I’m going to go against consensus here and give it to Romney by default: Ron Paul is irrelevant, Rick Santorum reverted to being whiny, and while Newt Gingrich had an excellent start to the night he’s going to have to come to terms with the fact at some point that, no, [most]* people don’t want Lincoln-Douglas debates anymore. Sitting through three hours of this stuff would tax me, and I’m a motivated New Media partisan blogger. Romney continues to benefit from his opponents not punching at him directly: which is maddening, of course, but somewhat distantly so, given that my favored candidate is currently waiting for the TX legislative season to start and wondering which candidate will end up calling him about the VP slot.
I do now think, however, that Mitt Romney will not win South Carolina. Which means that this is going to go on for a while longer.
[*I’ve had at least one commenter indicate a desire for Lincoln/Douglas-style debates. Fair enough.]