It was the most significant primary debate thus far and may prove to be the deciding debate of the GOP primary campaign.  At least it had that potential had it not been hidden under the basket of a television channel many people can’t receive.  Here’s our list of winners, losers and humorists.

Winner — Mitt Romney
Romney came across more presidential than ever.  There is a refreshing contrast between this man with class and grace and the one now in the White House who has a habit of putting his feet on our furniture in our House.

Second place – Herman Cain
Cain did very well in the debate, but Cain has made one big mistake.  It’s his 999 tax plan.  He makes a good argument for it but it will never fly with the voters.  The fact that it introduces a brand new tax, a federal 9% sales tax is something only a Democrat could love.

Loser – Rick Perry
Perry wasn’t given much air time and when he did speak his responses were weak.

Best humor – Jon Huntsman
Huntsman, (he’s someone from Utah, I think), said he thought Cain’s 9.99 was a pizza price.  It was said and taken in good fun.  At least now Huntsman has name recognition.

Special mention – Michelle Bachman
Bachman gave a superb performance, but it’s too late.  She also gets second place for for humor with her follow up on Huntsman’s 999 poke with her observation that 999 stood on it’s head becomes 666 and the devil is in the details when it comes to Cain’s plan.

Hardest hitting — Newt Gingrich
Gingrich really socked it to them, Washington that is.  There should be a place for him in the government.  It just won’t be as president.

Also ran – Ron Paul
Paul is an anti guy.  He was a bit out of his water by virtue of the rules of the debate restricting the subject matter to the economy and the debt.  He did manage to lay a good and proper lambasting on the Federal Reserve.

Worst of the night – Rick Santorum
Santorum was way below his usual self.  Very disappointing.

Charley Rose of PBS moderated the event.  The format was very different.  No podiums, the candidates all sat at a big round “kitchen table”.  For the last half hour the candidates were not questioned by the moderator.  Instead, they were assigned the task of rebutting each other directly.  The idea worked very well; look for more kitchen tables to come.

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