Some quick takes on tonight’s debate:
1) On the whole, it was an excellent event. The questions were good; the moderators made CNBC look very bad. The longer answers were better, too. They gave the candidates opportunity for more substance.
2) Early on, Donald Trump was surprisingly wooden–low-energy when he wasn’t invisible. He woke up some in the second hour, but still not a big night for him.
3) Ben Carson was sharper than he has been in the past. It was a good night for him.
4) Rubio, Fiorina and Cruz all did very well–no surprise there. Marco got the better of Rand Paul on foreign policy. Fiorina seemed to have softened her persona a little, especially early, and had a strong night.
5) Jeb Bush focused on attacking Hillary and the Democrats rather than his fellow Republicans–fallout from the CNBC debate, which was a disaster for him. One more reason why it was a good night for the party and the candidates as a group.
6) Ted Cruz sounded a theme that every Republican should emphasize–illegal immigration, and ill-advised legal immigration, hurt workers’ wages. We don’t hear that enough. He had several very strong rounds.
7) John Kasich was even more annoying than usual tonight. Early on it seemed that he was trying to force himself into every colloquy. I’ve seen enough. Near the end, someone on Power Line Live said, “Someone tell Kasich his car is being towed.”
8) Chris Christie is the one guy who wasn’t on the stage, and should have been.
And finally: 9) The Benghazi movie commercial was one of the evening’s highlights. It looks like a good movie, and Hillary’s worst nightmare. I didn’t see anything in the trailer that looked much like a video protest.