By Tom Ballard
Carly Fiorina: The businesswoman and former HP CEO stood out during her first prime time debate as she was able to go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump himself. She came across as very presidential, dismissing Trump’s infamous insult about her face and providing passionate answers on Planned Parenthood and drug addiction. In her first appearance in the main debate, she came across as strong and personable. Fiorina showed the audience that she was more than just a presidential candidate, she was also a human.
Marco Rubio: Normally, the Florida senator was heard and then quickly forgotten, but Rubio came across strong on foreign policy. He handled himself relatively well by being careful not to ignite any conflict between him and his fellow Republican hopefuls. It is still left to see if he has the ability to get his poll numbers up, but, nonetheless, he had a strong debate showing.
Ben Carson: The mild-mannered neurosurgeon stayed true to his promise of continuing to be himself during the debate. He came across as charismatic and calm, except for his ideas on minimum wage reformation. This was also evident with his quick reaction calling Trump “an OK doctor” after Trump gave his opinion on administering vaccinations. Carson’s statements were strong, but not memorable.
Ronald Reagan: So he might not have been a candidate on the stage, but the location of the debate, with Air Force One in the background, made it difficult for the GOP contenders not to invoke his most holy and sacred name during the debate.
George Pataki: Full disclaimer: Pataki is currently the candidate that I am backing in the race. The former New York governor received a bump of publicity after he said that he would have fired the controversial Kentucky clerk, Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Maybe his polling will go up from 1 to 2 percent and he will move up to the prime time debates… perhaps I can keep dreaming.
Donald Trump: In spite of the fact that I’ve yearned to put Trump in this category for a while, the billionaire genuinely deserves it after this debate. Trump just wasn’t Trump, even though he took jabs at other candidates, such as Rand Paul, and continued to flaunt about his wealth and strong poll numbers. However, he wasn’t the flamboyant force of outspokenness that he has made himself out to be. Could it have been a strategy to mild his temper or was the three-hour long contest just too long? Being called out on his failed business ventures surely didn’t help this businessman, who has declared bankruptcy four times in the past.
Chris Christie: The New Jersey governor had a breakthrough moment by yelling at Trump and Fiorina for talking about their business records instead of discussing the real issues. After his 30 seconds of fame, the debate went promptly back to discussing both political and business records.
Mike Huckabee: Mike Hucka — who? The former Arkansas governor lacked flare and excitement during the debate. If it wasn’t for his passionate defense of Kim Davis and so called “religious liberties,” it would have been incredibly easy to forget who the once Fox News host was in California, let alone the debate stage.
Jeb Bush: Poor Bush. The one thing that Trump did succeed in doing throughout the night was getting under Bush’s skin. The former Florida governor kept getting successfully cut off by the businessman and eventually confessed to smoking marijuana in his youth (which he quickly apologized to his mother for on Twitter). I know this wasn’t how it was supposed to be, Bush — winning the nomination was supposed to be easy — but at least try to defend yourself.
Rick Santorum: The former Pennsylvania senator who won 12 states in the last set of Republican primaries found himself trying to claw his way out of the B-rate debate. Despite his argumentative spirit last Wednesday, I doubt he did much to get himself out of his current rut.
Jim Gilmore: If the name doesn’t sound familiar, it’s OK. The former Virginia governor failed to meet the requirement of averaging at least 1 percent in one of three polls that CNN looks at to determine which candidates got to take the stage. But at least his performance was not damaged on debate night — but the same cannot be said for some of the candidates who actually participated.
Students share opinions around campus
“I have a dislike for Republicans in general. I disagree with tax (breaks) for the rich. I am not a fan of the two-party dynamic. It’s not enough to describe the beliefs everyone has.”
“I have a love-hate relationship with Donald Trump… I’m indifferent about Jeb… he’d be a one-term president. He’d be like his brother, but (he’d) be more liberal than his brother… (but) a lot of things would stay the same. We need some changes.”