Debates have provided many of the defining moments of the GOP campaign.
But–even with the stakes so high–not this time.
So forget any fireworks between the two Republicans topping the polls–Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich–they sounded more like running mates than rivals:
“I think Governor Romney deserves some credit to make this thing workable…” Gingrich said.
“Thank you!” Romney replied.
But Gingrich is number one in the Iowa polls, so–for the other debaters–he was the number one target:
“The idea that you can’t tell the difference between lobbying and consulting, the idea that Congress staying there as many days that they do and the salary that they have…” Rick Perry said.
"Frankly, I am shocked listening to the former Speaker of the House because he’s defending the continuing practice of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae," Michele Bachmann said.
"What she just said is factually not true, I never lobbied under any circumstance," Gingrich said.
"He has a different definition of the private sector than I have," Ron Paul said.
And, finally, the line of the debate that may be most remembered here, particularly among Patriots' fans:
“I want to be the Tim Tebow of the Iowa Caucuses!" Rick Perry said.
Even without much conflict or drama, there was a clear winner and loser.
The winner was Newt Gingrich. He dominated this debate.
He was disciplined, and never lost control of the event or himself.
The biggest loser was Mitt Romney, who apparently decided to lay a bit low in this debate… And laid so low he never got out of Gingrich's shadow.
This was the thirteenth Republican debate (if you're counting), and the last until next year.
And there won't be another one until after the Iowa Caucus on January third.
So viewers are about to become voters, and soon we'll find out who really won all these debates.
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