TAPPER: Coming up, onward from Ames. Our special Iowa roundtable tackles Rick Perry's rise, Tim Pawlenty's fall, and President Obama's no good, very bad week. Stay with us.
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PAWLENTY: So I want you to do everything you can here in the closing hours of the Ames straw poll to get support to my campaign. I want to look you in the eye, each of you in this arena, and tell you: I know what this country needs.
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TAPPER: Tim Pawlenty in happier days. Joining us to discuss Mr. Pawlenty and all of the Republican politics on our table-less roundtable, as always, George Will, Fox News contributor and author of the New York Times best-selling "Of Thee I Zing," Laura Ingraham, Kay Henderson, news director of Radio Iowa, and ABC news analyst Matthew Dowd. Thanks so much for joining us. Sorry about the table. And, George, I'll start with you. The results. This event, the straw poll, has been called an inherently meaningless event that can have huge impact. And it did.
WILL: It did. It's not predictive very reliably of the winner of the caucuses. Neither are the caucus predictive of the winner of the nomination. But the winnowing process is up and going fast. The two winners are not apt to be nominated, because Ron Paul's constituency's intensity is about inversely proportional to its size, and he has a very low ceiling.
TAPPER: So you don't think the Republican Party is now in favor of an Iran with a nuclear weapon?
WILL: I do not. And Michele Bachmann may be this year's Huckabee. That is, Huckabee was made for the Iowa caucuses because of the evangelical Christian component of the participants, but he found also that when he left Iowa and went elsewhere, he, too, had a low ceiling in less congenial states.
TAPPER: Laura, do you agree with that? Did Iowa just put forward two people who have no chance of getting the nomination?
INGRAHAM: Well, I think there's only probably one room ultimately for a real social conservative to go up against probably Romney. And right now, it looks like it's a Perry-Bachmann race for the social conservative vote.
And I think that's going to be the interesting dynamic. I don't think Perry is going to be focusing on Romney right now. I think Perry's going to be focusing on Bachmann. Bachmann could maybe take a lot of these Western states, Midwestern states, and Rick Perry is suited to take Southern states and take them fast.
Conservatives are going to have to make a tough decision soon. Is it going to be a Perry social conservative? Or is it going to be a Bachmann social conservative?
DOWD: Jake, what I think is really interesting is, first, Ames has never had a history of picking winners, but they've definitely had a history of picking losers. And this process quickly winnowed this race from 10 or 11 candidates to basically three, maybe three-and-a-half candidates. But I think two things for me came out of what happened in Ames yesterday, is, first, this is a Republican electorate that's very hot, and they do not want cool candidates. They -- this is an electorate that really wants passion. And yesterday, first, passion trumps organization. Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann has the passion. The other candidates had organization. They didn't win.