I watched both of the debates last night, and without going into detail, here are my own observations.
As to the first debate, I thought all seven candidates were well prepared and did well. I would look for a couple of them to move up to the top tier by the next debate.
As to the main event, I was struck by the fact that the Fox News team of moderators asked very hard and pointed questions to the candidates at least the first time around. They were clearly not in the tank for the Republicans.
Overall, most of the candidates did well in my view. I do think that Donald Trump hurt himself badly both by his refusal to support the eventual nominee or pledge not to run as a third party candidate. Half of the audience didn't like that. I also think he came across as a bully and a jerk especially in his remarks to Megyn Kelly, who hit him with a hardball question as to his history of making denigrating remarks to women. He also admitted that he had bought political influence from various politicians.
I also think Rand Paul did not have a good night. Bill O'Reilly was right when he predicted Paul would be the one to go after Trump. Trump treated him with disdain as did Chris Christie in a heated exchange over whether our law enforcement agencies should be collecting mass data on Americans in trying to prevent terrorist attacks.
While I love Ben Carson, I got the impression he still needs to catch up on mastering the details of the issues.
I also wish Scott Walker had completely answered the question asked by Kelly as to whether he would oppose abortion even to save the life of the mother. He did not address that.
All in all (despite the predictable negative spin from MSNBC) I think it was a good night for the Republicans in general. I am biased, but I think they have a lot of good people running. Any of them (with the p o s s i b l e exception of You-Know-Who) would be preferable to Clinton or any of the announced Democratic candidates.