Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina made the best impression at Thursday's early debate on Fox News Channel.
"She won the debate; she won it going away," conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer said afterward on Fox News Channel's "Special Report."
"On the one hand she was very fluid, on the other she was really combative."
Krauthammer said Fiorina showed her fluidity when asked about the Middle East.
"She went through a list of American allies that have not gotten what they need from us in a way that showed a real command of the facts," Krauthammer said.
Her combativeness showed when she went after front-runner Donald Trump for changing his position on issues.
Fox News' Brit Hume called Fiorina the "consensus winner," and said she will likely benefit from seeing her sound bites replayed for people who weren't able to watch.
The 5 p.m. debate among the seven lowest-ranked candidates by recent polls has been dubbed the "kiddie table" by some and the "Happy Hour" debate by Fiorina.
She seized the stage, according to Fox News' Chris Wallace, a moderator in the prime time debate of the top 10 candidates.
Wallace said all the candidates did fine, but, "Some people did finer than others."
Fiorina, he said, "stood above the other six people on the stage."
He praised her take on national security, domestic policy and budget and money issues.
"I just think that there's kind of a sharpness and an intelligence about her and a preciseness … of her message that really cuts through," Wallace said. "I frankly was a little surprised she didn't make the top 10."
Her performance will likely help propel into the top tier, Wallace said.
Story continues below video.
Conservative columnist George Will agreed, saying Fiorina stood out for "the precision and fluency and the way she packed a lot into 30 seconds."
The debate format didn't allow for interaction between candidates, and little happened. The rules allowed for a 30-second rebuttal if a candidate was criticized by name.
None were – at least none who were sharing the early stage. Candidates, including Fiorina and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, did take on Trump, who was to be front and center in the prime time debate. Candidates such as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal took on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
The closest thing to a rebuttal came when former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore asked to speak after Fiorina to warn that the United States will face even more terrorist attacks in the homeland.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.