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Sioux City Debate

Sioux City Debate

End game analysis:  Hard to assess.  Both Newt and Romney had tough segments, Newt’s earlier in the night, Romney towards end.  Newt had most highlight moments.  Perry fine, but not a real presence, not asked many questions.  Santorum very good.  Bachmann tough, but she doesn’t get her facts right, makes outlandish statements about others, but it does damage because the fact check comes later; it’s why I don’t like her.   The big loser may be Ron Paul because the focus on Iran revealed him to be, as Bachmann put it, dangerous.

Hard to know who benefits most.  Will be curious to see Luntz focus group.  Newt I think redeemed himself somewhat, people will remember him going after Obama on pipeline.  Romney did well because he was steady, which is the image he wants to portray.  Perry did well, but I’m not sure who he picks up votes from.  I think this may help Bachmann the most, for all the wrong reasons.

More, I think Newt was helped by using the word “zany” himself.  It’s hard to see how the strategy of crazy being pursued by Romney works after this debate, or how Paul’s relentless demonization of Newt doesn’t result in a backlash.

I’ll have Tweets of night soon.


Fast and Furious.  Perry says if her were President and AG didn’t know, as Holder claims, he would have him resign.

Immigration, Romney takes hard line, Newt repeats position, nothing new.

Wallace hits Romney on flip flops.  Says changed position on abortion.  Says never changed on gay rights, not for gay marriage.  On guns says always supported 2d amendment.  Wallace points out letter from 1994 on gay rights, assault weapons ban, 2002 support of tough gun control laws of Mass and signed assault weapons ban.  This segment almost as tough for Romney as earlier segment for Newt.

Santorum hit Romney hard on history of gay marriage, could have stopped gay marriage in Mass.  He personally as Gov issued gay marriage licenses.  Romney denies, but whether he’s right or wrong, the damage done as far as voters listening know.

Bachmann went after Newt on abortion.  Newt says 98.5% pro life voting record, only issue was welfare reform bill.  Says Bachmann gets facts wrong.  Bachmann comes back again (on Twitter circulating links to Newt’s 98.6% rating, so Bachmann wrong, but damage done.)

At third break – Winners Bachmann and Santorum for hitting Ron Paul very hard on Iran; Newt on pipeline; others okay.  Romney doing well at macro level, not that any particular answer was unusually good.

On Iran nukes, Paul says no evidence.  Says it’s another Iraq.  Even if had solid intelligence, still says just promoting Iran desire to have nukes.

Santorum hits it out of park on MADD with Iran, they want martyrdom, not equivalent of Soviet Union which wanted to live.  They hate us because of who we are, what we believe in.

Romney has good line about drone, this is a president who says “pretty please.”  Bachmann says Ron Paul policy is most dangerous she’s ever heard.

Ron Paul says Kennedy talked Soviets out of putting nukes in Cuba.  Uh, wasn’t there a military blockade.

Newt says doesn’t want to appear “zany,” mockingly, on pipleline issue because feels so strongly about it.  It’s irrational — gives real zingers.  Bachmann good too, said put left wing door knockers ahead of American people.

At the second break – No clear winner.  Newt had a very tough 15 minutes as Wallace and Cavuto served up a series of questions on his toughest points, Freddie consulting and Ryan Plan.  Newt did as well as he could, but it reminded me of the water torture in the last debate over fidelity.  Bachmann went after him as did Ron Paul, but not Romney.  Fortunately for Newt, the segment ended on the judiciary, and he let his historian shine and got huge crowd applause.

Chris Wallace asks about Newt’s comments about Bain — out of context, was in response to Romney’s comments.  Romney passes opp to attack Newt on it, probably a good choice would have made him look bad.

Wallace then brings up Freddie Mac.  Newt handles it well, points out Frank and Dodd were in position of power and exploited that power.  Newt points out that if read whole article Wallace mentioned, he also said need more regulation (that’s a point I made earlier).

Wallace then turned to Paul, who said it ends in fascism.  Weird.

