The moment that will live in infamy from last night’s debate, the gaffe that overshadowed everything else, was Rick Perry’s utter meltdown as he forgot one of the agencies he himself wanted to eliminate. But there were other people onstage, and here’s how people are grading them this morning:
- Herman Cain, Loser: “It’s hard to imagine what Cain could have done to change the conversation,” says Brian Montopoli of CBS News. “But he didn’t do it. Cain brought no new ideas Wednesday,” focusing instead on 9-9-9—which now draws laughter.
- Newt Gingrich, Winner: But kind of by default. He came across “as grumpy and impatient,” says Joe Holley of the Houston Chronicle, but he probably gained momentum nonetheless. “Gingrich is clearly the most experienced and knowledgeable debater on the stage, and he would be the first to tell you so.”
- Mitt Romney, Winner: Romney debates “like a Lexus sedan — smooth and dependable, albeit not particularly exciting,” says Holley. The implosion of Perry, his only well-funded rival, puts Romney comfortably in the driver’s seat.
- Jon Huntsman, Loser: He did well, but needed Romney to collapse. Since that didn’t happen, Montopoli thinks he's still “on the outside looking in.”
- Maria Bartiromo, Winner: Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post was impressed with the CNBC moderator, who tried to “push the candidates off of their talking points, forcing them to answer the questions actually asked of them.”
(Read more GOP Debate