Right from the outset Bush immediately lost the audience and made a basic political mistake: you never admit or talk about your weaknesses. you can admit you’re wrong about something, but you don’t tell voters what your personal weaknesses are because it raises doubts in their minds and can be used against you in the future.
The differences in the candidates were shown the most in the opening question:
Bush actually tried to answer the question instead of using it to talk about his own message, which is what all the good candidates did. It shows he has no natural political skills or savvy. Cruz did well because he used humor to answer the question, as did Fiorina.
Christie had the best answer because he completely ignored the question and used it to bash the Dems.
Trump gives the same answers and talking points over and over again, I think people are finally getting tired of it, they wanna hear something new.
Whatever calculation Kasich had before this debate about being calm and optimistic was thrown out the window now that his poll numbers are slipping. He decided to just be himself. The problem with that is that nobody really likes the real Kasich, he’s way too angry and out of control. He’s like the angry old uncle in the family, he talks to loud and too fast and rambles on too long.
Kasich’s attacks on Carson and Trump completely fell flat. He tried to combine a passionate attack with policy differences, and that doesn’t work at all. Either you get passionate about an emotional issue like abortion, or you calmly try to explain policy differences between you and another candidate. You don’t combine the two, cause that makes people bored and they wanna tune you out cause you sound desperate, which he is.
He should’ve learned from Huntsman that you can’t just cry out and beg voters to wake up and tell them want kind of candidate they should vote for and why they’re wrong. It’s condescending and arrogant.
I just noticed it for the first time: after Trump destroyed Kasich, he looked over at Carson and winked. He really put Kasich in his place and made him look small and petty by actually trying to defend himself against Trump’s attacks.
In these debates body language and demeanor is as important or even more important than what the candidates say, because voters look at it and are influenced by it subconsciously. It sends signals to them about the kind of person each candidate is and the kind of leader they would be. They want a candidate they like but also a candidate who is confident in themselves, not nervous, and is ready to lead the country and fight for them.
Cruz gave a great answer explaining his tax plan.
Fiorina resorted to talking points way too much, people wanna hear something new from her or something that isn’t prepared or polished, and they aren’t getting it, that’s why she’s falling in the polls.
Watching it again, Bush’s attack on Rubio was even worse than I imagined. It’s one thing to say a senator should be doing his job, it’s another to demand that he resign for missing votes that a)voters don’t care about and b)that all senators who’ve run for president have missed and that aren’t consequential
Bush’s body language said it all. He didn’t wanna be put in that position but he felt he had no choice because he was losing votes and donors to Rubio. When Rubio told him he didn’t complain about McCain missing votes, Bush mumbled that McCain wasn’t his senator, which nobody even heard, and then gave a fake smile following by a look of sadness and frustration cause he knew he just got destroyed and lost that fight, as well as the audience, who was clearly on Rubio’s side.
It was the worst timing for Bush cause right after his failed attack on Rubio he was asked if Republican voters and politicians are stupid and he gave a good answer attacking liberals, but it was such a contrast with his negativity towards Rubio that it made it clear to the audience how disingenuous that attack was, and that he’s listening to his consultants instead of being true to himself.
I think after that failed attack everyone tuned him out cause they don’t believe a word he’s saying, or don’t care, cause he proved once and for all that he’s just another politician who’s playing the game, rather than looking out for the american people.
Unfortunately I think the SS debate between Huckabee and Christie went over everyone’s heads. They just talked in vague terms and didn’t explain anything or back up their statements about it being our money or about how the gov’t steals from us. I think the audience tuned out at that point.
Christie is right on this issue, but he has to find a better, clearer way to explain his position on SS and why it’s a big deal that voters should care about.
Christie had a great debate, his answer on the corruption in GM and in big pharma was great, he used it to talk about his own experience, to bash Hillary, and to connect with the audience all in one answer.
Carly’s answer on crony capitalism and an internet sales tax was one of the best of the night. Her only problem is that she doesn’t relate her answers to the people watching at home or the average american. She does a lot of explaining but not a lot of connecting, which is the opposite of Rubio and Christie. Also, I haven’t heard her come up with a single plan or proposal of her own. She keeps talking about the fact that there are “many great conservative ideas out there”, but apparently hasn’t come up with any plans of her own.
Rubio clearly didn’t answer the moderator’s question about his financial mistakes, but even when he’s dodging a question he does it with such charm, confidence, and clarity that most people don’t even realize he’s dodging it, and the people who do don’t care because they’re agreeing with all the points he’s making.
The fact that Trump refused to stand by his past criticism of Rubio shows just how well Rubio was doing in the debate and with the audience. Trump realized that Rubio had the audience on his side and that if he attacked him at that moment he would come off as petty and mean-spirited, and he would turn the audience against him. This is the kind of political savvy that Bush lacks.
Becky Quick did the worst job moderating in the history of presidential debates. It’s clear that her expertise is in finance and economics, she knows nothing about politics or media, and it showed. Her exchange with Trump was just embarrassing. She couldn’t even remember where she read the parts about Trump criticising Rubio or Mark Zuckerburg.
To me a big development in the race that showed up in the debate that most people haven’t seemed to notice or aren’t talking about is Trump’s refusal to attack Rubio, even when given two direct and explicit chances to do so. I think he’s actually realized that his attacks on him in the past have failed because he’s not like Bush, he’s a capable opponent who can make a fool out of you if you aren’t prepared for his comebacks. So Trump has calculated that it’s better for him to just leave Rubio alone since he’s so well liked by the gop primary voters, even if he isn’t the first choice for many of them just yet.
That shows how much momentum and strength Rubio has gained in this race even since the last debate.
In this debate Rubio and Trump were civil to each other and Rubio even called him by his first name.
[mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] gave a horrible answer on whether or not republicans should cut medicare. Even if he was right that people aren’t having enough kids now, it was really dumb to blame baby boomers for “having too many kids”. He came off as arrogant, passionless, and disinterested. I think it’s only a matter of time before he drops out, and even if he doesn’t, his chances of winning are zero.
Overall this was a great debate for the candidates because they got to beat up on the moderators and largely avoid attacks from each other. But it was a horrible debate for the american people and the GOP primary voters, who really didn’t get a chance to learn anything new about the candidates’ policies and ideas, and who they really are.