No Tweets of the Night (or cigarettes).  It just wasn’t that good for me.

Endgame assessment:  Very boring, strange debate.  Romney scored points at the start by going after Newt; Newt brought up history of Romney attacking others from 2008.  Newt did not take the bait and get angry.  Seems like it was a strategic move now that he is frontrunner not to appear angry.  Not sure how it all plays out.

Santorum was out of the discussion most of the night until the very end when he went after Romney and Newt.  Not sure it was enough to get him votes from others.

Probably good for Newt that Romney releases tax returns tomorrow, will focus on strategies he used to minimize taxes — legally.  Tax return probably is hundreds of pages.

That the crowd was told not to cheer or clap hurt Newt.  It was like debating in a morgue.

Will be interesting if it moves the polls.

At the fourth break:

Again, boring.  Newt dominated the time (I think) and was given a chance to espouse his growth plans for the economy and the space coast in Florida.  But there were no fireworks.  This cannot be good for Santurum.  Very biased question to Newt why the Bush tax cuts didn’t work, and Newt responded they helped at a difficult time after 9/11.

At the third break:

Another really boring segment.  Have no idea what just happened.  Some immigration talk, but not real enthusiastic.  Everyone endorses english as unifying language, Dream Act but only for military service.  Something about beets and sugar cane.  Not sure I’ll be able to come up with tweets of the night. BTW, on Fox Fred Thompson endorsed Newt.

At the second break:

Boring.  Not much to write about.  A lot of foreign policy stuff.  Newt gave strong answer on Americans historically not seeking war, but commitment to freedom of the seas (re Strait of Hormuz).  Santorum not a big part of the conversation so far, that could hurt him most because he needs to stand out.  Big story of night is that NBC apparently admonished crowd not to clap or cheer, so there’s stone silence in the room.  That hurts Newt.

At the first break:

Romney attacked Newt pretty vigorously on speakership, ethics, Freddie contract.  Newt responded somewhat passively at first, then more vigorously.  Not sure who won that encounter.  My impression was that Newt deliberately was not taking the bait.

Fair amount of discussion of tax returns to be released by Romney.  Some suggestions, indirectly, that may have low rate.  Romney repeated the anti-capitalism line of defense.

On Freddie contract, Newt gave a pretty vigorous defense.  Mitt made misstatement that Newt said he was hired as a historian.  We’ve already debunked that here.  I think Romney got the better of the exchange.

Before the start:

About an hour ago, Newt’s former company, the Center for Health Transformation, released a copy of a 2006 Freddie consulting contract.

All polls point towards Newt being in the lead.  The latest, released tonight, is PPP, showing Newt up 5:

PPP’s first post-South Carolina poll in Florida finds Newt Gingrich with a small lead.  He’s at 38% to 33% for Mitt Romney, 13% for Rick Santorum, and 10% for Ron Paul.

Gingrich has gained 12 points since a PPP poll conducted in Florida a week ago. Romney has dropped 8 points. Paul and Santorum have pretty much remained in place. Their favorability numbers show similar trendlines. Gingrich’s has increased 8 points from +15 (51/36) to +23 (57/34). Meanwhile Romney’s has declined 13 points from +44 (68/24) to +31 (61/30).

This could be key in many ways:

Newt is drawing out new voters.  With the 11% of the electorate that didn’t vote in the 2008 primary, he leads 40-30. Meanwhile Romney is having trouble holding onto the folks who voted for him in 2008.  37% are supporting someone else this time, with 19% of them moving toward Gingrich.