He made a lot of good points, and did a really good job of looking like the adult in the room. To be honest, the only people who looked like they deserved a seat at the grown ups table were Romney and Huntsman (and maybe Santorum). Romney did a good, maybe great, job of differentiating himself and his positions from those of the other candidates. One of his strongest moments came when asked the same question about immigration right after Perry. He went so far as to move beyond the symptoms and problems created by unimpeded illegal immigration, and discussed (in some depth for such a brief debate) the base causes of this type of population flow. He mentioned specifically the ongoing love affair between employers and unskilled immigrant labor. A point that has been more picked up on publicly, was Romney's willingness to attack Perry. Prior to the debate Romeny's willingness to go on the offensive has long been discussed. Also, his plan of attack seems to be well calibrated, in so far as he knows where Perry is weak (social security) and willing to go after that weakness. All in all his responses seemed well thought out and reasoned (yet still aggressive) where Perry's were from the hip, and Huntsmans were congenial to the point of being non-partisan.
Romney won the debate. But he did so mostly by not losing. Much like the matador stepping out of the bull's path, he let Perry impale himself on his ideology. Hopefully *crosses fingers* this victory wont end up being pyrrhic. If we wants to lead, he's going to need to continue (and improve on) his current plan of going on the offensive.