Turns to Bachmann and asks for proof that he peddled influence.  Newt says what Bachmann said about him was not true.  Never lobbied.  Never tried to slow down reform.  Sponsored reform while speaker.  Bachmann says Politicact said everything she said was true.  (Politifact just tweeted that they never said that.)  Need to shut down Fannie and Freddie.  Newt has never once changed view based on payment.

Then Cavuto goes after Newt on Ryan-Wyden Plan.  As to “right wing social engineering” quote, points out that it was in context of convincing the people before passage.

Finally turn to Ron Paul earmarks.  Let him slide on this, his explanation is fluff but Cavuto never followed up nor did other candidates.

Perry says need to turn Congress into part time legislature and make them get real jobs.  Passes on chance to attack Newt and attacks Washington in general.

Meghan Kelly goes after Newt on judicial proposal, Newt says courts out of control, gets applause.  “We do not have a judicial dictatorship.”  Wow, Newt gives history lesson to Kelly about what Jefferson and others did.

Then Ron Paul says “all of them are good, all of them are bad” in response to q about favorite Justices.

At first break:  Advantage Newt, he was most forceful and went after Obama big time.  Here’s what Andrea Tantaros tweeted:

Newt wins first round of questioning. It explains why he surged. GOP wants someone who can KO Obama. Others don’t demonstrate that.

Newt on why electable – refers to Ronald Reagan supposedly not being electable.  Then Newt rattled off all his achievements — home run answer.  On discipline, talks about his history, doesn’t take bait and doesn’t attack Romney.

Romney – why make case more effectively than Newt? Doesn’t go after Newt, says can get America working.

Bachmann said something about being “a real person for 50 years.”  Huntsmann said something about refusing to show up at a Trump debate.

Perry asked about debating skills – says beginning to like debates, and going after Obama.  Says wants to be Tim Tebow of Iowa caucuses.

Newt hits “Saul Alinksy” radical who can’t lead and always running for re-election.

Pre-game analysis:  Newt is on the hot seat.  Expect everyone, except Huntsman, to go at him.  Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann will be the most aggressive, and Romney only will dirty his hands if Paul and Bachmann can’t do the job.  I expect Perry primarily to go after Romney, because if Perry can come close to beating Romney in Iowa it will be a tremendous boost to his campaign.  Newt will have to parlay this to his advantage, come across as the statesman, point out the millions of dollars of attack ads without appearing whiney, and attack the others with knowledge, not name calling.


The debate starts at 9 p.m. Eastern.  I’ll provide commentary as we go, probably at the breaks as I have done for several other debates.

Before we get started, please Tweet to Defeat National Review.

I can’t tell you how disgusted I am that the publications which presents itself as the home of conservatism has reduced itself to running a cover depicting a leading Republican candidate as a cartoon martian character, and is devoting almost an entire issue to taking down the main challenger to its preferred candidate.

It’s an embarrassment to everyone who believes that a trustworthy conservative media is important.


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I am stunned as well. This circular firing squad has to be ended.

1. “Marvin the Martian” Gingrich on the moon.

Ha ha ha ha! Har dee har har har! Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

Within the lifetimes of most who read this, there likely will be magazine covers featuring Chinese astronauts on the moon.

I wonder if National Review (if it’s still around), and the Republican senators who view NASA as their personal source of pork, will be laughing then. And if they’ll keep laughing when the astronauts are followed by construction crews.

2. One can take issue, and I do, with Newt’s thoughts about what future paradigm shifts will be. However, at least Newt recognizes that there will be paradigm shifts.

3. As material for derision, Newt in Space is nothing compared to Romney for Cold Fusion. Newt may be early by decades or a century whereas Mitt is apparently taking at face value something that is very likely a flawed result or outright pseudoscience. Yet no sarcastic National Review cover targeting Romney has appeared. Odd, isn’t it?

As National Review mocks Newt, I’d bet that cold fusion hit pieces are being written and archived–by the MSM, for publication if Romney is nominated.

