Rudy: He’s now consistently excelling in the debates, and was particularly strong on education.
Romney: Almost as steady as Rudy. He had a target on his back during the health care section, and ably defended himself.
McCain: Started slow, but improved as the night went on. A couple of great lines (being tied up during Woodstock, seeing “K-G-B” in Putin’s eyes).
Thompson: Started strong, but slowed down as the night went on. Did well overall, though.
Huckabee: Solid performance. Going after the moderator for turning the candidates against each other was cheap (that’s the moderator’s job!), but probably effective.
Paul: He’s improving — maybe gaining confidence from the money? — and seems slightly less out of place on the stage. He’s starting to let his foreign policy serve as a background for his philosophy rather than the centerpiece of it, and many of his comments are starting to connect outside of his sycophantic base. I don’t know how much electoral impact that will translate to, but worth noting nonetheless.
Tancredo and Hunter: Who?