Childish personal attacks were coming at Mitt Romney from every direction, but instead of demeaning himself to other candidates' lowly level, Governor Romney deflected attacks with substantive discussion on issues people care about. Romney was eloquent on how to move forward in the global war on terror, he was sharp and logical when explaining his healthcare plans, and he convincingly showcased his devastating blow to a potential Mitt vs. Obama matchup - one focused on experience. A Mitt vs. Obama matchup would pit two Washington outsiders against each other - both focused on CHANGE. But while the theme is the same, their records are different. Obama talks about turning things around, but Mitt has actually done it - many times. While at Bain he turned around businesses, as CEO of the olympics, he executed a spectacular turnaround of the scandal-ridden games, and as Governor of Mass, he turned around a state government on the brink of financial disaster. Mitt will thrash Obama once voters start looking past the rock-star nonsense and begin evaluating substance, experience, and issues.
As for his fellow Republicans, Mitt slammed McCain on being a Washington insider - part of the problem, not part of the solution. He correctly argued that Iowa demonstrated America's desire for change and that McCain does NOT represent change - he represents the status quo. Huckabee didn't have much to say. Once he has to move out of his comfort zone of folksy one-liners, his lack of experience and skills begins to show. He was careful not to get deep into any issues because he's uncomfortable and prone to gaffes and misstatements. Fred Thompson actually did quite well. He's not as eloquent or precise as Romney, but at least he's a full-spectrum conservative, unlike McCain and Huckster. Finally, Rudy did pretty well. He learned from the last debate that personal attacks will come back to bite you and he stayed (mostly) out of the fray.
Overall, it was a great format - a bit chaotic at times, but lots of fun and a much better way to get to know the candidates than other debate styles.
I'm more excited than ever about Romney as the Republican nominee. I hope America is paying attention and can see that Mitt Romney is not only the sole Republican with a chance in the general election, but also that Mitt Romney will make one of the best presidents in our country's history.