Here’s one assessment with various comments. Romney’s policy expertise and executive experience were displayed to good effect, although he still hasn’t quite figured out to make health care an effective sound bite. Thompson seemed funny. folksy, tough, engaged, and alive. And, as Rob Jeffrey says below, he’s the only candidate to have taken on the Department of Education. MAYBE Mitt and Fred are both beginning to roll, although Fred, in particular, has to really turn up the heat now. Huck, for once, didn’t help himself; he seemed less authentic as he shied away from risk and wit. McCain seemed tired and disabled by the moderator’s strange decision to take Iraq and immigration off the table. John can’t afford not to occupy center stage at this point, and he didn’t seem presidential. Giuliani, the incredible shrinking candidate, shrank some more. Overall, the event was unexciting but not demeaning, and all of the real contenders seems competent enough. Its significance is in terms of what might be coming in the last few weeks of the unpredictable Iowa campaign.