This was actually one of the better debates I have watched since this all started. Jake Tapper redeemed his lousy questions last time that mostly started, “Donald Trump said….” with tough and fair substantive questions in this debate. Some were more ready than others.
Here are the takeaways I came up with from this debate:
1. Rubio had a terrific debate – I said earlier today it was critical Rubio have a great debate. And he delivered. There is not a person on the stage that can articulate policy better than Marco Rubio. It’s not even close. He didn’t have to insult Donald Trump. He just made Trump look silly on a range of issues no more so than with Cuba.
2. Donald Trump is a complete moron – Sorry but I am not sorry. In watching him it was obvious he has no clue on trade, no clue how Common Core works, no clue on how to deal with Social Security and no clue on foreign policy. He called the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, “riots” for crying out loud. He said his credentials for being better on matters regarding Israel was that he was a grand marshall at a parade. Really?
3. Ted Cruz made Donald Trump his target as he needed to – Ted Cruz knows he has to get ahead of Donald Trump. Cruz didn’t say a word about Marco Rubio or John Kasich but continued to draw a clear distinction between himself and Trump. And he did it very well. He continued to remind people how Trump supported Democrats in the past and how many of his positions currently, are not that different from Hillary Clinton.
4. Kasich did very well but it won’t matter – He may win Ohio which will make the race more interesting, but Kasich is not going anywhere. He has been very steady, repeating the same points from debate to debate. The problem for Kasich tonight was nobody else was sniping at each other allowing his “nice guy” schtick to contrast with the nastiness.
5. It’s a shame it took this long to get to a truly substantive debate – For the most part, the blame for that goes to moderators who wanted such fireworks. So again, kudos to Jake Tapper for asking such great questions because it was needed.