Iowa’s Republican Debate Live Updates

How will Gingrich fare in his first debate as the frontrunner? Will Perry defend his Iowa ad? Read live updates, watch video and more from the Iowa’s Saturday night debate. Plus join McKay Coppins and John Avlon for a live chat during the debate.

12.11.11 12:54 AM ET

Romney Bets $10K Bet to Perry

Are Mormons even allowed to gamble? Mitt Romney said he would bet Rick Perry $10,000 that a line about health care did not appear in the first version of Romney’s book. Perry said that he read the first edition of Romney’s book that Massachusetts universal health care would work for the rest of the nation but he couldn’t find it later editions. Romney responded “Rick, I’ll tell you what, ten thousand bucks? $10,000 bet?” Romney asked. The comment has already gone viral: The Des Moines Register tweeted  “not too many Iowa caucusgoers are the sort to offer a $10,000 bet, even on a sure thing.” The DNC already blasted an email thread titled “Here’s what the average American family can buy with that $10,000,” and the ABC political analysts said after the debate that this comment had the power to become the viral video of the debate.

Romney: ‘I Didn’t Grow Up Poor’

Refusing to take the bait of talking about his humble background, Mitt Romney said straight-out at Saturday night’s debate that he “didn’t grow up poor.” “If somebody is looking for somebody who has looking for that background, I am not that person,” Romney said, while then saying that he was taught the value of money by his father, who did grow up poor. Gingrich called himself a small businessman, and said he grew up in an apartment “above a gas station,” and said his wife, Callista, runs a small company that produces movies and books—but he did not mention his $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s. Michele Bachmann did not mention her economic background, but instead said she faced a different hardship: the “tragedy of divorce.”

Perry Slams Gingrich On Fidelity

Yikes, Saturday night’s debate got personal fast. Days after his controversial anti-gay Iowa ad aired, Rick Perry slammed Newt Gingrich’s by saying that “the issue of fidelity is important.” “If you would cheat on your wife, if you would cheat on your spouse, then why wouldn’t you cheat on your business partner,” Perry said. Gingrich said he agreed “you have to render judgment” and conceded that he had “made mistakes, at times I’ve had to ask God for forgiveness, I’ve had to ask for reconciliation.” While Romney tried to play up his role as a grandfather, Gingrich also tried to play up his role as a “68-year-old grandfather,” saying that he is “delighted the way that people have been looking at who I am, to look at what my record has been.”


Bachmann Coins New Phrase: 'Newt Romney'

Thanks Michele Bachmann for giving us the image of “Newt Romney.” The Republican presidential hopeful attacked the two frontrunners as “Newt Romney” in Saturday night’s debate, while Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich attacked each other’s records as “career politicians.” “The only reason you didn’t become a career politician is because you lost to Teddy Kennedy in 1994,” Gingrich swiped at Romney. Romney said “losing to Teddy Kennedy in 1994 was the best thing that I could have done” since it gave him the chance to go to the private sector. Romney pushed back against Bachmann’s comment that the two candidates by saying he is “outside Washington, outside K street.”


GOP Debate Opens on Financial Policy

The Republican presidential hopefuls opened up Saturday night’s debate in Iowa by discussing financial policy. Newt Gingrich—who had all eyes on him—opened by crediting Ronald Reagan and vowed to “abolish the death tax permanently.” Rick Perry got an early shot in against Wall Street, saying he could “diagram on a map the problem we’ve got in America today—it’s a direct line between Washington and Wall Street.” And Michele Bachmann established herself as being different by taking a stance against the payroll tax extension.


Newt Gingrich started a revolution and took over the Congress by throwing punches. Saturday night we’re going to see if he can take ‘em.

This debate will be about one candidate and one candidate only: Newt Gingrich. Everyone and everything else will be irrelevant. 

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GOP Candidates Address National Security at Des Moines Forum

Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and Rick Perry all addressed a veterans’ issues in Des Moines, hours before a GOP debate is scheduled to take place in Iowa. Gingrich indicated that the U.S. needs to take the nuclear threat more seriously. He said, “We could lose an American city. As bad as 9/11 was, it was tiny compared to what could happen if terrorists get nuclear weapons. We need to have a seriousness about national security which we don’t have today in this country.” While Santorum addressed the issue of torture, saying, “I don’t think we torture our men and women in uniform, because our men and women in uniform are water-boarded. To suggest the United States in deliberately tortures our people…well, I just don’t believe we would do that.” Michele Bachmann was also scheduled to take part but dropped out to focus on her debate prep.