Ok, first, the debate was way toooooooooo long.
I personally feel that Perry did better. I am not sure that is a popular belief though. He still did some damage to himself tonight with his answers on in-state tuition and immigration. I feel that as a governor of a border state his view is different from others. He has a very long border with Mexico and the economy of his state is very intertwined with immigrants be it legal or illegal. I do not agree with in-state tuition for illegals. Is it a deal breaker? Not really because that is not a federal issue, that is a state issue. So as president it wouldn't have anything to do with him. I also do agree with him that the policies that will lead to fixing our porous borders have to be done on the federal level and will require boots on the ground.
Newt is a smart man and a good debater. But I do feel this was his weakest performance yet. He could potentially be a good VP candidate. Can you imagine him debating Joe Biden? That would be classic.
Michele Bachmann did a better job with her answer on Gardasil this time around, but too little too late. She did nothing to help herself today and her candidacy will not lead to the nomination. She does look fabulous in red though.
Ron Paul did a very good job tonight. I agree with him on many fiscal issues and the rights of the states. He didn't answer many questions on foreign policy so that is a help with many in the republican gop base, as that is where he loses much of his support.
Rick Santorum is another very good debater. He also would make a strong VP candidate. But he did nothing that will bring him to the upper tier of candidates.
I was happy to see that Fox decided to include Gary Johnson. I have felt is was very unfair to include Huntsman and leave out Johnson. He did nothing to help himself. He will fade into oblivion after Iowa, if he makes that far.
Romney again proved that he can debate on the issues. I don't like his answers on Romneycare, mainly because they are not even truthful. To me he really hurt himself with the GOP base by going back to his answer about an executive order to give waivers on Obamacare. That will not solve the problem. It must be repealed on the legislative level otherwise the feds will still be required by law to fund it. But part of his plan in these debates is to do no harm, and he did accomplish that.
Huntsman gave some good answers, but he does stray from conservative principles and that is a deal breaker for me. But he held his own tonight.
Hands down the winner of tonight's debate was Herman Cain. He sharpened his answers, he has done his due diligence on the issues and his 9-9-9 plan is something that I could get behind. I don't like everything about it, but it is a start. He will get more people to notice him and will more than likely drive some cash flow to his campaign. He is a likable man and has a compelling and very human life story. General election voters like that. I looked up the stats on the blog and see that some hits have come in where he stands on the issues, so he did himself some good tonight. I personally believe that the best he can hope for is the VP slot and I do believe that he would fill that role well. I firmly believe that the job of the VP during a general election campaign is to be the attack dog, and he will do that very well. He is an articulate man who can draw a crowd in. I have seen him speak three or four different times and it is something to watch live.