I know it doesn’t speak well of me as a political junkie, but I confess that I couldn’t bring myself to watch the Republican presidential debate last night. At crunch time, I decided that my life was too short to waste an evening watching Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum audition for a gig with the Fox News Channel (as per the Mike Huckabee strategy), or watch Michele Bachmann pretend that she isn’t just another House backbencher (as per the Dennis Kucinich strategy), or watch Ron Paul belabor ideological points that by now we can all recite in our sleep (as per the Alan Keyes strategy).
But shouldn’t I be kicking myself for missing the “fireworks” ignited when Romney and Perry, the only two serious presidential candidates on the podium, went toe-to-toe over immigration? I thought maybe I should be when I read this Politico headline: “Rick Perry revives by rattling Mitt Romney in Las Vegas debate.” Judge for yourself. This TPM video clip purportedly captures Romney’s alleged meltdown. Viewers should be warned it contains some disturbing images:
Hold on for a moment while I catch my breath. Did Perry actually tell Romney that he’s a hypocrite for taking a position on immigration that’s materially identical to his own? And did Romney actually touch Perry while he was raising his voice somewhere between 11 and 15 decibels before redirecting the same charge right back at Perry? And I missed it?
If enough sources like Politico and TPM say, falsely if you ask me, that Romney suffered a debilitating meltdown, does it become true?