Tuesday was Mitt Romney’s night. The former Massachusetts governor entered the ninth GOP debate riding a long, fortuitous wave of positive news. His nearest competitors for the nomination had crumbled amid missteps or mismanagement. Prospective candidates had declined to launch bids of their own. One of them, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, even gave Romney an endorsement hours before the debate at Dartmouth College began. And if all that wasn’t advantageous enough, the setting for the forum was in a state that Romney owns — New Hampshire — and on a topic that he should dominate: the economy.
In what increasingly resembles a seamless path to the Republican presidential nomination, Tuesday night showed that another feature has become predominant in Romney’s ride of fortune and political finesse. None of his competitors seem capable of landing a punch.
As one adviser to a rival campaign stated before the debate: ‘He’s got a glass jaw but no one will hit it.”
Tuesday night’s Bloomberg/Washington Post debate proved no different.
Perhaps no moment was as emblematic as the debate’s climactic, penultimate feature: a session that allowed each candidate to address a question to a competitor. Romney received four questions and either skillfully dodged or was granted an easy out in each instance.