GOP Candidates Looking to ‘Close the Deal’ in Last-Chance Iowa Debate

Don’t Miss the last GOP Debate of 2011 and  before voting begins in the January 3, 2012 Iowa Caucuses, tonight at 9p.m. ET hosted by Fox Cable News.

FOX NEWS – Chris Stirewalt: It’s been 32 weeks since the first Republican presidential debate, (the last) Iowa debate and Straw Poll. Since then, a changing cast of contenders has faced off a dozen times across the country with millions watching at home.

Of the original combatants from that May 5 meeting in Greenville, S.C., only two, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, remain. There have been four lead changes in national polls, two candidates dropped out, four candidates joined the field and billions of pixels poured out by reporters and pundits trying to make sense of it all.

Tonight, that all culminates here on the western edge of Iowa with the 13th showdown — the last chance for candidates to make their cases before voters start the process of picking a presidential nominee. Even in a cycle that has been shaped by televised debates like no other, the stakes for the candidates this evening are enormous.

Here’s what’s on the line for the six men and one woman vying for the chance to confront Barack Obama. . . . . Read More

Debt image

GOP Candidates Looking to ‘Close the Deal’ in Last-Chance Iowa Debate

The Republican presidential candidates will have one last chance on the national stage Thursday night to make their case to voters before the frantic season of caucuses and primaries gets underway. At the Fox News debate in Sioux City, Iowa, everybody but front-runner Newt Gingrich is looking to shake up the race in a big way.

In a primary campaign replete with gaffes and other “oops” moments, the candidates are under pressure to give a steady performance — they don’t want another public misstep hanging in the cold Iowa air for the three remaining weeks before the caucuses. For the middle-of-the-pack candidates, the debate is a chance to demonstrate why caucus-goers should give them a second look. For Gingrich and Mitt Romney, it’s a chance to lock down notoriously fickle and straying support.

“This is a clean-up debate,” said Steffen Schmidt, political science professor at Iowa State University. “It’s sort of the county fair right before the state fair … where they want to see whether that pony is lame or not.”

And minds are not quite made up. “They really are waiting for somebody to close the deal. And nobody has,” Schmidt said.

After months of tumult, the polls over the past three weeks have bared a few themes. Gingrich is the unrivaled front-runner. Romney, in second position, can’t seem to break through the low 20s. Nobody else is close. But in poll after poll, Romney fares better against President Obama in a general election than Gingrich.

As Romney tries to claw his way back to the top, analysts say the former Massachusetts governor would be wise to stress the electability argument Thursday.

Republican pollster Adam Geller said primary voters are more concerned than usual about whether the GOP nominee can actually beat Obama in November.

“There is an unbelievable reservoir of anger and fear and frustration, and electability does become a very, very important factor in a year like this,” he said. “This is one of the reasons why Rick Perry hasn’t done well.”

He said Gingrich and Romney, with their “grasp of the issues” have done well because they’ve shown an ability to be competitive against the current occupant of the White House.

To that end, Geller said Gingrich needs to keep his cool Thursday. Though the former House speaker is sure to face attacks from all sides, Gingrich must be “gracious” to his opponents and “have that self-editor fired up,” Geller said.

It’s a tricky task. Gingrich has pledged to run a “positive” campaign, but Romney is sharpening his attacks. This week, his campaign released a web video that mocked Gingrich for once cutting an ad on climate change with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “With friends like Newt, who needs the left?” the ad said.

Romney, who has tried to pigeonhole Gingrich as a Washington insider with little practical economic experience, told Fox News that “people are coming to the conclusion increasingly that I’m the person with the experience and the temperament and the capacity to actually lead America and to defeat President Obama.”

Schmidt said Gingrich, while staying positive to the extent he can Thursday night, will have to defend himself. Gingrich’s past contract work for Freddie Mac, his one-time support of an individual health care mandate in the early ’90s and his proposal to let some illegal immigrants stay in the country have all attracted scrutiny.

But Schmidt said Romney has a tightrope to walk. In dreary times, Romney can’t be a downer.

“Mitt Romney has to take on his Republican opponents with a sharper blade and at the same time make people feel that the future is positive,” he said.

The other candidates still have a chance to break through. While the national polls show Gingrich and Romney at the top, the Iowa polls have Texas Rep. Ron Paul right up there on the leader board.

In an interview with Fox News, Paul said his loyal supporters could help pull out a victory in the Jan. 3 caucuses.

“We’ve been working to that end and we’ve been organizing,” Paul said. “We’re giving a lot of answers to the questions that so many people across the country are asking.”

Schmidt said Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who won the Iowa Ames Straw Poll over the summer before Perry entered the race and stole her thunder, remains the “sleeper” candidate in the race.

Bachmann, stressing her Iowa roots and advertising an upcoming 99-county Iowa tour, told Fox News that Iowans will realize she’s “the one true constitutional conservative” in the race.

“Iowans are going to come back home,” she told Fox News.

Perry, too, is trying to regain the confidence of voters. On a bus tour through Iowa, Perry stopped in Council Bluffs Wednesday where he depicted himself as the outsider candidate, and Romney and Gingrich as insiders who are not going to “change a thing.”

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who has poured his campaign resources into Iowa and was the only candidate to receive a standing ovation at a social issues debate forum in Iowa hosted by Mike Huckabee on Wednesday will attend, as well as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Watch Fox News and FoxNews.com for the Republican presidential primary debate on Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET.

Source: Fox News

Related:

The Media Obsession With and Abuse of Polls 

Video: Limbaugh Surveys the GOP Contenders

The DNC’s Christmas Gift to Newt Gingrich as Savage Offer’s Him $1M to Drop Out of the Race

On the Road to the White House 2012… Time for the GOP to Step Up

Video:  A Voter’s Guide to Republicans

Advertisements

About Ask Marion

I am a babyboomer and empty nester who savors every moment of my past and believes that it is the responsibility of each of us in my generation and Americans in general to make sure that America is as good or even a better place for future generations as it was for us. So far... we haven't done very well!! Favorite Quotes: "The first 50 years are to build and acquire; the second 50 are to leave your legacy"; "Do something that scares you every day!"; "The journey in between what you once were and who you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place". At age 62 I find myself fighting inoperable uterine Cancer and thanks to the man upstairs and the prayers from so many people including many of my readers from AskMarion and JustOneMorePet... I'm beating it. After losing our business because of the economy and factors related to the re-election of President Obama in 2012 followed by 16-mos of job hunting, my architect-trained husband is working as a trucker and has only been home approximately 5-days a month since I was diagnosed, which has made everything more difficult and often lonely... plus funds are tight. Our family medical deductible is 12K per year for two of us; thank you ObamaCare. But thanks to donations from so many of you, we are making ends meet as I go through treatment while taking care of my father-in-law who is suffering from late stage Alzheimer's and my mother-in-law who suffers from RA and onset dementia as well as hearing loss, for which there are no caretaker funds, as I continue the fight here online to inform and help restore our amazing country. And finally I need to thank a core group of family, friends, and readers... all at a distance, who check in with me regularly. Plus, I must thank my furkids who have not left my side through this fight. You can see them at JustOneMorePet.
This entry was posted in Knowledge Is Power, News and politics, Patriotism, Politics, Wake Up and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to GOP Candidates Looking to ‘Close the Deal’ in Last-Chance Iowa Debate

  1. kev07wan says:

    I’ll have my eye on Ron Paul.. he always performs reasonably well, at least in the eyes of his constituency, and I think he may come out on top in the Caucus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s