Perhaps it is because we know Romney so well that we already know what he is going to say before he says it. Everything he says is delivered with a polished sheen but little feeling. Once again, Mitt stumbled on the issue of financial disclosure, saying that he would release multiple years of returns in April, after the primary. Something about that smells. Romney's evasiveness is bound to play poorly with many voters.
Rick Santorum performed well, going for Gingrich's jugular on the Speaker's former support of healthcare mandates, his ego, and his "lack of discipline." I suspect, though, that Gingrich emerged unscathed by the criticism since he has addressed the issues previously and remained unshaken tonight. Santorum's stiff demeanor does not play well with the crowd. I can't put my finger on it, but so many people I encounter just plain dislike Santorum.
Gingrich once more outperformed everyone else on the stage, leading with a fiery confrontation with John King over CNN's choice of opening question concerning recent "open marriage" allegations by Newt's former wife. The confrontation, and subsequent standing ovation for Gingrich's response, was the most noteworthy moment of the debate and will no doubt dominate the news for the next day leading into the S.C. primary. The buzz will only improve Newt's momentum. Newt was the clear winner tonight.