With only a few days left until the South Carolina primary, front-runner Mitt Romney took hits from the four other remaining GOP presidential hopefuls but generally stayed composed in Monday's debate.
Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, is slightly ahead of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in South Carolina, after Romney took New Hampshire and won by an eight-vote margin in Iowa.
Addressing a range of issues, both men defended the United States' right to seek out terrorists who attack us, wherever they may hide.
But while he may not wrest the lead from Romney, Gingrich had the more commanding performance, particularly in stating his views on the importance of young people learning the value of work. He recalled how his daughter first earned money by cleaning a church in Carrollton, Ga.
"She liked earning the money. She liked learning that if you worked you got paid. She liked being in charge of her own money. And she thought it was a good start," he said.
He added, to a standing ovation: "I believe every American of every background has been endowed by their creator with the right to pursue happiness, and if that makes liberals unhappy, I am going to continue to find ways to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn how to get a better job and learn someday to own the job."
Romney, meanwhile, didn't hit many home runs in the debate, but he didn't make major gaffes, either.
If he can cling to his lead and win South Carolina, it is likely he'll sow up the nomination and face President Barack Obama in November.