I wanted to share some brief thoughts about tonight’s CNN/Telemundo GOP Debate. This is the last debate before Super Tuesday next week. Some thoughts about each of the candidates.

Donald Trump: This was the worst debate I’ve seen him in. Both Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz scored points on Trump. He doubled down on his compliments of Planned Parenthood. On judges, health care, his taxes, he lost exchange after exchange because he could not provide substantive answers and explain himself. Cruz pointed it out, when he doesn’t want to provide substance he just throws out insults. I also wish that debate moderators would cut his microphone when he is not responding to a question.

Ted Cruz: This was his home turf and you could tell with the audience. I was encouraged that, with the exception of a couple of instances, he primarily focused on Donald Trump. Even the exchanges with Marco Rubio were tame compared to past debates. He took it to Trump on foreign policy, health care, donations to Washington Democrats and Trump’s inability to prosecute the case against Hillary Clinton. There was one instance where he asked the moderator if he could jump in to respond to Trump. He should have just done it. While it was satisfying to see Trump get interrupted, I’m glad, for the most part, Cruz didn’t do that it doesn’t look presidential.

Marco Rubio: I was also glad to see him attack Donald Trump and not Ted Cruz. When Cruz did bring up Rubio with immigration (which if I remember correctly this was prompted by Telemundo), with Libya/national security Rubio defended his record and did not personally attack Cruz. He kept the pressure on Trump which is what he and Cruz both needed to do. Rubio was the to first brought up Trump’s bankruptcies tonight and the very first to point to the civil fraud case brought against Trump over Trump University which I thought needed to be brought up in debates. During the first exchange he probably went a little too far when he tried to talk over Trump even though I have to say it was good to see Trump get some of his own medicine. Rubio had a good debate.

John Kasich: Awful on gay marriage and religious liberty. He gave a good answer about job creation, as well as, had an excellent answer about North Korea. He didn’t have a bad debate, but he didn’t do anything that would build trust with social conservatives.

Ben Carson: He had the best line: “Somebody please attack me!” Beyond that he was pretty much irrelevant throughout the debate.

I’d rank them (and yes I admit I’m biased):

  1. Ted Cruz
  2. Marco Rubio
  3. John Kasich
  4. Ben Carson
  5. Donald Trump

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  1. Best debate by far! I have to disagree with you on Kasich who you said, “didn’t do anything that would build trust with social conservatives.” Part of being a social conservative, I think, is being strong on defense. Kasich shines in that department. Over all he did an amazing job, came across as presidential, and raised a few bars in my book.
    Like you, I feel Cruz won the day calling out Trump on his non- conservative record. I did love Rubio’s comment about Trump, basically stating he was a Johnny come lately but hey, “We always welcome converts to the party.”
    Rubio seems to do well when speaking on foreign policy but just doesn’t come across presidential. Although we want to vote for leadership based on substance, there is something to be said for the old saying, “Image is everything.” In that case, the image I conjure in my mind of Rubio in the Oval Office is one of him wearing a smart well cut suit, wearing a propeller beanie, and holding a giant sucker.
    This has been an interesting race. Super Tuesday will be telling, and if I had to guess, I might say we will be down to 4 or possibly only three candidates in less than a week.

  2. What a difference a generation makes. In 1988, Lloyd Bentsen insulted Dan Quayle in their famous debate by saying that he was no Jack Kennedy. It was a mistake that not only cost him the debate, but was seen as a line that negatively effected the remainder of the Dukakis campaign. The reason is that our society at the time still had some grounding in reason and understood that when a person resorts to insults instead of defending issues, they have in essence lost the debate. Fast forward to last night where Donald Trump insults his way through a debate with the climax being the moment he called Ted Cruz a “basket case”. A generation ago this would have cost him an election but today it goes hardly noticed and is relegated to page 6 news.

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