5 things we learned tonight
June 13th, 2011
10:49 PM ET
10 years ago

5 things we learned tonight

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Five things we learned at the debate:

1) Michele Bachmann is now a candidate for president. The congresswoman from Minnesota was the only person on the stage who was not officially a candidate at the start of the debate. That changed minutes into the debate, when Bachmann told CNN's John King, the moderator of the debate that "I just want to make an announcement here for you, John, on CNN tonight. I filed today my paperwork to seek the office of the presidency of the United States today. And I'll very soon be making my formal announcement."

2) Mitt Romney is already running a general election campaign. The former Massachusetts governor, who is the front-runner in the most recent national GOP horserace polls, saved his firepower for President Barack Obama, going as far as saying "I can't wait to debate him." At the same time, Romney passed on criticizing any of his rivals on the stage, including former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who had in recent days attacked Romney over his Massachusetts health care law.

3) Tim Pawlenty's missed opportunity?
The former Minnesota governor, when asked about his use Sunday of the term "Obamneycare," didn't strongly respond. Pawlenty's muted response, and Romney's lack of criticism of Pawlenty, avoided a political World War Three. Instead of taking on Romney, Pawlenty went after the president, saying "President Obama is - is the person who I quoted in saying he looked to Massachusetts for designing his program. He's the one who said it's a blueprint and that he merged the two programs. And so using the term "Obamneycare" was a reflection of the president's comments that he designed Obamacare on the Massachusetts health care plan."

4) Michele Bachmann's successful debate debut: The congresswoman from Minnesota had some of the best lines of the night, and because of that she received some of the loudest applause. But besides some strong one-liners, such as her "take it to the bank" comment on repealing the president's health care law, Bachmann also appeared to have strong responses on policy.

5) Newt Gingrich is still in the race. He wasn't asked about the mass defection of most of his campaign staff, and he didn't bring it up himself, but the former House Speaker did show that he came to play, that he is a serious presidential candidate. And his comment on loyalty to the government may have been the most shocking moment of the evening. He didn't back down from his criticism of House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare proposal, either. Was Gingrich successful or did he dig himself a deeper hole?

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • New Hampshire 2012 Debate
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. Joel

    Why is there no mention of Ron Paul?

    June 13, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  2. JamesBro

    I learned that Ron Paul is the only real person with good ideas who hasn't flipped his stance based on what people want to hear

    June 13, 2011 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  3. Obamneycare

    Romney made a personal fortune along with his hedge fund Wall Street buddies by OUTSOURCING good paying American jobs to communists in China and Socialists in India. And this guy is running for the American Presidency!!!!!! He should be tried for treason.

    June 13, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  4. SilverHair

    But where are the specific dollar fixes that only a united congress can deliver?

    June 13, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  5. Bob

    6. That the mainstream media will continue to ignore Ron Paul and not mention the role of the Federal Reserve in ruining our economy for 100 years.

    June 13, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  6. A.D. Mobley

    Any reason you fail to mention the others that participated?

    June 13, 2011 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  7. john

    1 thing we I tonight.


    June 13, 2011 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  8. Viet.Vet

    If one had a tape recorder, we could just play it, Same old warm over Republican talking point, lower tax, less goverment involvement, appeal health care and as usual nothing about helping the Middle Class as usual hiding their social agenda however, once elected this is their only agenda. Wakeup America!!

    June 13, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  9. Eric Camp

    The personality questions were a total waste of time. My time as a viewer and voter was wasted.

    June 13, 2011 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  10. America Shrugged

    5 things I learned tonight? GOP still doesn't want equality for Gays and Lesbians although they pay taxes, and fight for American freedoms. GOP still wants to dismantle Medicare and SS. GOP with the exception of Ron Paul, still wants the US to fight wars we can't afford. GOP still wants to dismantle Unions. GOP still wants our President ( and our country ) to fail so they can win back power. I'll add a 6th if you don't mind...GOP still has no clue how to create a jobs bill that doesn't require even more tax cuts and outsourcing.

