Tag Archives: Republican Primary

GOP Debate: Winners, Losers and What We Learned

It is starting to get hot on the Republican Primary campaign trail as the top tier of candidates solidify their support for the upcoming caucus in Iowa. In an effort to cull the herd of hopefuls, the Republican National committee has scheduled a gauntlet of debates that has become more about attrition than policy discussion.

What gave this debate a more interest than some of the others was its proximity to the Iowa Caucus on the campaign calendar. At least four or five of the candidates in this debate field probably won’t be on the debate stage next time around. So for some it was an audition for Vice President while others made a last attempt at shoring up support in hopes of a surprise showing in Iowa or New Hampshire.

Winners

The two front runners earned that title as they traded barbs and held off attacks by some of the other candidates. Pundits questioned whether Donald Trump would be able to stand up to the increased scrutiny that would come with fewer candidates on the main debate stage. The Donald answered the call with a solid response on the trade war with China while refusing to back down on his controversial stand against Muslims.

Mr. Trump might have had the line of the night when he asked if he was angry. Trump replied my saying that “I will wear the mantle of anger”, a line that will score big points with his base of support.

Senator Ted Cruz also had a big night. He successfully fended off questions about his birth status and recent stories about mishandled campaign filings. He also was successful in restating his position on National Defense and earned some cheers from the crowd when he talked about how he would have handled the recent capture of American Sailors.

Losers

Dr. Ben Carson had another lack luster GOP debate performance which was highlighted by his complaints that he wasn’t getting enough airtime. Carson failed to cover any new ground and stayed away from the serious policy debates about taxes and the trade deficit.

Jeb Bush was also largely ineffective using the same tired talking points that have him dropping in the polls. Bush keeps floating a message that is just not getting any traction leaving some to wonder why he is still in the race.

What We Learned

During and exchange Senator Ted Cruz suggested that Donald Trump might make a good Vice President on his ticket. Trump said that he would probably “go back to building buildings if this doesn’t work out.”

As far as potential Vice Presidents two candidate stood apart in tonight’s GOP debate. Carly Fiorina showed off the impressive debate and interview skills that could be an asset on the campaign trail. John Kasich solid answers on policy and strong track record as Ohio governor make him a strong VP choice.

Read Related Post: Fiorina Shines In Debate

GOP Debate: Carly Fiorina Shines Again

Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum Shine in Undercard GOP Debate

In what could be their last chance on the GOP debate stage, Rick Santorum and Carly Fiorina had some memorable lines in the undercard debate for the Republicans.

One of the best lines came from Fiorina when she accused President Obama of having a “Bromance” with Russian President Vladamir Putin referring to the Obama administrations recent dealing with the quasi-dictator.

For his part, Santorum looked reinvigorated in front of friendly crowd.  He referred to South Carolina as his “home away from home” because he has two sons attending the Citadel Military College.  The comfort level showed as Santorum had his best debate effort to date.

In closing remarks Rick Santorum made the case that he was the only candidate in the field to have a winning track record against Hillary Clinton citing a senate debate in which a Bill he was arguing for passed.  Mike Huckabee pointed out that he also has experience battling the Clinton political machine during his time as Arkansas governor.

Although non of the candidates did anything to hurt themselves their performances are inconsequential at this point unless one of the “mainstage” debaters step on a land mine.  With the Iowa Caucuses just 18 days away, its hard to imagine any of the undercard candidates building enough support  to stay in the race.

The real value in this debate for Fiorina is to audition as a potential Vice Presidential Candidate.  Because the Republicans suffer from the false perception that they lack diversity in the party. Fiorina could be an attractive choice for Vice President.

Not only does Fiorina offer diversity to a potential presidential ticket, she has shown the ability to serve as an attack dog for the Republican nominee.   A strong women on the ticket could take the “war on women” attack off the table for the Democrats.

Expect the Republican field to become much more focused after the Iowa caucuses on February 1st and New Hampshire Primary on February 20th.  The candidates who have been running toward the back of the pack will be forced to drop out as fund raising becomes more difficult as Super Tuesday draws near.