Does a great Newt debate help him as much as it has in the past? I fear it may have gotten to the point where a great debate performance is par for the course regarding Newt. Not saying it wouldn’t help a small amount, but the bar may have been set too high.

I’ve become very disgusted with how the establishment has treated Newt as well, not just the National Review. Jennifer Rubin actually takes the cake in my opinion as she actually twists the truth to suit her needs.

Anyway, at this point I’m so disgusted with the Romney supporters and Romney himself that I am not going to vote for him if he is the nominee. I’ll vote for anyone else in the GOP field but him. Even Huntsman is superior to him (by far).

You can read all my reasoning here

[…] Update: It’s the final battle. It’s Armageddon. It’s Iowageddon. It’s the Sioux City Debate. It’s 9:00 p.m. (ET) on Fox […]

Am I the only one frustrated that Romney is never asked to defend his (lacking) record of conservatism like so many of the other candidates are asked to?

Now I understand! Someone misfiled National Review under “trustworthy”

Eh, I like Gingrich and I like Marvin the Martian and the cover illustration made me laugh. (I also laugh when Bolton is compared with Yosemite Sam and I adore Bolton.) Does it belong on the cover of the once venerated and once relevant National Review? Heck no, I’m with you there. Non-malevolent laughter probably wasn’t what they were going for.

Their endorsement of Romney was probably the most predictable event of this election cycle. They are a joke.

That first segment was so dull that I didn’t even get to take a drink.

Romney looks much more distinguished in the black suit.

Wow, what debate are you watching. Newt went on for like 15 minutes saying just “nah-uh”. Still trying to say he’s wasn’t a lobbyist? Puh-lease.

Terrible questions. Can we abolish Chris Wallace?

not able to watch, but have to ask

Did Mittens actually tell us why we should vote for him? …other then the “I worked in the Private Sector; I know how to create jobs” he has on standby when asked?

(which I never really understood anyway – I’ve worked in the private sector my whole life, and I would be a horrific president! Well, maybe not horrific. But let’s just say that Conservatives would be using the term “Bad a$$” quite often while Dems would have me in Impeachment hearings basically the entire time…)

Romney COMPLETELY dodged the question about his record of appointing non-conservative judges. But at least he was finally asked a question about his record.

I’ve always said I would vote for whoever the Republican candidate is, but I cannot seriously imagine voting for Ron Paul. He seems left of Obama. And more than a little scary…

    LukeHandCool in reply to terimwal. | December 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Yep. If the Professor opened that poll again, after tonight’s performance I couldn’t possibly vote for Ron Paul. Awful.

      Cowboy Curtis in reply to LukeHandCool. | December 16, 2011 at 12:56 am

      Your avatar doesn’t look like a Luke. Is she single?

        LukeHandCool in reply to Cowboy Curtis. | December 16, 2011 at 2:46 am

        Yes, she is single. And she’s also my first born. And I’m extremely overprotective.

        In her first year at USC, a few of the guys in the dorm took advantage of her good nature, and, seeing an opportunity to ingratiate themselves, sent her home to have her mother do their laundry.

        Well, I took her back to campus with the laundry. And as the main Don Juan approached us outside the dorm, he presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a “Thank You” note for her mother for doing his laundry.

        I was a few yards behind, carrying the basket of boys’ laundry. He then came up to me, extended his hand and gave his self-introduction.

        As I shook his hand, I simply said, “I am wearing your underwear.”

        He gave me an uneasy look and didn’t say another word.

        LukeHandCool (who, as a young man, always hoped he’d meet an orphan girl … with no parents or siblings to deal with … but, who, as a father, loves making potential suitors sweat).

Holy crap Ron Paul had a total meltdown tonight! Wow.


Okay, so I got in with only seconds left in the debate… 🙁

BUT, I did get to hear two of the better answers probably given.

