Last night at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Ohio, ten men made their case as to why they should be president in the first of the 2016 Presidential Campaign.
It is time to get those ten men a grade.
There were two candidates to get A grades, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Rubio and Kasich got their high marks for two totally separate reasons.
The junior senator from Florida was very slick, very poised and extremely comfortable on stage. He hit most of his marks, plus, for the most part he stayed away from confronting any of the other candidates.
Meanwhile, Governor Kasich used his passion, his blue collar roots, and his impressive resume as a congressman and now as a sitting governor, to score big points.
Here is how the rest of the field faired in Cleveland last night.
Billionaire businessman and frontrunner Donald Trump was on defense most of the night, but for the most part did not embarrass himself and that, in many ways, was his goal.
His grade was a C-. Those who love him probably still love him, while those who hate him – well he might have more of those today. His refusal to take the pledge to support the GOP nominee certainly is going to cause him some problems among the base. But then again his supporters will no doubt continue to follow him at least for the time being.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush looked uncomfortable at times and was not exactly electric. He is a policy wonk who is at his best when explaining the isues.
He got a solid B but continued to look uncomfortable and was far from animated. Hopefully next time he can feel a little more at ease.
Meanwhile Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, failed to distinguish himself from the rest of the pack. He stuck to the talking points, which could very well have been his downfall.
He gets a grade of C in large part because he just did not seem to connect with the national TV audience.
No doubt he’ll do better in the September CNN debate after looking at these tapes.
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee had a few good points but overall his performance was less than stellar.
He also receives a C grade. His best moment came when he discussed the defunding of Planned Parenthood. It was Huckabees finest moment of the night and showed both passion and a solid stance on the issue.
Unfortunately for the former Arkansas governor the good spots were too few and far between last night.
World-renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson had a pretty good night even though he didn’t get a chance to speak much.
He showed that he can be a good debater and had a couple of good moments during last night’s debate but overall He just did not have enough time to showcase His intellect or talent.
Carson rates a B grade because we just didn’t get to hear and see enough of him last night.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul had a rough night in Cleveland. First he took on Donald Trump and then New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in both cases he failed to score points.
He was however able to deliver the libertarian side of the issues and despite having a bad night overall he still remains a contender.
Sen. Paul gets a C – for his performance last night.
Texas senator Ted Cruz was the darling of the Tea Party last night. He did a good job of carrying their issues to the debate in Cleveland.
His best moments seem to come whenever he challenged the GOP leadership in the Senate and specifically Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky the Senate Majority Leader.
Senator Cruz gets a solid grade of B for his performance for the Tea Party last night.
Last but not least is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. As we said, he did mix it up with Sen. Paul but for the most part he was lost among the rest of the candidates.
We will give Christie a strong C grade. We want to see more of his combative, no apology New Jersey style.
So there you have it debate number 1 is over and coming up in September will be debate number two hosted by CNN.