Scoring The Great Debate

I didn’t watch CNN’s telecast of the Republican debate because I was there in person.

For some reason — maybe it was my last name — I was able to score three second-row seats at the Reagan Library for the two debates.

More than 20 million people around the world tuned in, apparently making the three-hour debate CNN’s highest rated show ever.

It was a long night of politics and entertainment. I just hope my fellow conservative Republicans watching on TV saw the same political reality show I did — and learned some lessons.

It’s pretty clear to everyone from Joe Scarborough to the New York Times editorial board that the three big winners Wednesday night were Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio.

All three shined on stage when it came to substance, but Fiorina made herself a national household name overnight.

She was smart, tough, passionate and quick on her feet, proving why she deserves to be on the main stage. She had several big “moments” and demonstrated a phenomenal grasp of the issues.

Christie did well, connecting with voters, hitting several questions out of the park and reminding us why he was once a favorite in the 2016 race.

Rubio still looks like he’s in grad school, but he showed he’s done his foreign policy homework and knows what makes America great.

Meanwhile, the good doctor Ben Carson was a clear loser.

He offered virtually no specifics, had no “moments” and showed that while he’s a nice guy and a great surgeon, the presidency is out of his league.

The biggest loser of the night was Trump, who was as awful in person as he reportedly appeared on millions of split-screen TVs.

He made crazy faces, offended people, refused to apologize when he should have, spoke in his usual platitudes and never said a substantive sentence.

I heard more than a few groans and complaints from the Republicans sitting behind me.

Most of the other candidates — the governors and others who were not there because of their celebrity — did OK. They didn’t hurt themselves, but they didn’t stand out, either.

Jeb Bush did better than last time, which isn’t saying much, but he’s in for the long haul. He’ll do better when there are fewer candidates left and the debates turn more serious.

Scott Walker did better too, though he seemed to disappear sometime late in hour two. Last time I remember seeing him, he was staring at fiery Fiorina and nodding in agreement like a bobblehead.

Ted Cruz was correct on all the issues, but he’s not as likable as Rubio, whose only flaw is he still looks like he’s in grad school.

Mike Huckabee got in a lick or two, but he’s still beating the drum for his Fair Tax, which everyone except him knows will never go anywhere.

Rand Paul was there, I think.  So was Gov. John Kasich. Kasich was Kasich — solid and substantive.

He’s a winner who knows how to govern Ohio sensibly, but he probably should have been included in the preliminary debate with Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham.

The opening debate, which Graham stole with his humor and GOP team spirit, was better in some ways because without the 2,000-pound celebrity in the room, it was all substance.

I’m concerned about Trump for a lot of reasons. Yet for all the trouble he’s causing the GOP, his celebrity presence is actually doing real conservatives a great favor.

He’s already brought tens of millions of new eyeballs to the debate broadcasts that otherwise would never have been made aware of the existence of candidates like Fiorina or Kasich.

I just hope those millions of viewers saw what I saw at the Reagan Library — that Emperor Trump had no clothes on and most of the other real Republican candidates were well dressed.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

The Winners And Losers From The Second Republican Debate

In the second Republican debate, certain individuals shined and raised the profile of their candidacies in a positive way, while others seemed to fade into the woodwork. Some candidates who were winners in the first debate lost this time around and vice versa.

After last month’s debate, I looked at where the candidates stood in the polls going into the debate, versus their results in the Drudge online poll immediately following, as well as the interest candidates generated on Google. Finally, I factored in the candidates stand-out, crowed-pleasing moments, which are key in our digital, soundbite age.

Using those measures, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson were clear winners in the first go around. Trump did nothing to particularly hurt or help the momentum that he carried into the contest. Carly Fiorino received special mention for her strong performance in the early debate, with the correct prediction that she would earn her spot in the next primetime debate. The losers in the first debate were Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Rand Paul.

The deck was shuffled at Wednesday night’s debate. Once again, Trump’s standing in the race was likely not helped or hurt by his performance. Going into the debate the most recent polling had him at the top of the field, registering 27 percent. The billionaire candidate dominated the post debate Drudge poll (over 630,000 voted), leading the field by a long shot with 53 percent saying he was the winner. He was also the most searched candidate on Google according to the Washington Post.

One of Trump’s memorable moments was when Rand Paul attacked him for criticizing other people’s physical appearance. The Donald responded with a good laugh-line reminiscent of his Rosie O’Donnell retort in the first debate: “I never attacked him on his looks and believe me there’s plenty of subject matter right there.”

