Alright, we’ve been through about 78 of these debates. At this point it feels like we’re going to get more GOP debates than NBA games this year. Let’s get down to business!
Newt Gingrich: Did you hear that applause when Gingrich was talking about the Keystone oil pipeline and China? About having to send welfare reform to Bill Clinton 3 times? If you didn’t then you missed the loudest applause of the night. Gingrich continued to color in the details of broad questions, he sounded like Professor Gingrich at times.. He killed it.
Michele Bachmann: She was the only candidate that debated like she was behind. She went after Newt about his Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae ties. She attacked Ron Paul when he was indifferent about Iran getting nuclear weapons. She won the Ames straw poll, can she pull off another victory in the place of her birth and become relevant again?
Didn’t Win or Lose:
Mitt Romney: This isn’t his turf and the crowd doesn’t trust him. There was little applause even though he debated well. He’s only campaigning for a good showing in Iowa and it looked that way tonight. His competitors didn’t take a lot of shots his way so he was comfortable but, he didn’t help his chances but, that Iowa isn’t on Romney’s road map to victory. UPDATE: Romney will be endorsed by South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley today. A huge endorsement for the Romney campaign and a tactic that would keep momentum going should he win New Hampshire.
Ron Paul: Did you know that Twitter favors Ron Paul often during these debates? Did you know that the Governor of Iowa was on the Sunday morning talkers last Sunday and said Ron Paul had the best ground operations of all the candidates in the field? Did you know I told an Orlando audience to “keep an eye on Paul in Iowa”…twice? Great, because his cringe worthy foreign policy is what kept him off the winner’s list again and Bachmann slammed him. She said his proposals were amongst the most dangerous she’s ever heard when it came to Iran and nuclear weapons. The crowd wanted to cheer for him but, he’s too alternative. He’s the strange friend that you enjoy hanging out with alone but won’t take to parties. I won’t count him out but it’s victory in Iowa or bust for Paul.
Rick Perry: Tim Tebow? Really? You went on national television and compared your debating style to Tim Tebow’s play in the NFL? You’re joking right? Tim Tebow wins. I know this because he beat my Chicago Bears last Sunday and Governor Perry..You are no Tim Tebow. True you’re both awkward in what you do and viewers cover their eyes when watching both of you in action but, the end product is very different. Tebow will still be competing next year, I can’t say the same about you.
Rick Santorum: Not a terrible performance but unless you’re barnstorming pays off, and you score a massive political upset in Iowa, you’ve got to think about dropping.
Jon Huntsman: Welcome Back! Yeah, you should have saved your money and stayed in New Hampshire.
Guys, we get a break. We’re debate free for a few weeks. It can play out a few different ways in Iowa and nothing will surprise me. With the way the pieces are setting up now, it looks like it’s going to be a strange journey towards the nomination.