We had a manageable crew at Power Line Live for the first debate; it topped out at around 200. I missed the first part of the debate but caught most of it. It wasn’t really a debate, of course, especially since there was hardly any disagreement on the issues–more of a joint press conference.
The consensus among the Power Line crew was very clear: Carly Fiorina was the favorite by a pretty wide margin. No surprise there. I think just about everyone has been impressed with her performance so far, and would have liked to see her in the main event. Having answered every question well and a couple spectacularly, Carly’s closing fell a little flat, I thought, perhaps because she had already used her best lines.
Bobby Jindal was the consensus second choice. He performed very well. I think Jindal’s problem is largely physical–he is short and slight and doesn’t match the stereotype of a president. But he was excellent today. I was glad to see him hit the immigration issue hard in his closing.
Rick Perry didn’t break out, to my disappointment, but the PL group still placed him third. Answering questions, there were a couple of flashbacks to his 2012 style, but his closing was very strong. Perry has a lot of substance and a terrific record. I hope he can become a serious contender, because he deserves to be.
No one else on the stage impressed anyone, as far as I could tell. Lindsey Graham looked like he was about to fall asleep. George Pataki actually performed fine, but I don’t understand where his constituency can come from. Bottom line, the consensus in PL Live was strikingly clear: Fiorina, Jindal, Perry.