The business mogul also effectively called into question Carly Fiorina’s mixed record as head of Hewlett-Packard. Her time at the helm “led to the destruction of the company,” Trump said. “She can’t run any of my companies — that I can tell you.” However, Fiorina’s moment to hammer Trump was about to come. 

Clear Winners

Carly Fiorina – It was clearly Carly’s night by every measure. The candidate went into the debate at 5 percent in the most recent polling, up from barely registering before the first debate. After the contest, 21 percent said she had won. Fiorina also prompted the most searched moment during the debate, when she spoke emotionally about losing her step-child to drug addiction. The candidate even managed to the turn the topic of drug use into a laugh-line with a dig on Jeb Bush. “The marijuana that kids are smoking today is not the same as the marijuana that Jeb Bush smoked 40 years ago,” she said. 

Two other strong moments for Carly, was her response to Donald Trump’s remark in Rolling Stone about her face (“I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said”) and her powerful prosecution of Planned Parenthood for harvesting aborted babies’ body parts. “I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, it’s heart beating, it’s legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain. This is about the character of our nation, and if we will not stand up and force President Obama to veto this bill, shame on us,” she said, drawing applause from the audience. 

Marco Rubio –  Rubio was a winner in the first debate, and he was a winner once again Wednesday night. Though he registered the same 6 percent on the Drudge poll that he had going into the debate, he had some strong moments and a high interest on Google throughout the debate. Strong on foreign policy, his time to shine was speaking about the Russian threat. He said Putin is trying to re-position Russia back to its Soviet Union, world menacing heydays. “[Putin’s] trying to destroy NATO. And this is what this is a part of. He is exploiting a vacuum that this administration has left in the Middle East.”

Chris Christie – The New Jersey governor moved from loser to winner for his debate performance last night. While he registered at 1 percent in polling going into and out of the debate, he had a solid interest on Google and some memorable moments. He was particularly strong on national defense and spoke with great affect regarding his 9-11 experience. “I was named U.S. attorney by President Bush on September 10th, 2001. And that next day my wife Mary Pat did what she did every day, she traveled through the World Trade Center and went to her office two blocks from the World Trade Center,” Chrisie said. “And after those planes hit, for five-and-a-half-hours after that, I couldn’t reach her, didn’t know whether she was dead or alive, and we had three children at the time, 8, 5 and 1.”  

Image Credit: Washington Post

Image Credit: Washington Post

Clear Losers

Ben Carson – The former doctor was a winner after the first debate, because he had memorable moments, especially in his closing. He had none Wednesday night. He went into the debate at 24 percent in polling, and 4 percent felt he had won. His interest on Google dropped off significantly.

Scott Walker – The Wisconsin governor was neither a winner or loser in the last debate, though he had a memorable moment or two. Wednesday night he lacked those times and registered at 2 percent going into the debate, with only 1 percent feeling he won in the Drudge poll.

John Kasich – The Ohio governor was also neither a winner or loser in the first debate, but enjoyed the support of the Cleveland hometown crowd. Kasich went into the second one registering 3 percent support. In last night’s poll, one percent felt he won. He also experienced a significant drop off in interest on Google.

Falling in the neutral ground for the second debate were Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Huckabee. Bush was in the losing category last time, but managed to have some memorable moments defending his brother George W. Bush for his leadership in protecting America, as well as defending his wife against a past comment from Trump.

Cruz was a clear winner in the first debate, but the second one did not seem to offer the outstanding orator as many opportunities to shine. Paul came off as less surly than the first debate (when he was in the losing category), and spoke with conviction and knowledge about the Constitution. Huckabee received an honorable mention for his memorable closing in the first debate, but Wednesday struggled to get into the mix. He did speak powerfully about the need to preserve religious liberty, referencing the Kim Davis case.

The candidates are slated to meet again on October 28 in Boulder, Colorado.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Watch: The Two Moments From The Debate That Sent Fox’s Focus Group Through The Roof

According to a group of viewers assembled by Fox News Channel pollster Frank Luntz, two Republican candidates known for their brash rhetoric scored big points in Wednesday’s debate.

First, a large majority expressed support for Chris Christie’s populist message, which began when he directed cameras to pan the audience rather than focus on the candidates on stage. His high point, many in the focus group said, came when the New Jersey governor addressed fellow candidates Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina during a discussion of their respective business acumen.

