Last night’s debate between the Republican presidential contenders produced perhaps the first $10,000 bet offered between two White House candidates, but it arguably did little else to change the dynamic of the race just three weeks before the leadoff Iowa caucuses.
Newt Gingrich, who leads the polling not only here but in three of the four earliest voting states, smoothly rebutted a series of attacks.
Mitt Romney, who has been a leading candidate for the GOP nomination throughout the campaign, gamely tried to cast Gingrich as lacking the temperament to be president.
Romney generated his biggest buzz, though, when he tried to bet Rick Perry $10,000 to settle a dispute about whether Romney had ever written he supported health insurance mandates for the entire country.
Meanwhile, Ron Paul, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum joined Perry in showing they will not yield the floor to the purported frontrunners.
Paul, in particular, received credit for the kind of loyal – and vocal – support that has some predicting he could stage an upset in the caucuses.
If anything, the debate only delayed for another week the inevitable winnowing of choices for undecided voters. The candidates don’t meet face-to-face again until Thursday in Sioux City, Iowa, when they will hold their final debate before political attention diminishes ahead of the Christmas holiday.
The nearly two-hour debate, sponsored by ABC News and Yahoo News in conjunction with The Des Moines Register, Drake University, and the local ABC affiliate, WOI-TV, started benignly enough with questions about job creation and a payroll tax cut extension.
But George Stephanopoulos of “Good Morning America,” who co-moderated with World News anchor Diane Sawyer, soon triggered the debate’s most heated exchanges by asking a series of hot-button questions.
Source: Boston Globe – Boston.com | Glen Johnson