CNN did a terrible job with this debate. With so many candidates, it would have worked much better with one or two moderators. Instead we had to listen to simplistic questions from the audience, and we rarely got most of the candidates to answer the same question.
I didn’t agree with hardly anything that was said by the candidates, but most of them did fine for the first debate. Tim Pawlenty, however, looked weak as usual when he passed on the opportunity to slam Romney on health care. I just don’t think he has what it takes to survive the primaries.
Mitt Romney did fine, but nobody really challenged him tonight, so we’ll see how he does if Rudy Giuliani enters the race. Giuliani will hammer him. Romney also talked in circles about the auto bailout.
I was surprised by Michele Bachmann. Again, I don’t agree with anything she says, but she was very comfortable onstage and she handled herself well. This is terrible news for Pawlenty who is trying to get some of the evangelical vote, and so it’s also good news for Romney, who would love to have Bachmann draw the evangelical vote from more viable candidates.
Herman Cain was very erratic, so we’ll see if the Tea Party crowd remains impressed with him.