One December debate down, another to go this coming Thursday as the days dwindle in the Iowa Caucus campaign.
Saturday’s debate in Des Moines was broadcast nationwide on A-B-C. There was talk of betting, cheating and even a new nickname emerged. “Michele Bach is the proven conservative,” Bachmann said. “It’s not Newt Romney.”
Gingrich responded sharply: “Michele, you know, a lot of what you say just isn’t true, period.”
Rick Perry, who standing next to Romney, aimed at both Gingrich and Romney. “The record is very clear,” Perry said. “You and Newt were for individual mandates and that is the problem.”
Romney responded. “Speaker Gingrich said he was for a federal individual mandate,” Romney said. “What we did in our state was designed by the people in our state for the needs in our state.”
Ron Paul offered this observation of that give-and-take. “I think what we’ve had here is a demonstration of, ‘Why should we have a candidate who is going to have to explain themselves?'” Paul said.
Rick Santorum agreed with Bachmann’s rap on “Newt Romney.” “You know I think Michele has been…a consistent conservative, but she’s been fighting and losing,” Santorum said. “I fought and won. I was in the United States Senate and I fought and passed welfare reform.”
Perry was the only candidate to suggest Gingrich’s two divorces and three marriages might be a disqualifier. Perry said someone who cheats on their spouse might cheat on anybody. Gingrich’s daughter, Jackie Cushman, spoke with Radio Iowa a few hours before the debate to debunk the rumor that her father had served divorce papers on her mother when her mother was on her death bed. Cushman said her 75-year-old mother is alive and well.
“This urban myth that is very untrue had spread so far that people not only believed it, but actually believed that — I guess if my mother was on her death bed she would have been dead — and I really felt that we needed to set the record straight,” Cushman said.
Read and hear more about Cushman’s conversation with Radio Iowa.