On Wednesday night after the GOP Presidential debate at the Reagan Library, Politico asked Arena participants,

Eight GOP presidential hopefuls debated at the Reagan Library, Simi Valley, CA

Who won or lost? Who did better or worse than expected?

Michael Benjamin responded:
The debate was much more toned down than I anticipated. It was as though the candidates tried to sound “presidential.”
I would say that Mitt Romney won. He took the middle road and responded articulately to Rick Perry‘s outlandish statements regarding social security and climate science.
Ron Paul and Rick Santorum held their own, although it appears Santorum seems most agitated by Rep. Paul’s isolationist philosophy. I like outliers such as Paul and Santorum.
Rep. Paul had the best political ad. He thumped Gov. Perry in the debate as well. He executed a great 1-2 punching combination.
I want the GOP nomination to remain unsettled. The longer the field stays fractured and only appeals to the hardcore primary GOP electorate, the greater President Obama‘s chances of recapturing independents and base Democratic voters.
Lastly, none of the candidates offered a realistic economic plan. Keynesian economics is far more effective than Laffer or supply-side economics. Just as the Soviets and the Red Chinese abandoned their inefficient and unproductive “command” economy, so must America abandon its “demand” economy that produces nothing except more debt.
Intellectual capital alone will not stimulate economic recovery. America is at its best when we produce finished goods that others want. That’s something the Founding Fathers understood (and Michelle Bachman/Sarah Palin haven’t a clue about).