Herman Cain did not perform in the debate as hoped or expected. He didn't make any huge mistakes. Rather, his constant reference to the 999 plan became first tedious and then comical. Substantively, the plan is a good idea, but without an alternative way to describe it, the name diminishes it.
Mitt Romney, as always, looked more presidential than most presidents (including this one). It is beginning to feel like a Romney nomination is inevitable. That wouldn't be so terrible but for the fact that if Romney is the nominee, Republicans take the Obamacare issue -- which inspired the creation of the Tea Party -- off the table. It will be gone.
Moreover, given Romney's experience at Bain, Democrats will portray him as the personification of Wall Street. It is not clear that Romney can or will defend himself from the #OccupyWallStreet kooks; contrast Romney's non-response to those demonstrations with Herman Cain's vigorous denouncement of the protests.
One odd moment of the debate: when the candidates were allowed to question each other, Romney used his opportunity to throw Michele Bachmann a soft-ball. It looked sort of chivalrous, sort of condescending. She was having a good debate, so why did Romney choose to help her? Maybe he is thinking about her as VP.
Newt had a good debate; whoever wins the nomination, if they are able to defeat Obama, should put Newt in the cabinet.
Rick Perry is finished. He doesn't appear to have the depth or intellect.
As for Huntsman and Santorum, can we please stop inviting these guys to debates? I am sick of Santorum whining that he hasn't had enough chance to speak. Both of these guys just annoy me. They are worse than brown-nosers -- they come across as the class snitches, oozing with sanctimoniousness.