I think Newt Gingrich won the Huckabee forum. “Good Newt” showed up tonight and was articulate, calm, and presidential. It helped that he went first.
It may have hurt Mitt Romney to go last. He had to sit in the back watching the others and losing energy. His tentativeness made him seem like the most moderate of the bunch, to the left of everybody else, which is the wrong place for him to be.
I don’t think anybody had a really bad night. Ron Paul was off in his own little universe. Rick Perry seemed to belong down with Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum rather than up in the top tier, so his performance was aligned with current polls.
This would have been an excellent forum for Jon Huntsman to show off his conservative credentials, his sharp mind, and his extensive knowledge. Huckabee made it clear that Huntsman had turned down the invitation despite numerous requests. An unforced error by Team Huntsman.
Excellent job by Governor Huckabee and his crew in providing an innovative format with serious questions from thoughtful questioners.