I thought Mitt did extremely well, but I’m the first to admit I’m biased. So let’s go to a commentator with unquestioned credentials — a person who’s yet to jump on the Mitt bandwagon — Michael Barone:
Bottom line. This was a New Hampshire debate, but it has serious ramifications for Iowa as well. I have disparaged the idea that Romney is the frontrunner; I continue to think that given the polls no one is the frontrunner. But Romney behaved like a frontrunner tonight, one with confidence and sense of command and with the adroitness to step aside from two major issue challenges (Romneycare, his various views on abortion) he faces. Romney has wisely eschewed the Iowa caucuses this time, leaving as two major competitors there Pawlenty (from next door Minnesota and a genuine religious conservative) and Bachmann (not only from next door Minnesota but also born and raised in Iowa). Presumably they will both be competing not only in the Iowa precinct caucuses, but in the August 13 Iowa Republican straw poll in Ames. I think Bachmann emerged from this debate a more serious competitor and Pawlenty not a stronger one than he was before.
Read the whole thing.