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Gingrich Has Most Sand in FOX News' Iowa Debate Hourglass

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Former House Speaker receives more than one-fifth of the speaking time, edging Romney and Paul and doubling up on Perry

newtgingrich10.jpgUnlike the last Iowa Republican presidential debate from five days ago, Thursday's gathering of the GOP field gave all three Hawkeye State GOP frontrunners substantial time to communicate their message to Iowans and the nation.

Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul have all polled at or very near the top of an Iowa survey over the last week, and clocked in first, second, and third respectively for the most speaking time at the FOX News moderated event in Sioux City.

Gingrich, enduring a barrage of attacks from nearly all quarters, received slightly more than one-fifth of candidate face time at 14 minutes and 45 seconds (20.2 percent) followed by Mitt Romney at 13 minutes and 3 seconds (17.9 percent).

Congressman Paul, meanwhile, was able to increase his speaking time by over three and a half minutes from last weekend's debate in Des Moines (7:59), tallying a record best 11 minutes and 40 seconds for the Texan (16.0 percent), despite the field sharing the stage with an additional candidate in former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman.

Paul's rise in speaking time was due to both heightened moderator interest in the Texas U.S. Representative as well as required rebuttal time after being attacked, particularly by Michele Bachmann on Iran.

After Paul came Bachmann at 10 minutes at 26 seconds of speaking time followed by Rick Santorum (8:01), Huntsman (8:00), and Rick Perry (6:59).

Even though Perry notched less than half of the face time recorded by Gingrich, the Texas governor was able to make his mark on the debate in a more effective way than most "forgotten candidates" this campaign cycle, due in part to a string of self-deprecating comments and a timely, if somewhat forced, Tim Tebow reference (an overture to Christian fundamentalist viewers).

Candidate Speaking Time at FOX News Iowa GOP Presidential Debate

Candidate
Time
Percent
Newt Gingrich
14 min. 45 sec.
20.2
Mitt Romney
13 min. 3 sec.
17.9
Ron Paul
11 min. 40 sec.
16.0
Michele Bachmann
10 min. 26 sec.
14.3
Rick Santorum
8 min. 1 sec.
11.0
Jon Huntsman
8 min. 0 sec.
11.0
Rick Perry
6 min. 59 sec.
9.6
Data compiled by Smart Politics.

The Sioux City gathering was just the second time Gingrich has received the most speaking time at a debate thus far, with the other occasion being the Washington, D.C. debate last month.

Romney has recorded the most face time in six debates since September (Florida #2, New Hampshire #2, Nevada, Michigan, South Carolina #2, Iowa #2) and the second most in the remaining four (California, Florida #1, D.C., Iowa #3).

Rick Santorum is the only candidate to never have received higher than the fourth most speaking time at a debate.

Candidate Rank for Most Speaking Time in GOP Presidential Debates Since September

Rank
CA
FL 1
FL 2*
NH 2
NV
MI
SC 2
DC
IA 2
IA 3
Ave
Romney
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
2
1
2
1.4
Perry
1
1
2
2
2
5
2
3
4
7
2.9
Gingrich
6
5
7
5
7
2
3
1
2
1
3.9
Bachmann
4
3
6
4
3
7
6
5
3
4
4.5
Huntsman
5
4
3
7
DNP
4
7
7
DNP
6
5.4
Paul
3
6
8
6
4
6
8
4
6
3
5.4
Cain
8
8
5
3
5
3
5
8
DNP
DNP
5.6
Santorum
7
7
4
8
6
8
4
6
5
5
6.0
* The second Florida debate also included former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson who ranked ninth in speaking time. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Although he received less time than Gingrich on Thursday evening, Mitt Romney continues to enjoy a significant lead over the rest of the GOP field in speaking to the American public across the last 10 debates since Rick Perry joined the proceedings.

Romney has tallied 30 minutes more face time (2 hours, 16 minutes, 11 seconds) during these debates than his nearest rival for the camera, Rick Perry (1 hour, 45 minutes, 27 seconds).

Perry is followed by Gingrich (1 hour, 33 minutes, 12 seconds), Bachmann (1:28:07), Paul (1:18:59), and Santorum (1 hour, 13 minutes, 46 seconds).

Jon Huntsman has spoken for one hour during the eight debates in which he has participated since September.

Romney has averaged 13 minutes and 37 seconds of speaking time per debate, followed by Perry at 10:32, Gingrich at 9:19, Bachmann at 8:48, Paul at 7:53, Huntsman at 7:32, Santorum at 7:22, and 7:07 for former candidate Herman Cain.

Total and Average Speaking Time Per Debate by Candidate Since September

Candidate
Time
Debates
Per debate
Mitt Romney
2 hours, 16 min. 11 sec.
10
13 min. 37 sec.
Rick Perry
1 hour, 45 min., 27 sec.
10
10 min. 32 sec.
Newt Gingrich
1 hour, 33 min., 33 sec.
10
9 min. 19 sec.
Michele Bachmann
1 hour, 28 min., 7 sec.
10
8 min. 48 sec.
Ron Paul
1 hour, 18 min., 59 sec.
10
7 min. 53 sec.
Jon Huntsman
1 hour, 0 min., 19 sec.
8
7 min. 32 sec.
Rick Santorum
1 hour, 13 min., 46 sec.
10
7 min. 22 sec.
Herman Cain
0 hours, 57 min., 0 sec.
8
7 min. 7 sec.
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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