A quick look at last night’s South Carolina debate by politico.com yields a few essential points:
1. Mitt Romney is in for a hard week.
He hemmed and hawed about releasing his tax returns in April, and even though the question was expected, Romney still seemed uncertain in his response.
2. Newt Gingrich got his groove back.
For one night, anyway. But it’s unlikely — though not impossible — that it will lift him high enough to stop Romney.
3. Gingrich and Rick Santorum can’t resist attacking each other.
They also, somewhat inexplicably, can’t seem to sustain an attack on Romney in these debates.
4. Romney still doesn’t have a strong answer to Bain questions.
His response on jobs and how Bain handled companies it dealt with was meandering, and he resorted to pabulum about supporting the free-enterprise system.
5. Ron Paul’s endgame is unclear.
Paul once again stopped a line of attack against Romney that he could have run with, shifting to an attack on Santorum instead. This has become a pattern, and a notable one.
More South Carolina debate analysis at politico.com.
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