On the Republican side:
1.) Huckabee comes across as very, very sincere. There is something about him that makes me want to believe him, to trust him. This frightens me a little, because I don't know what that "something" is. Maybe I've underestimated mannerisms compared to words spoken, because he didn't say much of substance tonight. But that desire in me to trust him still came across.
2.) Romney reeks of wealth and I don't like it. He's just not someone with which I can relate. He is, however, a very well-spoken and charismatic man. His negative campaign strategy and the money he threw at it clearly didn't help him in Iowa. Us mid-westerners are down-to-earth people. I doubt he'll win if he stays on that path. But if you are following him at all, he hasn't been the best at staying on one path anyway. I'm tempted to start calling him Mitt Flip-Flop.
3.) Thompson's 3rd place showing was a bit of a surprise for me, because I expected McCain to do a little better. But it's obvious that the democratic party is just as divided as the republican party, if not more. Their top three were closer together percentage-wise than the republicans, and 4-5-6 were also close in percentage.
4.) I was surprised at Guiliani's poor showing, but since he didn't campaign there I shouldn't be surprised. Up until tonight, I thought he was a solid second or third because of his name recognition and 9/11 nostalgia. I was wrong, and I'm glad.
On the Democratic side:
1.) Obama's headquarters had, by far, the youngest looking crowd I've seen in years. This reeks of Bill Clinton's victory, who likely won because of the college-age vote.
2.) Hillary Clinton is a somewhat entertaining speaker, but she needs a new speech writer. And I enjoyed seeing Bill stand behind her. I don't like her, but I like him even less.
3.) John Edwards is a fantastic public speaker, and his showing tonight excited me the most, even though I haven't chosen a candidate to support yet. I'm a sucker for the underdog I guess (Or as KB might say, I'm just like him because he's cute.)
General observation: what I saw of the speeches, the democratic candidates all brought up their stance on specific issues (health care, in particular, was mentioned by all three) whereas the republicans did not mention any specific issues. Hmm.
Undecided like me? This link may help. Choose your position on the major issue and it shows you which candidates with which you score highest. HT to Tony Myles for the link.
On a personal note, I found myself rather sad tonight as I listened to the speeches of 5 of the top 6 candidates tonight. I was sad because I realized how cynical I've become. And to hear these candidates speak of hope and change made me long for a sense of hope when it comes to our government. I don't remember the last time I felt that way.
I'm counting down to New Hampshire....