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Rocky VI: The Republican presidential debates

January 9, 2012 |  1:10 pm

GOP presidential hopefuls

Stop the debates, I want to get off.

Sure, the Republican presidential debates were fun at first. I mean, Rick Perry's "oops" moment alone -- when he forgot the name of one of three Cabinet-level departments he would do away with as president -- was worth the price of admission.

And they actually did what they were supposed to do: They separated the wheat (Mitt Romney) from the chaff (everyone else).

But really, must we go on? At this point even political junkies are beginning to search the phonebook for a nice comfy rehab center in Malibu.

Like a bad stand-up comic who just won't surrender the mike, we're left with stuff like this:

--Perry, during Saturday's ABC Yahoo debate, saying he "would send troops back into Iraq" if elected president. (An idea that gives a whole new meaning to "dumb." At this point, Perry is like a down-on-his-luck gambler in Vegas, desperately putting chips on red in hopes of winning his money back.)

--Rick Santorum, given a chance to make his case for why he should be president, saying that it was not the economy but Iran that was the most pressing issue facing the United States. (Note to Santorum: See James Carville re "It's the economy, stupid!) 

--Newt Gingrich, addressing the issue of gay marriage, calling marriage a sacrament long recognized in history as being between a man and a woman. (Or, in his case, between a man and several women, though not all at once -- sort of.)

Good grief. When we started, didn't every pundit say that this election would turn on the economy? Even the Republicans said so -- gleefully, given that the economy was in the tank last year.

So why are these guys talking about Iraq, Iran and gay marriage? And not only talking about those issues but saying really dumb things in the process?

Listen, guys, here's a tip, and it won't cost you a thing: Most voters will gladly trade you two Middle East countries and a "who cares?" social issue for job security and a raise.

But these candidates are like punch-drunk fighters. They're all Rocky Balboas at this point.

Please, someone, anyone, throw in the towel before someone really gets hurt.


Santorum's defense of bigotry fails

Mitt Romney: Not a sure bet [The conversation]

Iowa caucuses' count confusion: Hold on to your hanging chads

-- Paul Whitefield

Photo: GOP presidential candidates on the debate stage Sunday in Concord, N.H. Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images


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