And the winner of the debate last night was ….

Don’t take my word for it.  Because if I said Newt, you’d say, well, you support Newt so….

And if I told you that last night Newt put himself in the position of the most presidential on stage, you’d say … blah blah blah.

So if you didn’t see it and haven’t formed your own opinion yet, consider what some people who do not support Newt had to say, such as Rich Lowry (post here):

And Ari Fleisher:

And Toby Harnden:

The most interesting part of the night was on the issue of immigration where Newt staked out a middle ground on immigration — control the border now, implement employer sanctions, and after the door is as shut as it can be, set up rules as to who can stay with many if not most deported but with humanitarian exceptions.

While immediately after the debate the Bachmann and Romney campaigns began to accuse Newt of wanting amnesty for 11 million people, Newt’s position is pretty much in line with the Republican electorate, and it is not amnesty.  The only pathway to citizenship he mentioned was for people who serve in the U.S. military.

This exchange on the Patriot Act with Ron Paul also was one of the highlights:

Particularly on the immigration issue, Newt announced his position with a command of history and a recognition of what can and cannot be accomplished.  More important, he was frank that his position may cost him votes, but that he was standing by it.

Contrast that with Romney’s no compromise stance on immigration, a stance no one believes he really means.  Romney’s reaction highlights both the “core” issue and goes to the main argument for his nomination, electability.

Romney supporters regularly portray Newt as not sufficiently mainstream or “moderate,” but on immigration Romney’s “deport them all with no exceptions” position puts him outside the mainstream of Republicans and the nation.

Newt was the President on the stage last night.  Many Romney supporters who said Newt was just the latest not-Romney must be wondering if Romney now is a not-Newt challenger.


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