Just to get it out of the way, CNN's use of the John Adams soundtrack to introduce the debate was kind of cool. Just saying.
As far as candidate substance goes, however, my positions have scarcely changed:
Romney: I thought he came off a tad irritable. I didn't really hear anything new out of him, but he remains the "safe" choice for habitual Republican voters, despite not being the tried and true conservative the core of the party is looking for.
Perry: I thought Perry did rather well, but his handling of the Merck-Gardasil connection came off a bit odd. I'm left wondering how that line is going to be used in campaign commercials. He did what a frontrunner has to do, which is to not commit any collossal foul-ups. My reservations about Texas fatigue remain, however.
Paul: As usual, a few open market operations short of a central bank-induced financial crisis.
Gingrich: Sure, he's not going to win, but he's fun to watch for the sole purpose of watching him kick debate moderators all over the place. Gingrich does a better job than anyone I've ever seen of not letting the media hijack the campaign and control the narrative.
Bachmann: Really starting to test my patience. I don't know why, but I always seem to sense that she doesn't really believe a lot of what she says. What really bugs me is that she defines "unconstitutional" as "anything I don't like." I'm not familiar with the nuances of state constitutions, but her statement that a mandate from any level of government, state or federal, is unconstitutional strikes me as odd. I get opposition to a federal mandate, but wouldn't the constitutionality of a state-mandate depend on that state's constitution? Being bad policy or contrary to conservative values does make something unconstitutional.
Huntsman: I can't believe I'm even mentioning him. He didn't really get a chance to shine, and his "treasonous" slam against Perry sank like a rock.
Santorum: His sole utility as near as I can see is to smack around Ron Paul, who, in every discussion of foreign policy seems a couple of steps removed from railing against the Trilateral Commission and the Freemasons.
Cain: I can't recall anything particularly interesting he had to say, but I would appreciate a sense of humor in the White House.
What I can say about the field as a whole is that excepting perhaps Huntsman, this crop of GOP candidates is doing a significantly better job of knocking the media around rather than letting them frame the debate.