I enjoyed last night's debate - the last (thankfully) before the Iowa caucuses.
I thought everyone stepped up their game - especially Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.
Here's what I think of the field so far:
Jon Huntsman -
I feel like he knows what he's talking about but isn't connecting with me. I finally figured out what the problem is -- Huntsman doesn't smile, he doesn't feel friendly. He also turns every answer into a campaign speech. It's annoying.
Michele Bachmann -
She went on the attack last night - she had to. For her and Santorum this debate was their last chance to make a real shot at showing well in the caucuses. While Ron Paul's foreign policy is an easy mark, especially his Iranian policy, but it was good that she called him out on it - calling it "dangerous". Santorum also clarified that Iran believes in martyrdom - which is a reason why the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction, the deterrent used during the Cold War, would not work with Iran because death for them is a preferred option.
Bachmann also attacked Newt Gingrich for saying that she can't get her facts straight. She needed to do that. He had talked down toward her and dismissed her attacks regarding Fanny and Freddy. It happens to be true that she's made stupid mistakes, which doesn't help her, but to be dismissed like that was obnoxious.
Rick Santorum -
I like him, but he's young. And truthfully, other than being a senator I'm not sure what he's been up to. I haven't "googled" him or investigated him -- but just from what I hear on the news - I don't know much about his experience in government or in business. What has he accomplished? I don't know.
Ron Paul -
There's what to like about his domestic policy and it's easy to nod along with those ideas. However, when he wanders off American soil to discuss foreign policy - it's crazy talk.
Rick Perry -
His debating skills are getting better. At least he didn't say "oops". I was happy to hear him mention that yesterday was the day that the Bill of Rights was signed - that was exciting. I don't know if he can make up ground, but he did make some good points about terrorist training camps in South America - a serious issue that hasn't been dealt with.
Newt Gingrich -
We all know he's smart, fine. He was even growing on me for a while. I liked what he said about the 'Palestinians' being an "invented" people. I like that he would appoint John Bolton to head the State Department. But I'm not sure that he's electable. That's important. I do not put it past Obama to pull out a second term despite the economy.
Mitt Romney -
He's dependable, he's steady. He's friendly and personable. He just doesn't have the spark that Newt has, that people are looking for. That being said, at this point (things could always change), I think that he's the guy to put up against Obama. He has experience being a governor and knows business intimately. Both are important. He's not just an "idea" guy like Newt. Romney knows how to put it all in practice. Yes, there are flip flop issues - but I can accept that over time things change. Philosophies change - it's human, it's how we learn and grow.
We'll see it all play out the in the beginning of January. That's when the real games will begin.