DEBATE ANALYSIS: Trump, Cruz, Rubio Blaze Ahead And The Others Are Now TOAST

Did you miss the GOP Debate in Charleston last night? In case you did, or you weren’t paying attention, here is what the analysis says. According to Guy Benson at Townhall:

(1) Donald Trump: Though his performance was laced with characteristic policy ignorance and general incoherence (his answer on tariffs was especially bad, for instance), Trump had three shining moments that made last night’s event a success for him. First, his rejoinder to Ted Cruz’s “New York Values” barb — calling to mind New Yorkers’ magnificent response to the horror of 9/11 — was at once cutting and humanizing.  It was delivered with an air of disappointment, blended with the indignance of a man defending the honor of the city he loves. Very savvily played.

(2) Ted Cruz: The Texas Senator dominated the opening portion of the evening, running circles around Trump on the ‘natural born citizen’ eligibility non-issue. He was obviously and comprehensively prepared for this tete-a-tete, and it showed.  Cruz was crisp, factual, and occasionally biting; a memorable, masterful dissection. Up next, they say that in politics, “if you’re explaining, you’re losing.”  That’s generally true, and I’m quite sure Cruz would have preferred not to have wasted valuable airtime explaining a New York Times story about an improperly-disclosed (but absolutely disclosed) 2012 campaign loan from Goldman Sachs. But he did, and did so clearly and thoroughly — while landing a few crowd-pleasing anti-Times digs along the way.

(3) Marco Rubio: The Florida Senator is a smooth, talented communicator and debater. His consistent strength across these debates is no fluke. Perhaps in response to needling from his rivals who’ve effectively questioned his strength, Rubio’s tone and demeanor felt fiercer than usual. He dialed back (but didn’t abandon) his signature optimism and sunniness, in favor of a more forceful approach. He scored throughout the proceedings with very good answers on issues ranging from Hillary Clinton’s unsuitability for the presidency, to guns, to free trade — almost always making the most of his strangely limited talk time. On policy, he mixed it up with Cruz on several occasions, getting the better of the VAT tax argument (which I suspect seemed abstruse and dull to many viewers).

Read more: Townhall

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