A lively GOP debate dissection on today's Morning Joe. Mika Brzezinski really liked Romney's performance, saying among other things that he was "fabulous." She also had surprising praise for Michelle Bachmann.
There was consensus that 9-9-9 was "deboned" and that Herman Cain hurt himself badly with his pre-debate answer on releasing terrorists from Gitmo. Meanwhile, Michael Steele had a striking way of saying that Perry's aggressiveness backfired. Video and more after the jump.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Actually, I thought Mitt Romney was fab-u-lous!
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Mitt Romney finally found an audience that cheered for him.
BRZEZINSKI: I heard people, I heard analysts saying he lost it or whatever. No, actually, I liked seeing, I liked seeing him. This is what he will do if-- I want to see a president, if we're going to have one, really speak up for himself. And these characters, these clowns, were all honing in on him and he pushed back!
. . .
MICHAEL STEELE: You want to be a little scrappy and Perry was a lot scrappy. In fact, being in Vegas, it reminded me of my former brother-in-law's fights from time to time. He'd get out there in Vegas and see a Tyson fight, and you're sitting there going wow, he's about to open up the can of whup---. But in the case of Perry, when you open that can of whup---, you don't want the other guy to use it on you. And he got owned several times last night when he engaged, engaged that way. And the reality of it is if you're going to start that kind of fight, you've got to finish it. I don't think he finished it.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: About Michael, right? He dresses like a badminton player, he talks like a wrassler, about "whup---" and all of that.
A bit later, playing debate clip . . .
ANDERSON COOPER: You have said in recent days that Mr. Cains 9-9-9 plan would be a harder sell than he lets on. How so?
NEWT GINGRICH: Well you just watched it.
SCARBOROUGH: That was one of the best lines of the night from Gingrich. Why is it so hard to defend? He said you just saw it, because poor Herman is talking about apples and oranges. There were misplaced metaphors falling from the sky!
BRZEZINSKI: But again, wasn't that, how could you say Mitt Romney was not perfect? Even that, he was like O-K, that was complete stupidity. Let me just help this poor man along.
SCARBOROUGH: Mitt Romney deboned him. There's no doubt about it.
BRZEZINSKI: He did debone him.
. . .
SCARBOROUGH: What [Cain] said last night before the debate, because he is so--so!--unschooled in foreign policy. The slip-up he made in foreign policy will finish him in the Republican party. Jon Meacham: it is a shocking, shocking peek into just how ignorant this man is when it comes to foreign policy. He would release all the prisoners in Gitmo for one American soldier.
. . .
JON MEACHAM: There is a significant passion gap about Romney that I think will be overcome because Republicans --
BRZEZINSKI: Didn't that help last night?
MEACHAM: Perhaps, perhaps.
BRZEZINSKI: Is it just me?
MEACHAM: He certainly was more of a character. That is, he has been more of a cariacture and so he actually made an impression.
BRZEZINSKI: He stood up for himself. And it was just like really, I am not going to put up with this [pause] anymore.
MEACHAM: You may be right.
. . .
Back to discussion of Cain.
SCARBOROUGH: And it just shows, Michael Steele, that this man doesn't know what he's doing. He's making it up as he goes along. He has got caught in first place in the middle of what was going to be a book tour, and he's ill-equipped--I'm not even trying to be funny--really, he's ill-equipped to answer the most basic questions.
STEELE: I would agree with that.
. . .
BRZEZINSKI: Michelle Bachmann had quite a moment when she was talking about the housing crisis. And she appealed to mothers in America. [Rolls Bachmann clip.] I think she's absolutely right: American homeowners have been failed. A lot of them failed themselves but many of them were, excuse me, completely scr----. And she brought up a great point. And first I thought, is this getting weird? But no.