The early round of the debate is over, and the clear winner was Carly Fiorina. While they were all prepared, she shined. She was quick witted, articulate, and managed her time better than anyone else. She got in solid shots against both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. She closed solidly with an attack against Hillary Clinton and the progressives. Will she rise in the polls now? I'm not sure...but her performance certainly warrants a serious look.
I was left wondering why Pataki and Gilmore were there. They seemed like candidates who thought, "This is my last chance to try...why not?" Both sounded like average, uninspiring politicians.
Jindal and Perry put in passable performances. No major stumbles for them. Each chose the theme of "judge me by what I've done in my state." It works for both of them.
Santorum tried to present himself as an "outsider," but it didn't work. He was passionate and articulate, and seems to have the most solid plans of anyone, but he didn't come off as inspiring and didn't do anything to separate himself from the crowd.
Looking forward to the main debate. They should have done a wild card slot where viewers could have chosen one candidate from the first stage to move on. It would have been Carly Fiorina by a longshot.