Feisty and informative is how I would describe the latest GOP Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. There is no doubt that all seven contenders came out swinging and it wasn't necessarily against just one target.
As of now, it appears that Cain, Romney and Perry are the most viable with regards to the latest polling. As a result, they are the ones being attacked and they are the ones most focused on and getting the most attention.
So, it was no surprise that Cain was attacked for his 999 economic plan; Romney was again attacked on his involvement in Romneycare in Massachusetts and Perry was attacked on his policy as Governor of Texas to allow illegal aliens to a break on in state college tuition.
The ones not attacked, like Bachmann, Santorum. Paul and Gingrich tried to stay relevant by either piling on in the attacks or setting their policies apart from the others with minimum results.
Over the past year, GOP primary candidates have appeared at numerous debates in different forums and in different formats. One thing is for sure and that is there is great diversity in backgrounds, policy and demeanor among the GOP contenders for President and that is a good thing.
Now that these candidates have had the opportunity to be seen and heard, it will be necessary for them to show results in polling, fundraising and organization to stay credible. With the caucus and primary season beginning sooner rather than later and front loaded with battleground states being contested in January and February the field is likely to thin out pretty quick.
I believe Romney won the debate because he again showed a sure, steady performance and command on the economy. Perry tried to hard to score and came across as snippy and thin-skinned. Cain is certainly likeable but he lacks substance beyond the sound bite. Newt is certainly smart but his time has come and gone and he talks too much about the past when America is concerned about the future. The others are interesting but not interesting enough to catch fire and break out of the pack.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum.