by the NYYRC Blog Staff
***Just a reminder – nothing below constitutes an endorsement of any kind.
Last night, the top eleven Republican candidates squared off in the second debate of the 2016 presidential campaign. The found three winners in Fiorina, Rubio, and Christie; four candidates treaded water with Walker, Carson, Cruz, and Bush and four candidates were definite losers in Trump, Kasich, Huckabee, and Paul. Here’s Your recap:
As in the first “kiddie table” debate, Fiorina came out with guns blazing, and showed she was ready for primetime. A political novice, Fiorina answered every question sharply and decisively. Fiorina was able to defend her record, attack her opponents, and effectively define her positions. One of her best answers was in defense of women, asserting that they are not an interest group, but that they are the majority of America (in regards to changing the $10 bill). She also had some of our best moments of the debate (see below).
Christie, who should have been left off the debate stage based on the latest polling, showed signs of life and had a very strong performance. Although he was unable to keep himself from leaning on the lectern (let’s face it, three hours is a long debate), Christie showed the audience why he was in demand in 2012. He focused on his wheelhouse (national security) avoided his shortfalls (being able to conservatively govern a state), and demonstrated why he was an effective U.S. Attorney. Christie didn’t miss any opportunity to emphasize that he defunded Planned Parenthood even when it was irrelevant.
Senator Rubio once again gave a great debate performance. He stood out for his refusal to go negative, and his ability to stay out of personal fighting in which CNN goaded the politicians to engage. His answers on foreign policy, why the Senate did not give President Obama the ability to go into Syria, and the reason he is not against speaking Spanish, were three of the debate’s top ten moments.
Unlike the first debate, Trump’s responses were not substantive nor strong, a trend which will likely continue given the candidate’s lack of substance. There was a lot of bombast, but little content. He refused to apologize to Mrs. Bush, stuck with his story on autism, and was weirdly into giving other candidates low fives. On the plus side, his comb-over looked excellent.
Each of Kasich’s responses was bumbling and utterly unrepublican. He followed up a strong first debate performance poorly. Kasich was frequently fighting for more time with the moderators. Significantly, his position on the Iran “deal” was weak, going so far as to say he would take a “wait and see” approach as to whether Iran would comply with it.
Huckabee proved to be a social conservative candidate when the nation’s concerns are centered primarily on economic and foreign policy matters. He received the lowest amount of airtime last night, and his discussion of the Kentucky marriage clerk simply did not resonate.
From beginning to end CNN ran a bad debate. The questions were poorly framed, some were downright silly, and they failed to keep the candidates in line. Kasich was right when he said that if he was watching the debate, he would have shut it off. The event was designed more for entertainment than substance, with questions designed to goad the candidates into attacking each other. CNN did a disservice to anyone trying to glean information from the debate.
Carly Fiorina responds to Trump’s comments about her face. In a question clearly posed for dramatic purposes, Fiorina had a sharp one sentence response which was sure to resonate with female voters.
Carly Fiorina tells Republicans to stand on principles and dares Obama and Clinton to watch Planned Parenthood video.
When Jeb Bush stated “name a country that we have a better relationship now than 8 years ago,” it sparked a convo in our audience where a rapid fire succession of countries were rattled off that we now have better relations with: Iran, Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela. You’ll notice that those were and still are our enemies. Countries where our relationships are worse include all of our allies.
Marco Rubio responding to Donald Trump’s statement that the three senators are partially to blame for the Syrian crisis. Instead of attacking Donald Trump, Senator Rubio used the opportunity to talk about military strength, and the lack of leadership that The United States currently has.
Chris Christie answering Jake Tapper when he tried to use a generalized Ben Carson statement “I don’t think Ben is talking about me. He is talking about some other guy on stage.”
Jeb Bush responding to Donald Trump attacking his brother, George W Bush, saying that Abraham Lincoln could not have been elected after him because of how horrible the last 3 months of his administration was. Jeb’s statement that his brother kept the United States safe finally trumped Trump.
Walker calling out Trump for “using the talking points of the Democrats” to attack Walker’s record in Wisconsin. If more candidates will use this line, and have information to back it up, it could hurt Donald Trump’s polling numbers.
Christie breaking up the fight between Carly and Trump over who is more successful. Switching the discussion to making the American people succeed, rather than talk about how much wealth they have been able to accumulate over their careers, is an effective point that Christie has made before, and should continue to make.