Tonight's debate in New Hampshire was very important for some of the candidates, for different reasons. It was important for Governor Rick Perry, as this was probably his last chance to bring himself back up to frontrunner status. It was important for Mitt Romney to keep his frontrunner status. It was important for Herman Cain to prove that he has the intellect and knowledge to be able to govern a nation with no prior experience in governing anything. For the rest of the candidates, well...I think this was truly their last chance at getting anywhere. Some succeeded in that, and others did not. Here is how I viewed each candidate's performance, going from who I believe did the best, and ending with who I believe did the poorest.
#2: Rick Santorum. His last answer in the debate put him in second place for me. His answer about the reason for a struggling economy being a result of the family structure being destroyed was spot on, and I believe he deserves more credit for it than he will actually receive. The truth, when you look at the numbers, is that families with two parents do better than families with one (in some cases, this is unpreventable. What he meant was, marriage needs to once again become the definition of family). Mr. Santorum did not receive much talking time prior to this answer in the debate. As has been proven, though, one solid answer can be the difference between a mediocre debate performance and a stellar one.
#3: Rick Perry. The Texas governor was in comfortable territory tonight: Talking about economy and job creation. Since Texas is number one in job creation, I believe Perry had a good chance of doing very well, and he did not disappoint. He is not a "Mitt Romney debater", meaning that he does not come across right away as poised, polished, and sometimes, arrogant, but rather, he states what he means in a way that is easy to understand. I do believe that the governor helped himself tonight; whether it was enough to bring him back into the lead is yet to be seen. I do think, though, that he did do enough to at least regain co-frontrunner status with Mitt Romney. Overall, I thought Gov. Perry improved immensely since the last debate and that he did a great job of reassuring the American people that he is very well qualified to be our next President. My tip for the governor: Go on every talk show you can. Get yourself straight to the American people without seven other people, plus a couple moderators, just itching to make your words seem meaningless. Talk straight to the people about what is of concern to them, and show them that you have a proven record of leading with successful results.
#4: Michele Bachmann. I think the Congresswoman did very well tonight. She answered her questions thoroughly and gave detailed answers, something that is not always easy to do. There was nothing that really stood out about her performance, however. I believe that, sadly, her campaign has gone downhill and cannot recover. I did like how she went after Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan, since there are flaws with it that no one had seemed to address until then. Overall, nothing very spectacular about Congresswoman Bachmann's performance tonight.
#5: Mitt Romney. This man is definitely a very well-poised and polished debater. He knows what he is talking about and he knows how to say it. However, in tonight's debate, he avoided quite a few of the questions directed his way. When asked by Herman Cain, for example, if he could name all 59 points in his proposed jobs plan? He did not answer, meaning no, but instead took the opportunity to talk about how great his plan is. The problem is, by publishing a 59 point plan, a majority of people will not actually read the whole thing. Mitt Romney is a very smart man, who I am sure has brilliant ideas for this country, but I believe he has too many flaws to actually be the president we need in 2012. He is very moderate on many of his opinions, and his RomneyCare/ObamaCare issue continues to elevate. Many times in the debate tonight, the former governor appeared very weak and afraid during his answers.
#6: Herman Cain. Honestly, some of the businessman's facts tonight were not straight. How can he just, outright, say that the Washington Post Government findings are false? He never looked at them. Since they were negative toward the chances of his 9-9-9 plan succeeding, they were immediately false. Also, he did say the federal reserve did not need to be audited, and tonight he claimed to have never said that. His 9-9-9 tax plan does have flaws that need to be considered. Every plan will, but when a plan is proposed by someone with a position such as Mr. Cain has right now, it should be looked into more thoroughly. I believe that now that his 9-9-9 plan is receiving criticism, and people see that it may not work, he will begin to drop in the polls again. He will remain a leader, but he will not be a frontrunner. That is my personal opinion of what will happen.
#7: Ron Paul. I think this is a first for me; not putting the Congressman in last place. His debate performance can be summed up for me in one sentence: get government out of everything. Which really means: everything would be even more chaotic than it is right now.