First things first: it's early yet. Nobody is going to drop out today. This wasn't about winners or losers so much but a beginning of the process of "separation." That process started last night…..right out of the gate. The Donald told everyone right out off the top that he'll run as an "I" if he has to – he more or less punched everyone in the face to open the affair. The papers will probably describe the debate as "Rollicking". I guess that's about right. So, I thought the Governors executive experience helped some of them stand out from everyone else. Here are some random this and that. Haven't thought a lot about it so it's off the cuff:
Jeb: Did ok. Had some solid answers and a good performance. Needed to push his glasses up on his face. Lighting was awkward. Handled himself well but didn't elbow his way to the front. See my previous blog post – long term slow burn.
Kasich: Very much proved that he belongs in the discussion last night. Handled some tough social issue questions pretty well. He should move up in the polls.
Christie: Did well. Moderated the blow-hard image (or maybe just being near Trump made it seem that way) and gave some good answers. Solid answer to Rand. The bridge thing is still going to drag him down.
Rubio: Strong showing. Paycheck to paycheck line played well. Argument about abortion exceptions was a pretty ham-handed attempt to buffer his immigration stance with conservatives.
Trump: It's Friday and not much changed from Thursday. He'll go down in the polls a bit as others distinguish themselves. Thought the "I'll run as whatever" opening was brilliant but probably damages him.
Carson: Whenever he was speaking the energy in the room sagged. I had trouble paying attention. Intelligent answers but didn't distinguish himself.
Walker: Good line about Hillary but otherwise didn't show up. He'll have to bring a big stick to the next debate or fade.
Huck: What happened to the happy conservative? Whoever this guy is doesn't resonate.
Paul: Some good lines – very spirited exchange with Christie that he ended up getting the short end of the stick on…I agree with him on constitutional issues but screeching about this or that amendment in answer to almost everything ain't going to get it done.
Cruz: Probably should stick to the senate. Presidential debates aren't a college debate clubs.
Moderators: Megyn Kelly came into this thing spoiling for a fight with someone and she got it. She and the two plastic guys asking the questions should probably go back and watch any debate that Tim Russert moderated before they try again. The stories the next day shouldn't be about the moderator(s)…..