They had to do well in Iowa and they did. Mitt Romney had a better debate performance than this past Saturday. The software upgrade must have worked. Newt Gingrich held his own.But Michele Bachmann got to Newt. She got the better of him on the issue of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and he treated her so dismissively on the issue of abortion I expect it to really hurt him more with women.Rick Perry has shown tremendous improvement. He got few questions, but each question he got he took the opportunity to hit a home run. His campaign has to be pleased. There is real momentum on the ground for Rick Perry. His polling has trended up and the buzz in Iowa has been growing more and more positive to him. In this, the last debate before Iowa goes to vote, Perry did everything he needed to do to be a real contender. His answers on the 10th Amendment and attacks on Obama and his call for a part time Congress resonated.Newt Gingrich continues to be strong in foreign policy. His two major vulnerabilities are Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae and the individual mandate. I continue to be amazed at how poorly he handles those answers.Mitt Romney performed well. But he continues to have little humor with handling his flip-flops, which will make the Democrats all the more eager to go after him on those. His best line of the night was comparing his corporate restructuring role to what Barack Obama did to General Motors. It was a brilliant comparison.Oddly enough, I think one of the best answers of the night came from Jon Huntsman. He was asked about not signing the taxpayer pledge and his answer was basically, “I’m not playing your game.” It is refreshing to see a candidate who really just doesn’t seem to give a darn about the way others expect him to play the game. Truth be told, we really do put candidates through a dog and pony show and Huntsman seems to not suffer the fools who want him to go through the dog and pony show. I can respect that. Of course that might also be why he is polling so low. But I expect him to keep going up in New Hampshire.Ron Paul proved yet again that while he can hit all the right notes on economics and spending these days, he is too nuts on foreign policy to be trusted with the Presidency.Rick Santorum was not angry last night. But he also strikes me as finally getting the joke. He’ll do better than some expect in Iowa. But the curtain will come down after that.