Last night ABC and Yahoo moderated a debate between Republican nominee hopefuls. As usual Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos didn't disappoint the liberal establishment. Seems every question was designed to get the Republican hopefuls to attack the GOP front runner. At any rate below is how I feel each candidate did and what it did to their chances in Iowa and the Primary season in order of best to worst night.
Newt Gingrich did a great job in the debate. Many of the questions opened Gingrich up to attacks. I thought Newt did a good job of parrying their attacks and even counter punched well. Gingrich was able to get in a memorable line when he stated the Mitt Romney would have been a career politician had it not been for losing to Ted Kennedy in 1994. I also thought he got in a good line of attack on Michele Bachmann when he told her she needed to have details and facts. Overall Newt did a good job defending his ideas and came across as in command of the facts. There is no doubt Newt is the best debater in the Republican field.
Michele Bachman did a good job last night. She went on the attack and landed a few jabs on Newt and Romney. Her Newt Romney line was a good line as it made the point that they both are similar and will be more pragmatic than an ideologue. I also think this point reduced Mitt to second tier behind Newt. I think Michele helped herself in Iowa and may get a bit of a bounce. She needs to take top three in Iowa in order to leverage an administration job and it appeared she was saying if not her than Newt would be the next best pick. I think she did a good job and shows sh is the attack dog in the pack.
Rick Perry did pretty good in the debate. I thought he could have done a better job with the question regarding when the last time he had to make sacrifices. The question was a plea to understand how an elitist could understand or feel the pain of the country if they never been in the same shoes as middle America is under currently. I thought he got a jab in on Mitt Romney and seemed to get under Mitt's skin. I didn't think he was able to take the stage as he wasn't asked that many questions and didn't have that many opportunities to go on the attack.
Ron Paul did his usual lines. I don't think he helped his campaign at all. My thoughts on Ron Paul is that he is too hands off. Less government is not the same as no government. Also Ron Paul as usual comes across as too isolationist. Isolationism is not the right foreign policy for the worlds only super power. I like his thoughts on the Federal Reserve but he needs to move beyond that. I don't think he hurt his campaign last night but I don't think he helped it either.
Mitt Romney did not have a god night. His on stage wager of $10,000 shows his elitism. An average American wouldn't dream of such nonsense. This in line with his answer to the "when was the last time you sacrificed" question shows just how elitist Romney is. I understand he created jobs in the private sector and understand he has command of economics, but does he understand the plight of the American middle Class? I also thought that Newt was able to attack Romney and Romney did a poor job counter punching. When Mitt to take a jab both Perry and Gingrich parried and counterpunched well. Mitt did not do anything to raise his position and may have lost ground to Gingrich. Romney needs to take a solid second in Iowa or risk losing New Hampshire. Romney needs to win and win comfortably in New Hampshire to have any chance at the nomination.
Rick Santorum did not have a good night either. He tried to take the stage a couple of times piping in when general rhetorical questions were asked. However, it seems he is fighting mainly with Bachmann rather than fighting for the nomination. Maybe Santorum knows his campaign is sunk and he is applying for an administration job. Rick didn't come across as Presidential.