With a weekend of Iowa and general predictions coming up, PPFA HQ will be resting up today. Therefore, please accept these humble single-sentence observations of last night’s debate. (Debate transcript here.)
Rand Paul also had a great night and drew sharp comparisons between himself and much of the field, most notably skewering Cruz and Rubio on their voting records; however, by doing so, he also drew sharp comparisons between himself and much of the Republican Party.
I’m almost positive Ben Carson‘s closing statement was plagiarized.
The line of the night goes to Chris Christie, who again boasted his executive background by reacting to the Rubio-Cruz squabbling over why they voted one way when they believed something else with, “I feel like I need a Washington to English dictionary converter!”
Ted Cruz, center stage, had his weakest debate yet; it can’t help being Donald Trump’s stand-in, but he surprisingly had no great moments (even his tried and true media lashing didn’t seem to work).
John Kasich‘s drive to win New Hampshire has probably cost him the nomination; as Lindsey Graham knows, the party does not respond well to “invite people in from the other party.”
Marco Rubio, like Cruz, was also in the crosshairs for much of the night, but I think he admirably defended himself despite the damning video from Fox News about his amnesty past, and he even found time to connect to Iowan evangelical voters.
Speaking of Fox News, great job by the moderators, who refused get walked over (like the CNBC mods), interrupted candidates when necessary, and they even channeled their inner “Daily Show” by forcing some of the candidates to defend actual video of their flipflopping.
I’m also so proud of you, the people, if you contributed to the debate quadrupling the audience of Trump’s counter-programming.
As for predictions, I think Rubio just solidified a top three finish in Iowa; Paul will tick up in polling thanks to his father’s fans, and he might pull out a top five or six finish in the opening states because of it, but he’s no closer to raising his ceiling and being the nominee; Christie, Kasich, and Bush’s solid performances all nullify each other in New Hampshire; Carson did not instill confidence in his supporters and he’ll underperform when it comes time for voting; and Cruz missed a major opportunity to regain his lead over the absent Trump.
(Yes, that was one sentence. Thank you, semi-colons!)
- Saturday: Explaining the Iowa caucuses
- Sunday: Predicting the Iowa caucuses
- Monday: The February (and Final?) GOP Power Rankings and…