Gingrich Shaken, Not Stirred, by Debate Attacks

Friday, 16 Dec 2011 03:11 PM

By Andrea Tantaros

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Last night’s Fox News Republican presidential debate was the last time the candidates will face off before the all important Jan. 3rd Iowa caucus, and the GOP hopefuls certainly acted like it.

The seven men and women who graced the stage in Sioux City last night brought their best game faces and many who can’t brag about frontrunner status had their best performances yet. For surging Newt Gingrich, the evening was a mixed bag — strong at some points but shaken when it came to answering questions about his ties to Freddie Mac and the troubled housing market.

Still showcasing that he’s the smartest man on the stage, Gingrich opened strong, and appeared strongest when he was attacking President Obama and his policies. It’s this toughness and take-no-prisoners attitude with an unpopular president that prompted his surge. But when it got personal, like fielding questioning about accepting $1.6 million from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, Gingrich seemed off his game. He should get credit for his courage about taking on an increasingly controversial judicial branch, and style points for remaining sunny, but the real question is: Can his shrewd style sustain him against the political equivalent of an establishment stoning?

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