Glad the live audience is back. Yes, sometimes the audience can get a little too rowdy and the candidates can pander to it. But it's much better when the audience is involved.
Newt Gingrich attacked the moderator. Again. I think the first time, it backfired. Wolf Blitzer came right back at him, not with anything person. Just the facts. Gingrich has ripped Mitt Romney a zillion times for his taxes. Blitzer tried to ask about it and eventually got Gingrich to have to answer it. Evil Elite Media 1, Gingrich 0.
I'm not sure how Gingrich spins this night as a win. He's probably had the best debates collectively compared to the rest of the field. But tonight wasn't one of them.
Romney stayed aggressive on Gingrich and finally seemed to be able to handle questions on his wealth. The guy is crazy rich and has been for years. Why his staff hadn't better prepared him for these questions is beyond me. I mean, he did run 4 years ago. Didn't someone see this coming as a potential issues. Having said that, Romney should have done himself some good over the course of the night.
Rick Santorum found a way to get involved in the middle of things despite getting placed by debate organizers "on the wing", his familiar debate position. His continued back and forth with Romney on Massachusetts' health care mandate could have scored him some points with voters. Although, Santorum may still have bigger issues, again, convincing people he can win. He is way back in Florida and from what CNN said in the post-debate, he isn't running tv ads in Florida. So that's a tough combination to have a good primary night on Tuesday.
I often have a tough time figuring out Ron Paul's performances in debates. His anti-war talk puts him at odds with so many Republicans. There wasn't a lot of focus on war in this debate.
Since this debate happened in Florida, I'm surprised they didn't talk more about social security and Medicare reform.
Props to moderator, Wolf Blitzer. He stood up to Gingrich without looking like a blowhard. But he also wisely kept silent at times letting Gingrich and Romney and then Romney and Santorum have extended conversations back and forth. I really like those exchanges. I think they can offer a lot of viewers.
O.K., that's it. Time for another dose of pain-killers!