No one expected anything different, really. All seven of them just wanted to cram into the small ideological space to the right of Attila the Hun without getting bruised.
Certain moments stood out, though.[jump] Michele Bachmann surprised no one by making her presidential campaign official, and then did surprise everyone by not saying anything crazy or stupid for a full two hours.
Tim Pawlenty proved he's better at acting like a tough guy in campaign videos than actually debating like a tough guy against Mitt Romney and Obamneycare.
There was a bizarre "I have more kids than you" moment as the candidates introduced themselves.
Ron Paul seemed to be afflicted with a strange bobble-head condition as he rambled on and on about the evils of eminent domain.
Mitt Romney kept reminding the New Hampshire crowd he was one of them by keeping everyone abreast of the Bruins-Canucks Stanley Cup Final match.
And then there was the periodic admission by CNN that it knew it was boring the pants off everyone, as moderator John King conducted an utterly meaningless pop quiz under the heading of "This or That."
Michele Bachmann: Elvis or Johnny Cash? Answer: Elvis -- for the Christmas music, which she keeps on her iPod.Tim Pawlenty: Coke or Pepsi? Answer: Coke -- and no comment.
Rick Santorum: Leno or Conan? Answer: Leno, but Santorum says he doesn't watch either of them. Maybe he's a Letterman fan?
Newt Gingrich: Dancing with the Stars or American Idol? Answer: Idol, as Bachmann laughed in the background.
Ron Paul: BlackBerry or iPhone? Answer: BlackBerry. Is there an app for killing off the Federal Reserve?
Herman Cain: Deep dish or thin crust? Answer: The former CEO of Godfather's pizza summoned his best James Earl Jones baritone and said, "Deep. Dish."
Mitt Romney: Spicy or mild? Answer: Spicy -- and the Bruins are up 4-0.