I watched the presidential debates last night , including the GOP portion as part of my "know your enemy" approach to politics. I am not going to say who won or lost any of the debates because in many ways they seemed to be a draw. However, Romney took a real pounding and deservedly so, and Huckabee clearly came across as the GOP candidate who is the best speaker and outwardly the most relaxed (the two may be interrelated). Of course, part of Huckabee's relaxed state may be due to his belief that God is intervening on his behalf since God wants him to be president.
On the Democrat side, I think Hillary failed to do any real damage to Obama and came just shy of looking peevish a couple of times - something that will not help her image issue on likability. Edwards definitely came across as impassioned and in a number of ways was supportive of Obama's position. Obama seemed to manage to fend off Hillary's attacks, so it will be interesting to see what the next round of polls shows.
One big factor working behind the scenes that was noted by the Democrat candidates and also in the Daily Kos (http://www.dailykos.com/) is the difference in tone between the GOP candidates for the most part and those for the Dems. The negative versus positive feeling coming from the two groups is markedly obvious. Likewise is the GOP's failure to recognize issues that are truly important to everyday Americans. Moreover, a Kos noted:
[T]he GOP has people who alienate Latinos and minorities, and treat 9/11 as a vehicle for personal gain. We have campaigns that bring out new people to vote. I think I'd rather be on our team than their team. And I think we're about to see that America would, too.
The 2-1 turnout for the Democratic caucuses in Iowa seems to lend credence to this concept. Hopefully, the GOP will continue to be oblivious to the concerns of most Americans and remain focused on the check list provided mostly by the party's lunatic Christianist base.