For the first 45 minutes of Saturday night’s Republican presidential debate, believe it or not, Michele Bachmann had the best answers. Her “Newt Romney” refrain was clever, funny, intriguing -- and pointed out how similar these two Rockefeller Republican flip-floppers really are on a range of issues.
Mitt Romney pulled a “Pawlenty” when he was asked to state the main differences between him and Gingrich. His answer? Four things -- the first being the creation of a moon colony -- and another being a difference in capital gains tax cuts thresholds.
Are you kidding me? This was the moment for Romney to tell conservative primary voters why he is their man -- and what is wrong with Newt. And the first thing he mentions is a Moon Colony?
The second hour saw Newt Gingrich defend his Palestinian statement on the Jewish Channel. He did well on this, as he did on defending his record of earning a ton of money as a private citizen.
Romney refused to go after Newt on this -- yet his surrogates are doing it out on the stump. Why doesn’t Mitt do it himself?
The media will make a big deal out of Romney’s attempt to wager $10,000 with Rick Perry. The “$10,000” moment will reinforce the image of Romney as a rich guy who is out-of-touch with the caucusgoers.
Thursday night on Fox -- and FoxNews.com -- there will be the final Iowa debate. It will be Romney’s last opportunity to take the race away from Newt. Will he seize it? Or will he pull another “Pawlenty” -- named for Tim Pawlenty, when it was all teed up for him in the first debate in New Hampshire last spring -- and he refused to go after Mitt Romney on health care.
Santorum, Perry and Ron Paul -- as usual -- got the shaft in allocation of air time. How is this fair? Shouldn’t all the candidates get the same amount of time?
Bachmann got more than usual -- and this was by far her best performance of the campaign. But it was too little, too late for her. She should have done this well three months ago.
Newt -- again -- did very well. He came out totally unscathed, which was his goal as the new front-runner.
Mitt -- as usual -- was steady and professional and prepared. And boring. He didn’t win any voters over to him.
Thursday night is his last chance to change the dynamic of this race. If he doesn’t do it on Thursday, he will lose Iowa – and the whole race can then tumble out of his control.
Former Congressman John LeBoutillier is co-host of CAMPAIGN CONFIDENTIAL, which airs each Monday at 2 p.m. on FoxNews.com
Former New York Republican Congressman John LeBoutillier is a Fox News contributor. He appears along with pollstersand fellow contributors Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell on "Political Insiders" which can be see Sunday afternoons on Fox News Channel and every Monday at 10:30 am ET on "FoxNews.com Live."