Takeaways from Tuesday’s Debate. The assertive Rand Paul is back in town. The Kentucky Senator didn’t shy away from mixing it up on foreign policy, and undeniably delivered his best debate performance so far. Ben Carson was largely unremarkable. Marco Rubio’s momentum continued, though at times his rhetoric seemed repetitive. Jeb Bush appeared frustrated, and gave the impression he simply didn’t want to be there. Carly Fiorina’s take on how to deal with Russia was moderately alarming, saying “I wouldn’t be talking to Vladimir Putin right now.” Ted Cruz shined when discussing bank bailouts, and attempted to fashion himself as the middle ground between the Rand Paul and Marco Rubio extremes on defense policy. Trump was Trump, though he was slightly more subdued than usual. The irony of John Kasich, himself a former Lehman Brothers executive, defending Wall Street bailouts escaped many.
While I don’t believe there was a definitive winner, Rubio, Paul, and Cruz certainly stood out performance wise. The debate was refreshingly substantive overall, with Fox Business keeping the focus on policy–instead of cheap game playing. CNBC should take note.