I watched most of both the GOP and Democratic debates, and if there's one word I'm sick of hearing, it's 'change'.
Almost by definition, any presidential candidate runs on a platform of 'change'. When laying out their policy positions, they explain what's broken and what they'd do to fix it. But when Barack Obama pummeled Hillary Clinton in Iowa the other night, suddenly every Democratic candidate jumped on the 'agent of change' bandwagon and started promoting themselves as the only true serious 'agent of change'. (Funny how these guys just figured that out...pimping oneself on a resume as an 'agent of change' has been fashionable in the corporate world for a while.)
There truly is little difference among the Democratic candidates. You want change? You'll get plenty of it with either one of the remaining top three...a change from a representative republic to a socialist welfare state.
On the Republican side, it was mainly Mitt Romney who bought into the 'change' mantra with his little "been there, done that" riff, which McCain somewhat deftly turned back on him in a flip-flopper jab.
So who won? On the Democrat side, I'd have to say Obama, hands down. He didn't screw up any responses I saw, and he always comes across well. At the other end was Bill Richardson, who said that as President, he'd start negotiating with the Soviet Union. Yes, really. (Though, in his defense, it is getting easier to confuse the new Russia with the old Soviet Union.)
On the Republican side, it was clearly Fred Thompson who won. He comes into these debates with a great command of the facts and never leaves you wondering where he stands on a given issue. It's so tempting to say that Ron Paul was at the losing end simply on the basis of his whacked out isolationist foreign policy ideas, but at least in what I saw, he didn't screw anything up. So I'll have to reluctantly put Rudy Giuliani in last place just for not being very commanding.