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The first Republican debate happened last night in South Carolina. The participant list was short, only five of the numerous potential GOP contenders were able to and/or agreed to participate.

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My observations serve that the candidate who shined brightest among these 5 was businessman Herman Cain. He was able to capitalize on the small group and seemed to impress the most with his straightforward answers. He also seemed to have the most memorable line of the evening asking “How’s that workin’ for you?” in regard to electing politicians with years of prior political experience.

Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum both gave average performances I’d say. They sounded a lot like more seasoned politicians and I think that helped Cain stand out as a voice of the private sector, not of the establishment.

Ron Paul garnered the most applause of the night though I am not sure if that is because the majority of the debate audience agreed with him or if his section of supporters was the loudest. Either way, Paul embraced his unelectibility with many views outside of Republican platform such as weak foreign policy and legalization of street drugs.

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was sort of a foot note of the evening. Surely he can’t compete with Ron Paul for libertarian popularity and he surely even more cannot compete with the rest of the GOP field.

Discussion on terrorism and the Usama Bin Laden killing:

Read the rest of the story for highlight videos.

Herman Cain on energy independence:

Tim Pawlenty on health care reform:

Gary Johnson on immigration reform:

Herman Cain on whether he can win the nomination:

Rick Santorum on aid to Pakistan:

Ron Paul on gay marriage:

Closing arguments from all the debate participants:

I am still in search of the full debate video. If you find it, please post below so I can update and make it available.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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