An Exceedingly In-Depth Analysis of the First 11 Minutes of the January 19th South Carolina Republican Presidential Debate

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-The first montage is a CNN montage of all the momentous occasions of CNN reporters announcing winners of presidential elections.  They sure know how to declare winners of stuff at CNN.  Except that whole thing in 2000.  Perhaps predictably, the clip in the montage they played to represent their work in the 2000 election shows a report saying “Too close to call in Florida.”  Well, what do you expect?  They’re not very well going to play the clip of them declaring Al Gore the winner now are they?

-”THIS IS CNN.”  Never gets old.  Ever.

-John King introduces the show like he’s Ryan Seacrest or something.  He mentions that Rick Perry has dropped out and that a new winner has been declared in Iowa.  Remember that last bit for later.  

-And here comes montage #2--for this we must go into EXTRA detail:

-We open on a shot of horse and carriage, a building that looks like it’s from the 19th century, and a pretty street shot, all over some majestic trumpet music.
-”Welcome to the South,” a gravely voice says as the “Welcome to Charleston, South Carolina” sign is shown.
-”...the heart of the Republican Party...” accompanied by a VERY close shot of an American flag waving in the wind.
-”...where tradition lives...” and an image of The Citadel

-Mitt Romney speaking in front of a bunch of soldiers: “...the strongest military in the world...” AMERICUUUH!  Sorry...

-”...and values matter...” segue to Rick Santorum awkwardly stumbling over this gem: “We want...a conservative...on the ticket...”
-Crazy psychedelic transition into the debate stage and the music kicks into overdrive as the narrator begins to bring it on home or something...
-”TONIGHT...THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES...ON STAGE IN SOUTH CAROLINA...FOR THEIR FINAL DEBATE BEFORE THE FIRST-IN-THE-SOUTH PRIMARY!”  Just out of curiosity...what’s wrong with saying “first primary in the south”?
-Oh by the way...during all that they were showing stock footage of the candidates walking out onto the stage and then switched over to random images of signs and campaign buttons/stickers
-”Mitt Romney: The Frontrunner...” with the corresponding graphic showing a smiling Romney with those words floating next to his head.
-”...going for ANOTHER win...” I just had to emphasize this.  Remember when I said John King mentioned that a new winner was declared in Iowa?  That was Romney's “other win.”  Except he lost.  Iowa recounts showed that Santorum beat him after having declared Romney the unofficial winner after the first count.  So, in reality, he’s going for his first win.  Guess CNN didn’t have time to change their VTR.  In the immortal words of Rick Perry: “Oops.”

-”...trying to close the deal with skeptical voters...” and the footage shows him shaking hands with some visibly skeptical people holding up Romney signs before showing him on the most elevated stage I think I’ve ever seen a presidential candidate make a campaign speech from saying: “I will work to get good jobs back.”  Truly a man of the people.
-”Newt Gingrich: On the Rise...” with a gorgeous shot of Newt’s ear, sideburns, shoulder, and neckfolds.

-”...trying to harvest conservative support as the field gets smaller...” translation: “he’s kinda all that’s left besides Romney at this point...”
-Newt Gingrich voiceover: “I am the only candidate capable of stopping a moderate from winning the nomination.”  The sad part about that quote is that it encapsulates his entire campaign and reason for running.

Also, the images on screen during the voiceover: a shot of Gingrich shaking someone’s hand with the creepiest evil grin I’ve ever seen on his face and then a completely unnatural-looking shot of him giving a thumbs up to a crowd (well, ostensibly to a crowd...they’re not in the shot so it could theoretically be to no one).

