And that, ladies and gentlemen, is it. The final Republican presidential debate prior to the South Carolina primary has concluded. If it sounds like we’re placing a little emphasis, you’re right; with a South Carolina win, Mitt Romney will become the effective nominee. That much seems very clear. But this debate, as the candidate’s final pitch before the primary, wasn’t much of a score for Romney. Rather, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum stole a large portion of the show, with Gingrich’s scathing opening remarks directed at moderator John King, and Santorum’s extended takedown of Gingrich’s tenure as Speaker. To say nothing of Ron Paul, whose supporters are so vital and passionate that their shouts effectively overruled John King, forcing him to let Paul in on a question during which he’d been snubbed. We may have a very clear idea of how a Romney win in South Carolina shapes the race, but this much is certain: if anybody else can nab the crown, the state of this race will become volatile, exciting, and most significantly, will stay credibly undecided.
Thanks very much, as well, to the great crew over at DC Decoder. It was, as always, a joy to collaborate with them for this liveblog. Have a nice night, everybody!
More debate coverage: ShortFormBlog | DC Decoder