Here are my final thoughts on tonight’s New Hampshire GOP debate which aired on ABC.
Jon Huntsman – A typical performance for the former Ambassador to China with more than a touch of snark. Somehow I don’t think there’s a significant Mandarin speaking community in New Hampshire.
Ron Paul – He had a couple of testy exchanges with Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich and squeaked at a high enough pitch that he could be heard by dogs residing at the animal shelter nearest to St. Anselm College.
Mitt Romney – He stayed on message, made George Stephanopoulos look ridiculous and got some laughs when he called Ron Paul “our constitutionalist.” Nobody challenged him except for Santorum and Romney seemed to get the better of those exchanges.
Rick Santorum – He had a particularly testy exchange with Paul over his lucrative post-Senatorial activities. Drew jeers when he told Paul he wasn’t telling the truth after a bell rang. He did challenge Romney on a couple of occasions but didn’t knock him off his game. It wasn’t one of his better debates.
Newt Gingrich – Contrary to expectations, Newt did not go nuclear on Romney. He reserved his toughest language for Ron Paul. Aside from that exchange, Newt stayed positive and drew applause when he challenged Sawyer and Stephanopoulos over their gay marriage questions and energy independence.
Rick Perry – He spoke little but earned applause when he spoke about the Obama Administration’s “war on religion.” When he suggested that New Hampshire adopt a right to work bill, the applause was far more tepid. Perry is clearly gearing up for South Carolina.
The next debate will take place tomorrow morning on NBC at 9 a.m.