Winners and Losers at the New Hampshire Debate

George Stephanopoulos and John Berman recap the crucial GOP debate.
5:39 | 01/08/12

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Transcript for Winners and Losers at the New Hampshire Debate
-- normal -- -- ABC news Republican debate taking place just days. -- for the New Hampshire primary everybody including Mitt Romney thought the long knives would be out for the front runner but then. We got a surprise we've got to post game coverage this morning live from Manchester, New Hampshire with co moderator George Stephanopoulos -- -- right in the thick of it. And ABC's John Berman John let's start -- you not what we were expecting. Good morning again not what we expected but more importantly. Not what the Romney campaign expected they thought they would -- incoming fire from his opponents who so desperately need to move up in the polls here but. Instead of facing that incoming fire it may be that Mitt Romney has emerged. -- -- Mitt Romney smiling seeing Mitt Romney with his hands in his pockets that's because there. It took that to finger. Now Newt Gingrich swinging at Ron Paul. And I personally resents the kind of comments in aspersions he routinely makes without accurate information and then just slurs people. Not with Ron Paul swinging it Rick Santorum. You're a big spender that's all there is too early to say you're conservative I think is a stretch for you convince a lot of people Hobbits but somebody has -- your record is not what Rick Santorum pushing back at Ron Paul but really what. The whole. Erica was again couldn't have been that they add a McCutcheon not -- on the truth that went really really. There -- some subtle swipes at Romney from new top contender Rick Santorum of governor used the term earlier that that I shrink from. And and it's one that I don't think we should be using it as Republicans middle class. Our -- classes in America. We -- -- country that don't allow for titles. What there is little time left for subtlety in with his big big lead in New Hampshire Mitt Romney was able to focus on -- -- big big picture because -- Barack Obama -- -- owner. Is this credentials. I wish people in Washington. Had the experience of going got working of the real economy first before they went there and -- understand some of the real lessons of leadership anyway. What are the most challenging moments for Rodney -- -- with his opponent's -- over questions about the constitutional right to privacy and a Supreme Court case on contraception. Don't know contraception. It's working just fine just leave it -- New Gingrich was able to slip in some swipes at the media weighs -- there's a lot more anti Christian bigotry today. Then there is concern on the other side and not who gets covered. And Romney was able to slip -- -- jab at John -- bid I'm sorry. Governor you're the last two years implementing the policies of this administration and China. The rest of us on the stage for doing our best to get Republicans elected across as the country and stop hit the policies of this president being -- for being put forward. That left ambassador Hans may have the most important -- is they would say and China -- -- with cardiology at ticket changing. All focus now this -- the South Carolina Rick Santorum. -- they -- today to try to appeal to conservative voters. In there is word that a major backer is gonna -- some serious cash behind Newt Gingrich so for Gingrich and Santorum their last stands very well might be down in South Carolina. Thanks -- And now let's bring in one of the questioners at last night's big debate our very -- George Stephanopoulos who's up early again on Sunday -- is returning to a familiar spot this morning. As hosted ABC's this week in just -- the race for the White House gets red hot it's so great to have you back George good morning. Get the backing and a good to be here in New Hampshire get what you had quite a night last night it let's get to the big issue this morning there was a lot of crossfire last night but unlike most expected harming in any of that involved Mitt Romney -- and how to -- -- a missed opportunity for the other candidates. You know I think it was puzzling all of this you just saw some and -- -- -- right there I expected. Newt Gingrich Rick Santorum to some extent John -- to come -- look at for -- Against Mitt Romney and they did take some shots he took some shots at his record. At that investment firm Bain Capital which some have argued that adds that -- allies in the running sucker I -- argues. Cost. Americans jobs even as it made big profits. -- -- there were some swipes at his Massachusetts record but he was able to swap them back pretty effectively turn the focus of this is -- Governor Romney needed you most of all. Turn the focus back on president Obama's and nothing had happened here that would jeopardize I think in any way. His front runner status in New Hampshire. He's gonna come out here where the head of steam the question is going into South Carolina which of those other candidates. Is going to emerge as his chief rival and right now they're still pretty -- bunched up. Even -- I do think Rick Santorum had a good good night last night in being able to talk about more of his -- -- the most time he ever had. On the debate stage. Is anybody looking particularly weak after last -- would you expect to see any drop out soon. -- a lot will depend on what happen. -- to unite here in New Hampshire governor Huntsman has who has focused so much of his campaign almost exclusively. -- New Hampshire court of the latest polls he's in third or maybe fourth. Place I think if he drops out of out of the top three it might be hard for him. To go on I think everyone else we'll say at least through South Carolina as a Governor Perry certainly said even -- coming in the back of the stack. Right here but I think then you'll see some of the real sorting out. Happen after South Carolina and the question. Especially for a lot of conservatives who are looking for a strong challenge to Mitt Romney is will they be able to coalesce around one of these challengers to be the man who takes on --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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