Reagan Library Debate lightning summary...
Showed well: Cain, Gingrich, Santorum
Even performance: Bachmann, Romney, Huntsman
Showed poorly: Perry
Impossible to judge: Paul
People don't simply look at presidential candidates for their answers to questions alone, they also look for intangibles such as demeanor, poise, charm and sense of humor under fire, and substance-conviction. While I thought Perry did poorly he exudes more natural leadership than the rest of them. But it may not be enough to offset his often halting responses. Maybe he'll do better on his next one (it was his first).
Paul was Paul. He went off the edge earlier on Fox News in response to roving reporter Jesse Waters' question about Iran and nukes--Paul essentially said they wouldn't want nukes anymore if he were elected because America no longer be the evil imperialists causing all the problems. Then he doubled down during the debate by stammering out that a border fence might keep Americans "in" instead of just keeping all the scary illegals out. Is he trying to win or not?!
Then in typical Paul fashion he aced the Williams' condescending loaded question on school lunches by drilling it down to the state level, which puts the onus of providing the free lunch on local taxpayers instead of a massive federal bloatocracy, while reprimanding the journoadvocate for impugning the humanity of conservatives for being conservative. Here here! Paul is definitely the most entertaining of the lot due to his stark honesty, which is his downfall.
So it appears Romney won by default, with Cain and Huntsman elevating their status as potential VP candidates (if Rubio passes). All in all still a little stale. But just imagine this debate with Palin and the fat man added. C'mon, you know you want it!