Last night’s debates were undoubtedly a huge success for Fox News. For a multitude of reasons. It is unheard of to see 16% of the American prime time audience tune into one non-sporting event, much less a political debate. It was also a huge success in showing just how fair Fox News can be. There were questions poking and prodding at every one of the candidates’ weaknesses, and the vast majority of them did well in addressing them.
Say what you want about the questions Trump or anyone else got: The fact of the matter is that Fox’s moderators only scratched the surface of what these candidates will have to go through from the rest of the Left-leaning media. If they could not handle last night, they will not make it the rest of the campaign. It is the job of media, after all, to put forward challenging questions to the people who are in or who seek power. It was a necessary trial by fire.
In hall for the Debate Watch Party here at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta, I was struck by just how much the majority of the crowd in attendance got into the debates. I expected some boos and cheers, but I didn’t expect to hear multiple people outright cursing Jeb Bush and nearly giving a standing ovation to other candidates. Yes, I do understand that the people here are perhaps more engaged than the regular viewer, but there is passion in the air here, and it is very palpable, perhaps moreso than you might imagine.
As you watch the crowd and the debate, you walk away with the impression that, from the voters’ standpoints, the debate was a success. I’ve heard people praising just about every candidate – yes, even Bush, Christie, and Paul – for some of the strengths they showed last night. And that speaks to the strength of the GOP bench. As [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] said during his speech today, it’s an honor to have so many great candidates running, and it’s sad that the Democrats don’t have one.