Losers’ Bracket Debate: Fiorina Shines with Blunt Words, Polished Performance; Graham a Dud

They played to a near-empty arena (by design) but when the dust cleared after the 5 p.m. “Happy Hour” debate Thursday, former Hewlett Packard chief Carly Fiorina gave the best performance in The Shad’s view.

Fiorina called out Hillary Clinton repeatedly, calling her a liar on several issues. Fiorina was smooth, knew what she wanted to say and had a confident delivery. With six other people on stage, she managed to stand out.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina

Rick Perry almost has another “oops” moment at the very beginning before righting the ship. I am wondering, however, whether it is a requirement of Texas governors to mispronounce the word “nuclear.” I don’t think you should have the launch codes until you can pronounce the damn word.

Perry also failed to realize that zingers don’t work when there is no one there to hear them. In response to an opportunity to describe Hillary Clinton, he said “Good at email.” Crickets. Others described her as everything from “untrustworthy” to “dishonest.”

Rick Santorum should just pack up his middle-ages views and go back to Pennsylvania. We’ve had enough already.

Former Govs. Jim Gilmore (Virginia) and George Pataki (New York) are probably more qualified that people give them credit. But they simply could not distinguish themselves other than Pataki holding firm to his pro-choice position.

The strangest moment of the debate came when Sen. Lindsay Graham was asked if defunding Planned Parenthood could be construed as part of a “war on women.” Graham inexplicably pivoted to how women are treated in the Middle East. I’m sure he didn’t mean it this way but it seemed as if he was saying, “You think we have a war on women here? Just be glad you’re not in Iraq.”

Big thumbs down for Graham. He has a compelling back story but it got lost in his lackluster, listless presentation.