The Republican presidential debate Wedneday night was expected to be a rock-'em-sock-'em title fight, but it didn't live up to its billing. Oh, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum engaged in heated disputes, and Newt Gingrich returned to his role as happy warrior, but there were no knockout punches.
Here is Politico’s
list of six takeaways from the encounterin Mesa, Ariz.:
Rick Santorum didn’t get it done —
He had an opportunity to sustain his positive momentum of recent days. But he blew it, as Romney was able to put him on the defensive.
Mitt Romney won —
It was no blowout, as Romney didn’t match his peak performances. But he regained the initiative and seemed to channel strength from a supportive crowd.
Santorum and Romney really don’t like each other —
The two front-runners went at each other hard and with rancor. Their heated exchanges showed these two men simply don’t like each other.
Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul were basically nonfactors —
Santorum and Romney dominated the show, though Paul tag-teamed with Romney to slam Santorum. Gingrich went back to taking on the moderator.
Some issues will last long after the debate —
And those are social issues. Romney sought to establish his conservative bona fides in this area, which could help him in the primaries to come.
The likely season finale went out with a whimper, not a bang —
No defining moments came out of this debate like some of the others. It was a bit of a limp to the finish.
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