At times on Saturday night, Gingrich seemed like a man among boys when discussing the serious issues facing America. He not only had full command of the room, but also of the issues that he was addressing. While he shined when talking about fiscal issues and energy policy, he also artfully talked about key pro-family issues.Robinson reviews all the candidates performances -- he ranks Rick Perry as the winner, with Newt second -- but I will just quote his review of Herman Cain's night (in its' entirety):
The reaction to Gingrich’s speech was unanimous. He more than impressed everybody that TheIowaRepublican.com talked to at the end of the event. One has to wonder where Gingrich would be today had he not stumbled out of the gate last spring. He is beginning to build an actual campaign team in Iowa. Sources tell TheIowaRepublican.com that he was interviewing potential Iowa staff while in Des Moines this weekend. Time will tell if he can take his good debate performances and at events like the one on Saturday night and become a real contender in Iowa.
Herman Cain’s campaign has turned into a comedy of errors. Cain arrived at the event site early, which would have allowed him ample opportunity to work the room of over 1000 caucus goers. Instead, Cain chose to stay in his tour bus parked near the event facility for close to an hour. When he did come in, it was only to speak and talk to the media for a bit. After that, he was on his way.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Cain’s campaign literature table sat empty while the majority of people entered the hall. By the time it was set up and staffed, it was too late to engage with attendees of the event. Not only did the Cain campaign miss out on people arriving, they also packed up and went home early. At 7:54 p.m., an hour and half before the event was over, the Cain campaign had cleared out. They did leave a few supporter cards, but most of those were still there as the final people left for the night.
It’s apparent that the Cain campaign simply doesn’t know what they should be doing. Having a veteran like Steve Grubbs on board should help. Grubbs is a veteran of numerous caucus campaigns. Yet Grubbs was nowhere to be found unless you were checking Facebook. While Cain’s campaign struggled with basic campaign fundamentals, Grubbs was living it up at a James Bond themed party in California with his wife. From the photos that were posted, it looked more fun than a candidate cattle call in Iowa.
As always, Cain’s speech was well delivered, but he did little to make up for his confusing statements on abortion that dominated the headlines last week. He devoted most of his speech to the topic of segregation. There is no problem with that if he had he tied it in with an issue like abortion. Had he done that, it would have been a powerful moment. Instead, he made a bus analogy, saying that he remembers signs on that instructed African Americans to sit in the back of the bus, and now he owns a bus with his face plastered on it.
It’s almost as if Cain didn’t realize that the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition forum was an opportunity to get past his recent abortion comments. Instead, he acted like being there was some sort of unpleasant chore that he was forced to do. Cain did nothing to help his campaign in Iowa. In fact, by basically ignoring the issue and the concerns of the people in the room, he may have inflicted more damage on his campaign than if he had not decided to show up.