Donald Trump dominated the debate. Trump fended off overly hostile "how often do you beat your wife" questions from the hosts. Disappointing performance from the hosts who did not pursue others with such questions!
Trump is such a powerful TV personality, he still shined and reinforced the image that he is the "can-do" and "tough" candidate who can face the challenges of the presidency.
With high expectations, Jeb Bush fell short in this forum. Jeb is not comfortable as a TV personality. He held his own, but other several other candidates did better.
He needed to demonstrate that he, in some way, is superior to the other candidates — and also to his brother George. He didn't do that.
Chris Christie positioned himself well as the "establishment" candidate if Bush falters. He seemed more "in charge" and more passionate about his plans to fix the country.
John Kasich came on strong. His claims to Ohio's success and the GOP's balanced budgets in the 1990s were strong. But he is out of step with the base on social and welfare issues. Big problem.
Marco Rubio helped his image and did better than expected. He also rises from this.
Scott Walker did fine. Didn’t surprise either way, but remains the acceptable candidate by all sides.
Ted Cruz reinforced his "consistent conservative" label, and was intent in scoring points with the Christian right — key to winning Iowa.
It was clear that Ben Carson was Mr. Nice Guy. He is principled and decent. He didn't stand out this time, but like Herman Cain, he may rise to the top as the GOP fight gets messy down the road.
Rand Paul emphasized he was a "different" Republican. Too different for the GOP to embrace, but he made some excellent points and told some hard truths.
Mike Huckabee remains an incredible communicator. His support of Social Security and Medicare are probably the smartest thing any Republican can do. If Huckabee had a strong campaign organization, he could be in the top tier.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
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