23 Days Out: Good Morning Iowa

Good morning from Des Moines. We are 23 days out from the Iowa caucuses. We here at Good Morning Iowa are always open to news tips, suggestions, and praise…critiques too. Thanks to the other morning notes that this takes much of its inspiration from. We love all the suggestions and tips we have received over the past few days. Keep them coming.

Today and tomorrow are special additions of GMI, catch even more Good Morning Iowa in today's Note.

What a debate! Catch every important moment with the ABC News wrap here: http://abcn.ws/sJUnHp

Both Ricks have events here today: Perry and Santorum. Rick Perry has a retail event in Ames while Rick Santorum has three stops in Coralville, Amana, and Robins.

Weather: I know no one wants to hear this when everyone is trying to get home, but there may be snow showers this morning. The rest of the day will be sunny and relatively warm with a high of…39 degrees! Get out the shorts.

This is the front page Des Moines residents are wake up to today: http://bit.ly/c1CZ8U

What's In The Register?

The tireless Jennifer Jacobs has another front page story today. It's a must read for every important and crucial debate moment plus analysis: It was a Saturday night brawl in Des Moines, with Republican rivals clubbing each other and front-runner Newt Gingrich, who batted back at criticisms that he once supported mandating purchase of health insurance and that he makes inflammatory remarks. But despite withering criticism of Gingrich and to a lesser extent fellow national front-runner Mitt Romney, if anyone won the debate, it was Gingrich, said Iowa Republican strategist Richard Schwarm. "He entered the debate with momentum and did not lose any momentum," Schwarm said. "Despite being the main target, he was not damaged." http://dmreg.co/rA7gGb

Timmy Talks: Albrecht's debate insight.

This was Rick Perry's strongest performance, laying the perfect welcome mat for his bus tour next week. He turned some heads last night, making it more likely for him to sign up those in-person contacts he makes over the next few weeks. If he turns in another strong performance in Sioux City on Thursday, it's game on for Rick Perry.

What Else Is In The Register?

Kathie Obradovich's analysis is also crucial reading today. She thinks Romney's $10,000 bet was "one of the worst moments he's had in a debate so far" and it was to Perry's benefit:

The time Rick Perry has spent campaigning in Iowa finally began to pay off in tonight's Republican presidential debate.  He slathered on the Iowa mentions and shoutouts to prominent state Republicans. Giving Gov. Terry Branstad the chance to plug his initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation was a shrewd move on Perry's part.  The Iowa governor hasn't endorsed anyone yet, and he loves the spotlight. Rick Santorum also made the most of the time he's spent in the state, referring to stops he's made at Iowa businesses and delivering the first Branstad mention of the night. But Perry really made his mark when he successfully goaded Mitt Romney into one of the worst moments he's had in a debate so far.  Perry challenged Romney on a passage in his first book, claiming an early edition said the Massachusetts health-care program should be a model for the national plan. Romney disputed the claim and when Perry persisted, he jokingly offered a $10,000 bet.  Perry didn't take the bet, but he won the point.   Romney was casually offering the equivalent of about one-fifth of the average median income for an Iowa family. http://dmreg.co/trSkfx

Jason Noble went to Michele Bachmann's HQ post debate where she declared victory: Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann burst into her campaign headquarters here this evening to a cascade of applause. "ABC News said I won the debate!" Bachmann shouted above the din to a crowd of perhaps 50, who had been watching the ABC News/Des Moines Register debate on a projection screen. "Let's call it even and say I won Iowa!" Bachmann indeed delivered a strong performance in the debate, coining the phrase "Newt Romney" in an extended riff that forcefully tied GOP frontrunners Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney to incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama. http://dmreg.co/sdGDnm

William Petroski has Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn's take: "It was a good night for us. It was a great night for Iowans. When you look back a few months ago, national pundits were asking whether Iowa would still be relevant. Now the eyes of the nation will be on us for the next three weeks," Strawn said. There is no question about it; this was an important debate, Strawn said. The fact that the field has been narrowed to six candidates in Iowa helped to provide clarity for people who were watching it, he added. Strawn said he felt all six candidates had good debate performances. "I thought it was very respectful, but aggressive," he said. http://dmreg.co/vU0pJc

