GOP Debate: Winners Trump, Kasich: Rubio Loses

With their campaigns hanging in the balance, the Republican governors running for president struck back in Saturday’s debate, the last before New Hampshire votes on Tuesday. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was their primary victim as he took the brunt of the punishment in last night’s debate.

As you will recall after his 3rd place finish in Iowa Rubio went into New Hampshire as the clear leader of the establishment candidates. But even though he should have known he was going to the target at last night’s debate he was crushed by the three governors who have been tightly packed with him behind Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz,

Rubio’s success spelled an imminent demise, and they moved aggressively from the beginning of the Manchester debate to undermine him. The key punisher was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the weakest of the governors at least in polls, who struck first, brutalizing Rubio on his preparedness for the White House, then later adding attacks on his views toward Muslims and, time and finished him off blasting him on his immigration position.

Rubio grew so rattled early on that four times he repeated the same line about President Obama knowing exactly what he was doing—in Rubio’s construction, weakening America by making it more like every other country. The line is his go to line that he uses often as an example that inexperience is not the problem that President Obama has it is the decisions that he makes.

But attacks from Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush exposed Rubio’s lack of experience and accomplishments as a  first-term senator as a reason not pick him as their nominee the way the Democrats did in Obama in 2008.

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The winners last night were Donald Trump who was strong on his positions, got in only one battle with Bush, who his base loves to see him swat around. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, had his best debate and will likely do better than expected Tuesday because he was the adult in the room.

The losers were Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who did not seem to tout his Iowa win or to do battle with Rubio too much. Bush and Christie were so focused on Rubio they likely won’t advance too much in the vote Tuesday night in New Hampshire.

However, the clear loser was Rubio who was exposed for his lack of accomplishment and his momentum looks to have been stalled. He had his worst debate at a time when he needed a great debate and we will see Tuesday if he will be punished for his performance.

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.