Who Won the Debate?

How important are these debates that are held on a Saturday night? Probably not very. Die hard sports fans are watching their teams and people are going out. And it was too long. Three hours? The attention span of even the most absorbed of us begins to lessen after an hour and a half. Plus, we’ve had so many of them it’s painful to have to watch another. The Super Bowl is tomorrow and that will be the topic for most Americans today and tomorrow.

Perhaps the people of New Hampshire are listening, but most may just take the word of the Sunday show hosts and vote accordingly.

I always feel it is better to go to the source and judge yourself than to rely on pundits.

Writing that probably disqualifies the impressions I am about to share, but here goes.
We had to put up with 15 minutes of chit chat before the debate with the likes of Bill Cristol (ugh), Matthew Dowd (whaat?), Cokie Roberts (hasn’t her expiration date been hit years ago?), Donna Brazile (why?), George Stephanapoulus (Clinton’s pal) and Jonathan Karl (hmm).

What was the matter with ABC? The candidates were announced, but evidently couldn’t hear their names. They didn’t do it alphabetically, so what gives? It left Dr. Carson standing there, waiting to be called. Trump was called, but stood by Carson, which was a decent thing to do. He got more face time that way, too. They almost skipped John Kasich. ABC are you that unprofessional or totally skewed?

The first hour set the tone. The first question was asked of Trump, concerning presidential temperament. Trump managed to be calm and deliver all his talking points – that he brought up immigration, the Chinese and that he had good relationships with people he deals with.

Cruz got the same question and he went off on a tangent. Trump nailed him for not answering the question. Cruz kept tapping on his desk which was an annoying habit. He still didn’t have an answer.

Then moderator David Muir queried Carson about the Iowa shenanigans regarding the caucuses and the Cruz people broadcasting that Carson was out. He finessed it, first by referencing his name not being called out on stage a few minutes before, then referenced Ronald Reagan and his 11th commandment Thou Shalt Not Attack Other Republicans. He looked classy.
Cruz got asked about it and apologized. He threw the blame on CNN being the one to announce that Carson was quitting. Carson disputed that, saying there was only one minute’s difference in CNN’s announcement and the Cruz tweet to precinct captains. Cruz was not believable. Some say it threw him off his game and he never recovered.

Then Muir asked Rubio what his accomplishments have been, since new endorser Rick Santorum had been unable to name some – twice. Amazingly Rubio launched into this tirade against Obama wanting to transform the U.S. He had obviously rehearsed this answer, but it was a poor one. Chris Christie called him on it and shot him down. That’s the difference between governors and senators, he said. Rubio hadn’t had to make tough decisions. It’s not leadership, it’s truancy, Christie said, zinging him well.

Rubio then attacked Christie, saying New Jersey’s debt had led to downgrades for the state and returned to bashing Obama. Rubio looked abashed. It wasn’t a good night for him. He looked particularly young and inexperienced.

Jeb Bush got a few questions, but he looked like Mr. Super Establishment Guy. Trump reinforced that with this exchange:

It was an important moment. Quite a few have commented on it, reflecting this sentiment from facebook, “most importantly he (Trump) did point out something that a lot of people watching at home didn’t know – these debate audiences are most often filled with donors, lobbyists, special interest groups, RNC-approved tickets are given out, etc. I recall someone asking me why a Jeb Bush polling in single digits seems to always have so many supporters at these debates. Now you know. Trump actually tried to get tix for some of his regular folks supporters and the RNC told him no.

It’s been that way for years and has always p*ssed me off. The RNC should give up a 100 tix or so in a lottery style for local voters in the location the debate is taking place. It won’t do that though for fear it can’t control the tone of the debate audience.”

Agreed.

I wonder why we are doing this again. Have any of their views changed since the first debate? Do they have anything to add? You can’t do it in a one minute reply. Better to look at their websites.

Supporters will find something good about their candidate no matter what they said or the pundits say. However, it was pretty clear Rubio looked green and Christie may have helped himself. He came on strong as did Trump. Cruz and Carson didn’t distinguish themselves, although had Carson been given more questions, he might have done better.

Tuesday the people of New Hampshire will vote and we may have a clearer view then of the state of the race, particularly since Iowa does it caucus thing and that was subject to some oddities.

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