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Mary Katharine Ham: GOP Debate Was ‘The Governors’ Night,’ Christie ‘Landed a Punch’ on Rubio

Mary Katharine Ham, one of the moderator’s of Saturday’s GOP presidential debate on ABC declared the debate “the governors’ night” for GOP candidates Ohio Governor John Kasich, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and argued  Christie “landed a punch” on fellow candidate Florida Senator Marco Rubio during the Fox News Channel’s coverage of the debate.

Ham said, “[I]t was the governors’ night, as opposed to the senators’ and the private sector here. I think they have wanted to make a point here. They’ve — this is their last chance to get a ticket out of New Hampshire, and I thought, Kasich, Bush, Christie were obviously looking to make it a bit contentious on the trail this week, and Christie came at the very beginning to make it contentious as soon as he got onstage with Senator Rubio. I do think that moment for him will make a difference, Senator Rubio repeating himself. he suffers a bit from having been good in the debates in the past, so his bar is high when he comes into this one, so Christie landed a punch there. I do think there’s a double-edged sword here for Christie where, if he’s too mean, it doesn’t help him as much, so he’s got a little bit of that, and as Charles mentioned, I think — I thought Trump was sort of surprising by being fairly low-key and disciplined, took a couple of  here and there.”

Ham added of Kasich, “I think that his performance was obviously pitched at New Hampshire. You could feel it throughout the debate. And his tone is built for them. His closing statement is built for them, and I think it probably did him some good. He’s had a little bit of momentum as well, and this is a question in the conservative primary, in the Republican primary, what is the way that you actually disrupt Washington? Is it through making a bunch of deals, or is it through not making them? and I think Kasich’s pitch, the look, I’m the guy in the middle, and I know how the walk this line probably works well in New Hampshire.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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