Lively, Raucous, Fun to Watch: Winners & Losers of GOP Debate

The GOP debate Thursday was expected to be fiery, fun, and at times, nasty. It delivered and then some. Here are The Shad’s winners and losers:

Winners:
• Trump. For the first time, he faced a somewhat hostile crowd. He was booed at times. The amazing thing is that he was able to turn things around to his advantage. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll has him increasing his lead. Everyone better get used to the fact that Trump may very well be the nominee leading many in both parties to say, “This isn’t funny anymore.”

I’m not sure but I think at one point, he called me stupid. Him and his damned “New York Values.”

• Bush. This was his best performance and it’s no accident that it came when the spotlight wasn’t on him. Cruz and Trump were on the marque Thursday. Bush simply seemed presidential.

• Rubio. He was struggling for most of the night until he unloaded on Ted Cruz’s Senate record, reeling off a plethora of flip-flops, flop-flips, twists and turns. There were so many of them, Cruz had to settle with saying, “You’re wrong on everything.”

• FOX Business Channel’s Trish Reagan. She moderated the first, undercard debate. She is now in second place in Iowa.

FOX Business News' Trish Reagan.

FOX Business News’ Trish Reagan.

• Strom Thurmond. The fully decomposed former racist was name-dropped by John Kasich. The audience applauds. Ugh.

• Lindsay Graham, Nikki Haley and Ivanka Trump. For getting face time without having to be onstage.

• New York. The Big Apple’s “values” were attacked by Cruz again. The city responded appropriately:

Drop dead

• The late Tim Russert. An interview he did with Trump was cited. It certainly shows Trump will pretty much say anything to win.

• FOX Business Channel. It’s now hosted two debates and they went off very smoothly compared to the one hosted by their brothers and sisters over at FOX News Channel which was a debacle. The FBN did have to reach for the seven-second delay button when Kasich said. “We must continue to frack.”

The losers:
• Cruz. He just seems mean. Hitting Trump, he said not many conservatives come from New York. So do they come from Canada? He had to defend himself on the birther questions as well as the $1 million loan he “forgot” to disclose. He slammed the New York Times for what he called “a hit piece” about the loan. Is he right? Judge for yourself. The article is here.

• Kasich. The Ohio governor inexplicably answered the questions that were asked and made perfect sense. He was immediately disqualified.

• Christie. There really is room for only one loud mouth. Trump has cornered the market. Christie was disrespectful of the president on multiple occasions. You can disagree with getting personal. Of President Obama, he also declared the Republicans “are going to kick your rear end out of the White House. Note to Chris: The 22nd Amendment does that for you.

Christie once again looked into camera to speak directly to me! I got chills. When he gets worked up, the front row of the audience needs ponchos like at a Gallaher show.

• Carson. There were times when I wondered whether he simply left the stage altogether. At one point he referenced his mother once made three dollars an hour. Was that before or after he hit her on the head with a hammer?

The undercard debate:
• As her poll numbers dropped, Carly Fiorina spent her time writing one-liners. She started by saying, “Unlike another woman in this race, I actually like spending time with my husband.” Hillary responded with, “OH NO YOU DINTIT!”

• Rick Santorum thinks if you raise your voice, what you’re saying will have meaning. Mike Huckabee wants to bring prayer back to public schools (and he apparently ate Rand Paul because Paul wasn’t there).