Republican debate in Iowa: A viewer's guide

Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney and** Rick Santorum** will be on Fox News’s Republican Presidential Debate at 9 p.m. EDT

Tonight isn’t so much about who wins this debate as who loses it. So the poll at the top of the thread is who lost the debate tonight.

Who do you think will drop out of the race first?

I just want to see how many people vote before the debate starts.

: What to watch forThe Ames presidential debate
Target Bachmann: In the two months since the candidates last shared a stage, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has surged into the top tier and is widely regarded as the frontrunner in the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday. That’s a mixed blessing for Bachmann who will not only have to meet or exceed high expectations for her in tonight’s debate but will also have to do so while likely dodging barbs aimed at her from the likes of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and others. How Bachmann handles the attacks — if and when they come — will almost certainly be a major storyline coming out of Ames tonight. Running from the front is a major challenge and one Bachmann isn’t terribly familiar with; she needs to be a fast learner.

*** No more Mr. Nice Guy**: Pawlenty ducked a chance to attack former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney at the debate in June and it cost him; his campaign went into a free-fall that he has struggled to turn around since. Pawlenty desperately needs to show signs of life in advance of the Ames Straw Poll, which amounts to a make or break moment for his campaign. The best (only?) way for him to do that is to, as our Post colleague Amy Gardner put it, come out swinging. The most obvious target for Pawlenty is Bachmann who is running ahead of him in Iowa and who has largely eclipsed him in recent months. But, attacking a woman — and the only woman on stage — in a debate setting is a dangerous game for Pawlenty that must be carefully considered. Perhaps Pawlenty bypasses a direct Bachmann attack — due to the peril associated with it — and tries to make up for lost time by slamming Romney, the race’s frontrunner. What Pawlenty must avoid is coming across as simply swinging wildly in all directions in hopes of landing a verbal blow. That would reek of desperation, which is a not a scent often associated with winners.

  • In absentia: In addition to the eight men and women on the stage tonight there will be two people standing just off camera (figuratively, not literally): Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Palin is rumored to be making a trip to the state tomorrow to attend the state fair (and trample on the attempts by her potential rivals to draw media coverage). Perry will stop in Iowa on Sunday, 24 hours or so after making clear his plans to run for president with stops in South Carolina and New Hampshire. CNN polling released today shows Perry and Palin running relatively strong in a national primary matchup against the current field so it’s easy to imagine that the debate moderators may well ask those on stage about the two people who still aren’t. None of the candidates — if they’re smart — will engage in handicapping the bids of people not there. But, it the field comes across as small or not particularly dynamic tonight, it gives the likes of Perry and.or Palin to step in and fill that charisma void.

Don’t tempt me

Your sig pic rocks.

thx! I am waiting for the debate to start now, first time I’ve ever streamed on Fox. I usually can’t stomache anything from Faux News, or any of the news outlets. usually I just wait until a friend gives me his previous week’s copy of The Wanderer.

I’m real glad no one has voted yet given that the debate hasn’t started yet! :smiley:

Never was a Newt fan, but so far in this debate he is a league way beyond any of the others. He put Chris Wallace in his place, didn’t he? :slight_smile:

Bottom 3, Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich. Santorum was a stinker in the debate. I’d vote for him if he was the only one left running, but otherwise, I liked Bachmann, Cain, and Paul.

Bachman shined again. I thought Santorum did good I would say Paul pawlenty and huntsman were the big losers

Huntsman came across as a whiny shrimp. No principles.

I Agee with Lundsford on Fox Gingrich won the battle, Romney the war and Pawlenty destroyed himself

I dont care for him either but I got to say he did very well in the debate and I also liked his remark about the super committee and saying they all need to come back from their vacations. Even though he doesnt have a chance I also like Cain.

Wow Gingrich was on fire, can’t believe how he went after the questioners and their questions. As much as I like Bachmann I thought she was too stuck on talking points and saying what she has already said repeatedly before. Pawlenty, it was just sad watching him. Paul, his foreign policy ideas are flat out scary. I loved a lot of what Santorum said. Romney was ok, but he kicked butt earlier today at the fair in the clip I saw on the news.

Santorums defense of life was awesome

I think Santorum did well and I have always liked him too. Really ,if I could put a couple or three of them together . . .:shrug: wishful thinking, I know! I think Huntsman looked weak, Pawlenty came close to making a fool of himself and sorry but somehow Bachman doesnt just get it for me even though I agree with most of her positions, just dont see myself voting for the woman.

Thanks Cider, you just have helped me figure out why I wouldnt vote for Bachman,. The talking points thing, it seems that is all we get from her, agree with her positions but, and I beleive she would stick to principles, but as far as her leadership I diont know.

Santorum’s moment was when he defended Life. Newt really showed how limited all the other candidates are, Newt is not my favorite, but if all I ever had to go on was this one debate, then only Newt showed a sobriety and clear vision of where we are, and where we need to go.

Yes, I really like her but I was disappointed in her tonight. I wish she had spoken more spontaneously and from the heart instead of the same old sound bites. That is probably because I have been watching a lot of news so I’ve heard is all before. I feel the same way about Palin. I really liked her 4 years ago but now I just feel like is just repeating her sound bites.

Going into this I really didn’t think Gingrich was a contender considering how it has been going for him. But, IMO he won it. He was in control, well versed, spoke from the heart and answered the questions instead of just spitting out a prepared statement or talking point. Which is exactly where Bachmann failed.

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