National Journal’s Ron Fournier:
The only five men standing between Mitt Romney and the Republican presidential nomination took a walk Saturday night — attacking each other and the media as the former Massachusetts governor coasted toward the brass ring.
Romney came to the debate threatening to run away with the race, and left the stage just as strong. Maybe stronger. He faced surprisingly little criticism from his flailing rivals, and answered their punches with sharp jabs.
Rep. Ron Paul called Rick Santorum corrupt. Santorum called Paul a liar. Paul called Gingrich a draft dodger. Gingrich accused the media of bias and actually praised Romney for “a good (campaign) message.”
Gov. Rick Perry suggested that he would send U.S. troops back to Iraq, prompting disbelieving moderator George Stephanopoulos to all but challenge his sanity: “Now?” the ABC reporter said.
The closest Romney got to making news was opposing the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. He also supported contraception. Yes, contraception.
“Contraception, it’s working fine,” Romney said. “Leave it alone.”