Rich Galen

The thing about telling you that I watched the GOP debate that took place in Des Moines, Iowa Saturday night is I have to admit I had nothing else to do Saturday night.

-- Attend Joint Chiefs of Staff Christmas Party - Pentagon

-- Fly to New York to see "Spiderman" - Broadway

-- Weekend cruise to friend's private island - Caribbean

-- Feed the cat

-- Make a meat loaf

-- Watch GOP debate

Here's the shorthand version of what I think happened.

Newt Gingrich won. No surprise. Gingrich is leading the pack because there have been 217 debates and he's been great in all of them. Anyone who thought he was going to suddenly collapse under the weight of being the frontrunner simply doesn't understand the Tao of Newt.

The Twitter-verse exploded when Mitt Romney offered to bet Rick Perry $10,000 on who was right about what was in Romney's book regarding a national individual mandate for health care.

I haven't read Romney's book. Perry claims he has. The fact-checkers indicated Romney would have won the bet but it was the fact of the bet itself - not who was right or wrong - that captured everyone's attention.

Most people in Des Moines don't bet $10,000 unless it's the down payment on their house.

I suggested on Twitter that Romney make a $10K donation to an Iowa charity in Rick Perry's name. I haven't heard from Gov. Romney as to whether or not he thought that was as swell an idea as I did.

People in Iowa know Romney is extremely wealthy and, notwithstanding the puffery of the Professional Media Class pretending they had forgotten, it will not affect many actual caucus-goers. Romney did his usual professional, polished, Presidential job.

Speaking of Rick Perry, if he had done as well in the previous debates as he did in this one this might still be a two-person race, but the non-Romney person might well have been Perry.

But, he didn't and it's not.

But, Perry did very well, and may have reassured some of his earlier supporters that he does, indeed, deserve a second look.

Hold that thought.

Michelle Bachman had her second good debate in a row. Maybe its because she realizes she has nothing to lose, but she did very well, in spite of invoking the late, lamented Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan not once, but twice.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at