Last night I postponed plans to see There Will Be Blood after figuring I could get my Gothic violence fix for free by watching the Republican debate. Alas, as Noam pointed out, the thing was a bubble bath. Just a couple stray thoughts to add:   

--I'm abandoning my counterintuitive predictions that Rudy will surprise people in Florida and become a player in the race again. The handwriting was already on the wall in the form of polls. But I couldn't believe how subdued and fatalistic the man is. I guess Rudy's decided it's not worth furthering curdling his reputation by going down ugly.

--Again, Romney seems to have a knack for sounding out of touch. Consider this quote about natural disaster insurance:

We had the problem not just in Florida, but we also had the problem in Massachusetts. Those poor folks that are snow birds, that go from Massachusetts to Florida, see it in both states, because people who live along the coastline across the Atlantic have the same problem. Getting homeowner's insurance is oftentimes almost impossible.

Poor folks? My understanding of the term "snow birds" is that it generally applies to Northerners who spend winter months in their second home down south. Those folks aren't poor and most regular people probably don't feel too sorry about their insurance headaches.

--My favorite moment: When international-finance obsessive Ron Paul challenged John McCain to supply his opinion of "the president's working group on financial markets." It was plain from McCain's furrowed brow that he had no idea what Paul was talking about, and he proceeded to stammer through a long non-answer. Paul tried to follow up but the man is just too timid to do such a thing successfully.

--One more thought about Rudy: He looked horrible. The process seems to have taken a real toll on him. Did anyone else notice the bizarre teeth-baring chipmunk face he kept making? 

--Michael Crowley