The PJ Tatler

Iowa Debate Open Thread

I’m watching on Fox, Tony Katz is there in Iowa, and we’ll be hearing from him tonight. Mix it up in the comments.

Update 8:10 pm – Ron Paul just got flummoxed by a question of how he would get his agenda through a divided Congress. Heh.

Update 8:16 pm – No complaints about the format so far. Pawlenty is being a bit more human and interesting this time around. He just took a decent shot at Bachmann’s record of accomplishment in Congress, and didn’t whiff like he did in the previous debate when he had the opportunity to hit Romney.

Update 8:20 – Lots of back and forth between Pawlenty and Bachmann. These two clearly have some bad blood left over from their battles in MN politics.

Update 8:28 – Chris Wallace asks Newt Gingrich why he’s bothering to keep running, and Newt has his best and snarkiest moment sassing back to Wallace to stop asking “gotcha” questions. After noting that Reagan and McCain had mass staff exits and went on to win the nomination, he finished with another smack on Wallace. Little back and forth, lots of applause for Newt.

Update 8:31 – Cain now answering another Wallace gotcha as to why Cain thinks he knows enough to be president. Cain does some pwning. Wallace is having a rough night.

8:34 – Huntsman tries convincing the audience that he’s a conservative. And fails.

8:37 – Newt hammers Obama on the moats & alligators joke, but his plan for dealing with illegals is a huge opportunity for fraud. We’re not talking about picking people to go defend the country from overseas threats, we would be using boards to select illegals for getting to stay here. Huge difference, huge bureaucracy, wide open to corruption.

8:40 – So far Mitt and Newt are winning this debate, Mitt by being serious and not being attacked, and Newt by being relevant.

8:42 – Stray thought, I can’t believe I’m missing Cowboys football for this. Very unhappy about that, Fox.

8:44 – This ends at the end of the hour, right?

8:45 – More fighting between Pawlenty and Bachmann over some MN bill. Then Santorum raises his hand like a schoolboy begging to tell the class the answer. Pawlenty and Bachmann must have had some nasty fights in the MN lege. Neither seems to have forgotten any of it, but most viewers have no idea what they’re talking about.

8:48 – Newt making sense again, calls the super committee one of the dumbest ideas Washington has come up with in a long time. Then he just rips the thing apart, calls on Congress to scrap it and get savings without any of this “secret, phony business.” If he wasn’t Newt, he might have a chance at this thing.

8:50 – Do-over time! Pawlenty uses the term “Obamneycare” this time around, then goes after Mitt’s record making him look like Obama lite. Hammers Mitt on spending, appointments, the works. Mitt gets off a joke about liking Pawlenty’s other debate answer better, then seques into answering for his record. Mitt’s showing a humor tonight that’s helping him.

8:54 – Still missing Cowboys football. That has to be unconstitutional.

8:59 – Halftime in the debate, halftime in the Cowboys game. Denver’s up 9-3.

9:00 – I’m tired. Taking this to the comments.

10:02 – Here’s how I score it.

Mitt even (didn’t fumble, seemed like a leader)
Newt + (got in some good lines, knows his stuff, had a good shot or two hitting the media)
Pawlenty + (didn’t whiff but spent too much time squabbling with Bachmann)
Bachmann – (not as good this time around, too much time squabbling with Pawlenty)
Santorum + (got a little more time, came off better than usual)
Huntsman even (not much to say about him, I barely remember him being there)
Paul even (says the same wacky things on foreign policy, the same right things on fiscal policy)
Cain even (I think me may have peaked too early, everyone knows he’s pithy, he needs to show that he’s a plausible president)

Fox put on a good debate, only the bell was annoying, overall the questions were tough if at times silly. The real winner was Rick Perry, who haunted this debate from outside the room.

What do you think? It looks like most pundits are saying Pawlenty damaged himself badly tonight. I didn’t see it that way but I could be wrong. I will say that the promise to mow other people’s lawns didn’t come off very presidential, to say the least.