is capitalism works.” —  Mitt Romney

Least Presidential Campaign Pledge: I’m going to stand and defend capitalism across this country, throughout this campaign. I know we’re going to get hit hard from President Obama, but we’re going to stuff it down his throat and point out it is capitalism and freedom that makes America strong.” — Mitt Romney

Worst Excuse: Because I want to make sure that I beat President Obama. And every time we release things drip by drip, the Democrats go out with another array of attacks. As has been done in the past, if I’m the nominee, I’ll put these out at one time so we have one discussion of all of this.” — Mitt Romney on why he won’t release his tax returns until April, when the primary race will almost certainly be long over. 

Worst American History: Ron Paul claimed that the government didn’t implement “any special programs” for the soldiers who returned from World War II. As Newt Gingrich pointed out, he forgot about a little thing called the G.I. Bill, which allowed millions of them to go to college. 

Most Condescending Statement:So, I’d be quite happy to have a three-hour Lincoln–Douglas style debate with Barack Obama. I’d let him use a TelePrompTer. I’ll just rely on knowledge.” — Newt Gingrich

Most Uncomfortable Attempt at Replicating Genuine-Sounding Human Laughter:

Most Accurate Thing Said About Newt Gingrich: “Grandiosity has never been a problem with Newt Gingrich.” —  Rick Santorum

Most Scathing Insult: “I mean, I looked at the Reagan diary. You’re mentioned once in Ronald Reagan’s diary.” — Mitt Romney to Newt Gingrich

Most Unintentional Self-Mockery: Mitt Romney claimed that, unlike the Washington insiders up onstage, he’s “someone who’s lived in the real streets of America.” Thug for life. 

Most Frustrated Remark:But the idea that, you know, anything goes on the Internet, where did that come from? Where in America does it say that anything goes?” — Rick Santorum, ostensibly talking about SOPA. 

Moment When Audience Was Closest to Murdering John King: When King ended a discussion on abortion without calling on Ron Paul.

Best Animated Debate .GIF: Courtesy of Buzzfeed:

Most Potentially Erotic Screenshot: This, from when Rick Santorum theatrically whispered into his microphone. 

Worst Understanding of What Happens in Campaigns: “This is not the time to be doubting people’s words or questioning their integrity.” —  Mitt Romney

Winner: Newt Gingrich

Loser: Mitt Romney

What You Missed During the 17th GOP Debate