    June 13, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  11. HL_guy

    We also learned that Mitt Romney believes it's inappropriate for the federal government to lend financial help after devastating natural disasters, and we'd all be better off if the US auto industry had been allowed to go bankrupt. Scary thought: Romney is supposed to be the *least* crazy / most mainstream of the people on that particular stage.

    June 13, 2011 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  12. GOPisGreedOverPeople

    The sixth thing we already knew. The GOP has no solutions. The only GOP solution is to turn the Old, Sick, Poor, Unemployed, and Gay people into slaves. Then whip them until they are Young, Healthy, Rich, Employed, and Straight. Or until they are dead. Then turn them into Soylent Green to feed the military. A self sustaining GOP system.

    June 13, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  13. sparky

    as usual, all criticism and no solutions...

    June 13, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  14. yuri Pelham

    It's inconceivable Bachmann can become president but she did do quite well. I never would have predicted. Sarah is out. Romney in my view is still phoney stuck to his talking points. Pawlenty I still think is mediocre. Gingrich whom I regarded as a lunatic was the most impressive. He's by far the most knowledgeable, articulate. He seemed to state what he believed rather than be a panderer. I love Paul's view on Afghanistan and Iraq. Glad to have Cain invovled. Santorum trailed the field.

    June 13, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  15. Bhari

    Ron Paul garnered the most applause. Why no mention of Mr. Paul?

    June 13, 2011 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  16. Independent

    Ron Paul received applause after every comment he made and for good reason. He is the only candidate that stands by the constitution and has real common sense solutions.

    June 13, 2011 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  17. RobertCal

    This evening's "Republican Got Talents" show was a disappointment with a lot of misinformation, contradictory logic and overly simplistic solution suggested. Ron has show some sincerity and deeper thought. The rest shows substandard performance. May be time constraint is an issue. Hope to hear more and in a neutral tone.

    June 13, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  18. Tim

    We also were reminded that Ron Paul is a legitimate candidate with steadfast stances on policies.

    June 13, 2011 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  19. Name king

    Why did they call this a debate, the only thing I heard was the same tired uniformed talking points the repugs been slinging since Obama took office. Obama created more jobs in 15 months in a Terrible economy than bush created in eight years until he ran the economy into a ditch. I still haven't heard why no one telling the repugs controlled congress to write a jobs bill so that the president can sign.

    June 13, 2011 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  20. Chaos1045

    6) Ron Paul is Awesome: He actually cares about restoring America and has no sneaky party agendas.

    June 14, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  21. Evan D

    I think we also learned that Ron
    Paul is the only reasonable choice.

    June 14, 2011 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  22. Robert

    Five things we learned tonight:

    1. None of the Republicans have any original or workable ideas
    2. None of them will answer the question when their "right" ideological answer would be politically inconvenient (hence the smarter amongst us know ideologies don't work)
    3. The only thing they know is to blame Obama, irrespective of how far removed from reality this is
    4. They are in lock step on giving more tax cuts to the rich while they gut government programs that help ordinary Americans
    5. President Obama is a sure bet for a second term in 2012

    June 14, 2011 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  23. Bill

    Again, no mention of the fact that Dr Ron Paul dominated. KUDOS to Anderson Cooper for his interview with the only GOP contender who stands out and above the rest.

    June 14, 2011 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  24. David Foley

    And Now I know why as an independent I am going to be voting for the Presiden't re-election in 2012. The group tonights republicans had very little to say about helping the middle class in this country. Rather they sopoke of cutting taxes for the rich, corporate america and lifting regulations that they styme business. Up until 2008 Corporate America has done quite well and seems to be back. It is Corporate America's desire for cheap labor nad no eniromental oversight that is reponsible for the lack of jobs in this country. Lets face it its a global economy now and we need a leader that thinks outside the box and can risk spending some money on education and innovation to spur new avenus for employment growth.

    June 14, 2011 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  25. Altman

    The only person who made any sense in my opinion was Ron Paul. He didn't avoid any of the questions and seemed the most sincere unlike Romney or Newt. They said stuff what people wanted to hear but in the end they were very careful with their words.

    I'm glad at least 1 person here believes we should end the wars and come home. Ron Paul is right. If we take all the money we spend overseas and spend it here at home, we would solve a lot of problems.

    June 14, 2011 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
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