Rich Galen

Gingrich charge that Romney owned stock in Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac, thus making money from those two tarnished organizations.

Romney responded that for the past ten years his investments have been made by a trustee administering a blind trust. He then went on to say he didn't own stock in those companies; his trust owned Fanny and Freddie bonds, meaning he loaned money to them.

At 8:41 Gingrich gently slapped down Wolf Blitzer for asking him if he was satisfied with Romney's tax disclosures. Romney didn't play along and he used the opportunity to explaining having money in a Swiss bank by going back to the blind trust answer.

It appeared to me that Gingrich sensed he was not having the impact on the debate he wanted in spite of having audience participation.

I'm beginning to wonder whether the pace and work load of this campaign is beginning to tell on him.

Score: B

Rick Santorum:

Santorum is a good - very good - debater. He was the first to call for an end to personal attribute questions and was careful and focused in his answers. He was thoughtful on immigration, on NASA, and on every other subject he address until he took on Romney and Gingrich on individual mandates and was pretty convincing.

Problem was, when he recognized he was pretty convincing he kept pressing until he pressed too hard and he ran out of gas.

His answer on religion in politics was, perhaps, the best answer by anyone to any question.

It is probably too little too late, but I hope he is invited as a guest debater whether he's in the race or not.

Score: A

Ron Paul:

Ron Paul was on his game. He was funny. He wasn't the Curmudgeon-in-Chief. He didn't say anything that made me cringe and, indeed, in the discussion about the budget made a telling point that while Gingrich claims to have overseen four balanced budgets while he was Speaker "the deficit went up by a trillion dollars because he (and Reagan) used Social Security to make the numbers work.

Score: B


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.