1) Ron Paul, in essence saying, sure – I think we should attack eachother. (keeping it classy Paul, keeping it classy…)

2) Michele “attack dog” Bachmann invoking Reagan and the 11th Amendment. Now Sauerkraut-hammer is saying she was the one doing all the attacking tonight. Wow…

I’ll say this, Bachmann sure beats Obama on atleast one thing – unfortunately, its hypocrisy!

Bachmann once again reaffirmed her status as a complete loon with her absolutely outrageous claim that Newt supported partial birth abortion. That woman is a total disgrace.

Overall, I would say this was Romneys best debate since the summer. He made me feel comfortable with him again. Not enthusiastic like I am with Newt. But comfortable. I abhor the fact that he takes Obamacare off the table though.

Newt was again strong as always. But, his idea of calling judges to testify before congress is very disconcerting. I do not like that one bit.

Perry did ok but I simply will never get over his prior debates.

    SmokeVanThorn in reply to Jaydee77. | December 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Do you use a macro or do you cut and paste the phrase “a total disgrace” from other comments you have posted about Bachmann?

Perry did well with the few questions he was asked. If he had handled himself this well in the early debates he might still be leading the polls.

For being under the bulls eye for an entire round of questioning, Gingrich came out of the debate very well.

Romney did ok, really bumbled the flip flop question. (Would love to see what would happen if his feet were constantly held to the fire like every other candidates.)

Bachmann was doing well until the very end, I think that last attack on Newt kills any momentum she might have gained.

Santorum was good, Hunstman may as well have not been there and Paul was Paul.

Maybe some small movement in the polls, but nothing major. Except for Paul, I’d say this drops him to his pre-surge levels.

Regarding the debate itself, the FNC questioners were nonplussed since their intent to go after the candidates and to get them fighting each other failed in the main; exceptions were few, except for Bachmann, who needs to drop out before she totally destroys her reputation.

Wallace really tried hard to get the candidates fighting and came back to that attempt several times; he’s become a real jerk, about as fair and balanced as Morning Joe’s Mika, who is on the edge of sanity.

It’s almost as though the candidates got together before the debate and agreed to not engage each other as the questioners wanted them to do. Of course, Bachmann also seemed not to have gotten the memo or maybe, more likely, she didn’t read it.

Still, the debate was good and I felt Newt held up well, as did Romney and Perry too. Personally, I didn’t believe Paul’s comments to Hannity about not wanting to go 3rd party because I really feel he’ll go that way if he doesn’t get the Tampa nod.

Still, we’re not near the end of the road for choosing, IMHAO, and each of the first state races could bring a different sense of who’s on first.

But, this is is just my opinion and others will differ, so be it.

Gingrich…. B+
Romney…… B+
Santorum…. B
Perry……. B
Huntsman…. c
Bachmann…. D
Paul…….. Incomplete

    That’s pretty fair. I would give Romney and Newt a B and give Bachmann an F. She and Ron Paul are hard to watch and listen. I had to walk out of the room when she begins to demagogue. I will celebrate when she ends her campaign.

    I closed my eyes when Huntsman spoke and I could have sworn I was hearing Mike Dukakis.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to spartan. | December 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      Huntsman looks great on paper, but his public affect, the way he talks, gestures, and relates, gives me the heebie jeebies. His smiling face always looks like a man telling himself a joke he’s never heard before.

      SmokeVanThorn in reply to spartan. | December 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      Missed the debate – based on your comments, looks like Bachmann did well.

Newt was forced in to a defensive posture early and often tonight. In spite of that he did very well. And why not? He is the best debater on stage.

Anyway, I have been told in no uncertain terms that Newt is unelectable and I should just get over him and support the uber electable Brylcream commercial.

Maybe, but not yet. We have to play this one out before we anoint Mitt and end up with another McCain.

Mitt can’t reach critical mass. Newt is never more than a soundbite away from blowing up. Cain is gone, and there isn’t another credible Not-Mitt in the field. I’m telling you, mark my words- Perry will be the nominee.

