I put "debate" in quotes because this was more like a well-mannered talk show with two guests. Archived video on this site. Here's the significant point:
This was the first GOP debate of the four million we've had so far where the real winner was not Barack Obama. All the preceding debates have highlighted the very elements the Republican party would not like to bring into the general-election campaign: Fractiousness among the candidates; extreme, half-baked ("9-9-9"), or under-informed positions from many of them; sound-bite sloganeering from all of them; and barely any time to make a concerted case against Obama apart from saying that he's awful.
This time there were two informed-sounding adults talking in complete thought-sequences -- even to the point of dullness, which is not bad compared to the preceding craziness. And they offered thoughts that they simply could not have developed, or that would have been batted away with slogans, in the "normal" crowded-house debate with its 30- or 60-second segments. For instance, both of them explained why the defense budget really had to go down. Or the realities of what can be expected with Pakistan and Afghanistan. The ways in which China is both rival and partner, etc. Because they both knew they'd be able to make their points, there wasn't the desperation for air time that had made performers in all the other debates act as if they have to blurt out their attack-lines and applause-points whenever they have a chance.