I watched the CBS debate on DVR late Saturday night and frankly–as Newt would say–didn’t follow it quite as closely as the others. But some general impressions:
I think Newt was the winner. His put-down of Scott Pelley on the Awlaki killing was perfect and well-deserved. He side-stepped an invitation to attack Romney but in deft fashion that didn’t create a Pawlenty problem. He was well-informed and crowd-pleasing, a performance that validated his new standing in the polls.
Romney was very strong on the Iran nuclear program and solid throughout.
Cain has clearly learned a little more on foreign policy, but still is often non-responsive to specific questions and I don’t think his answer on interrogation made sense (if you want to continue enhanced interrogation techniques, you can’t defer to the military and by extension the Army Field Manual).
It was great to see Perry flash some quick-on-his-feet self-deprecating wit over the Department of Energy flub. In general, he was better, although he seemed at time to be holding for dear life to his “start at zero” theme on foreign aid. Like Cain, he was not always particularly responsive to specific questions.
Someone has to tell Santorum, even if he’s not getting equal time from the moderators, to stop whining about it, which does more harm to his cause then being ignored.