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It was a weekend of big plays, at the podium as well as on the field. Saturday's GOP debate left Newt Gingrich as the supposed front-runner once again. College debate coach Todd Graham said Romney was "debating not to lose" while Gingrich was playing to win, and while commenters agreed, they focused primarily on the now-infamous $10,000 bet the candidate tried to make with Rick Perry onstage.
luebla: "That $10,000 bet from Romney was too much and extreme, considering people are having hard economic times and do not wish to hear someone talking about a bet that could pay all their bills and some more. It was like Romney was throwing his wealth in people's faces."
Commenters went to work explaining Gingrich's rise.
"Gingrich won the debate hands down," said Stoly. "Romney has $10,000 to toss about like feathers when people are standing blocks and blocks to sign up for a job? What was he thinking? So he has money to burn, didn't know what it feels like to 'want' something because he grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth. I will take Gingrich, who grew up poor, lived over a smelly gas station and scratched and crawled his way to get a great education and serve his country."
Indeed, many lamented the candidate selection and said the presidential race would be easy for President Obama to win.
"Obama will be re-elected, not because America loves him or approves what he is doing, but because there is no credible person in the GOP," wrote AmericaTheBe.
One commenter had an interesting theory about the candidate pool.
Wr1ght: "The GOP heavyweights didn't run because the economy sucks and will take over whatever platform you have as it has done to Obama. Huntsman is running for name recognition for 2016. Only the second team scrubs are actually in the GOP race."
Some commenters preferred Romney over Gingrich.
ebED: "Romney is light years better then Newt. Newt has a history of suspect behavior and loose lips. Romney's great sin is that he is a Mormon. I honestly believe that their are enough Republicans holding his religion against him that he could never win the nomination. That's sad, because as a Democrat, Romney is one of the few Republicans I could vote for."
Still, many commenters didn't think Romney had a shot of winning the GOP over.
Dasboot1943: "I don't blame the GOP base for not trusting Romney. He's taken both sides on every issue, and looks like a phoney. In a general election Gingrich is unelectable. He's arrogant, angry, and his policies are idiotic (repeal child labor laws?). The extreme right ensured the Dems held the Senate in '08, and they're going to deliver President Obama his second term on a silver platter."
That's not to say that Gingrich didn't have critics. He had many among our commenters.
dgates275: "The problem with Gingrich is not that he had an affair, or can't debate, but that he is an arrogant person who thinks he's smarter than everyone else. In the end he will end up explaining that everyone should realize his ways are better than yours and you should accept it. People like him should not become president."
jaumais: "I agree with your second point, but I disagree that the problem isn't that he had an affair (actually, he had several). He made his name in congress as a Family Values Christian, and he lead the impeachment effort against Clinton, for the very same crime Newt himself was committing concurrently. Yes, Clinton-haters will claim the impeachment was about purgery, but who's kidding who? It was about the adultery. Newt is a liar, an adulterer, a flip-flopper. This doesn't even begin to consider his questionable ethics."
Some said Romney was not aggressive enough in defending himself.
DollyD: "Romney missed a perfect opportunity to nail Gingrich when Gingrich attacked him for loosing his senate race against Ted Kennedy. He should have replied and that Newt had his political career cut short by being run out of Washington by his fellow Republican congressmen on ethics charges and had to pay a $300K fine as he was leaving town. Then since then he has been peddling his so called insider info and contacts through his historical consultancy and is now trying to run as an outsider just because he got kicked out both his leadership and congress. I am still amazed/angry that he missed a perfect opportunity to remind people of that very inconvenient fact from Gingrich's past."
Some had suggestions for improving debate formats.
BandonWind: "It is unfortunate that one's style of debating is more important than the issues being debated. I am tired of presidential debates. I would like to see them end, and to have a one-on-one with each candidate answering questions from a panel. Maybe then we can know what the candidate really thinks and not a bunch of back-and-forth wisecracks and criticisms spoken in one-minute sound bites."
What did you think about the debate? Share your insights on CNN iReport and in the comments area below.
The other big issue cropping up from this weekend was yet another magical performance from the Denver Broncos' Tim Tebow. We always have thought-provoking discussions on the Belief blog, and when you add sports into the mix, people really start to talk.
After the Broncos got off to a dismal start, Tebow propelled the team toward several big victories. His faith has generated a lot of discussion in our community, and things got pretty philosophical:
Wendy: "Tebow isn't putting on a display for your foolishness, he's sincere and because of his sincerity, God DOES bless him. God wants us to be people who believe in him and follow after him, and that is what Tim Tebow is doing. Shame on us for not doing at least as much!"
Not All Docs Play Golf: "Invoking God in football is akin to invoking God in WAR. We suppose God gets to choose which children die in the bombings, and people pray to God that it's the other side's children."
Many of our commenters thought Tebow was getting too much love.
clintbowyer: "Not to take anything away from Tebow, but lets give the rest of the team some credit too. That defense keeps them in games and puts them in position to have "tebow time" in the first place."
