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This was the best debate so far. The questions were respectful, stuck to the issues, and allowed each candidate a fair amount of time. I don't see any major changes happening in the next round of polls, but some candidates helped themselves and some didn't. Here is how I see the results in rank order:

1. Marco Rubio - was not dominant but stayed on message and avoided any controversy. He was perhaps a bit too canned at times, but he is eloquent and youthful in a way that works for him. He is always able to introduce his story in a way that seems to connect. He spoke eloquently about disruption and innovation about needing more welders and less philosophers, and American military power. He weathered an attack on runaway spending by Rand Paul quite well. He won.

2. Carly Fiorina - was back to her strong and forceful style. She was able to parlay her experience as a business leader and a thought leader to show credibly that she can negotiate with other world leaders and be tough when she needs to be. She elucidated her 5-Point Plan and was clear that she can be an heir to the outsider vote ("crony capitalism"). She took the lead on why America is the necessary nation on the world stage.

3. John Kasich - was able to explain his experience, his success in DC and Ohio, and for being a compassionate conservative. He also carved out a role for himself as an adult, particularly on illegal immigration. I am not sure he gets a poll bump, but he could be the last moderate standing.

4. Rand Paul - got back into the fray by being the "Ron Paul Conservative" that had lain dormant in the past two debates. He is the libertarian, lest you forget, and he took it to Rubio and Cruz about military spending.

5. Ted Cruz - I think he was missing in action. When he was in the fray he was perhaps a bit too shrill. But raising the gold standard and abolishing not just agencies but whole departments was a bit unreal.

6. Jeb Bush - was better than before but did nothing to really break through. He just is not able to leverage his experience as a successful conservative governor. One reason could be that his just laid back in a forum that rewards entertainment. But the other reason is the baggage he carries as the scion of a family who may have already had one President too many.

The debates are really not relevant to either of the current frontrunners. I think they will still probably be leading next week, too. Donald Trump did not do any harm to himself - though his one-liners are tiresome. Ben Carson had a few funny one-liners ("Thanks for not asking me about what I said in the 10th grade".) - but not really giving any sense that he is prepared to be the next President. What appears on the surface to be a humble sensibility is also a tilt of his eyelids to the left. Is he betraying the fact that he really understands what he is doing up there.

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