I get the feeling this will be the popular takeaway, but I think Bachmann was the biggest surprise of the night and Cain the biggest disappointment.
Santorum and Romney had solid debates. Ron Paul was Ron Paul (bonus points for making a joke about the Fed at the end). Pawlenty was average to poor. No lasting damage, but he’ll need to do better.
UPDATE: Oh yeah, Newt. Of course Newt is competent enough on all these issues that he’s probably not going to embarrass himself too much. Though it was bizarre that he essentially gave a nakedly triangular (as it were) answer to a Medicare question. He might as well have said, “If I got that three-o-clock in the morning crisis call as president, I promise you here tonight that I would focus group the hell out of it before making a decision.”