Head-scratcher of the night: Newt Gringrich says he doesn't want to end the space program; he wants to “decentralize” it. Huh?
Unfair-attack-on-Obama-that-few-will-bother-to-fact-check of the night: Mitt Romney accuses the president of piling on economy-dragging regulation, including a cap-and-trade energy bill and union card-check legislation, among other things. Of course, neither can be hurting the economy, because neither cap-and-trade nor card-check actually passed — in part because the president didn't make them high priorities.
Big promise of the night: Michele Bachmann says that if she's president, the Affordable Care Act will be repealed.
Civics lesson of the night: Gingrich reminds Bachmann that she'll need a supermajority in the Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
There's-only-one-right-answer-to-this-question-given-my-wooden-image response of the night: Romney tells John King that he prefers spicy wings to mild.
So-why-don't-we-vote-for-the-other-guy? moment of the night: Rick Santorum notes that Gingrich appointed him to a House committee, allowing him to attempt to scale back entitlement programs in the 1990s.
“Really?” moment of the night: Tim Pawlenty brags about securing the borders as governor. Minnesota’s borders.
I-disagree-with-this-person’s-politics-but-I-really-respect-that moment of the night: Bachmann mentions that she has taken in 23 foster children over the course of her life.
On-second-thought-maybe-she’s-flogging-this-a-little-too-much moment of the night: Bachmann repeats for the third time that she has taken in 23 foster children over the course of her life.
Surprise of the night:The debate didn't turn out to be quite the Romney hate-fest that some expected.
Ideological moment of the night: In the first few minutes of the debate, each candidate expresses his or her firm belief that government is the problem, not the solution. Actually, this was pretty much every moment of the night.