Rich Galen

Huntsman - PRE: Got off to a shaky start and hasn't altered the trajectory of his campaign since. This is the first "big" event since his announcement and he has to show potential donors and supporters he is up to this. His laid-back style might work, but being Perry Como on a stage with the Rolling Stones will present difficulties for him to show his stuff.

POST: Answered the questions easily, but without passion. Move over, Mr. Como.

Cain - He must be better prepared for this debate than he was for NH when he had no clue how to answer a question about Afghanistan and berated Muslims at every opportunity. He must present himself to be more than an interesting anomaly - a Republican, Black, businessman.

POST: He was more engaging and more at ease than he was in the previous debate, but didn't convince me he knows enough about public policy to be a serious candidate.

Gingrich - PRE: What can you say? He's bumping along in the polls in single digits. His campaign didn't have enough money to pay to join the straw poll ballot. He has nothing to lose and little to gain.

POST: Lost his temper over a question about the state of his campaign, but Gingrich is smart and proved he knows how the Congress works better than anyone else on the stage.

Santorum - PRE: There isn't much he can do to either improve his position from being in the shallow end of the poll pool and, because he's at three or four percent, there isn't much downside risk. He's on the stage and that should be enough for him because he's not going anywhere in this campaign.

POST: He was on the stage, but was more-or-less the invisible man. Not his fault, but he simply doesn't have the standing to compete at this level.

Paul - PRE: Say what you will about Ron Paul, but he has a core of supporters who are extremely (used advisedly) loyal to him. He will repeat his well-worn positions without being smug and without being shy. I look for him to finish in the top three on Saturday.

POST: Had the most vocal supporters who lustily cheered every answer. He is a compelling debater and knows his stuff, but he should be a radio show host on Radio Free Libertarians, not President of the United States.


Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at Mullings.com.