Wow! What a debate! The GOP Presidential Debate on ABC News just ended tonight, and it was a knock-down drag-out between the candidates.
The storyline of the night was Chris Christie knocking Marco Rubio off his game, and maybe knocking him out – at least from continuing his momentum and winning the New Hampshire Primary.
It’s clear John Kasich and Jeb Bush , along with Christie helped themselves, while Donald Trump had a strong night as well. Trump was brilliant at the very end by hammering Ted Cruz during his closing statement for “taking Ben Carson ’s votes” in Iowa. Cruz had bragged about winning Iowa in his closing statement, just before Trump’s turn. Cruz could not respond, and Trump left that “dirty politics” label on Cruz as the night ended.
It was an overall bad night for Rubio and Cruz, while Ben Carson had a decent night, but probably not one that will particularly lift his campaign.
If I had to rank the candidates on how they did, it would be in this order:
1. Chris Christie
2. Donald Trump
3. Jeb Bush
4. John Kasich
5. Ted Cruz
6. Marco Rubio
7. Ben Carson
Going forward, I think Trump will hold steady heading into the New Hampshire vote, with Christie, Kasich and Bush moving up. I think this will stop the momentum of Marco Rubio in New Hampshire, and Ted Cruz did not help himself. This debate will result in multiple people moving on to South Carolina because Rubio may not do well enough in New Hampshire to knock Christie, Bush or Kasich out. We’ll see.