-”Rick Santorum: (with) Renewed Momentum...” (the “with” wasn’t in the on-screen graphic) “...after learning that he won Iowa after all!” (except it doesn’t matter because he was unable to capitalize on the momentum that comes with winning Iowa since Romney was initially declared the really the caption should be “Ruined Momentum” shouldn’t it?)...and oh by the did they have time to make a Santorum "Renewed Momentum" montage but didn't have time to fix the thing about Romney looking for "another victory"?
-Santorum at a campaign rally: “We defeated Mitt Romney in Iowa.”  This guy is king of the soundbyte...
-”Ron Paul: The Insurgent...” The Insurgent?  Really?!  How much more obvious does the mainstream media need to be about the fact that they can’t stand Ron Paul?  Now they’re calling him an “insurgent”, a term that--while it describes him well and is probably seen as favorable by his supporters--is inextricably connected in the minds of conservatives with the Iraqi insurgents and carries the negative connotation that inevitably comes from the fact that the Iraqi insurgents are the only insurgents many Republican voters have ever heard of.  If CNN loved Ron Paul as much as they love Romney, they’d have called him “The Rebel.”
-”...a powerful force in the first contests with an Army of Young Voters...” (capitalized because at this point, Paul’s on-screen graphic comes up: “Ron Paul: Army of Young Voters”)
-Ron Paul, very angrily and unhappily, at a rally: “We ARE dangerous to the status quo in this country!” and the crowd goes wild!
-Shot of what apparently is a CNN campaign 2012 tour bus that says “CNN Express” on the side of it.  Is that like the “truth-telling express”?
-The music is really clanging and banging at this point.  It’s coming to its epic conclusion.
-There’s a random voiceover of someone announcing loudly: “THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES” just to remind everyone what’s at stake case you have narcolepsy...or amnesia...or narcolepsy...
-We end on: “WELCOME TO CHARLESTON...AND THE FIGHT FOR THE SOUTH” and a “FIGHT FOR THE SOUTH” graphic comes up complete with a map with all the southern states highlighted bright red: Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas (all of them part of the original Confederate States of America except Kentucky, Virginia, and Oklahoma, all of which were claimed by the Confederacy at some point although they did not secede)

-Back to reality as CNN does their intro led by John King.  Nothing too interesting happens for a while.  King introduces each of the candidates.  Romney is wearing a blue tie, Gingrich a bright red one, Santorum a lighter red, and Ron Paul has a red and blue striped tie.  Interesting.  As King introduces the field as a whole, they all stand stoically together...except Santorum who appears to be amazed that ostensibly someone he knows is in the audience.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he did that for show to make it look like he’s in with the locals or something.

-Some cadets from The Citadel treat us to the national anthem.  CNN seems intent on convincing us that this is some kind of sporting event.

-Shots of people in the audience saluting or with their hands on their hearts, singing along.  Cut back to Romney and Santorum with their hands on their hearts singing listlessly as if only doing so to not be caught not doing so.

-John King explains how a debate works while all the candidates study their note cards intently, making sure they have all their talking points memorized.

-King starts off with introductions, implores the candidates to keep it short, gives them an example of what that should sound like by introducing himself first, and, miraculously, they all keep it fairly short.  Even Romney.

-Also, Gingrich “feels back home in the South.”  ::shudders::

-John King asks Newt Gingrich if he would “like to take some time to respond to” his second ex-wife’s allegations that he asked for an open marriage.  Gingrich: “No.  But I will.”  WILD applause.

-Gingrich blasts the media’s “destructive, vicious, negative nature” and how it “makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for office, and I am APPALLED that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.”  STANDING FUCKING OVATION, CROWD GOES NUTS, HOOTING AND HOLLERING ALL AROUND.  JOHN KING IS TERRIFIED FOR HIS OWN LIFE RIGHT NOW.

Gingrich On Obama: "I Don't Want To Bloody His Nose, I Want To Knock Him Out" 

Gingrich on Obama's "Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior"

Gingrich: Obama Is "The Most Radical President In American History"

-Gingrich: “Every person in here has felt personal pain.”  This guy is good...

-Gingrich: Making this an issue is “as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.”  He must have quite an imagination.

-Apparently his daughters wrote to ABC and Washington Post to tell them that it was wrong to run that story.  Says he’s “astounded that CNN would take trash like that and use it to open a presidential debate.” Meanwhile, inside John King's head: "What the fuck have I gotten myself into. I'm in the fucking Lion's Den now."
-John King, knees quivering, somehow thinks he’s defending himself when he says that CNN didn’t report the story and that it’s been a topic of conversation as the crowd huffs and puffs like they’re at WrestleMania.  Gingrich pounces on King’s horribly weak defense, ripping him and his staff for choosing to lead with it in the debate.  The sad/scary thing is that he actually has a point...

-Finally, Newt brings it around to a full on assault on the entire media: “I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.”  He really said that.  Media.  Protecting.  Obama.  He said these words.  I couldn’t make this stuff up, people.

-Another thunderous standing ovation complete with hooting and hollering and whistling...and that’s right about where the fireworks end


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