Five candidates for the Republican 2012 presidential nomination faced off in South Carolina 5/5/11 on Fox News Channel. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was the lone candidate believed to have a legitimate shot at the nomination, but Cox Atlanta radio personality and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain received excellent reviews on his performance.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz hosted his own focus group to watch and score the debate, and according to the New York Daily News, Cain was the hands-down winner.
Washington Post political reporter Chris Cillizza also gave Cain a positive review. Cillizza said he started slow but seemed to warm to the task and was more and more effective the throughout the debate.
Pawlenty was seen as needing to show the necessary gravitas to remain in the group of favorites and is thought to have done that. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) has been through this before and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) also has long experience in politics.
Cillizza thought the weakest performance came from former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who needed to establish legitimacy and did little toward that end.
If you missed the debate, you weren’t alone. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) was spotted eating out in Washington when the event was being aired. Perhaps he agreed with many that it is very early to be scheduling a presidential debate, and many of the star attractions – like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and perhaps Donald Trump – weren’t there.