The great first debate is over and it seems that the two issues that got the most attention from the many people I was watching on Twitter was Perry's responses on Social Security and the death penalty. Perry stuck to his description of Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme" and technically, he's right. If there are no major changes to the program the people who are starting their careers today...in other words, the people at the bottom of the pyramid...will never see their money when retirement comes. The system is unsustainable and requires dramatic changes.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, defended Social Security and thinks it can be fixed with relatively simple tweaks. That's the very definition of an establishment candidate who is more concerned with getting elected than fixing the problem. Philip Klein has a recap of that issue in the debate here.
The other issue was Perry's defense of the Texas execution record. The crowd actually applauded the Texas execution rate which made many a lefty fill his drawers, based on my Twitter feed. Brian Williams asked Perry the dumb question of the night: "How do you sleep at night?"
My guess is, just fine, thanks. What Williams and the other lefties suffering the vapors seem to forget is that by the time a case gets to the governor for final review the suspect has already been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt the a court and jury of his peers. On top of that the case has gone through multiple appeals, often lasting years. It's not Perry's job to determine guilt or innocence, it's his job to see if there might have been any major issues missed by the lower courts. Absent that, there's no reason for Perry to interfere with the will of the court.
We already know the lefties will hate Perry, so none of tonight's answers will change any of that. I think his decisiveness in the debate is going to resonate with a lot of Republicans. I expect his poll numbers to rise, Mitt's to dip, and everyone else's to tank completely.