StephenMonteith | December 16, 2011 at 1:24 am

“I can’t tell you how disgusted I am that the publications which presents itself as the home of conservatism has reduced itself to running a cover depicting a leading Republican candidate as a cartoon martian character, and is devoting almost an entire issue to taking down the main challenger to its preferred candidate.”

Except for the Martian cartoon, isn’t that pretty much what they did to Giuliani and McCain in ’08? They saw a leading candidate (or two) whom they believed would be terrible nominees and went after them, all the while promoting their preferred candidate. And now, they see the same thing in Newt Gingrich. People like to draw parallels between Romney and McCain; they should be looking at the parallels between McCain and Gingrich:

Saw the debate on re-run just now. So Prof. Jacobson, you dislike Ms. Bachmann because she makes outrageous statements about all the other candidates, yet you quote her calling Ron Paul “dangerous”? So is she credible only when you agree with her?

I sorely hope a Republican replaces Obama next year, but Santorum, Bachmann, Gingrich, and Romney are being completely irresponsible beating the war drums on Iran so they can draw a distinction with Obama and show they care about Israel. Yes, it is a serious issue but they are saying exactly what people were saying about Iraq in 2002 and that turned out to be completely wrong. We’ve been told Iran is on the verge of a nuke since the 1990s. It’s always “within a couple years”. I fell for that line with Iraq and supported the war and, unlike many who were disillusioned, I continued to support Bush through the surge so we could make it right. But fool me twice, shame on me.

If Iran’s potential nuke is so dangerous, why are we doing nothing about North Korea’s actual nukes and their missiles than can strike Japan and Alaska? What would the hawks here do to disarm Kim Jong-Il? Not so easy is it when their conventional army could kill millions of South Korean civilians? Iran could also wreak all kinds of conventional havoc if we tried to disarm them. But Santorum is wrong that Iranians want to be martyrs. The Ayatollah and the mullahs want to live long lives ruling tyrannically over their fellow Muslims. Ahmedinejad is not in charge, he is a distracting clown, and I doubt he plans to go down with the ship either. The Iranian people certainly do not want to die. Those who imply Iranians are nihilist suicide bombers like Santorum are demagoguing a difficult and complex foreign relations problem. And you are falling for it.

    Darkstar58 in reply to valleyforge. | December 16, 2011 at 11:01 am

    “Jacobson, you dislike Ms. Bachmann because she makes outrageous statements about all the other candidates, yet you quote her calling Ron Paul “dangerous”? So is she credible only when you agree with her?”

    He, as with the others, are mainly calling her out because she is so willing to make things up or go to hyperbole while (constantly) attacking others. However, saying Paul’s statement was “the most dangerous policy ever stated” (or similar) … well, that is the truth, and wasn’t said to randomly attack Paul but instead in the middle of discussing an actual issue based solely on his words said only seconds before, and the very real issues they would produce.

    Paul said that if they had Nukes they would be treated more respectfully by the world around them – as if their getting Nukes would somehow be a good thing. You don’t find that disheartening and frighting in the lest when talking about a Country who (literally, in their own words) wants to bring about the end of the world? They want to bring about the Caliphate, and they openly say it. The only way to do it (according to Islam) is to cause so many problems and wars in the world that he must come to kill all the enemies and take them all to their virgin rewards.

    Iran has a Government which is literally saying they want to wipe Israel off the map and bring about the end times. That is fact, not hyperbole. Yes, Paul stating he would just allow them to have Nukes if they wanted is quite possibly the most dangerous policy ever uttered by a politician. And Bachmanns statement on it become one of the more realistic statements she has said on her entire campaign…

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Darkstar58. | December 16, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      Indeed, during the debate Bachmann cited Politifacts as having endorsed her details in an attack on Gingrich. After the debate Politifacts said they had done no such thing. She grossly botched all manner of fact regarding vaccinations earlier in the race, of course, plus there’ve been numerous minor factual botches on historical events. Whether she’s inept or dishonest, it is clear you take what Bachmann says with a grain of salt, held in reserve till checked for factual accuracy.

