So I just got done watching the ABC News debate (if you want to call it that - I personally think it was the best example of mainstream media bias! I mean really, this was probably the worst debate I've witnessed.) and I now have the distinct feeling that Mitt Romney may have just locked up the Republican nomination for President of the United States - by default.
After the shocking results in Iowa, I expected a few things from the candidates trailing Romney. I expected Newt to go for the jugular and "team" with Santorum to bloody Mitt up and bring him numbers in NH down to earth in preparation for a SC bloodbath. I expected Rick Perry to be chomping at the bit to get into the mix with anyone just to stay relevant. I expected Jon Huntsman to have a coming-out party as the scene shifted to New Hampshire. And, I expected Ron Paul to continue being a wingnut with sound grasp of domestic policy, but a dangerous view of America's place in the rest of the world.
Only Ron Paul lived up to his billing.
Romney couldn't have believed it would have been this easy a few hours ago before the debate started. But it was. All he had to do was stand there, sound off with some Presidential platitudes and hope that he wouldn't take much damage. But the damage never came, so Mitt went on the attack - on George Stephanopoulos who, in my opinion, was the worst debate moderator ever. (Pressuring Romney on contraception banning? As one person said on Twitter during the debate, in Georgie's defense, he did have to breach that very subject while working in the Clinton Administration!) and even took a shot at Huntsman (prompting a Catonese retort!) - a sign of Romney's confidence in his debate performance.
If this was what Rick Santorum meant by "Game On", then he's playing the wrong game. In my opinion, he had moments, but fell flat. For the most part, Ron Paul was the most pugnacious - but his barbs were towards everyone BUT Mitt Romney. Newt, as always, was wonky good, sounding like the expert on the stage - but he couldn't pierce Mitt's veneer. Perry even looked to be moving into positive yardage, but then he said how he'd return troops to Iraq - yikes. (Even if you think it's right, how you plan to get elected on THAT platform?!?)
Bottom line - Mitt is starting to pull away from the pack. Everyone else better bring their A games and bring it against Romney, or he'll be the Republican challenger - and next President.