Tonight’s Iowa debate was very interesting, the candidates took off their gloves and went after each other for a bit.  Overall I think that Newt Gingrich scored the most points, Romney won by not losing, Santorum surprised and after a strong opening Tim Pawlenty hurt his campaign more than anyone. Below are my initial thoughts candidate by candidate.

  • Gingrich-His attacks on the questioners had to be pre-planned, but it doesn’t really matter because everyone loves to bash the press.  He came out and really bashed the “super committee” and said it in a down to earth, rather than his usual professorial manner.   The question is even if people agree with him, will they like him. If Newt wasn’t Newt, we’d all be saying that he won the debate–but he is Newt.
  • Romney- As the leader of the pack, all Romney had to do is not lose, and that’s exactly what he did.  Mitt Romney didn’t make any gaffes,  gave credible answers and looked rather presidential. He deflected criticism without getting down in the mud.  So why do I still feel he is full of crap?
  • Santorum– Rick Santorum was the surprise of the night.  Unlike the first debate, he forced himself into the conversation, and scored points.  His line about the need to keep morality in mind when discussing the 10th amendment hit home. His line about Ron Paul being wrong most of the time, though true seemed petty. Santorum may have picked up some support tonight, but he is starting off from a very low base.
  • Bachmann– At the beginning of the debate, Bret Baier asked all the candidates to skip the regular talking points, but her first answer was 100% talking point.  Once she was forced to confront Pawlenty she hit her stride. The question about being subservient to her husband was unfair and sexist, but she answered it splendidly. She did well overall but she didn’t do the best and she needed that to pick up new support.
  • Pawlenty– His line early in the debate about coming and cooking dinner for the person who found the Obama plan was great, but once he did the back and forth with Michele Backmann, he lost the wind in his sails.  Frankly even though Bachmann took care of herself,  Mr. Nice Guy Pawlenty seemed like a bully and never recovered.
  • Huntsman-Being unfamiliar with the former Governor of Utah, I was eager to hear his positions.  After watching this two-hour debate I would still like to hear his positions.  The Governor’s solution to the economic crisis was to form a committee of businessmen. Great, just what we need another president who can’t come up with ideas of his own.
  •  Cain– He had one of the best lines of the night was “America needs to learn to take a joke.” Another great tagline was “if a company wants to give dividends, that’s fine its their money!” Herman Cain seemed to be on the defensive a big part of the night. Then again, he keeps saying silly things that he has to defend. Cain is the candidate that you really want to like, but tonight he didn’t stand out as much as he has had in the past.
  • Paul-  The leader of the planet Ronulin was on tonight, I am just not to sure what he was on.  Many of his answer were rambling as he tried to blame everything on the war in Afghanistan. At one point in the debate Ron Paul claimed that he didn’t understand why people thought Iran was a threat. Well Congressman, Iran is a threat because their leaders are even crazier than you are. And by the way, I wouldn’t trust Ron Paul with nukes either. The Ronulins will love anything he does, rational people will still believe he is a few fries short of a  happy meal.

That’s the top line, more to come….

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