Some heavy baiting coupled with a fairly hands-off style from CNN's Wolf Blitzer resulted in several tussles between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney, the GOP frontrunners. Mitt talking the most of all the candidates with 24:09 (mm:ss) and Rick Santorum & Newt following closely with 22:08 and 21:31 respectively. Ron Paul once again lagging the rest of the field with 13:57 of speaking time, good enough for 17% of the overall pie.
It should be said that generally Wolf did a solid job of involving everyone in each topic even though he targeted Mitt & Newt more often in terms of questions posed, but the bulk of the extra time came from back 'n forth rebuttals. Whereas Santorum had fewer questions than the frontrunners and only four more turns than Ron Paul, he maximized his mic time by having longer answers and averaged 14 seconds longer per response than Dr Paul, 16 seconds longer than Mitt and 25 seconds longer than the Speaker.
It would be nice to have an effort that resulted in all of the candidates receiving an equal time, but overall when Wolf strayed from the campaign issues and focused on the policy issues he did a decent job of involving all of the nominees. CNN managed to squeeze an hour and twenty minutes of actual talking time, so that speaks well of how the debate was handled in terms of letting the Republicans use the stage time.
Here's the CNN Florida debate stats:
|Avg b/w Talks||Longest Wait|