Wednesday night brought us the second GOP presidential debate. Moderator Jake Tapper said his goal was to bring out the contrasts between the candidates and getting them “fighting it out” over policies. After three hours of debating, can we now see key differences between the candidates? And, how did front runner Donald Trump do in this debate? As one CNN journalist wrote, “The question isn't whether Trump will shock and awe -- but how?” Let’s look at what’s being said now that everyone in the debate has had their say.
"But Bush’s worst moment was when Hewitt asked him – in another kindness to Trump – about the fact that a lot of his foreign policy advisors worked for his brother, the last GOP president, who got us into disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trump then jabbed Bush – “Your brother, and your brother’s administration, gave us Barack Obama” – which led Bush to retort, 'My brother kept us safe.' As if he didn’t remember his brother was president during the Sept. 11 attacks. It was that kind of night for Jeb!
Trump didn’t have a great night either, but he has one thing in common with Reagan – so far he’s seemed to share an impermeable outer political coating with the Teflon president. He engaged in a juvenile spat with Rand Paul early on that ended in his insulting Paul’s looks, and looking kind of silly. Carly Fiorina absolutely owned him when she was asked about the episode when Trump clearly insulted her appearance."
"Voters are getting to know Fiorina and it is pretty clear they like what they see. It was a bravura performance, worthy of the name she chose as her Secret Service handle if elected – Secretariat.
Other winners at the CNN-hosted debate at the Reagan Library were Jeb Bush, who was more animated and on top of his game than in the prior gathering on August 6, Chris Christie, who managed from his outlier position to insert himself into the conversation. John Kasich, who needs to and was able to build recognition with voters. Marco Rubio who, despite evidence of nerves and one joke that flopped, recovered with his usual mastery of foreign policy. And Ted Cruz, who spoke out passionately about Planned Parenthood and his opposition to the Iran deal."
"As most of the candidates were, in varying degrees, gunning for Trump, moderator Jake Tapper was continually turning to The Donald for replies. Intended or not, this device kept the billionaire the center of attention even when Tapper was trying to distribute the airtime more equitably.
Still, there was more than enough running room for Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The senators from Florida and Texas fired the broadsides against both the Obama administration and the masters of the Senate that have been their stock-in-trade since the Tea Party movement first sent them to Washington.
Chris Christie also seemed to thrive in the mix on this occasion. This in part because he interrupted the Trump-Fiorina fussing over who had done what in business. 'The 55-year-old construction worker who's out of a job doesn't care about your careers,' Christie scolded. And he reinforced the point in an eloquent closing statement about refocusing national policy to benefit ordinary Americans."