We’re past deadline at Fox & Hounds Daily, so these are hastily assembled first impressions of today’s U.S. Senate radio debate. And I’m scoring these folks on presentation—their views on foreign policy and national security, the subject of the debate, are so similar that there is simply no reason to get into that here.

– Carly Fiorina, calling in while her rivals were at the debate in person, sounded scratchy and tired (at least over my Internet connection). Her campaign team, for all its operational successes, needs to do more work on the candidate herself. She managed the terrible trick of managing to sound defensive even when she was attacking.

Advice: next time, try more courtesy. First-time candidates, particularly those who happen to be infrequent voters and who are running against people with long records of public service, should not call their rivals by their first names. Stop saying “Tom” and “Chuck,” and try “Congressman Campbell” and “Assemblyman DeVore.”

– Tom Campbell was OK. He made a game effort to square his record with the right’s current, evangelical-inspired conviction that Israel is the world’s most important country. But I’m not sure he was convincing as a deliverer of red meat—particularly when he suggested that terrorists should be treated like 19th century pirates and hanged. If he really believes that, I’ll buy him lunch the next time I run into him at Chapman University in Orange (where I sometimes teach).

To his credit, Campbell was clear and rational, and terrific at making Fiorina sound bad by asking pointed questions. But he seems entirely too reasonable to convince today’s Republican voters to cast their ballots for him.

– The clear winner of the encounter was Chuck DeVore. For one, the debate gave him a rare chance to get some attention. And he didn’t blow it. He talked about his own story and biography, in a way that made this listener want to know more. His deep voice sounded great on radio, and he demonstrated the gift, essential for conservatives these days, of sounding reasonable even while saying unreasonable things.

He disagreed with Fiorina without sounding the least bit disagreeable. He also benefited from the fact that Fiorina and Campbell had their guns trained on each other. If this dynamic prevails in future encounters between the candidates, we could see a huge upset in this Senate race.

One bit of advice to Devore. “I’ve been shot at it in Lebanon,” is the beginning of a story, not a line that should be frequently repeated. Next time, say it only once, and then tell us what happened.