After last week's GOP presidential debate where it devolved into front runner Donald Trump making reference to the size of a certain appendage of his, I had little interest in partaking in last night's debate. However, AM 1280 The Patriot had already scheduled a venue in which to host a debate party where our loyal listeners could attend, so I had to partake.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised that this particular debate was pretty docile and each of the four remaining candidates stayed focused on the issues rather than engaging in personal attacks. With that in mind, here is my rundown.
Ted Cruz: He was certainly emboldened with his multiple primary/caucus victories over Trump the past two weeks. Endorsements from former candidate Carly Fiorina as well as Sen. Mike Lee certainly lent more credibility to his campaign. Cruz was terrific when discussing issues of free trade, ISIS and Israel, drawing clear distinctions between himself and Trump. In his closing statement, Cruz emphasized that this is a two person race and that it's time for others to coalesce behind him this late hour. I begrudgingly agree that this is the only methodology to stop Trump.
John Kasich: The Ohio governor kept touting how helped balance the federal budget and fix social security while he was in Congress in the 1990s. I guess I missed that. Kasich has no path to winning the nomination, something which he himself has said is not a prerequisite to staying in the race. I maintain he's looking to be the VP candidate, believing he can help deliver Ohio to the Republican POTUS candidate in November.
Marco Rubio: He was back to his old self, focusing solely on substance. Rubio shined brightest when conveying "climate change" is not something the government can fix, that the Israeli-Palestine conflict can't be resolved via negotiation and having "mic drop" moments when discussing American policy on Cuba. Yet despite having the best polling numbers head-to-head versus Hillary Clinton, Rubio is slowly fading in the Republican race. Apparently this GOP electorate doesn't view winning the general election as a top priority. Even if he wins the Florida primary on Tuesday, Rubio has no realistic shot to be the GOP nominee. A shame, really.
Donald Trump: We saw a "kinder, gentler" Trump on Thursday to the point I was wondering aloud if he had taken some Xanax. In fact, there were a few occasions where moderator Dana Bash tried to pit other candidates against Trump but he just wouldn't take the bait. I suspect that Trump's demeanor was the result of someone having his ear telling him his acerbic and nasty behavior is a sure loser against Clinton in the general (never mind that he still peddles the utterly false notion that he leads Hillary in many polls). Despite the toned down rhetoric, Trump still woefully lacked substance and facts on most issues. Perhaps the most absurd thing he said was there was no bigger supporter of Israel than he (despite vowing to be "neutral" between Israel-Palestine) simply because he was grand marshal of an Israeli Day parade on 5th Ave. To top it all off, Trump was touting an upcoming endorsement from Dr. Ben Carson, the same individual whom he once compared to a pedophile.
Only 11 more days until the next debate, taking place in Salt Lake City, UT.