Last Night's Debate: The Winners and Losers

Gingrich does well, Romney flubs, but was Obama the big winner?
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2011 6:32 AM CST
Reactions: Newt Gingrich Won Last Night's Debate, Mitt Romney Lost
Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, right, during the Republican debate last night.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(Newser) – Newt Gingrich was the big winner of last night's GOP debate, along with Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, says Chris Cillizza in the Washington Post. "The former House Speaker seems to be adjusting nicely to his newfound frontrunner status." The big losers were Mitt Romney, thanks to his $10,000 bet and an unfocused performance, and the GOP establishment in general, many members of which were hoping Gingrich would fall. To put it more succinctly: "Newt wins; Romney loses; Paul rises," sums up Andrew Sullivan at the Dish.

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"Romney had the most to lose tonight, and he certainly did," writes Stephen Green at PJ Media. Joe Gandelman at the Moderate Voice thinks Romney actually won with independent voters, but Gingrich did the best with Republicans. "Gingrich showed again that he's a formidable debater no one should want within 100 yards of the nuclear football," writes Will Wilkinson at the Economist, calling Ron Paul "most avuncular," Bachmann "most devastating," and Rick Santorum, "due to some unfathomable tear in the fabric of the cosmos," "most likeable." But overall who won? "I dunno. Barack Obama?," guessed Wilkinson. (Click for more on why Wilkinson may be right.)

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