The third Republican debate was a messy, nasty event with lousy questioning and control by the CNBC panel. The news? Donald Trump didn’t win. Jeb Bush didn’t impress. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Chris Christie were strong. Meh.
Marco Rubio – Counter-punched effectively when Bush attacked his attendance record. Lots of sharp lines, especially attacks on Hillary Clinton and the news media. Batted away his personal financial mess by saying he’s focused on the peoples’ finances, not his own.
Chris Christie – Hard to argue with his point that CNBC was stupid for asking about fantasy football when we’re under attack by ISIS. Argued strongly how he’d save Social Security and Medicare. Sounded tough, feisty and alive. Only candidate to talk straight to the camera.
Ted Cruz – Led the charge against the MSM. Said he may be in the Senate but he’s still an outsider (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, Trump supporters). Would privatize Social Security, audit the Fed, abolish the IRS and return to the gold standard. If you’re a right-winger, what’s not to like?
Jeb Bush -- Had the best line of the night when he compared Rubio’s Senate attendance to “the French work week,” but overall had no punch, let alone a breakout moment. He awkwardly lost his big exchange with former protege despite the snappy one-liner. His glasses were crooked glasses and his tie was badly knotted. Didn’t they have a mirror in his green room? Weak, wimpy and vacant. Can slow and steady money survive?
Carly Fiorina – Never came back from Becky Quick’s on-the-money dismantling of her disastrous CEO stint at Hewlett Packard. Said she’d be Hillary’s worst nightmare and all but promised a cat fight if she gets a debate with HRC. Criticized for constantly looking angry last time, she managed to smile, whine and snark at the same time last night.
John Kasich – SHOUTED at every turn. Tried to take out Trump and Carson by arguing you can’t elect people who don’t know how to govern; it was a good opening gambit but he failed to sustain the attack after The Donald bitch slapped him over it.
Rand Paul – He was there. For what purpose remains unclear, however.
CNBC – You didn’t have to be a conservative to hate on them. Tough to overstate how truly, truly horrible their moderators and cast of thousands were.
Donald Trump – Sure his casinos went bankrupt but he came out just fine. He’s got a concealed-carry permit and gun-free zones are great for crazy people. He’s wonderful, just ask him. He did not dominate and for a while was hardly present.
Ben Carson – Insisted his flat tax plan (up to 15% from 10% originally) would not blow a gazillion-dollar hole in the budget and that there was nothing improper with his relationship with Mannatech, the questionable supplement company for which he cut ads. Zzzz.
Mike Huckabee – He’s a pretty good preacher and should have stayed on Fox. The former 400-lb man looks like he’s packed back on a few pounds since the first debate.
For a humorous take on the wackiest dust-ups, check out 21 Hilarious and WTF Moments From the GOP Debate from Rolling Stone.