Columnist Charles Krauthammer stated that the CNN Republican debate in Miami “[T]he kind of thing that would have been needed, to slow down the Trump train, simply didn’t happen” and was one where he got the impression that ” the Trump opponents, had run out of bullets” on Thursday’s “Kelly File” on the Fox News Channel after the debate.
Krauthammer said, “[T]he kind of thing that would have been needed, to slow down the Trump train, simply didn’t happen tonight. It looked as if they took the same advice, perhaps the pressure of the media, perhaps when Marco Rubio spoke with you, Megyn, when yesterday, when he said he regretted having taking his attacks a little bit too far. They thought it was hurting them. It wasn’t necessarily hurting Trump. I think the only hope for these candidates, starting from about a couple weeks ago was to go after Trump himself, to go after the weak elements in his past, they tried that in the last two debates, and decided it wasn’t working. So we got a lot of words. We got a lot of, you know, substantive, to some extent, but there wasn’t anything really new here. And if you’re Cruz, particularly if you’re Rubio or Kasich, I think it was an opportunity missed. This is not a turning point. I don’t think it’s going to be a deflection point, in the trajectory of this campaign.”
He added, “[Y]ou get the impression watching them, that these guys on the stage, the Trump opponents, had run out of bullets. They tried it soft, in the early debates, trying to best him on policy, which they do. These guys know their stuff thoroughly. They’re very eloquent. They’ve been in these debates for decades. Trump is new to it. That was very evident in the early debates. But it didn’t hurt Trump. So, a month ago or so they decided they’re going to try it another way, they’re going to go after him, his weaknesses, make it personal, get in there, in the trenches, and they concluded, I suspect, from watching tonight, that’s not going to work, either. So they’re now reverting. The problem is is that the train is moving. At the beginning of this campaign, it was a reasonable strategy to say I can do better on substance. I’ll try it, and perhaps, I’ll get ahead, but that didn’t work. So I don’t know what their strategy is.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett