I normally would not care about these debates as much, but it is rare that someone like Ron Paul is running for president and getting some attention. Here are a few random thoughts on the debate in Orlando, Florida.
The first notable thing is that Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, was permitted to participate in the debate. He is no Ron Paul, but he does have a lot of libertarian leanings and it is nice to see someone else on the stage who is at least decent and makes some sense.
It is interesting to compare the debates from this year to the debates from 4 years ago. The candidates of this election cycle sound much more fiscally conservative and anti-big government. I don't believe most of them, but it is still notable. I think one difference is who is occupying the White House. The candidates in 2007/ 2008, with the exception of Ron Paul, felt compelled to defend Bush's abysmal record.
On the last question about choosing a running mate on the stage, it was nice of Gary Johnson to pick Ron Paul. I like Paul's answer to the question too, but I thought he should have acknowledged Johnson as at least being the closest one to his views. Another addition to Paul's answer could have been him stepping outside of the box and naming a few potential running mates not on the stage. If he had mentioned Lew Rockwell, Tom Woods, Robert Murphy, Judge Napolitano, etc., I'm sure a few people out there would have "googled" those names out of interest.
It was a little disappointing to see such a short discussion on foreign policy. I always enjoy seeing the contrast of Ron Paul against the other candidates and we didn't get to see that in this debate. It is important for Paul to keep making this distinction.
Overall, a lot of the debate was more of the same. But I am going to enjoy it because we are not likely to see another Ron Paul running for president as a major party candidate any time soon. I can only hope that if Ron Paul does not get the Republican nomination that the Libertarian Party puts up someone good this time.