And the Winner Is ... Mitt Romney (Mostly)
His steady performance seems to make him the consensus pick over Perry
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 7, 2011 10:38 PM CDT
Updated Sep 8, 2011 7:56 AM CDT
Mitt Romney, left, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry shake hands at the finish of the debate.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

(Newser) – A consensus is taking shape from last night's GOP debate, and Mitt Romney should be pleased. He won or at least held his own in the eyes of most (but certainly not all). Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post pronounces him the winner for his "slow and steady" performance after a somewhat "shaky" start. Rick Perry came out aggressive but "seemed to lose focus" in the second half, while "Romney showed his experience and steadied himself as the proceedings wore on—repeatedly giving answers that sounded reasonable and, dare we say it, presidential." As for Michele Bachmann, she was a "non-entity," which puts her into the "loser" camp," writes Cillizza.

It's similar to Andrew Sullivan's assessment at his Daily Beast blog, in which he says Romney "kicked ass," while Perry "proved himself an extreme, inarticulate, incurious W clone" whose "rhetoric was off-key," especially on Social Security. Both Sullivan and Cillizza praise Jon Huntsman's performance: He finally looked like he belonged out there. At the National Journal, Ron Fournier names Romney and Perry as the winners, but wonders about the price. "The testy exchanges allowed Perry to cast himself as a conservative truth-teller and Romney to bill himself as the most electable GOP candidate," he writes. "In doing so, both men exposed each others’ political vulnerabilities and risked alienating independent voters who are looking for more civility in politics." Jonathan Chait at the New Republic is in the minority camp, naming Perry as the sole winner. He "established his alpha male style, and that impression will matter more than any position or statement he’s made."

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Showing 3 of 118 comments
Sep 8, 2011 5:54 PM CDT
featherweight champion
Sep 8, 2011 1:03 PM CDT
The results of the debate have largely been pre-determined by the media. We have both Perry and Romney declared winners and yet both of them made highly erroneous statements. They are not the man we want as president. Ron Paul may have controversial views, but it is the man with controversial views that can save this nation and he definately won the debate. We are tremendously in debt and must reduce our expenditures. The next president will have to make some very hard and unpopular decisions in this reduction. Can you honestly see Perry or Romney making unpopular decisions? And why doesn't Dr. Paul recieve any mention from the media. Is it because they are afraid of his capabilities. America went along with the media's orchestration of our current president, and look where we are. Were in the midst of a Ron Paul revolution and he is the individual who should be our next predident.
Sep 8, 2011 12:28 PM CDT
Winner Ron Paul i mean if you bothered looking at the polls for Msnbc he destroyed CNN was up there at the Top and Foxs News was tight but still with Paul with a commanding lead.