It’s possible no one else will say it, but US Rep. and now Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann got major earned media tonight at the New Hampshire primary debate because she announced that she’s officially entering the presidential primary competition. Why else was it her night? (If you missed the debate, I live-blogged it all here and so did Joe Gandelman, here.)
She did not use any cards with graphs on them.
She did not make any sweeping generalizations about liberties, history or how much President Obama spent to do something that would fail a fact check.
She rarely evaded answers.
Her tone of voice was proper and appropriate.
And while there are other observations about her presentation that say she won this debate – or at least came out of it as the top winner, the biggest wins for her also include:
-she didn’t have the Tim Pawlenty-Rick Santorum problem of looking like someone else,
-she didn’t have the Ron Paul-Newt Gingrich I’m so mad at my mother tone of voice,
-she didn’t have the Herman Cain reliance on analogies and
-she didn’t try to look like she was the gee-whiz kid up there like Mitt Romney, staring up in awe so much of the evening when it was his turn.
Last but not least, and by far the most troublesome for Sarah Palin but also trouble for all the other candidates: she made sure that the words she used, the answers she gave related back directly to her being in office – something only Ron Paul can say also. And Bachmann is using this fact repeatedly as a verbal bludgeon to distinguish the reality that she is in a position to take action and she has and is in fact taking action on her principles, positions and beliefs.
Whoever advised her to do that is a very wise person. And I believe that as time goes by, this will be an important distinction, possibly to be undercut by critiques that she does not have “executive experience” but I’ve always thought that’s overrated anyway – unless late entrants include sitting governors like Rick Perry of Texas or Chris Christie of New Jersey.
In the meantime, I say it was Bachmann’s night – maybe not by much, given how crowded it was on that stage and during the barely two hours. But she did well, very very well.
Ha! And for confirmation, who does Chris Cillizza of The Fix has as his first winner in the winners and losers list? Yup. Me too.