The GOP Debate: Kevblog’s Reax

Michele Bachmann

What follows is my not quite real time reactions to tonight’s GOP presidential debate in Iowa.

8:33 p.m. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty got tough on Rep. Michele Bachmann tonight in the GOP debate, drawing Bachmann into a verbal fight that, to these ears, only works to his advantage.

By doing so, he has gotten Bachmann to forget that at this point it is she–not he–who is the superior political figure. By targeting her rhetoric at T-Paw instead of pivoting to frontrunner Romney, she may singlehandedly have elevated his flagging campaign. It also allowed him to land a solid gut punch against her:

She said she’s got a titanium spine; it’s not her spine we’re worried about, it’s results. If that’s your view of elected leadership with results, please stop. Because you’re killing us. — Tim Pawlenty

Seems like a major tactical blunder.

Update, 8:50 p.m.: She is still doing it. Granted, the question five minutes ago required her to address the 2005 vote she made to raise Minnesota’s cigarette tax, but by repeatedly demanding the opportunity to respond to Pawlenty–who let us not forget is polling at roughly 3 percent–she is making Pawlenty her primary opponent, not Mitt Romney.

Update, 8:56 p.m.: It is very surprising that so many questions are being directed at Gov. Pawlenty, at the expense of Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and others. It’s almost as if the FOX gang is somewhat sympathetic to T-Paw.

Mediaite has captured some debate footage. See below:

Update, 9:12 p.m.: Right now, the two governors–Pawlenty and Romney–strike me as making the strongest impressions, followed by Bachmann and Huntsman. Gingrich whining that every question is “gotcha” is undercutting him big time.

Update, 9:32 p.m.: Wait. Rick Santorum thinks we’ve been at war with Iran since 1979? And Ron Paul thinks we’ve been at war with Iran since 1953? I need to catch up on my current events…

Update, 9:36 p.m.: Ron Paul gives an eloquent defense of the rule of law as it pertains to identifying, detaining and trying suspected terrorists. He also makes a rousing case for avoiding new military incursions into places like Iran.

Update, 9:36 p.m.: So, let me get this straight, Ms. Bachmann. You said you became a tax attorney against your will because your husband told you to, and because the Lord told you to “be submissive.” But that only means you need to respect each other? But why then do you not say he as to “be submissive” to you? And since when is submission based on respect, not fear? Why was that not a follow-up question?

Update, 9:56 p.m.: Huntsman shows some serious cajones by standing his ground in support of civil unions, in the face of a very unsympathetic crop of social conservative voters. Might be fatal to him, though.

Update, 10:07 p.m.: Kudos to the journalists tonight on FOX News for asking tough, germane questions of all the candidates during the GOP debate. They missed a follow up or two, but generally did not shy away from asking questions that voters would want to know the answers to, and for the most part avoided framing them as softballs aimed at eliciting the usual talking points. An unusually edifying debate.


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