Early Iowa Debate Analysis: Winners And Losers

Early Iowa Debate Analysis: Winners And Losers

Summary: Fox fired off a lot of “gotcha” questions and quite frankly, if any other network had done this debate, conservatives would be up in arms about all of the “media bias.”

Going on to the candidates, there was no stand-out performance. Nobody really covered themselves in glory and you might be able to fairly say that Rick Perry won, by not being part of a not particularly impressive debate. But, if I had to pick a winner, it would be….

Winner: Newt Gingrich. He went a little overboard protesting the questions, but he gave intelligent, solid answers and he had some good lines. Good night for him.

Runner-Up: Mitt Romney. Romney was solid all-night long, had some good lines, and benefited from soft questions and a minimal number of attacks from the other candidates, but he still sounded absolutely terrible on health care.

Michele Bachmann: Bachmann gave a lot of good answers and generally sounded good except on her popular, but ludicrous suggestion that she didn’t ever want to raise the debt ceiling which Rick Santorum notably called “showmanship, not leaership.” Bachmann also got into a really nasty running brouhaha with Tim Pawlenty. On the plus side, people tend to assume women aren’t tough enough to stand in there under fire. If anyone had those sort of doubts about Bachmann, they should be dispelled. On the other hand, with a firebrand like Bachmann, people want to be reassured that she’s not going to go off the reservation and do something wild. It probably hurt her on that front. So, how that plays out over the long-haul remains to be seen.

Herman Cain: Although his answers were solid, Cain wasn’t as charismatic as normal. It may be be a case where he was tired or a little off his game for some reason.

Rick Santorum: He had a couple of good lines, but Santorum doesn’t have a lot of charisma and he probably didn’t help himself very much with this debate.

Debate Loser: When Ron Paul is on, he tends to sound pretty good on everything except foreign policy. When he’s off, like he was tonight, he sounds like someone’s crazy grandpa. At times, he sounded like a crank who didn’t belong on the stage.

Debut Loser: This was Jon Huntsman’s introduction to the public and he came across as a dull, plodding RINO who’s way out of his depth.

The Big Loser: Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty had good answers, good lines, and generally did a good job. However, and this a HUGE however, the battle between him and Bachmann was like a deer going toe-to-toe with a truck. She stomped a mudhole in his behind and walked it dry, right there in front of the world. If Pawlenty, who deserves to be a top tier contender, but isn’t, was trying to make up for his reluctance to attack Romney at the last big debate by being combative with Bachmann, it was a major miscalculation.

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