Halperin’s GOP Debate Report Card: Rubio, Trump A-, Cruz, Kasich B, Carson C+

Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Bloomberg Politics Mark Halperin graded each of the participants in Thursday’s Republican presidential debate on CNN.

Halperin told host Joe Scarborough Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Donald Trump received A-minuses based on not just the performance, but how the performance will affect their polling and/or election outcomes.

“I gave Marco Rubio and Donald Trump A-minuses,” Halperin said. “Again, my grades are based on performance and how the performance affects the candidate’s chances of being a nominee. I thought Rubio’s performance most surprising is he never flinched. Everyone else who has gone up against Trump in these debates have had moments they have flinched and Trump has gotten the better of them. I don’t think Rubio took Trump down by any means, but I do think he showed a fortitude and a lot of people and Rubioworld are wondering why didn’t he do this sooner?”

Halperin went on to grade the other participants and said despite Rubio’s strong showing, he was skeptical of it doing much to erase Rubio’s deficit in the polls.

“I don’t see any reason to think that this would separate any of Donald Trump’s supporters from him and I think he last night was his normal self,” he continued. “He stayed on message. He had moments where he was really under attack and he held his own and I think he talked a lot about what he wanted to talk about. I gave Ted Cruz and John Kasich Bs and Ben Carson a C-plus. But Rubio’s performance while strong doesn’t erase the huge gap he has not just in Florida but in that poll of ours, that Bloomberg Politics poll you  mentioned, where Trump is in the southern states voting on Tuesday way ahead, even though voters know that he is not the most conservative person in the race.”

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