Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - So who won the war of words between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney over illegal immigration, jobs and health care?
It depends on whom you ask.
Top advisers from both campaigns made their case post-debate in the Spin Room.
"I think Rick Perry had a strategy coming into this debate to kill Mitt, and he ended up killing himself. I say that based that on the audience reaction," said top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom.
"I think what they saw in Rick Perry was very desperate candidate, someone who revived a candidacy that is sinking beneath the waves. So he came armed with negative attacks and personal cheap shots that were booed by the audience at every turn," added Fehrnstorm.
But Ray Sullivan, Perry's communications director, said the Texas governor wasn't too aggressive in his attacks against Romney, adding that "I think the governor spoke from the heart."
"These debates are set up to be lively. This was a lively one. The governor is passionate about his record and passionate about calling folks every now and then on their records," added Sullivan.
Asked if Perry was presidential in his approach at the debate, Sullivan said "I think he was Rick Perry in his approach and that's a good thing for us."
Well done Anderson Cooper. You did a very fantastic job. We appreciate it. Keep it up!
The big loser was Rick Perry. Romney spent too much effort defending himself against Perry. The winning circled is shared between Paul and Cain who stuck to their own ideas, however unrealistic, on how to fix the economy. Bachmann and Santorum are wasting their backer's money by staying in the race. What I gleaned from the debate was the mean, selfish, elitist, ethnocentrism of the candidates and the audience with the exception of Ron Paul. I hope, no matter what happens in the future, I never become this cynical and uncaring towards my fellow human beings.
I will be voting for Obama, period, so I have no irons in this fire. Actually, I watch these GOP debates for amusement. Yet, it was hard to stay away from the X-Factor. Bottom line on Perry is that he continued to act the fool, trying to pin lawn care workers on Mitt and then squabbling like a spoiled child. Fundamentally Romney put him in his place in the immigration debate. Spin it however you want, "Ole Tex" comes out a pure loser again.
Nobody won the debate, but the American people got a good glimpse of the hopefully not contagious insanity rampant among all republican contenders. The only thing we know with any certainty is that the American people will be the ultimate losers if any of these bozos ever make it to the White House.
One thing I noticed last nite was that if (as Republicans claim) CNN is just a liberal mouthpiece for the Obama camp, they could not have done a better job of constructing a divisive exchange filled with personal attacks. The big winner in last nite's debate? Anyone running against any of the republicans that took part in the event. The only one who didn't appear to soil him or herself on that stage was Ron Paul, and no one in the media will talk about him anyway. I'm not saying this was planned (or am I?), but Anderson Cooper did a great job of getting them to go at each other's throats. The whole format seemed specifically designed to trap the candidates into having a bloodbath. It was fun to watch.
The Newt arguably handled himself the best. So what, he ain't nowhere.
it's official. Perry is not fit to be President, and it should be a deep embarrassment to Texas that he has been elected Governor (of anything!)
Clearly Ron Paul won this debate as he always does because he actually knows what he is talking about. Ron Paul is the only answer worth considering. Paul has a plan based on facts not on talking points.
Romney is far too fiscally liberal. Parry and bachman is nothing more than bad jokes. Newt was respectable but no plan. Santorem needs a Teddy Bear. Cain is nothing more than a talking head.
Perry isn't going to be the nominee but you sure as heck can't trust Romney or anything he says. Romney's stands for whatever polls best (at the time as he reserves the right to change his mind if the polls change).
How about the UFC puts Perry vs. Romney in the Octagon for their next PPV. Buy rates would go through the roof!
Easy answer – The American people won, because we are seeing clearly that none of these clowns is ready for prime time.
watched the debates and came away thinking: these people think they're political "leaders?" - they reminded me of spoiled brat toddlers having tantrums... if this is the best the GOP has to offer, the GOP is in serious trouble - because all I could think was thanks, but, no thanks!
I agree with David Gergen-Obama won the debate last night. Keep up the good work you GOPers.......
After watching the clowns last night, the winner is easily President Obama.
I am absolutely certain that iRick Perry has eaten many times in a Texas restaurant with at least one employee who was in the US illegally. I sincerely doubt that he has ever checked on the immigration status of all the workers in a restaurant where he was eating – or ever actually cared.
Creating jobs in Texas? Perry was just standing around when any jobs were created. There doesn't seem to be any real connection of Rick Perry with new jobs in Texas – all or even any of them.
In the Las Vegas debates, Perry came across as a hot-tempered bully trying to use personal attacks to cover the fact that he apparently cannot effectively address – and may not even grasp – the larger issues that confront America today.
Willard needs to learn to keep his hands off folks during a debate, big faux pas.
Rick Perry needs to slither back under his big Texas rock and quit hissing! I think Romney showed spunk when he was being unreasonably attacked and he held his own! Good for Romney! Romney still has my vote and I wouldn't vote for Perry even if he did manage to steal the Republican nomination!
Romney is a smug jack-. I wouldn't vote for him if he was the last candidate in the world.
No one, really. Rick Perry cannot complete a sentence unless he mentions Texas at least once. Michelle Bachmann had stated at one point that they should "listen to Ronald Reagan" which makes no sense because almost everyone violated Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment last night. Rick Santorum is hell bent on shaping the American family the way HE thinks is best (so much for religious freedom or individual freedom). Santorum, Perry and Romney interrupted each other so many times and bickered so much you wanted to yell out, "Girls, girls, girls! You're all pretty so stop whining!" Herman Cain, well, it is what it is...
If I had to choose, I would say Ron Paul did the best, but as history shows us, no one will take him seriously on the Republican side. That's too bad, especially with all of this Tea Party stuff going on. Ron Paul was the original Tea Party....
I am a long time Texas resident, and Perry is an embarrassment. Plain and simple.
I could go on and on about his inability to lead, but I don't have a year to waste writing about.
This whole debate did nothing more than to bolster Obama.
Who won the debate? The same people that win every debate among candidates of the same major party – "the candidates of the other major party" (in this case, President Obama), who were busy taking notes to use in their general election campaigns.
I am from a Tx and I am so glad to see the lunatic Gov Perry loose last night. Perry refused to debate Bill White out of ignorance because majority of Texans are republicans so no matter what happens he would win the governoship elections. Now this is the real deal about all Americans and you can see that Perry is not the sharpest knive in the drawer.
Look, it's going to be Romney as the Republican candidate. He will have either Cain or Christie as his VP. If he selects Christie, Obama will go down as one of the worst presidents ever. If he selects Cain, this would prove a mistake because Cain says things people want to hear, but does not back it up with facts. I think Romney will be a better president than Obama regardless.
I think Perry did just fine, he dished it out to Romney what Romney had coming to him. The viewer saw in Romney a smug, silver spoon in the mouth, whinny, nasal, sing song, person whom they don't want to be President.