Columnist Charles Krauthammer argued that Republican presidential candidate “had a bad night” at the primetime GOP presidential debate on a special broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Kelly File”
Krauthammer said, “the real story is the collapse of Trump in this debate. … The fact is, he was out of place. And when you think about it, when he’s free form, when he’s uninterrupted, when he can do the flight of ideas, when he can go on his own and ramble, he’s entertaining, he’s sharp, and he’s actually amusing. But here when he was controlled, and in a tight setting, he was lost for most of the debate. And I think it showed that, he was in a group of professional politicians, whom he mocks, and yet they, as a group, and individually, were able to handle it, and to be sharp and persuasive, most of the time. But they left him out in the cold. Rubio — there were some winners here. I would say I thought Carson, until the last two questions, also looked relatively weak, unable to answer some of the questions. But his closing statement was a brilliant one, and I think it redeemed his evening. but overall, I think the winners were Cruz, Rubio, and Huckabee, and Christie. Because of the way I think he bested Rand Paul in the debate about eavesdropping and national security.” Krauthammer also argued it was “striking” how little Hillary Clinton came up in the debate.
He added of Trump, “when he didn’t have a chance to change the subject, to ramble on to something else, and had to stick to the questions, when he didn’t, it was obvious that he was dodging. He was testy, he was thin-skinned, he was honest, I grant him that. And when you asked the first question about whether he would support or not, the candidate, that really hurt him in the audience, and perhaps in the more general Republican audience. But he didn’t flinch, and he was straightforward about that. But I think when it came to substance, there was no substance. You ask him about General Soleimani, he didn’t have a clue. Now that’s a detail. It wasn’t a gotcha question. But it showed, I think, that if you’re not involved in the issues, and you don’t study up, as some the candidates did, and you think that you’re above that, it hurts you. And I think it did hurt him. I thought he had a bad night, whether it’ll reflect in the polls, I have no idea. But I thought it was not a night — that was supposed to be his night. The expectations were particularly high, so I think he’s hurt on account of that. But I thought he had a flat night, and one that I’m not sure he’s going to like.”
Krauthammer concluded, “I think it shows for all of the anti-politician atmosphere in the country, it shows the value of knowing the issues and being a practiced speaker.”
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