“I gotta tell you,” he said to the pair, “they could care less about your careers. They care about theirs. Let’s start talking about that on this stage.”

He then turned the discussion to America’s middle class, which resonated with many in Luntz’s group.

“You’re both successful,” Christie told Trump and Fiorina. “Congratulations. You know who’s not successful? The middle class in this country whose getting plowed over by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

Almost everyone in the focus group identified as a member of the broadly defined middle class, with one viewer concluding it is “what the debate should be about.”

Trump’s views on North Korea also earned praised from the focus group.

Acknowledging that there are “bad actors” in Iran, the real estate tycoon said even more attention should be paid to a nation that already possesses – and threatens to use – nuclear weapons.

“Nobody ever mentions North Korea,” Trump said, “where you have this maniac sitting there and he actually has nuclear weapons.”

Drudge Report asked its audience to weigh in on the debate, which resulted in more than 630,000 votes as of this writing and a decisive victory for Trump. The front-runner earned more than half of the votes while second-place finisher Fiorina received nearly 22 percent.

Who do you think won Wednesday’s debate? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Watch: Even MSNBC Recognizes The Hypocricy Of The Clinton Email Scandal

In a rare moment of agreement, The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart sided with Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough when he said that if a Republican had been involved in the same type of scandals that Hillary Clinton has, it would be a “disqualifier” for that candidate:

SCARBOROUGH: I do think if Chris Christie had sent an email to somebody for hurricane relief after Hurricane Sandy and said, ‘Hey I’ve got a great idea. Let’s move this funding project in New Jersey through the Chris Christie Foundation.’ that would be a disqualifier.

BRZEZINSKI: Is that fair?

CAPEHART: I think that’s fair.

The ongoing Clinton email scandal has not only taken its toll on Hillary’s poll numbers, but it has been a constant source of pain and anguish for liberals like Capehart and his colleague Eugene Robinson. They have been forced to admit that Clinton has handled the situation poorly and that she should not have used a private email server for official State Department business.

This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

My Epiphany On Rand Paul

“I don’t trust President Obama with our records.”–Rand Paul

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned since President Obama has been in office, it’s this: Do Not Trust The Government!!!

Think about it. Most of the problems we are facing are government driven. Decisions are made with little regard for the long term effects. I hate to say this, but it feels as if our chickens have come home to roost.

Wars are waged, the unborn sacrificed, borders hijacked, and it all keeps getting worse. Empty promises and bold lies rule our day.

Our Rule of Law continues to be manipulated and circumvented at every turn, and we continue to pay the price. This brings me to Rand Paul…

I’m starting to finally realize that he’s on to something. He talks passionately about balanced budgets and privacy rights; but most importantly, he seeks to take on the very thing that poses the largest threat to the American people.

How much unsustainable debt will we incur? How long will we continue to wage unconstitutional wars?

How much liberty are we prepared to forego so that those we’ve helped encourage to take arms against us can be thwarted?

What happens when those who do not act in our own best interest win the hearts and minds of a seduced majority and ultimately become our master? Where does that leave us?

We’ve given up so much power and control that we’ve made victims of ourselves. How can we be faithful to God when we’ve handed so much control over to man?

As for all the talk regarding the separation of church and state, the fact of the matter is God is not inferior to government, but rather outside and above it. The state has no authority over the church–and especially not over the Judeo-Christian God of our founders. The state can’t subject the church to taxes. It falls outside their authority to do so. The state answers to We the People, and we answer to GOD!

Tragically, we’ve neglected God for so long–and we reap what we sow. There are no earthly saviors. We’ve lost control of our own government. Our Constitution has been severely perverted.

I’m tired of our government granting and removing ‘rights’ that fall entirely outside of their finite jurisdiction. Government cannot give consent, nor decree that innocent lives are disposable or that the definition of marriage–a husband and wife–can be manipulated. It can’t spend money we don’t have without our consent and then make us and our children responsible for the reckless consequences.

We don’t need a nanny or a big brother; we need order! Order only comes when our personal rights and natural liberties (as bestowed by our Creator) are protected from infringement.

Unfortunately, policy is being determined by global interests, the military industrial complex, corporate investments, and powerful lobbyists. Big government is a monster that continues to expand and grow. As it continues to do so, the average American is getting consumed by it. The countdown to self-implosion has begun.

Paul better keep on talking. I know I, for one, will be listening.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth