I didn't watch the whole thing start to finish (had to work late today), but I caught bits of it. I can't eliminate my own personal bias from any analysis of the candidates, but I tried to evaluate who seemed to be performing well according to GOP voters as a whole. Obviously Rick Perry is the flavor of the month, a fact confirmed by the tactic of the rest of the field to give him the hardest time. No real surprises there. Perry's focus on economic arguments is at least germane to America's biggest problem at the moment, even if I reject his economic platform. I would imagine that tack will serve him well against his opponents unless the nation rebounds strongly in the next 6 months. However, for those fiscally conservative but socially progressive voters out there, this debate once again demonstrates the fact that the GOP considers a deep Christian-informed social conservatism to be a fundamental plank of the platform it's selling to voters. Bachmann and Santorum seem assigned to provide comic relief, while Gingrich and Cain appear to be extras hired to fill vacant podium slots. Ron Paul's comments about America's antagonism of the Muslim world provoking terrorism contained some important kernels of truth yet were loudly booed by the peanut gallery and condemned by the rest of the field. He and Huntsman's biggest weaknesses are an unwillingness to follow the current party line, and it seems destined to mark them as undesirables in the current political climate. The fact that liberals are likely to agree with one or two things Huntsman says all but dooms him. Romney still seems to have a reasonably good shot at the nomination, especially if Perry has any missteps. I can't see the rest of the field catching these two. Also, there seems to be no room here for Palin here. There is a long way to go yet though. Personally I think Cain, Gingrich, Paul and Huntsman are all very unlikely to go anywhere besides a possible VP nod. But any of the rest have a shot in the current political climate. It's still possible that the real extremists like Santorum or Bachmann could pull the nomination.