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 More on Thursday,

1. Romney beat down Perry every time they clashed. But Romney’s evident dislike of, and contempt for, Perry was unattractive (I think.) Romney came out on top despite fierce criticism - though he got some dings. He isn’t my guy. My guys aren’t running, but he is playing at a level above the rest.

2. Cain had a particular kind of bad night. It was like the first debate Perry was in. The crowd really wanted to like him, but as time went on, you could almost feel Perry fading as he failed to answer attacks well. That debate didn’t kill him, but it weakened him somewhat and it exposed vulnerabilities that the other candidates exploited later on. Cain had nothing on 9-9-9. Whenever the other candidates talked about how the two consumption taxes and the flat income tax would increase taxes on the middle-class and working poor, Cain would just talk about how his analysis was different from that of independent observers and common sense. His defense seems to be that the 9-9-9 plan is so simple and transparent that Cain and Cain’s economic team are the only people on Earth who understand how it impacts anybody, so don’t worry your pretty little head if it looks like a tax increase.

His answers on releasing all the prisoners from Guantanamo in exchange for one hostage was a mess. Not because it was wrong, but because he came across as so clueless and disingenuous. He claimed that he didn’t understand it was al Qaeda that was demanding the release of the prisoners in return for the release of an American hostage. So did he think it was the Girl Scouts or those guys from DIE HARD demanding the release of the al Qaeda prisoners? And if it was some other group, why does that suddenly make releasing those prisoners okay? First he would have considered releasing those prisoners. Now he doesn’t negotiate with terrorists. All this just creates the impression that Cain is full of it.

3. Santorum really lacks emotional control.

4. Minus one exchange with Romney, Gingrich was really good. Do you know how hard it is to write that? Gingrich could be the next candidate to catch fire.  I think Santorum is a better and more serious guy (though not as bright), so I think that would be bad for the country.

5.  Bachmann has become a parody of herself.

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