Rand Paul in his return to the main stage for the first time in this campaign looked like a real statesmen. He repeatedly articulated his liberty message and didn't resort to shouting matches. Rand did really well in his performance and may have earned some relooks.
John Kasich consistently brought up his message of working together to get things done. A lot of what he said probably drifted beyond the interest of Iowa voters. I don't think he did anything that will move the needle for Monday.
Jeb Bush was able to go thru a debate without getting punked by Donald Trump. He didn't get cutoff by other candidates as he spoke and he talked about serious issues. I do think the odd back and forth he had with Marco Rubio did nothing at all to change the perception that he is a proponent of amnesty.
Chris Christie told us several times that his best qualification is that he happens to have been a Governor..of course there were two others on the stage with him tonight. Oh and I was shocked to find out tonight that he was in New York on 9/11....oh wait. Nevermind.
Dr. Carson was soft spoken and stumbled in his comments about national security though he clearly intends to confront Putin. He maintains high numbers in terms of voters having a positive impression of him yet he has floundered in the polling. I noticed that he didn't veer into religious areas much at all tonight. Without strong Evangelical support on Monday his campaign probably is over.
Marco Rubio did what he does. He looked into the camera and spoke about serious issues with serious answers. He came accross as solid strong on national defense but lost a lot of credibility in his answers regarding illegal immigration. I think that Jeb stabbed him pretty hard saying that he was guilty of having "cut and run" when his Gang of Eight bill proved unpopular with Republicans. Rubio could have really taken his campaign into surge mode tonight. I don't think he did that.
Ted Cruz was treated more like a front runner in this debate and the most notable moments came when he argued fairness issues with the moderators. He also stumbled when amnesty was brought up. Senator Cruz may have gone in with expectations extremely high for tonight and might be victim of an ordinary performance not being viewed as good enough.
So there we go.