5:53 PM PT: Well, tonight's the last debate before New Hampshire. Probably the only suspense about New Hampshire will be who finishes second and third, and by how much, because New Hampshire is Mitt Romney's backyard. Gallup's national polling shows Rick Santorum surging, but for the first time since the before August, Mitt Romney is leading both of his rivals by double-digits.
5:59 PM PT: Before the debate, ABC has some game show on called Wipeout consisting of people doing stupid things to win a handful of money. Perfect lead-in.
6:01 PM PT: Romney and Santorum mentioned by name in the intro voiceover, the other candidates are referred to as "these candidates." (Although their names are printed on the Screen.)
6:01 PM PT: Wow, Diane Sawyer doesn't seem stoned this time.
6:04 PM PT: Romney says he hopes Friday's jobs report is "very good news" but "it's not thanks to President Obama." Romney says the stimulus plan "was not as well-directed as it should have been." Implicitly, that means he thinks there should have been a stimulus.
6:04 PM PT: Here's a look at the stage:
6:05 PM PT: Rick Santorum is trying to attack Mitt Romney, but he's doing a bad job of it so far. He's saying he's passed legislation in Congress about Iran. Great, so he's taking credit for Iran policy. But he also says Iran is about to get a nuke. Was that from his policies?
6:06 PM PT: Mitt Romney tries so hard to look sincere.
6:07 PM PT: Newt Gingrich seems to be slowly and cautiously trying to work his way up to a criticism of Bain, but so far he's only saying "you have to ask yourself some questions."
6:08 PM PT: Now Newt is sort of standing by his comment (which he apologized for) that Romney made money by bankrupting companies and putting people out of work.
6:09 PM PT: Romney says net/net he's created 100,000 jobs. He says he's counting jobs lost as well as gained.
6:11 PM PT: Romney defends himself by saying sometimes some of his investments failed, and says that's just the way capitalism works. I think the question that needs to be asked is when his investments failed, did he still make money? And if so, why? And how much of that was thanks to bailouts?
6:14 PM PT: Ron Paul's microphone isn't quite working right—there's a lot of feedback. He's spending his whole time attacking Rick Santorum as being corrupt.
6:16 PM PT: I wonder why Ron Paul is constantly attacking the leading Not Romney instead of Romney himself, or just running a positive campaign. (Remember he attacked Gingrich, and now Santorum.)
6:16 PM PT: Hey, is Rick Perry on the stage?