The ease with which Newt deflected attacks from all sides was especially noteworthy, suggesting to me that he actually believed what he was saying (refreshing) and that he had amply reflected on the subject of those statements well before uttering them, e.g. the moon base, the need for children learning the work ethic, and legalizing the status of well-established illegal aliens who've peacefully and productively acculturated. (Hispanic voters must have been encouraged by the latter.)
The conventional media buzz was that Newt's shoot-from-the-hip statements amounted to little more than debilitating gaffes, a clear sign of indiscipline and the seeds of his self-destruction. So much for conventional "media wisdom". In fact, he didn't back off those statements and either repeated or elaborated on them.
I also thought many of the attacks on Newt came across as rehearsed, desperate and contrived; but, as said, he handily parried those largely innocuous assaults.
I thought Perry redeemed himself, but not sufficiently to make any real difference. He's out.
Santorum and Bachman, among my faves, are also out.
Paul will ride the crest of Libertarian jubilance to the end, but also to no avail.
So, unless there is a major faux pas on Newt's part, or unless his lack of a ground organization does him in (which remains a real possibility), my guess is that Newt will be nominated and will go on to clean Obama's clock, thus eliminating any real hope of an Obama re-election. And we can all thank God for that.
Just a thought: how about a Newt-Paul ticket? Or is that a tad avant-garde? Such a team would certainly serve to keep both players under control, more realistic, but closer to the Constitution and with a firmer commitment to seriously reducing the size of gov't and the national debt. And, except for his fairyland foreign policy inclinations, Ron Paul's stepping into a presidential role in a clinch wouldn't scare me at all. Quite the contrary.
In any event, I'd like to see Ron Paul as Treasury Secretary (love his economic policies and integrity), Bachman as HHS Secretary, Romney at Commerce and Santorum at Interior. Of course, Bolton at State would be an excellent choice. Lincolnesque (keeping your friends close, but your political challengers closer)? Or would such a mix be naive and unworkable? Anyway, just thinking outside the proverbial box.
Finally, I don't know if others feel the same way, but I thought the ABC moderators, Sawyer and Stephanopoulous) did a pretty good job of it. They allowed everyone sufficient time to respond to questions and criticisms without that God-awful 30-second restriction. Of course, with only 6 candidates (vs 8) on stage, the exercise was far more manageable this time around. And as time goes by and the field is reduced in size, the time restriction will be less onerous and primary voters will increasingly benefit.
Retired 2003 as Assoc. Dir. Refugee & Immigration Services in Rochester. A Vietnam veteran (Captain, Infantry/Civil Affairs/Psy Ops), spent many years in Southeast Asia, Africa, Subcontinent managing disaster relief and development projects. Am a small businessman and keenly interested in history and the Constitution. Concerned that our country is being inexorably drawn toward Socialism and that Americans are unwittingly abandoning our founding governing principles and, in the process, our liberties, way of life and economic vitality, and disillusioned with the radicalized Democratic Party, became a member of the Greece and Monroe County Republican Committees until July 2012 when I became a registered member of the Conservative Party. Although politically conservative and a constitutional originalist, I welcome all constructive opinions. Only through common-sense dialogue, objective evaluation of opposing patriotic viewpoints, and a studious adherence to the Constitution can we all learn and develop responsible positions which will benefit our Republic. Member of Rochester Conservatives, the Tea Party, American Legion, Vietnam Vets of America, Gun Owners of America, NRA.