One way to gauge a candidate’s impact at a debate like the Republican presidential debate Thursday night is to see how many of their words made it into major news stories from outlets such as the Associated Press, USA Today, The New York Times and The Washington Post.
On this front, Sen. Sam Brownback did better than many in the crowded GOP field. The Kansan, who trails several candidates in polls and fundraising, was largely in the shadows in most national wire stories last night. But a Republican political consultant with Politico.com, which sponsored the debate, wrote that Brownback “had a particularly strong night. He talked with passion and elegance about the social issues that are the backbone of his candidacy.” Brownback also picked up some quick hits in an Associated Press story where he raised his hand to show he doesn’t believe in evolution and when he said the day the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade would be a “glorious day of human liberty and freedom.” McClatchy’s Washington Bureau quoted Brownback when he said he could support a more liberal GOP candidate. “Somebody who is with you 80 percent of the time is not your enemy,” Brownback said, citing Ronald Reagan’s philosophy.
Based on his comments to the Christian Science Monitor last week, he probably won’t worry about the coverage too much. When the newspaper asked him about debates, he said: “I think it’s important to get candidates side by side. I don’t think you make the candidacy or lose it over a debate or two, [but] I think they’re very helpful to have.”
See coverage of the Democrat’s debate last week.