The Washington Post

What you need to know from Thursday’s Iowa Republican presidential debate

How-does-this-distinguish-him-from-literally-everyone-else-on-the-planet moment: Jon Huntsman insists he’s “pro-growth on economics.”

Oh-well-that-explains-everything moment: Huntsman also insists that, “If you want to know what to do, you have to do what we did in the state of Utah; it’s called leadership.”

He-can’t-really-think-that moment: Mitt Romney explains that America’s economy is “inches away” from no longer being free.

Was-she-sabotaged-or-is-this-just-more-bizarre-behavior moment: Following a commercial break, Michele Bachmann is absent from the stage, causing moderator Bret Baier to exclaim, “Are we actually missing a candidate?”

His-candidacy-suddenly-makes-so-much-more-sense moment: Herman Cain says that “America has got to learn how to take a joke.”

Brief-flash-of-sense moment: Romney insists that America’s immigration policy for highly educated non-Americans should be less restrictive.

Deer-in-the-headlights moment: Ron Paul awkwardly sputters and hesitates when asked how his preposterous hard-money policy could ever pass a divided Congress. His Paul-fanatic cheering section nevertheless hoots wildly.

Vastly-overemphasizing-how-important-she-is moment: Bachmann insists that she was among the most effective opponents of Obamacare, not a two-bit congresswoman whose most notable attribute is being willing to say wacky things on cable.

Wait-you’re-still-running moment: Rick Santorum raises his hand and exclaims, “There’s some people over here who haven’t gotten to say a lot.”

Mad Men moment: Explaining the traditional gender roles in her marriage, Bachmann says that, “What submission means for us is respect.”

Please-don’t-ask-them-about-evolution-next moment: All of the candidates raise their hands when asked if they would refuse a debt-cutting deal that contained $10 in spending cuts for every dollar in revenue increases, making them well right of a majority of registered Republicans and firm opponents of a compromise solution. I guess they have to say this, but, still, yikes.

More from PostOpinions:

Marcus: Gilligan’s GOP Island

Robinson: GOP Debate Land

Dionne: Perry, Huntsman, Romney win

Rubin: Romney, Bachmann win; Pawlenty fails

Petri: Pawlenty wins, Bachmann loses

Stephen Stromberg is a Post editorial writer. He specializes in domestic policy, including energy, the environment, legal affairs and public health.
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