Monday’s GOP candidates’ debate was of a different sort. No mudslinging was found inside the GOP ring, only a lot of good debate and one big announcement.

Mitt Romney is the early favorite for the GOP nomination in the coming presidential race. He made quick statements regarding President Obama, stating simply that anyone currently running for office would be a “better chief executive” than the current one. He remained fast on his criticism of the bailout of the Michigan auto industry and of the federal deficit. Interestingly, he was not asked to explain his association with Obamacare, since Tim Pawlenty declined and opportunity to slam him about “Obamneycare.”

Tim Pawlenty spent much of the night off his game and struggling to figure out how to make a move toward Romney’s coveted frontrunner position. After failing to point out his opponent’s weakness, Pawlenty spent the rest of the night clamoring to get the audience’s approval.

Newt Gingrich also made an appearance at the New Hampshire debate. He spent much of the evening trying to convince the audience that he is intelligent and indispensable. Gingrich tried to explain that he had been taken out of context concerning his criticism of the Paul Ryan Medicare Plan but reiterated nearly the same position at the same time.

Ron Paul took his normal staunch position. When asked about his opinion of the military’s involvement overseas, he gave his rendition that clearly stated he is against it. The same opinion was expressed concerning the certification of legal marriages by the government.

Rick Santorum appeared nervous as he approached the debate with a warmer, more conservative approach to values and exceptionalism. He seemed to stammer through simple questions and like Pawlenty, refused an opportunity to slam Romney. Instead of speaking against Romney’s flip-flop abortion views, he chose to give a discourse on the authenticity of candidates.

Herman Cain came through the debate uneasy. He appeared unprepared and shaken. Jon Huntsman, on the other hand, proved that even a fringe candidate can make a strong showing.

The biggest announcement of the night, however, came from the Tea Party favorite Michelle Bachmann. It was here, at the New Hampshire GOP debate, that Bachmann announced her official run for the candidacy. The Minnesota congresswoman wooed the crown as usual and then surprised the entire panel with the announcement that she is now in the running.

Romney is still the forerunner of the GOP candidacy. However, it appears that Bachmann and Huntsman are close behind. After her announcement, Bachmann has been considered a serious contender for Iowa, while Huntsman may be able to push himself up to Bachmann’s level. For now, though, they are both still chasing Romney.