Here are my final thoughts concerning tonight’s GOP debate on the economy at Dartmouth College which was sponsored by Bloomberg, The Washington Post and WBIN-TV in Derry, New Hampshire.
Jon Huntsman – He caught a bad case of the snarks when he questioned Mitt Romney. Otherwise he was non-descript.
Michele Bachmann – I thought she was quite good at the beginning of the debate when talking about Dodd-Frank. Her “devil in the details” quip about turning Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 upside down was cute but nothing more.
Rick Perry – He spent a great deal of time talking about energy and his energy seemed to improve as the debate went along. Perry didn’t hurt himself in this debate but I’m not sure he helped himself either.
Herman Cain – Naturally, with his surging poll numbers, he found himself under increased scrutiny and more than held his own under the fire from both his fellow candidates and the media.
Rick Santorum – As I noted earlier in the evening, snarky doesn’t sell. He did nothing to help his cause tonight.
Newt Gingrich – He turned in yet another fine performance and probably resonated with a relatively subdued audience more than any other candidate. Yet I’m not sure if Republicans are prepared to give him a second look.
Ron Paul – He’s afraid of Herman Cain. Very afraid.
Mitt Romney – He’s still the man to beat and did nothing to alter that perception.
But a week in politics is a lifetime and one week from today, the Republican candidates will convene for a debate in Las Vegas which will be covered by CNN.