So here’s what I learned from the guys at Panera Bread this morning:
1. Romney made Santorum look bad without making himself look good.
2. Consensus: Gingrich was very impressive; he’s the one who could beat the president. I said I won’t vote for him because he’s an ——-. Response: But he’s an ——- who can save the country. He did win the debate after all.
3. A couple of intelligent people who switched from Newt or Cain to Santorum are now thinking of switching back to Newt. Possible mini-Newt surge in GA?
4. Probing question: Is Santorum too extreme to be president? Evidence: Abstinence education isn’t a proper function of government.
5. Not a single good word said about Romney beyond his effectiveness in keeping Santorum on the defensive.
UPDATE: The latest poll from GA, which was, of course, not influenced by the debate, has Gingrich holding on to a narrow lead and Romney a weak third. The effectual truth of the debate might be that Santorum doesn’t end up overtaking him over the next week or two.