I agree with David Yepsen, Fred Thompson surprised me most with his performance today. He was funny, and, for once, his terseness actually worked. If today were my first encounter with this political cycle, I would assume he was a front runner.

A few other debate thoughts:

--Huckabee is notoriously Thompson-esque in his debate prep, eschewing the briefing books and pre-game discussion of strategy. But I thought he seemed pretty well prepped today. Unlike his colleagues, he seemed to understand that he was attempting to sway an audience in Iowa. He acutally mentoned agriculture, for instance, a subject that others incredibly ommitted.

--Alan Keyes helps Huckabee with non-social consersatives. If you were a Republican worried about Huckabee's Christianist tendancies, the man looked as centrist and sober as Sam Nunn standing next to that nutter.

--Frank Foer