My quick thoughts before I get back on radio (you can listen and call in):1. Where has this Rick Perry been? Finally, the guy showed up with unscripted, from the gut answers. The few scripted answers fell flat (see e.g. Jeffres). The rest were good. He’s not the best debater. But he certainly did not lose that debate.2. Rick Santorum is too angry to be President and came across as a jerk to everyone. Rick Santorum conveniently forgot to mention he got his butt kicked in Pennsylvania, was not a fiscal conservative, and endorsed Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey.3. This debate hurts Mitt Romney more than anyone else. Why? Because the candidates started piling on him. A lot of polling seemed to indicate that voters were getting ready to settle. This pile on and the Newt-Santorum-Cain-Perry pile on of Romney “lying” will keep voters from settling for him. He got flustered tonight for the first time. Perry got under his skin. I don’t know where so many enthusiastic Romney supporters came from, but though he was cheered on stage by the crowd, he was clearly flustered.4. As the candidates were piling on Romney for Romneycare, Captain Stubing . . . er . . . Michele Bachmann . . . interjected and totally shut down that line of attack. Was she returning the favor for Mitt’s lifeline at the last debate?5. Herman Cain continues to shine as the great optimist. He stayed upbeat with a sense of humor. But this debate showed his serious weak point — foreign policy. He is going to have to seriously, seriously beef up by the next CNN debate, which will be a foreign policy debate.6. Newt Gingrich, hands down, won the debate. He was confrontational, but polite. He was good on faith issues. He really hit every answer out of the park, though nuclear power is his and everyone else’s ethanol.I suspect Perry saved himself tonight. Gingrich will go up a bit, probably drawn from some Cain votes. Romney will stagnate. Santorum and Bachmann will go down. Paul will hold steady.
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