So much of the press was so hoping for a throw down between Trump and Cruz that they avoided the obvious. Tonight was always going to be about Cruz v. Rubio. They had to do it. It is the start of the shake up.
Cruz got the better of Rubio, barely, on the immigration issue, but Cruz did misstate his position on legalization. I don’t know that it will really matter with his core supporters.
Frank Luntz noted that his focus group really did not like it when Cruz attacked Rubio. I personally thought it played to attacks on his character that he kept talking well after his time was over.
But ultimately, Cruz did well. It was reflected by Luntz’s focus group and even social media. I suspect he and Rubio neutralized each other and did not make gains from either’s supporters.
One thing to note is that every time Rubio and Cruz interacted, they did so with smiles on their faces. When Rubio and Paul interacted, they scowled at each other. It was a fascinating dynamic and window into relationships.