Debate Analysis: Gingrich vs. Romney

Debate moderators Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos.
8:39 | 12/11/11

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Transcript for Debate Analysis: Gingrich vs. Romney
Let's bring in the moderation as of last night's debate Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos. Good to see you both this morning I was a long night fueled Diane let me -- Viewers were really expecting a rumble how do you think -- stacked up in the fisticuffs department. Well you know -- I think they came to engage -- they knew they had to 23 days now until the voting begins. But as John was saying it was Newt Gingrich who was in the testing zone last night in -- was telling me that the Democratic National Committee this morning has already decided. To target him which means they think. He survived it and tonight -- well. Damage done that and you know they've got they're now trying to define in the way they were defining Mitt Romney before they clearly think. He won less -- as legitimate shot at being the nominee and. You know everybody the big question was how was Mitt Romney going to deal with the -- you know front run insurgent Newt Gingrich is now -- cost -- Georgie did open the door a little different let's hear and watch how he handled it. Speaker Gingrich crystallize his argument couple weeks ago he said and I quote. I'm a lot more conservative than Mitt Romney and a lot more electable than anyone else. I know you don't -- Well of course they don't agree -- that. I don't think most people agree with that speaker Gingrich and I have a lot of places where we disagree we'll talk about -- -- them. What places where we disagree. Let's see. But you start with that with his idea -- to have -- -- lunar colony that would mine minerals from the from the moon I'm not in favor of the spending that kind of money for the -- that. He said -- would he would like to eliminate in some cases the child labor laws of the kids could clean schools I don't agree with that that idea. His plan and capital gains to remove capital gains for people at the very highest level of income is different than mine I'd. I -- eliminate capital gains interest and dividends for people and middle income so it but we have differences of view point -- on some issues. But but the real difference I believe is our backgrounds. I spent my life and the private -- I'm proud of trying to find things that give young people reason to study science and math and technology. And telling -- -- -- in their life and they could dream of going to the moon they could dream of going to Mars I'll stand by the idea young people ought to learn how to work. Middle class kids do routinely we should give poor kids the same chance to pursue happiness finally. So just how do you think Mitt Romney measured up in the senate aggressive tactics that people talked about how did they both measure up against each other. My guess I was a little bit surprised right there at the top I -- Governor Ronnie was not hesitate at all in trying to destroy these distinctions. Between himself and speak against this team had been telegraphing. For the last week or so that he was ready to take on the front runner with the momentum but he seemed to be struck between trying to be you draw the differences but also. Be the grown -- sober likable guy. On the stage and they finally did lay out those differences but that led to that pretty devastating comeback by speaker Gingrich on the that you would have been a career politician -- -- -- -- Ted Kennedy back in nineteen. 94 overall. I think that you know Gingrich clearly because this -- the first time he was in the hot seat -- the firm handled himself very well it didn't feel like. Any of the attacks last night really drew some blood and I think that overall Mitt Romney actually had. A pretty decent debate engaged very well with Gingrich on this whole issue of with the Palestinians -- invented people but and I think you know. It and I were talking about this everyone's been talk about it all night. The moment everybody's gonna remember out of this debate is that 101000 dollar bet and it's going to be interesting to see how the Romney team handles that and just a small. Notice -- stage from sitting right up there you know. I could see speaker Gingrich looking down and making his notes -- During governor Romney -- first. Adversarial challenge to him. -- apparently had on the podium notes from his grandkids in the first -- said smile no. And the -- -- keep it short. So I'm thinking is he's looking get a reading his notes those -- instruments -- -- was most important thing for speaker Gingrich last night he knew that everybody is going to be watching to see if you blow its top. At some point to see if he would lose his cool and that did not happen last -- and that's another reason that he had. Such a strong debate in -- at one moment. During one of the commercial breaks he came muffins and talk to -- and -- was making a little bit of fun of us he said if you guys were. Better prepared you would be doing your homework and -- commercial -- probably dancing with the next was most. Interest he said. Listen I think everybody's having a good debate tonight everyone's having a solid debate tonight. And the fact -- can kind of pull back and get back to that statesman on the senior Republican on the stage. Feeling again I think really helped him and he showed during the debate. And you'd actually see as you mention you can see a lot of -- a lot of sort of nods and smiles particularly -- -- -- as well as you as you would. I understand that -- up. -- -- -- About Michelle Bachmann because she did come out you know pretty policy a whole new Romney mantra was was quite interest in. Do you think that. You know there's so few people who can actually emerge victorious from Iowa dishing do what she has to do this it not there anymore. That as you know she stays concerted. She stays on her point and she stays pretty fearless in these debates. I struck actually -- something else that the question about payroll tax cut which. If it lapses would. Mean and ensure that most American working families have to pay an extra thousand dollars in taxes but she is. In favor of letting it lapse because she says doesn't work blows a hole in Social Security. And instead of backing away from that in trying to catch which came right into it and defended her position. As something that's untenable and its economic times as -- what kind of used to belong -- ended. Approach and instead she went straight Tennessee. -- she also didn't answer is try to -- those were for the extension Romney and Gingrich and Ron Paul as allies of President Obama. Which is of course you know and Republican primary pretty much just that. So do you think George -- anybody could say. Mission accomplished I mean it's interesting to -- we've seen the polls -- no -- Gingrich is ahead of Mitt Romney would not Mitt Romney and Ron Paul in a virtual. You know tied neck and neck but about two thirds according to -- times poll says. Those who plan to attend the Iowa Caucuses say they still haven't made up -- mine. Well for last night no question that -- mean Newt Gingrich had mission accomplished he he had has one more debate can now -- Iowa Caucuses 23 days ago. As Diane said and nothing happened last night. That would make it more that would stop his moment nothing we saw. Right now and I think he also. Effectively handle the questions on the mind of a lot of Iowa voters a question of his marriage is the way he talked about redemption I think. Certainly helped him last night I think Michelle Bachmann. Was mission accomplished last night we'll see if she's going to be able to comp. Capitalize on this new. Adding that new Romney. Attack and no one. What I guess with the exception of Ron who want to see this -- that plays -- I think really. Hurt themselves which have to watch now is see whether of the three. Bachmann Santorum and Perry. Which one of them really starts to galvanize. The conservative support can any one of them get enough support to jump into that top -- can run all. He's dead he's steady -- an eighteen to 20%. So -- -- you finally what was do you think the take away the most remaining moments you. -- vitality on the stage and we said at the beginning the marathon. Run and his two run president but I have to tell you. That's all they have great immune systems it is. That this somebody's coughing and hacking her way into the debate. Because they came out strapping they came out ready and they have been on the trail a long time and this is the end of this long winding road. Into January's. I think you can't always experience on television. Just the sheer physical vitality of all these -- -- there's a lot of energy in the room last night I think both -- and I we're surprised. It must've felt a little bit different television that it felt in the room. By held that the whole bad exchange -- call. -- you know Ali because in some ways you know governor Ronnie was just so aggressively that it seemed like it might have been. A strong moment when the 101000 dollars on line really. All right both -- you thank you very much indeed Georgian Diane fuel and make them.

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

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