Friday, August 7, 2015

Who Won/Lost the 1st Republican Debate?

Last night was the first 2016 Republican Primary debate on Fox News.  The top 10 Republican candidates, all men, took to the stage to let the world know who they are and what they are about.  Coming into the debate, Donald Trump was the front runner in all of the polls.  Accordingly, he got the most clock time and attention from the Fox News moderators. But how did he and the others do?

The recap/highlights per CNN:

Trump
Like the wall he's pledged to build along the U.S.-Mexico border, Donald Trump was immovable.
Trump proved yet again that he's not going to back down from his bombastic rhetoric. The Republican frontrunner kicked off the debate by refusing -- again -- to rule out a third-party run and pledge his support to the Republican nominee, regardless of who takes the crown.
Instead, Trump said: "I can totally make the pledge if I'm the nominee."
The moderators didn't mince words with Trump: Asking him about calling some undocumented immigrants "rapists" and slamming women he's previously sparred with as "fat pigs" and "slobs."
"Only Rosie O'Donnell," Trump interjected, before saying he doesn't "frankly have time for total political correctness."
But the result didn't give voters much in the way of specifics on Trump's policies, and he refused to do so when pressed on immigration by moderator Chris Wallace -- instead saying "our leaders are stupid."

Chris Christie and Rand Paul Duked it Out
While Trump didn't go full-Donald to beat back the Kentucky senator's attacks, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie took advantage when given the opportunity to address his beef with Paul over national security.
Months after Rand Paul's 10-and-a-half hour filibuster to block the NSA's reauthorization -- which prompted attacks from Christie -- the pair showed Thursday that they will continue to grapple on the issue.
As the two squabbled, Christie slammed Paul for simply "blowing hot air" from the comfort of a Senate subcommittee. Paul fired back at Christie over his hugging of Obama right before the 2012 election. But Christie had the last word.
"Senator Paul, you know the hugs I remember are the hugs that I gave to the families who lost their people on September 11th," Christie said.
It's a sign that Christie will continue to be Paul's foil on the campaign trail as the libertarian-leaning senator's unorthodox national security and foreign policy positions continue to clash with the GOP mold.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich Did Well on Getting His Name Out There
For a guy who barely squeaked his way onto the debate stage, John Kasich's main goal was to get his name out -- and his home state helped him meet and exceed his goal.
Playing off a home-court advantage, Kasich deftly handled questions on the attacks Democrats would lob at him and took a pass on attacking Trump. And he did so with authenticity and while pivoting to his credentials as a budget hawk and his foreign policy resume.
Kasich insisted that Trump is "hitting a nerve in this country."
"People are frustrated, they're fed up," Kasich said. "For people to just tune them out is a mistake."

Jeb Bush Didn't Really "Wow" Anybody
Bush started off his week stumbling in New Hampshire, pushed toward the debate with a major gaffe on women's health care and teed off the debate Thursday stumbling through his answers yet again.
Bush -- who has been out of the political glare for nearly a decade -- appeared out of practice when fielding the first questions in the debate Thursday.
But he got stronger as the night went on, and began hitting his stride after he was asked about his pledge to bring 4% economic growth to the country and as he defended his work for a Michael Bloomberg nonprofit that gave money to Planned Parenthood.
However, Bush certainly didn't prove himself as the unequivocal frontrunner that many in the Republican establishment once believed him to be, as other candidates like Kasich and Rubio proved their top-tier status as well.

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The winners from last night are Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie because they really capitalized on the opportunity to use the debate to help raise their profiles.  By contrast, the losers were Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and especially Jeb Bush because they failed to do the same.

What do you think about last night's debate?  
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