My hat is off to Fox Business. This was a good, substantive debate. There wasn’t any gotcha questions. The moderators didn’t try to become the center of attention. The line of questioning was pretty good. Great job for both the undercard and prime time debates. They are the big winners because they have hosted the best debate thus far.
Prime Time rankings
1. Marco Rubio
He was articulate. He gave substantive answers. He looked and sounded presidential, and I think he handled the shots taken at him well. He gave a positive vision for the future.
2. Carly Fiorina
I wouldn’t placed her in my top three if the debate ended after hour one, but she scored some points in the second hour – especially on foreign policy, well done.
3. Ted Cruz
Cruz had a better first hour, especially right at the start. He handled the exchange with Kasich well. Definitely liked what he had to say on monetary policy.
4. Rand Paul and Ben Carson (tie)
I give Carson the most improved. He gave decent answers tonight. Paul also had some great lines tonight. The winner between Rubio and Paul regarding military spending will be determined by your ideology in that regard. Rubio responded well, but Paul brought a good challenge.
6. Donald Trump
I give Trump the Mr. Congeniality award. This was a kinder, gentler Trump.
7. Jeb Bush
Better than the last debate, but that wasn’t going to take much.
8. John Kasich
He is the only one who did truly awful. He didn’t seem like he knew what he was talking about with some of the answers he gave. He actually defended big bank bailouts. He was booed. Not a good night for him.
Undercard debate rankings…
1. Bobby Jindal
Jindal’s strategy tonight was risky, but he needed to go on offense. He landed some good shots on Christie. I understand some don’t like this approach, but he kept it to facts and records. There are some differences and he highlighted those.
2. Rick Santorum
If this ended after Santorum’s first two answers I wouldn’t have him in 2nd place. He stumbled which was very out of character for him. He improved through the night and he made a compelling argument related to foreign policy.
3. Mike Huckabee
The Fair Tax explanation was good. Not a bad debate, but not remarkable either.
4. Chris Christie
Rah, rah Republicans we’re better than Hillary… that’s great, but that doesn’t help people make a decision between the Republican candidates. Out of the Governors running he has the worst record and he didn’t really counter that.
Full disclosure: I have endorsed Bobby Jindal.