Who Won the GOP Family Leader Thanksgiving Family Forum in Iowa 11/19/11?

Didn’t get a chance to watch the debate? It’s available in it’s entirety here. The debate itself starts around the 36 minute mark. Yes, you will see Michele Bachmann pour all of the other candidates a glass of water and set woman in politics back 50 years.

Instant Analysis:

This was a social policy debate in Iowa. A mind field of political risk that could scare away that the valuable social conservative base. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman were not present, choosing instead to campaign in New Hampshire.

Winners:

Newt Gingrich: Newt is a pretty smart cat, guys. Gingrich flexed his brain power and managed to explain the background behind a lot of the questions, before he answered them.

Ron Paul: Okay, Okay don’t go overboard on me!. Paul spoke well tonight and he managed to explain his views clearly, without background noise and unorthodox foreign policy views.

Didn’t Win or Lose:

Herman Cain: Not thorough enough on the answers but still sounded good. Considering the streak of political pit falls he experience recently and those nasty allegations, he performed well tonight.

Rick Perry: The meltdown is still fresh on everyone’s memory. His performance wasn’t bad this evening but, not enough to clear his name as a terrible debater. He also didn’t back away from resetting Israel’s foreign aid to zero. He would have been better off, not mentioning it at all.

Rick Santorum: Spoke well but, too many references to his book. A strong policy of mine? Don’t refer to reading materials during your debates. If you wrote it, you should be able to explain it on stage. (I will never forget his daughter’s story}

Losers:

Michele Bachmann: She confessed to being a sinner and poured a round to every other candidate at the table. It was painful to watch. You can call it being motherly. I see a talented tax attorney, businesswoman, and representative regressing.

Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman: You don’t show up? Then it’s a forfeit. Call it strategy? Fine, but for this debate? Yeah you lost. UPDATE: Jon Huntsman appeared on Saturday Night Live last night. The video can be found here. That appearance was seen by more people and probably did more to help his campaign.

This was the lowest profile debate of the election cycle but, it was in Iowa and for some of the candidates possibly the most important. They need to win or show well to stay relevant.