Not going to be “live blogging” it, but will make some observations.

Your comments are welcome.

Update 8:40 p.m. – at the first break, I can’t say there are any clear winners or losers.  Romney is doing well, dealing with his “issues” without any real problem.   Perry is, as someone who has never really seen him before, okay; I can’t say great, but adequate.  Newt had the lines of the night so far, refusing to take Politico’s attempt to play Republican against Republican and declaring universal solidarity in the goal of removing Obama.  John Huntsman is a positive surprise, but it doesn’t matter.  Herman Cain is good as usual.  The moderators are not focusing on Bachmann, so she’s not getting the airtime and prominence of prior appearances.  Santorum, Perry didn’t appear to know his name, referred to him as “the prior individual.”  Did I leave anyone out?

Update 9:18:  Rick Perry stood fast on social security being a Ponzi scheme; that’s his position, and he’s sticking to it.  The context he said was promises made to young people that cannot be met unless there is reform.  Perry also took a shot (back) at Karl Rove, saying he’s not responsible for Rove anymore.  He was blunt throughout the night: ““For Obama to come to TX and say border is more secure than ever, either he has worst intel in history or he’s an abject liar.”  Newt was good, a glimpse of what he can be.  Romney was less of a presence, but no damage done.  The others were non-events.  BUT – Ron Paul fell off the rails saying a border fence may be used to keep people in.

Added:  How liberal.  MSNBC brought in a Hispanic journalist to ask quesitons about immigration, leading to what is the likely Tweet of the Night:

 Final Update:  Final segment was a bit tired.  So were the candidates.

All in all I think it was a good night for Romney, he came across as presidential, poised and conservative.  He was good on the Tea Party refusing to play the game of whether he was a Tea Party “member,” he said there is no card carrying involved but that he supports the goals of the Tea Party, smaller government and fiscal responsibility.

I don’t think it was a stellar night for Perry.  He was okay, but expectations were high, and I don’t think he met them.  I can see Romney decimating Obama in a debate; based on tonight’s performance Perry has a ways to go.  And just as I wrote those lines, he came in with a forceful defense of capital punishment — if you come into our state and kill our children or citizens, you will pay the ultimate price; his best of the night.

Newt was very good.  Forceful, on point, commanding.  Could he be the comeback kid?


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