Who won the debate?
Hugh Hewitt says it was a victory for Perry. Ed Morrissey saw it as a victory for Perry too, for managing to get under Romney's skin. But he did so by continuing to talk without letting Romney answer his charges. If you look at these debates as boxing matches, Perry did better than his first four outings, but I don't think he scored enough points to win. There were moments when he looked like he was having trouble keeping up with the arguments. I suppose if you're rooting for him, as Ed obviously is, things are looking up. Seth Leibson names Romney, Santorum and Gingrich the winners. In general Romney has won all of the debates so far, but there seems to be a glass ceiling for him in the primary polls. The fact that it took Perry 5 debates to get on track is not promising. Romney has been consistently presidential throughout, although he became frustrated and annoyed by the refusal of those attacking him to allow him to answer, which I found perfectly understandable. CNN deliberately put Romney and Perry next to each other, obviously hoping the sparks would fly and they did, largely because Perry couldn't shut up when his time was up. When he returned to the charge about Mitt hiring illegals later he got roundly booed. I don't think he won by any means. He's keeps shrinking throughout the debate. He has two main points: 1. don't look at my record on immigration, and 2. drill, baby, drill. I watching it again this morning. Looking for why Santorum and Newt gets so much approval. They're both very good at making his points in terms we can understand, but I still can't see either as President. He may be the next in line to claim the Not-Romney voters, though. Perry seems to think that increasing energy production from domestic sources is his ideas, but Romney's been saying that for a long time. One of the centerpieces of his plan is to make the U.S. energy independent. Santorum makes the point for conservatives that they just refuse to believe Romney's pledge to repeal Obamacare because he crafted the MA health care program. He's been unfairly saddled with the reputation of being the father of Obamacare. Newt acknowledged that, continues to attack Massachusetts, as if the state is a proxy for Romney years after he left office. The flat out hatred of Romney is still a strong current among conservatives, but it may doom the best shot the GOP has for removing Obama. Herman Cain had a pretty good idea on health care, referring to H.R. 3400, proposing an Empowering Patients First Act, a House bill submitted in July, 2009 in answer to the Obamacare bill. It think there's a good deal of support for many of its ideas, and I would expect it to end up in any replacement for Obamacare when it gets repealed. It was impressive when the question was asked about the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, Ron Paul's answer invoking state's rights and Romney and Perry both concurred.