Despite all the wooing, even last night on stage, it looks like Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad won't endorse: Gov. Terry Branstad said after Saturday night's debate he is unlikely to endorse a candidate before the Jan. 3 Iowa Caucuses.  However, he said he thinks former Massachusetts Gov.  Romney is making some progress by spending more time in Iowa. Overall, Branstad said he felt all the candidates did well Saturday night. "I thought it was a healthy discussion. I thought the real loser was Barack Obama." http://dmreg.co/vRmfoA

Steve King, either: U.S. Rep. Steve King, one of Iowa's most prominent conservative politicians, said tonight he had expected to endorse a Republican presidential candidate in September or October, but he's still not ready to make a commitment. "I still haven't come to a conviction. Unless and until I do that, I can't make a decision," said King, a Kiron Republican, shortly after arriving at Drake University for the ABC News/Des Moines Register GOP presidential debate. He added, "'At this point. I am not satisfied that the solutions for America's troubles have been offered in a way that will solve them." He didn't specifically criticize any Republican candidate, and he said he is frustrated that Congress does not seem to have the political will to solve America's debt problem, which he described as rising to $28 trillion in debt in 10 years. http://dmreg.co/uCovi3

Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson has her take on the debate and also compares it to an Iowa debate at Drake University four years ago…at that one Romney dominated. Must read: http://bit.ly/mQtH1G

Read Kevin Hall's take over at The Iowa Republican:

He scores all the candidates, but here's the bottom line:

Overall Winner: Once again, it was Newt Gingrich. He swatted away numerous attacks and solidified his frontrunner status.

Overall Loser: Mitt Romney. The $10,000 bet comment will backfire and he failed to slow Gingrich's momentum. The GOP nomination is starting to slip away from Romney's grasp. http://bit.ly/tBHlq9

This is the front page Cedar Rapids residents are wake up to today: http://bit.ly/bxTudH

What's In The Gazette?

The battle moves to the trenches: "My guess would be that from now on it's trench warfare," said Drake University political science professor Dennis Goldford. The candidates have a face-to-face debate in Sioux City this week and are spending more time criss-crossing the state in the campaign's closing weeks. "It's make or break time," said Chuck Laudner, a former Iowa GOP leader who is backing Santorum. "If you don't have any traction by next Thursday, you're not going to get it, and if you have traction by next Thursday, there's no stopping you. "I really believe that in the next six or seven days the race will take the shape of the results that we'll see on Jan. 3," Laudner added. "By the time you get to Friday, Dec. 23, it's probably in the bank." Matt Strawn, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, said the sprint to the finish line began Sunday and he believes "they are not going to be bashful about aggressively prosecuting their arguments." http://bit.ly/vKeOjv

Obama supporters gather for a pre-caucus party in Cedar Rapids to try and beef up volunteer support for the general election: http://bit.ly/ucjbrO

Just How Bad Was That $10,000 Bet of Romney's?

The Des Moines Register Josh Hafner's take: That's the language of Wall Street and not the language of Main Street, Iowa," Haus said. "I just think it went right past people." A Romney supporter, however, said the bet from someone who's perceived as a straight-laced candidate was a way to illustrate Romney's frustration with Perry's repeated claims about Romney's health reform history. "I think he was kind of sick and tired of Rick Perry continually bringing up this mistruth about his book, which has been fact-checked and fact-checked again and again and proven to be wrong," said Austin Barbour, a national finance chairman for Romney's campaign http://dmreg.co/s9Mzw2

ABC's Michael Falcone was watching the instant reaction:  It wasn't quite an "oops" moment, and the Romney campaign is insisting it wasn't a gaffe, but Mitt Romney's attempt to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry has already taken on a life of its own. If the buzz in the press filing center, on the Internet and on Twitter and other social media platforms is any indication, Romney's going to be hearing the replay of that quip over and over again. As ABC's Matt Negrin points out : "An analysis from our partners at Bluefin Labs shows that just under 40 minutes into the ABC News debate in Iowa, 3,400 messages on Twitter were prompted by Mitt Romney's offer to bet with Rick Perry." The hashtag #what10Kbuys, suggested by the Democratic National Committee, is now trending on Twitter around the world. In the post-debate spin room, Romney aides are standing by the comment: "Romney made that bet because he knew Rick Perry wouldn't take it," strategist Eric Fehrnstrom said. And another top adviser, Stuart Stevens, called the line "a very human thing to do to get someone to shut up when they're not telling the truth" But in the social media world, Romney's line has been the subject of criticism from pundits on the right..and the left…and in between. http://abcn.ws/vO3E4s

ABC's Arlette Saenz has Perry's reaction on Fox News Sunday this morning: Rick Perry may have turned down the $10,000 bet laid out by Mitt Romney Saturday night, but the Texas governor did not miss an opportunity to criticize him for it, characterizing the Massachusetts governor's challenge as "out of touch" with the American people during a morning show interview today. "I was taken a little aback.  Driving out to the station this morning, I'm pretty sure I didn't drive by a house that anyone in Iowa would even think about that a $10,000 bet was even possible, so a little out of touch with the normal Iowa citizen," Perry said during an interview on Fox News Sunday.

