Newt Gingrich won the debate hands down.
No one else was even close.
He was honest and pragmatic on immigration, recognizing the tough reality that a percentage of the eleven million illegal immigrants have been living and contributing to American society for decades. He admitted that some people would have to go, but that he would implement a policy that was fair and rational.
His answer on Iranian sanctions conveyed a depth of understanding about national security policy that no other candidate has. He proposed imposing sanctions on Iran’s gasoline imports. Few policymakers are aware of the fact that Iran imports a huge percentage of gasoline because of that country’s limited refining capacity.
Newt’s answer on the Patriot Act was also nuanced and thoughtful.
After this debate performance, Newt could pose a serious challenge to frontrunner Romney. That said, aside from Gingrich’s wonkish brilliance, his personal life has been a bit tumultuous and could likely turnoff more socially conservative Republican voters.