Starting with Justin L at Blog4Brains:
Most of the candidates were for militarism/aggressive foreign policy, and definitely very afraid of being too harsh on Bush... I was very surprised and a little worried about how they tip-toed around the Bush administration, even going as far as hesitating about Karl Rove, as if they didn’t want to speak out against another fellow Republican even though they need to separate themselves from the current administration.
Politcal Realm also analyzes the debate. PR leads with:
Much like the Democratic debate last week, the candidates preferred to make safe statements and avoid confrontation, leaving no clear victor. As we suggested, Ronald Reagan's name was invoked early and often--at least nineteen times directly--typically in broad fashion. Chris Matthews did a better job than Brian Williams did to follow questions and keep the candidates on topic, though his Bill Clinton question at the end was out of place.
TomCat at Politics Plus riffs:
If there was a winner, I would say that Mitt Romney appeared most Presidential in his bearing. If there was a loser, I would say that Rudy Giuliani appeared indecisive and weak. John McCain presented himself well but I think by hitching his star to Bush's war for oil and conquest, he defeated himself before he began.
So I watched the Republican debate last night and was, of course, sadly disappointed by the bunch on stage. Apparently, I was not alone. According to the MSNBC interactive, this is how they did:
With 18,518 voting:
Brownback 49% negative, 41% neutral, 10% positive.
Gilmore 45% negative, 47% neutral, 8% positive.
Giuliani 46% negative, 33% neutral, 21% positive.
Huckabee 39% negative, 45% neutral, 16% positive.
Hunter 46% negative, 45% neutral, 9% positive.
McCain 47% negative, 35% neutral, 18% positive.
Paul 27% negative, 32% neutral, 41% positive.
Romney 37% negative, 31% neutral, 32% positive.
Tancredo 48% negative, 41% neutral, 11% positive.
Thompson 48% negative, 42% neutral, 10% positive.
Wow, that's downright fugly. I'm starting to think I'm glad I missed it.