Fox News Iowa GOP Debate Post-Mortem - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Fox News Iowa GOP Debate Post-Mortem

Here are my final thoughts on tonight’s Iowa GOP Debate in Sioux City which aired on the Fox News Channel.

Rick Santorum – He had a particularly eloquent rebuttal to Ron Paul on Iran and he had Romney on the defensive concerning gay marriage in Massachusetts. Another solid but unspectacular debate. But Santorum needed a spectacular, standout debate and this wasn’t it and it may prove fatal for his candidacy.

Rick Perry – He performed well and is now far more comfortable in the debates but has been relegated to the second-tier. His part-time Congress proposal played well with the audience but there’s no way in hell that Congress is going to limit its own power at the behest of the President. Perry is used to working with part-time legislatures but Washington isn’t Austin.

Mitt Romney – He started out in the debate very strong scoring points when he said President Obama “hasn’t lived in the real world.” Lines like “to create a job it helps to have created a job” and his criticism of Obama’s “foreign policy based on pretty please” also resonated with the debate audience.

However, Romney wasn’t so sure footed when it came to Chris Wallace’s question concerning Romney’s positions on abortion and gay marriage. This will only serve to reinforce the reservations conservatives have had towards Romney.

Newt Gingrich – True to the tortoise-like nature of his campaign, he started slow but finished fast and strong. He was on the defensive early in the debate when he jostled with both Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann on Fannie & Freddie.

But by the end of the night, Newt had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. It all started with his proposals to restrain the power of the judiciary and continued with his statements on the UN, the Keystone Pipeline, and even immigration when he said on his first day as President he would drop immigration lawsuits against Arizona, Alabama, and South Carolina and cut off federal aid to sanctuary cities. Newt struck the right balance of historical perspective, eloquence, and good humor.

Ron Paul – After tonight’s performance, especially following his exchange with Bachmann over Iran, I am convinced that he would be the perfect spokesman for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. During WWII, you had Tokyo Rose. Today, you have Tehran Ron.

Michele Bachmann – Bachmann was very aggressive tonight in going after Newt on Fannie & Freddie and on his pro-life credentials and also had a spirited exchange with Ron Paul over Iran. But I don’t think it benefited her. When Newt questioned Bachmann’s facts on her partial birth abortion accusations, she said, “I’m a serious candidate.” When a candidate has to make a point of saying “I’m a serious candidate,” it means she isn’t a serious candidate.

Jon Huntsman – His debate performance was so much better on Saturday night.

This is the last scheduled debate before the Iowa Caucus (unless Newsmax finds a new moderator for its proposed debate in Des Moines on December 27th.) There are two debates scheduled to take place in New Hampshire on January 7 and 8, 2012. The first debate airs at 9 p.m. on ABC and the second debate airs at 9 a.m. on NBC. That’s right. There will be a morning debate.

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