More from the ABC Team in the Spin Room:  Romney's GOP rivals were quick to characterize the comments as proof that Romney, a millionaire, is out of touch with middle class America. "For someone to go and throw around a $10,000 bet, just goes to show even more that he's not the same level as the people of Iowa or the country," said Michele Bachmann's spokeswoman Alice Stewart. But Fehrnstrom said the dollar amount was high because Romney's conviction was strong. "I've had arguments with family members, with friends of mine and I've made million dollar bets," Fehrnstrom said. "The sum of the bet goes up depending how strongly I feel about the rightness of my position. The reason Mitt Romney offered that bet is because he knew Rick Perry wouldn't take it and by backing down, Rick Perry looked weak." Ron Paul's campaign spokesman Jesse Benton agreed, saying the bet was an "interesting moment" and that he "thought Romney made Perry look quite weak." Benton said the debate was "very fair" and that Paul "got all of his points across." http://abcn.ws/vMIqlH

Oh No They Didn't: Just interested in the slams ? Check out ABC's Matt Negrin's story. http://abcn.ws/rElS6I

Fact Check: Here's an ABC must read of the fact, the fiction, and everything in between. http://abcn.ws/uZTYTf

Gingrich: ABC's Elicia Dover went to Gingrich's HQ opening yesterday and he threw down the gauntlet on negative campaining: http://abcn.ws/t14mzB

For the first time, we get to link to GMI friend, the fantastic Alex Marquardt, who has a report on how Palestinians are reacting to Gingrich's comment that they are an "invented" people: These are extremely trivial, demeaning and ridiculous remarks," Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said, according to the Ma'an News Agency . "Even the most extremist settlers of Israel wouldn't talk in such a ridiculous way." "Ignorant" and "despicable" were also used by top Palestinian officials to describe Gingrich's comments. "This is the lowest point of thinking anyone can reach," said lead negotiator Saeb Erekat. The comments only "increase the cycle of violence." http://abcn.ws/vtkVYd

Poll-Tastic: ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield has a look at the polling going into last night. http://abcn.ws/uZm1KJ

What did the candidates do to prep? ABC's Amy Bingham has what the candidates did before taking the stage: http://abcn.ws/ss0xzE And ABC's Jon Karl has more on Gingrich's debate rituals: http://abcn.ws/sIkBIm

Paul: Read ABC's Jason Volack on Paul's huge crowds: http://abcn.ws/s9gpSs

Iowa Fact Of The Day: The Iowa State Fair, held in Des Moines, attracts more than 1 million visitors each summer and was featured in the New York Times best-selling travel book, "1000 Places to See Before You Die."  It inspired a book, three movies and a Broadway musical.

Who's Tweeting About Iowa?

RT @ jeffzeleny Miss the Iowa debate? Here's our take in Sunday's NYT: Gingrich unscathed, - for now. Next debate Thursday. http://nyti.ms/vGP0eQ # iacaucus
RT @mattklewis On Fox News, Perry says Romney's $10K bet was: "A little out of touch with the normal Iowa citizen."
RT @ dmrcaucus Shake off your GOP debate hangover. Catch up with all the Iowa highlights here: http://dmreg.co/twwu6a # IAcaucus # Iowadebate

The Schedule:


12:30pm CT - Ames, IA: Meet and greet at the Café Diem Coffee House (229 Main Street, Ames, IA)


11:00am CT - Coralville, IA: Will visit the Tabernacle Baptist Church (2050 12th Avenue, Coralville, IA)

1:00pm CT - Amana, IA: Will visit the Amana Woolen Mill (800 48th Avenue, Amana, IA)

6:30pm CT - Robins, IA: Will attend house Party hosted by the Mitchell Family (570 Evergreen Lane, Robins, IA)

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