Whew. For a first effort, that was fun. And no one can say Fox News took it easy on its favored candidates.
1) How did Donald Trump do? That depends. He's a lousy debater, if we judge him as we'd traditionally judge a candidate in this setting. But remember that the rules for Mr. Trump are different; if a candidacy is about anger and volume, the candidate needs only anger and volume -- and not so much responses of substance -- to be successful.
3) Jeb Bush will continue to be a GOP frontrunner simply because he has more money available than anyone else -- with the exception of Mr. Trump, of course -- but his attempt to be the grownup of the debate came off flat.
4) Four years ago, the Republican presidential candidates spent a year trying to out-conservative each other, taking the party on a sharp turn to the right. And once he was nominated, Mitt Romney found himself in an impossible position -- he was a moderate who had to be so conservative in the primaries that he was essentially unelectable, in an election where a moderate Republican probably could have taken the White House from a weakened Barack Obama. That appears to be happening again ... unless John Kasich is able to sustain the momentum that took him from his late entry to one of the last spots in the primetime debate Thursday night. Kasich's responses were consistently closer to the center than the rest of the men who shared that stage, and he had a human touch that most of the other candidate lacked.
5) Debates are often more about theater than they are about facts. Want to know who came closest to being truthful and whose pants are on fire? PolitiFact tracked the claims of the candidates and assembled this stream of social media refutations.