I wanted to get my thoughts out before others have a chance to influence my perception: As I was watching late last night the debate i was impressed that each candidate was very well prepared, very confident, and answered the questions directly, and quickly. I watch most debates and can usually form an opinion about a winner or loser. I was having a hard time finding much to criticize. in the performances.
Last nights debate was an interesting set up. (except for the stupid deep dish pizza questions)..I rather liked the format. I missed the first few minutes..but it seemed the questions came quickly and from all over the audiences and media personalities. It also seemed the candidates didn't always know when questions were coming at them...and yet they answered directly, quickly and ably. (Just picture Prez Obama having to come up with answers in that rapid fire type situation..he'd be so busy hemming and hawing and um er um er). I have to say I think each of them did extremely well and I could see any of them as the nominee.
Who won?? Romney won; easily. Romney won by not losing, at this point he's put in front by nearly 20 points over any other declared candidate, he had few great lines, my favorite dealt with Prez. Obama never called him about RomneyCare where he would've told him what worked, and what did not. . Most surprising? Michelle Bachmann, (also best dressed!!) Classy, unwavering, unapologetic. Gingrich needed a great performance to save his dead campaign..and I think he handled himself with confidence..but I still think he's toast. T. Paw really needed to have a great night to break out of the "also ran" pack and while he was competent..he was not stellar, and he biffed the chance to go at Romney..thus granting Romney the "Win", Pawlenty is trying to be the Right winger and he is finding himself dividing the "right" amoung himself, Bachmann, Paul, Palin and even Cain. Santorum was solid, and non-apologetic in his social stances but I still don't see how he can break through. This brings us to Herman Cain...confident, competent and even exciting..but not enough to break over the top. (See the notes above re: T.Paw). Once we know Palin is out for sure, (I am sure), and we figure out if Rick Perry is in or not (50/50)..it'll continue to be Romney in the lead..and as long as he has no gaffes or obvious flip-flops. He will remain the prohibitive front runner. He might win the Ames Straw poll and not even have to attend!