Entering the home stretch, King surprised Pawlenty by offering him an opportunity to throw Sarah Palin under the bus by comparing her to Biden. After initial shock, Pawlenty offered a strong criticism of Biden and cautious but generous praise of Palin.
Paul won this round — on who he’d choose for a runningmate: “I haven’t even asked them what they think of the Federal Reserve!”
And that wrapped it up. I’ll leave the serious analysis up to Jim Antle, but a few thoughts:
Herman Cain was the biggest loser in the sense that he had the opportunity to establish himself as a serious player during the debate. Unfortunately, King’s questions didn’t play into Cain’s strengths, and he didn’t do what he needed to otherwise.
Romney was the biggest winner, in the sense that the others refrained from joining in attacking him on his health care plan, his past stances on abortion, etc. As the frontrunner, all he needed to do was to survive, and he did more than that.
Bachmann impressed. She showed the most polish and best right-wing rhetoric of anyone on the stage.
The debate format left something to be desired. The candidates spent more time talking about the space program than they did Iraq or Afghanistan. It has to be noted, though, that this was largely because of Gingrich’s incredible competency on this issue. Remarkably, Gingrich was able to wax on about the space program and never had to address the mass quitting of his staff last week.