Elbow Room: If you're a Republican presidential candidate thinking of getting some attention by throwing some elbows tonight, be careful. Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn says too many verbal elbow jabs tonight may cause more pain for the giver than the receiver. Strawn told me before the debate, "If you spend all your time criticizing opponents and not talking about what you would do, I think there's great electoral peril for the candidates that decide to do that as their sole strategy."
Strawn added, "If you're negative, what you do is create an opportunity for another candidate and to potentially rise above the fray. So it is a delicate balance for the candidate who decides to be on the attack the entire time." "There's a huge risk-reward factor of how aggressive you want to prosecute another candidate's record. Because when I talk to a lot of regulars, they want somebody who's aspirational. They want someone who is sticking up for conservative beliefs. And they want somebody who will aggressively take the Republican case against Barack Obama in the general election."
Strawn is staying neutral in the race. Last cycle, he worked for John McCain's Iowa campaign.