The test of a debate is what is fixated in people’s heads. Those moments will be, almost certainly, the attacks on Mitt Romney.

John McCain just needed to tread water. Not only did he do that, but he looked dignified except for, perhaps, going a little too far on poking Romney once.

Fred Thompson ended up sounding like the conservative voice on the stage. If McCain wins on Tuesday, conservatives are going to need some place to go. Fred will compete for that. His goal tonight was to be that voice. He accomplished.

Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee sounded fine.

Romney cratered.

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