The fourth Republican Presidential Debate is in the books, and it was a much more substantive debate than previous face-offs. Fox Business Network did a MUCH better job of making the debate about the candidates and not the moderators or the “gotcha” questions.
Here’s my take on the “Winners and Losers” of the main debate:
1. Ted Cruz – He was outstanding on question after question, not only in giving coherent, understandable answers, but on being substantive in a natural way. He did not come off as having just memorized a series of 90-second sound bytes. It was a great night for Cruz.
2. Donald Trump – Much more laid back tonight for Trump. But he didn’t hurt himself, and he actually came across, at times, as the unifier on stage. He even took up for Jeb Bush and Rand Paul! Great slapdown of the VERY annoying John Kasich!
HELD THEIR OWN
3. Marco Rubio – Rubio’s delivery comes across as very memorized at times. He’s very good, but I think he can get even better if he loses some of the automation in his answers. He was asked about Hillary Clinton’s resume and after turning the question into a promotion for himself, Ted Cruz came and answered the question with ease. Another point was when Rand Paul challenged Rubio’s conservatism and Rubio responded by calling him an isolationist…..but never answering the conservative call-out.
4. Rand Paul – This was his best debate so far. He slapped down Rubio by calling him someone who isn’t that conservative. But, otherwise, he spoke very clearly and made some strong points. He might get a good boost out of this.
5. Carly Fiorina – She had some good moments, but her long, rapid-fire soliloquies wear thin after you’ve heard them several times. But she was substantive and did herself some good with this debate. But she’s gotten a boost before from a debate, only to sink right back down in the polls. I would guess that will happen again, but with a smaller boost than before.
6. Ben Carson – Carson was totally blank on the question about breaking up the big banks. He ended up talking about “1776” and “bars of soap” during his answer. He gave a very weak answer on Iraq and Syria as well. I doubt if he hurt himself with his supporters tonight, but I don’t see how you could watch this debate and think he is the best person to be the GOP Nominee.
7. Jeb Bush – Had some good moments, but he just did not break out of the pack. He just does not have the persona that grabs peoples’ attention. He was walked over twice by Kasich and then he was walked over by Trump and he let it go. He’s a weak candidate living off of family name. I can’t see Jeb gaining support from this.
8. John Kasich – Could a Presidential Candidate be more irritating in a debate than John Kasich was tonight? A total disaster. He came off as lecturing, overbearing with his constant interruptions. I was shocked at how he handled himself.
I would guess that coming out of this debate, Cruz will continue to rise could jump over Rubio, with Carson falling back and Trump remaining in the mid-low 20’s in the polls. It’s going to be a tight race for many weeks to come.