Friday, December 16, 2011

Who won the final Iowa GOP debate?

The Republican debates have been the surprise hit of the fall political and TV season. They're entertaining and revealing. They've helped doom Rick Perry and launch Newt Gingrich, and they've given Ron Paul a new shot at exposure that pundits largely wouldn't give him.

Last night, the FOX News debate in Iowa offered voters a final chance at sifting before that state's caucus on Jan. 3.

Who did best?

Time's Mark Halperin says Mitt Romney, who gets an A- in Halperin's grading for how each candidate performed and improved their standing in the race. Romney recovered from a shaky performance in the last debate and was "smart, focused, big-brained and cool," said Halperin.

Other grades: Michele Bachmann B+, Rick Santorum B, Newt Gingrich B-, Ron Paul B-, John Huntsman C-, Rick Perry C-.

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza picked a few winners, led by Bachmann, who "was forceful — and effective — when she lashed out at Gingrich for repeatedly acting dismissively toward her. A nice night for Bachmann," says Cillizza.

His other winners: Perry and Romney. His losers: Ron Paul ("spent WAY too much time defending his isolationist foreign policy views") and Gingrich, who "got caught in a philosophical discussion about government sponsored enterprises — GSE’s — that allowed his opponents to swing away on him taking lots and lots of money from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae."

Conservative blogger Erick Erickson said Romney had a good debate, but "he continues to have little humor with handling his flip-flops, which will make the Democrats all the more eager to go after him on those."

Gingrich, said Erickson, held his own, but Ron Paul "proved yet again that while he can hit all the right notes on economics and spending these days, he is too nuts on foreign policy to be trusted with the Presidency."

We had Romney and Bachmann as our winners. Romney made the right choice in letting others, including Bachmann, go after Newt on his GSE "consulting." That allowed Romney to offer an affirming presence while turning questions into big-picture monologues that contrasted his policies with President Barack Obama's failures.

Gingrich took a beating from Bachmann and Paul the first half of the debate, and his body language and peevish, professorial responses didn't serve him well. He recovered in the second half with several crowd pleasers, although we're not sure viewers at home got quite as caught up in the crowd's approval at Newt's suggestion that Congress change the balance of power by reining in federal judges - including eliminating the 9th District Court of Appeals. Paul, and later Romney, offered a sobering whoa to that concept. Call it a wash for Gingrich.

Want a debate fact checker? Here are two: The New York Times takes a look, as does Politifact.

Peter St. Onge


BC said...

Ron Paul is so far from isolationist. People have to start using their brain when thinking about this. Non-interventionist is not equal to isolationist. To say that we need to occupy and interfere with sovereign countries in order to not be isolationist is ridiculous. How can someone who promotes diplomacy and trade be isolationist?

David I said...

Peter- It is truly sad that you and your media cohorts will tout Bachmann as a "winner" of last night's debate, pointing to her comments about Iran "being only a few months away from having nuclear capability according to an IAEA report", yet every fact checker out there has shown that she flat out lied about the contents of this report. Iran is NOT a few months away from obtaining nuclear capabilities. They can't even produce enough gas to provide to their own country, yet somehow they are going to be a nuclear power in a few months? Absurd.

You do realize we all heard the exact same lies about Iraq back in 2001 & 2002. At that time only Ron Paul stated Iraq had no WMD and we should not go invade their country, but rather spend our time hunting down the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11. But all you media types fell right in line and called Ron Paul crazy. Yet we all have now found out Iraq had no WMD and the vast majority of Americans wish we had never gone over there in the first place. Now you guys are doing the same thing with Iran. The American People, or most of us anyway, aren't going to fall for it again.

Ron Paul is no more an isolationist than the US was from 1776 to the end of WWII. It was only after WWII that we started thinking we should occupy as many countries as possible with our military bases all in the name of "safety". When in reality, not one American would ever stand for any nation to have a military base on our soil. We are broke from all this nation-building and policing of the world.

It also is interesting that when you listed Chris Cillizza's "losers", you only mentioned Ron Paul. Yet his article clearly stated Newt Gingrich was also one of his "losers". And again the only reason Ron Paul was mentioned as a "loser" was because Chris, just like Erick Erickson, bases their "assessment" on an outright lie told by one of their "winners', Michele Bachmann.

The media used to hold themselves to a standard of having their stories be based on facts. Apparently that is a thing of the past though, since you all 3 seem to gloss right over the fact she lied and you all 3 still report her as being a "winner".

Garth Vader said...


Why do you continue to lie about the difference between isolationist and non-interventionist? Lies may get you more shares of worthless McClatchy stock from your masters, but they lose you more respect and credibility each time you spit them out.

Ron Paul is leading in the polls in states like South Dakota ( where he has not visited or advertised or run a phone bank.

Note that last night Paul was silenced for about 40 minutes after the exchange with proven liar Michele Bachmann until Bret Baier grudgingly had to include him in the final 30-second feel-good round of the night.

No matter what you media puppets of the establishment say, you cannot stop an idea (freedom) whose time has come.

Garth Vader said...

Tweeted by Public Policy Polling:

Ron Paul is the strongest Republican against Obama on the New Mexico President poll we'll release later today

The Observer loves PPP... let's see them do an article on this (and Paul doing best against Obama in Iowa and elsewhere).


A candidate that has to keep saying "I am a serious candidate for president of the United States" is not a confident candidate in my book,Newt would be getting his orders from the CFR like Obama does seeing he is a member,Romney looks like a president but we've been down that road before,he flip flops and he's got establishment written all over him.I think I would vote for the only one up there that has never flip flopped and saw the financial train wreck coming from a mile off Ron Paul.He has some great ideas of getting the country back to it's former glory not only moneteraly but in the eyes of the rest of the world.We should be trading with everyone who wants to but we should not be giving 7 times the foreign aid we give Israel to Israels enemies it just does'nt make sense.Stop the aid at least till we get back on our own feet.Anyone that thinks Iran is ready to attack us at anytime probably also thought Iraq did 9/11 and you just can't argue with a moron.Turn off your tv and get an alternate source of reality.

Megan said...

I am a Ron Paul supporter but he did not handle himself well under fire from Bachmann and Baier and that makes people question how he would handle the pressure of a crisis in the Whitehouse.

Garth Vader said...

The answer is pretty clear, based on the only poll released since the last debate:

Paul leads in Iowa

Let's see this on the FRONT PAGE, Observer.