Top Moments From Republican Debate in Iowa

Newt Gingrich defended himself against attacks from Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann as well as Mitt Romney, the former front-runner, in the first debate since he soared to the lead in polls nationally and in Iowa. The state’s caucuses on Jan. 3 will kick off the competition for Republican National Convention delegates who will pick an opponent to President Barack Obama.

Here were some of the biggest moments of the night.

What’s $10,000 among friends?

Mitt Romney challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s claims that the former Massachusetts governor backed a requirement that individuals purchase health care coverage.

“I’m just saying, you’re for individual mandates, my friend,” Perry told Romney during Saturday evening’s debate, returning to a criticism that has dogged Romney’s campaign.

“You’ve raised that before, Rick, and you’re simply wrong,” Romney responded, extending his hand toward Perry. “Rick, I’ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks?”

It was a rich bet that perhaps reminded some voters that Romney has a fat enough bank account to make such wagers. But Perry wasn’t playing.

“I’m not in the betting business,” he said.

Romney’s rivals seized on it. Democrats were giddy about the moment, which they planned to use to cast Romney as an elitist who could afford such lavish bets.

And aides to GOP hopeful Jon Huntsman — himself, the son of a famously wealthy family — announced they planned to criticize Romney on a website:

Gingrich on Marital Infidelity: I’m a Grandfather Now

Gingrich also faced tough questions, including about his three marriages — including to wife, Callista, with whom he carried on an extramarital affair while still wed to wife No. 2.

“I think it is a real issue. I think people have to look at the person to whom they are going to loan the presidency,” Gingrich said, while Callista Gingrich sat in the audience. “And they have the right to ask every single question.”

Gingrich has previously acknowledged infidelity.

“I’ve made mistakes at times. I’ve had to go to God for forgiveness. I’ve had to seek reconciliation,” he said Saturday evening. “But I’m also a 68-year-old grandfather and I think people have to measure who I am now and whether I’m a person they can trust.”

Bachmann Keeps 9-9-9 Alive

Rep. Michele Bachmann was the first — and last candidate — on stage to bring up Herman Cain, who recently left the presidential race amid repeated accusations of sexual harassment and an extramarital affair.

It was likely part of a plan to lure some of Cain’s supporters her way.

“One of our former competitors was Herman Cain, and he was always reminding us of the 9-9-9 plan,” Bachmann said early on. “And what I’d like to do is the win, win, win plan.”

She later praised Cain’s contribution to the presidential race while answering her final question of the night.

Other Key Moments

— Bachmann tried to link Romney with Gingrich — and paint both as unacceptable to conservatives on issues such as climate change and health care mandates. During one exchange, she branded the pair as “Newt Romney.”

— Sen. Rick Santorum compared his record with Bachmann’s — noting that he, too, fought as a member of the then-minority Republican caucus. His difference: He was able to win political fights, while Bachmann has come up short on her signature issues such as stopping Democrats’ health care overhaul.

— Rep. Ron Paul took pride in often being the lone voice in Congress against legislation. “I end up sometimes, believe it or not, voting all by myself, thinking why aren’t there people paying attention?” the Texan said.

— Huntsman was the evening’s missing man. He did not meet the polling threshold to participate and instead campaigned in New Hampshire, a state he is making central to his strategy.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. WakeUpAmerica
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 17:14:24

    I think Huntsman is the best of the lot. I guess that’s why he is polling at the bottom; he doesn’t have a high enough clown factor.


    • anAlaskanAlsoII
      Dec 12, 2011 @ 05:08:05

      I thought it gutsy to quit on your boss and run against him; if he really had conservative credentials, I suppose that is to be admired.

      Huntsman was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, nothing wrong with that, but he’s as above the fray of middle-class and working poor America, it’s hard to see how he can administer policies designed for the masses and not just the 1%.

      He also lost my grudging respect when he made the tired ‘teleprompter’ joke and when he called the wrong person a bimbo – meaning Sarah’s “Herb” Cain.


      • WakeUpAmerica
        Dec 12, 2011 @ 16:49:07

        I wouldn’t be voting for him in any case, but he appears to be the least flawed of all the clowns. I don’t know anything about Buddy Roemer, so he may fit in there as well.

  2. Sally
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 17:45:51

    So wait. Gingrich will be 69 next year…and is grossly overweight. If we were worried about McCain dying in the White House…what about Newt? As the GOP has no credible candidate for POTUS, who is the least of these going to choose for VP? I think we’re in for another Democratic matter WHO they choose. God bless the GOP for remaining ignorant, greedy, and oh-so-flawed.


  3. Beowulf
    Dec 11, 2011 @ 20:38:25

    The two most qualified candidates for the GOP, Jon Huntsman and Gary Johnson, are languishing at the bottom of almost every polls. The Conservative voters, despite their protestation, aren’t really interested to find the best candidate. They have their eyes on someone that will pander to their hatred of Obama, and if possible, stands as diametrically opposed to Obama as any politician could possibly be.


  4. anAlaskanAlsoII
    Dec 12, 2011 @ 05:22:05

    No matter who wins the Primary, it’s going to be a jaw-dropping lopsided race for the general election victory (Obama) as all of ’em, any of ’em are flat out ridiculous. Newt is Washington personified, Mitt is Wall Street Personified. Bachmann and Santorum have some smarts, but they are so emotionally stunted, they can’t see the forest for the trees of the diverse make-up of the American population. I give up having an opinion about the rest of the chain of fools.

    Did you see the look on that man-child Rick Perry’s face when he felt he ‘got’ Mitt on the Individual Mandate? Rick had so many deep pocket donors assuring him he’d be in the Oval Office by January of 2013, he thought that just announcing he was in it assured him a Primary victory.

    He could have stayed a big fish in a small pond (a drought-stricken pond that’s hell for low-wage workers) but that siren song for unwarranted big ticket placement that Sarah didn’t even blink at, was too irresistible for low-information politicos like Rick.

    This is the “Oops” Primary alright.


    • Aksyrin
      Dec 12, 2011 @ 16:44:34

      I completely agree with you about Rick Perry.. I find the dynamic of the Texans fighting amongst themselves! Perry as governor for 12 years Ron Paul as a sitting Representive and on the constant campaign run for president! It just makes me chuckle


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