      While her conservative energy is highly laudable, we overlook the experience and ready to serve issue – Bachmann has been a US Congressma.. er, person, for less than five years, with no distinguishing legislation to her credit. She blames this on being in the minority for the first four years. But she attacks Gingrich, who prosecuted a fight *while a member of the congressional minority* that resulted in no less than the first Republican majority in the House in fifty years. A Bachmann candidacy, launched after a few undistinguished terms in the House, would eliminate the argument that Obama was too inexperienced to perform well as president, just as a Romney candidacy removes OBAMACARE, for crissakes, from the slate of arguments against Obama, and would constitute an anchor hung from the neck of any post-election repeal effort as well.

I find the pettiness of the National Review Newt cover to be as reprehensible and divisive as our current president is.

I like the fact that Newt thinks outside the box. I like the fact that Newt can change his mind and embrace a better idea or opinion. Being teachable is commendable. He is not like the current staid and sour National Review which genuflects to Washington insiders living within their square-inch of the planet.

The National Review needs a different perspective. They need to take a long trip to Mars during this presidential election.

On another note: Romney is the only one of the seven candidates that makes me feel unsure about where he is coming from. And this in spite of the fact that he basically repeats the same business experience mantra at every turn.

I found the debate to be very interesting. A few points.

1) Ron Paul is a very scary dude. His foreign policy stuff is so repulsive that it surprises me he has any support at all. A Ron Paul Presidency would guarantee the destruction of Israel in my mind. People argue that the absence of our foreign policy decisions in the Middle East would be better than what we did..but how do they know? It’s not obvious that things would play out better. I would vote for Obama if he were the Republican nominee.

2) Michelle Bachmann has no accomplishments in government at all. So she winds up talking about her philosophies, strongly attacking other candidates, and then telling everyone that she can beat Obama. Well she IS the Republican Obama. She irritates me.

3) John Huntsman is better than Ambien. I know when he talks in these debates, I can get up to go to the refrigerator and get some food and I won’t miss anything important. He would be a great Ombudsman.

4) Rick Santorum seems to say a lot of very good things, has a variety of accomplishments and connects the dots very well. He also seems like he’s still in college.

5) After Rick Perry is done, there won’t be any federal government left any more. How do we take him seriously when he wants to rip everything apart? He says some nice things but I think most Americans want incremental change not a complete uprooting. Let’s go back and undo Obamacare, have a vigorous and strong US foreign policy, cut taxes and rebuild America’s values. I’m not a big fan of his tack towards the religious aspect of his life.

6) Newt Gingrich is a conundrum. He would destroy Obama in a debate. Easily the most articulate thinker with the biggest ideas in the race. He also steps in it a lot. He would run away from the pack if he could stay within certain boundaries. His comments on getting rid of the judges struck me as very dictator-like. I think however, it’s reasonable to find judges that reflect his philosophy and aggressively nominate them. The knives have come out for him which I don’t like at all. I am fascinated by his ideas…and he seems to have an unending supply of them.

7) Mitt Romney comes off as a competent manager, talks with a smooth delivery, seems to cover a lot of issues well so he has tremendous depth and breath. He is also an amazing flip-flopper – on the same level as Obama. He needs to make me feel comfortable about his position on anthropogenic global warming. I don’t really understand whether he believes in it or not. Despite that, he would do well in a debate with Obama. The guy has staying power.

Overall, a very good debate, It has clarified my ideas on the candidates.

perry may be the tebow of iowa, but newt is the aaron rodgers of the country right now.

he is the only one who attacks with the gloves off. any other way, and you are playing by obamas rules and you will lose.

Here is Michelle Obama talking about Newt Gingrich back in 2008.

Correction..that should be Michelle Bachmann.

There is no trustworthy media…right or left. They are all egomaniacs feeding off each other. They like to listen to the sound of their voices so much they should run for congress. What they say (like congress) is in their heads, out their mouths with no detour in between.