Ron Paul gets all the best lines. He's still not a serious candidate, but man it's fun to listen to him talk.
Rick Santorum is playing it straight, but there's nothing flashy about his answers. They're honest, though. He's probably not helping himself by hammering all the things he's not going to do for people. There are some applause lines associated with these things, but... well, I hope it works. His answer about his wife was fantastic.
Newt Gingrich gives the best answers across the board. Whatever else there is to be said about him, the guy knows his stuff. Whenever they come after him, he knows just how to turn it around. When Romney came after him for promising stuff state-by-state, he gave a great answer. He also took a couple of moments to give kind words to Dr. Paul over his age and health, which was courteous.
Romney just said he'd like to fire someone again, but the audience didn't seem to mind. His answer on health reform was pretty good. "Groundhog Day" was a good line; interesting that he followed it up by saying that "we know what it takes to get you back to work." We? Good for you, governor.
UPDATE: Santorum's answer about faith was very good. 'The Constitution is the how of America. It is the operator's manual. The why of America is the Declaration of Independence. We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.' His was the most unapologetic endorsement of faith in public life.
UPDATE: Hot Air disagrees that Gingrich was strong; I thought he turned the knives very well, but it's true that Santorum went after Romney more. But see for yourself:
Romney neutralized him on the big immigration exchange at the beginning, and then it fell to Santorum — for the second debate in a row — to pick Romney apart on his core policy vulnerability. (He did a darned fine job of it too.) If you’re operating under the illusion that the election will turn on the presidential debates in October, kindly explain why Gingrich is somehow superior to Santorum. He wouldn’t even accept Blitzer’s invite to hit Romney on his Swiss bank account even though he’s been criticizing him on the trail for it for days. The hapless moderator/punching bag had to practically badger him into answering. I don’t get it. Didn’t he realize that the primary was on the line tonight?
You’ll be pleased to know that Romney is now a 91 percent favorite to win on InTrade as I write this, up from 74 percent earlier today. Stats guru Nate Silver thinks it’s possible that Romney wins by double digits, perhaps as much as 20 points. And why not? After Santorum’s strong performance tonight, there are bound to be tepid Newt fans and true undecideds who prefer him as the anointed Not Romney to Gingrich. Who could blame them?Be nice to see the boy do well.