DEBATE Recap- Who Came Out on Top in Last Night's Debate?

  • Nov 11, 2015
  • Source: AAN
  • by: Kevin Boyd
The Republican presidential candidates met in Milwaukee for the fourth debate on Fox Business. The candidates clashed largely on economic issues, but both immigration and foreign policy were mentioned.

Unlike the CNBC debacle, the moderators came off very professionally. They asked substantive questions, but they did lose control at times. They even got filibustered by Rand Paul before a commercial break.

Here’s how the 8 candidates performed tonight in order of the best to worst performance.

1) Ted Cruz -- Tonight’s clear winner. Outside of a gaffe where he mentioned the Department of Commerce twice when he said he wanted to eliminate five departments. In fairness, Cruz said he unveiled it today and the “Five For Freedom” only mention four departments plus the IRS. He also intervened in the Rand Paul vs Marco Rubio foreign policy debate and essentially rolled both men up while making the argument that he was the only true consensus candidate. Cruz also said the stage for future attacks on Rubio. He made a good argument for combatting illegal immigration when Trump was being attacked by Jeb Bush and John Kasich. Cruz also smacked down Kasich on bank bailouts when Kasich challenged his opposition to them. Finally, Cruz came off as very substantive and used storytelling to make his points.

2) Carly Fiorina -- She’s back. She handled herself very well on most issues and gave probably the strongest defense of the free market out of all of the candidates. She was making a clear play for the warhawk vote with her stance on Syria and Russia. However, it is still hard to see Fiorina make a serious play outside of the very early states.

3) Marco Rubio -- He did well for the most part. Rubio demonstrated that he is a very gifted and talented speaker. He wisely stayed out of the Trump, Cruz, Bush, and Kasich immigration battle. He also addressed foreign policy competently enough. But after tonight he looks mortal. Rubio lost his cool when Rand Paul attacked him on tax credits and defense spending. Rubio’s biggest asset is his personal likability and that may have taken a hit tonight. Cruz had to bail him out, but in doing so he rolled both Paul and Rubio by essentially saying a “pox on both of your houses.” Question is, can someone exploit Rubio’s new found mortality?

4) Rand Paul -- His best performance so far. Paul was assertive without coming off as overly obnoxious. He made strong points on the Federal Reserve and how Democrat controlled areas have the highest income inequality. Paul also made strong points on it wasn’t enough to just cut taxes, spending had to be cut as well. He also beat Trump in an exchange when he interrupted a Trump anti-China/anti-TPP rant by pointing out that China was not a part of the TPP. He also challenged Rubio on tax credits and defense spending. The facts were on Paul’s side that tax credits were ineffective policy and Rubio’s defense spending plans weren’t offset with cuts. However, Paul made those points in such a smug fashion that likely turned off neutrals. Rubio losing his cool and Cruz’s intervention bailed Rand out. Paul probably didn’t win any converts, but he gave his supporters something to be happy about for once and forced a much needed debate in the Republican Party.

5) Donald Trump -- He didn’t do anything wrong. He commanded the presence without interrupting like Kasich did. Trump wasn’t very substantive tonight, but he didn’t come off as overly shallow. Trump also used Kasich as a punching bag whenever he was challenged by him on numerous issues. His only weakness was that he allowed himself to be challenged and essentially be shushed by Rand Paul to end one of his anti-China rants. Trump though is running on the brand, not on any specific policies and he didn’t hurt himself tonight and remains the front runner.

6) Jeb Bush -- He needed a great performance and he only delivered an acceptable one. No major gaffes, no beta male moments, but no real highlights either. Spoke well about the economy and the need for higher growth rates, but didn’t really distinguish himself.

7) Ben Carson -- Outside of talking about his life story and his criticisms of the media, he didn’t show much passion. Nor was he very substantive on the issues. This writer doesn’t understand Carson’s appeal at this point.

8) John Kasich -- The one guy who really hurt himself tonight. Kasich’s only decent point was that went he said Republicans over promise on tax cuts just as Democrats over promise on spending. Other than that, Kasich’s attempt to be the adult in the room fell flat. He was obnoxious and kept trying to interrupt numerous speakers. Worse than that, he was used as a punching bag by Trump all night and Cruz clearly got the better of the exchange on bank bailouts when Kasich was a supporter of them. Kasich may not get another chance on main stage.

The next and final GOP debate of 2015 is on December 15 in Nevada. That one is a joint production between CNN and Salem Radio Network.
 Source: AAN
Tags: Issues: ; Categories:

People, Places & Things

Article Index