One Packers fan wasn't buying the whole religion thing, since his team is currently undefeated. He wondered why no one was talking about Aaron Rodgers:
DrewL: "I'm a Tebow fan, but the religion angle is preposterous. God would seem to be on Aaron Rodgers' side even more so, no? The Packers are 13-0. And God didn't seem to have a problem with alcohol-swilling good old boys like Kenny Stabler and Brett Favre when they were winning lots of games. Tebow is a leader who plays hard and finds a way to win. One doesn't have to believe in God for that to happen. If he wants to believe that, then fine. I just enjoy watching him play football."
But does God even have time to watch football?
Rich: "I think that, if there is a god, his biggest priority is not who wins a football game. With so much suffering in the world, do you really think that the almighty is watching football? It is the height of arrogance on Tebow's part to imply that god is helping him at football."
In fact, many scoffed at the idea that religion helps sports, but rather placed importance on leadership:
anon12: "Tebow has a strong belief in something, and that's what's important. He is successful, and most successful people (at least that I have met) have a strong belief in something. It's not necessarily God or some divine power, it can be just as simple as believing you're going to be the best person at your job. People should see Tebow's story as inspiration, not as divine intervention. He's a leader, and it's hard to beat him because he plays as hard as he can on every down. And if he feels the need to thank God afterwards, then so be it. He's grateful for what's been given to him, which is an opportunity a lot of people don't get in life. If some people want to ridicule him for always praying/preaching, fine, but look at this team! They're 7-1 with him on the field and they might make the playoffs after starting off terribly. He is finding ways to win, and something is helping this team win, and it largely has to do with his leadership and his constant fight to win. But again, point is that people should be inspired by his leadership and his actions, not asking whether or not there is truly divine intervention. This will be fun to continue to watch!"
Point is, the "dude can play some ball."
Cooliosis Unrooliosis: "Tebow has deep faith in God. That's his choice and his life. I can't say I relate, but I do respect his right to be who he is. His deep faith gives him a far different perspective than most people on the meaning of "conviction." Whether God is on Tebow's side or not is a crazy question to ask: there's no answer and there's no proof there's even a God (or two, or three). But I tell you what, the dude plays smashmouth 1940s style football and goes ballistic in the 4th quarter and Overtime. If you don't like that, you don't like football. If you ever played the sport, even on a grass lot as a kid, then you can respect the power that Tebow brings to the game as a dual-threat QB. He won two National Championship trophies for Florida and a Heisman and that didn't happen by mistake. Now if you want to give God credit for that too, well that's a whole other argument to start. The dude can play some ball and anyone who doesn't think so should stick to more esoteric subjects of debate."
Finally, it's worth taking a quick look at Sunday's CNN Heroes presentation.
The 2011 winner was Robin Lim, an American woman who has helped thousands of poor Indonesian women have a healthy pregnancy and birth. We received many comments and tributes from readers.
Joe Yaggi: "It was fantastic to see Robin win the CNN Heroes award. I've watched her work saving lives here in Indonesia since 1993 when we first met. Her complete devotion and selflessness is unique and has served as an inspiration for so many here onBali, across Indonesia, in Haiti, the Philippines and the US. Those these other areas weren't touched on, nor was her international work and the wide embrace of her writing, Robin Lm truly is a global hero who saves lives and makes the world a better place every single day. And the funds that she'll receive from this and hopefully the worldwide exposure as well will save even more lives. It's a great thing. Well done."
Rosalie Langley: "I have been very fortunate to meet Ibu Robin Lim in Nyuh Kuning Village, Bali in October 2011. She is just an amazing and inspirational woman ! Also i must make a special mention to Liz and Eka and all the staff and dedicated volunteers who have spent time working and helping others with respect , love and compassion in Yayasan Bumi Sehat Clinic. I am so proud of Ibu Robin, she deserves to win !"
D: "Congratulations to all the winners! Thank you to everyone nominated and involved in shifting focus and awareness to where it's needed."
We also received suggestions for other possible winners:
HalF: "They are all heroes for their selfless sacrifice to the betterment of humanity. My choice however was Bruno Serato. You don't have to look towards some perceived 'third world' country to find people in dire need; you only have to look as far as your own backyard."
Binky42: "Agreed. I was hoping for one of the local guys to win as well."
Others suggested folks they know.
Kate: "I want to vote for CNN hero of the year for the Chicago woman Diane Latiker helps gang kids in her kids. This is the kind of people we need in our country. She is loving, kind, brave, just a great human being."
Shahzeela Shaikh: "I agree that these heroes are well deserving, but I do feel that Ârs. Bilqis Edhi should also be recognized for great work. She is a mother to many many orphans in Pakistan, and with her help I also got two beautiful kids who have given me the love that I always was longing for. Thanks Mrs. Edhi."
Who's your hero? What do you think is driving Tebow's success? Who made the biggest political plays this weekend? Share your thoughts below or explain yourself on video via CNN iReport.
Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.