No one knocked Rick Perry off his perch last night.
There are two principle tests a candidate must pass to become the Republican nominee in 2012. First, the candidate must be seen to be a conservative. Second, the candidate must convince Republican primary voters that he or she can beat President Barack Obama.
When Gov. Perry announced his candidacy, I said he was the only candidate who met both tests. There were eight candidates on the stage at the debate. To win the debate, one of the other GOP contenders had to meet those two tests — be seen as a conservative and show he or she can beat Obama. And the person had to show he or she can do those two things better than Rick Perry.
Each of the candidates had their moments, and each showed they had a constituency, but none of the other candidates scaled that tall mountain and knocked Perry out of the front-runner's role.
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