The clear winner — despite his heavy baggage — was Newt. He was the only one who seized his opportunities and really dominated the debate. He scored points, too, by going after Fox's Chris Wallace, not popular on the Right since attacking Michele Bachmann.
Fox, by the way, made a huge error by asking questions about jobs one hour and 25 minutes into the debate! The biggest issue in the nation — and it was asked last out of nine topics.
Romney, a weak front-runner, has survived.
Pawlenty simply needed to do better. Bachmann hurt herself by looking petty in attacking an already-finished Pawlenty. Santorum was unfairly ignored for most of the evening. And why is Huntsman even running as a Republican?
The big picture is that the nation is in despair — worried to death over our future and disgusted over the political class — and the eight GOP candidates quarreled like school kids in Ames. Only Newt — as flawed as he is as a candidate — rose above the petty stuff to act presidential. The rest were unable to do it.
This does not augur well for the Republican Party’s ability to defeat President Obama.
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