1. With Herman Cain’s recent setbacks, Newt Gingrich might have a chance to become the next co-frontrunner (with Mitt Romney). He certainly helped his case tonight, staying focused and scoring points on questions about health care and the economy. Although he got dragged into criticizing the moderators yet again, he still came off well — in part because of his wit, and in part because the CNBC moderators had a really bad night.
2. Romney was on point, as usual. Tonight he faced only the weakest and most halfhearted criticisms of his record, including on health care. At one point he echoed Ron Paul’s call for free-market, patient-centered health care — without drawing comment from any of the others. Maybe the others have just given up on attacking Romney on health care.
With three more debates scheduled for the next two weeks, the Romney-Gingrich interaction will be one to watch.
3. I’ve forgotten the third point.