Philip Klein‘s latest Washington Examiner “Beltway Confidential” contribution declares “none of the above” to be the winner of the latest Republican presidential debate.

Mitt Romney was his usual smooth self, but he also hurt himself by going too hard against Perry on Social Security, accusing him of scaring seniors by accurately describing the program as a Ponzi scheme. Romney also dug in on his irreconcilable position on health care. On the one hand, he said “I’m happy to stand up for what I did,” yet on the other hand, he said that what he did in Massachusetts isn’t really relevant, because he’s running for president, not governor.

Perry, meanwhile, missed chances in both of these exchanges. While he came off better from the conservative perspective, he said that candidates needed to have the courage to present ideas for changing Social Security, even though he himself hasn’t backed up his talk with a plan. On health care, he made the same mistake as Tim Pawlenty, by citing President Obama to back up the claim that the Massachusetts plan was the inspiration for the national health care law, which gave Romney the easy response — that we shouldn’t trust anything Obama says. Perry would have been better off explaining how they’re the same.