Newt Gingrich's full blame-the-media strategy on the "open marriage" question seemed to work. His opponents were subdued. The audience was enthusiastic. But Rick Santorum's implication that he was a delusional egomaniac might have gotten more traction. If Gingrich is surging in South Carolina, he might still be.
Santorum seemed to adopt a Southern accent at times. He seemed calm, less unctuous than in past debates and he managed to prick Mitt Romney and Gingrich without seeming to be mean. He seemed the most connected to working families and the harshest on illegal immigrants.
Ron Paul was Ron Paul, focused and single-minded and probably more likable than the other three. Despite South Carolina's dependence on the military, he didn't take that much grief for his come-home-America message.
Romney seemed strangely unprepared for the tax question, nervously laughing and obfuscating. Otherwise he seemed fine, ready and robotic -- which is what got him to where he is now.
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