Last Night's Debate Roundup Plus Open Thread

From just after the debate ended — have at it!

Here’s what I wrote about half an hour ago:

I need to retract that tweet from earlier, the one about the CNBC kangaroo moderators baiting them into sounding “angry.”

Instead, this panel has been so aggressive, so interrupting, so DNC Talking Points, that they may have done these candidates a favor by baiting them into expressing reasonable and understandable anger.

We won’t know until the polls move, but that’s my gut reaction at the end of Hour Two of tonight’s festivities.


And I stand by my retraction. This debate was so loaded from the get-go, that it allowed the candidates, at least a few of them, to shine. If there was ever a case of bad publicity being good publicity, that’s what you saw tonight.

But we have to talk about the candidates, don’t we?

Fiorina, Rubio, and Cruz got the most airtime of the major candidates, as as I go back through the liveblog, each had a couple moments of real brilliance. Christie did, too, but he just isn’t conservative enough for this GOP electorate. Next year a smart GOP candidate might put Christie in charge of their media relations: Tough, likable, feisty.

Carson and Trump are the frontrunners in the polls, but scored in the middle of the pack during the debate. Counterintuitively, that might be the best for the both of them, allowing them to coast on their leads without displaying their political weaknesses during a widely watched broadcast.

Then there were the rest of the also-rans, none of whom really need concern anybody but their most diehard devotees — and I’m assuming for the sake of argument that they do indeed have at least a few diehard devotees.


Tonight’s big loser was Jeb Bush.

He was tired, disconnected, and seemingly unconcerned about his inability to connect or energize. I wrote as things wrapped up:

Jeb tried and failed to attack Rubio. Tried and failed to be funny. Tried and failed to inspire. Tried and failed just now to drive the stake into Hillary.

What exactly is he doing on that stage tonight?

Not even Bush seemed to know the answer to that question, and tomorrow morning he should expect his Big Donor Class to be burning up the phone lines trying to get a straight answer to it.

I suspect they’ll try in vain.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a jug of water and a prescription-strength Ibuprofen.


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