Following the fourth and final debate this year for the 2024 Republican Presidential primary last night, President John Pudner took to the airwaves in Des Moines, Iowa, the heart of presidential primary country, to analyze another recent, yet similarly focused, event - the "Red vs. Blue" debate between Presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and possible Presidential hopeful and California Governor Gavin Newsom.
In the key electoral region where, in just over a month, the first Republican Presidential Primary will be held, Pudner and host Jeff Angelo discussed not only the results from the debate and stand-out moments from it, but also how the performances could affect the upcoming caucuses. In particular, Pudner not only notes the perception both officials gave throughout, as Newsom seemed to be more vindictive and staunch in his beliefs than anticipated and DeSantis as more even-tempered and fact-based, but also how the surprising move of Newsom rigorously defending the Biden agenda, even on issues such as immigration, where only 23% of voters approved of his efforts on it.
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The following transcript from this interview is presented in its entirety with minor edits:
Desantis, Iowa, Newsom, debate, Biden, Iowans, immigration
Jeff Angelo and TBORA President John Pudner
Jeff Angelo 00:00
We're looking at a big ratings boost for our friends at Fox News television last night as they had Ron DeSantis debating Gavin Newsom. And, of course, the issue for Iowans, and we're unique in this respect, is we looked at this debate wondering if DeSantis is doing himself any good with Iowa caucus-goers. Let's talk it over with the president of Take Back Our Republic Action, John Pudner, back on the Davidson Family Newsmaker line. John, welcome back to Iowa radio.
John Pudner 00:29
Good morning! Good to hear the initial ads in the cut-in. You don't hear that in most states.
Jeff Angelo 00:36
You know what? Exactly! We really are talking about the uniqueness of our point-of-view here in Iowa this morning, John, and you got the Presidential ads going into the Christmas season. Welcome back to Iowa radio! Absolutely. So yeah, we're looking at this, and Governor DeSantis just got the endorsement of Governor Reynolds. He's hoping that boosts him because, of course, Trump has a huge lead right now in Iowa, and DeSantis is trying to close the gap. Did, in your view, DeSantis do himself any good last night?
John Pudner 01:10
I do think he did himself some good. I'm not sure if it was substantial or not, but I think there's been this feeling at the other debates that, I don't know, Is he tough enough on exchanges? Is he hitting hard enough in that setting? And, I think, for him to say when it's a Democrat, I'm going to hit them hard, I may not be hitting fellow Republicans hard, and I think that, probably, was the biggest boost for him. He began and ended strong, he had the example of one of the people who moved from California to Florida, gave all the reasons, and, by the way, it's your father-in-law, Mr. Governor, who moved here. That was a nice, memorable note. And then, the picture at the end, that there's poop on the streets in San Francisco, that was a nice strong, "Come on, you can't run anything." I thought it was a good night for him. I don't know how substantial, but definitely a good night.
Jeff Angelo 01:16
I thought that it was a better night for him because I felt like it, and I'd love to get your take on this, Newsom did more personal attacking and mocking of DeSantis than DeSantis did of him. Now, I'm not saying the DeSantis didn't do that, the father-in-law example was great, like you said, this poop tracker chart they have in San Francisco was a pretty amazing moment, but I just felt like Newsom telling him, "Neither one of us is gonna be the nominee. Have you dropped out yet", Blah, blah, blah...I thought that Newsom was more on the personal attack than DeSantis. What did you think on balance?
John Pudner 02:40
I agree, and it was a bit of a surprise, because part of what he said about DeSantis out there is...he's had quotes like, "My mother would have made me wash my mouth out with soap if I said the kinds of things DeSantis says", and to then go in with that lead, and then be the guy doing the personal attacks. We're also all wondering why did he do this debate. Is it to kind of do some outreach? Is it to say he's not that left-wing to more of your Fox viewers? It was the opposite. I think he counted on a bunch of Democrats turning in so he could show him he's tough, that he can take on the conservatives on their own stage because, I mean, he was backing Biden's agenda the whole way, even on immigration, there was no moderating at all of his stance.
Jeff Angelo 03:25
That was right on. He was there to defend Bidenomics, he was there to defend the statements that the border is, indeed, closed. There was just no contrast last night. He almost looked like a good soldier for Biden, didn't he, John?
John Pudner 03:39
I think so, and again, on immigration, one of the recent polls was 23% think Biden is doing a good job on it, so he was even taking that, he wasn't even getting away from the ones you'd logically would avoid in a debate.
Jeff Angelo 03:53
John Pudner is the President of Take Back Our Republic Action, and John, that's great insight. It's always an enjoyable time talking with you. Thanks very much for joining the listeners here.