CNN hosted the second Republican presidential debate Wednesday night at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Standing on the stage in front of Air Force One were the top candidates led by businessman Donald Trump, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, world-renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie all survived a three hour debate that left both the candidates and the viewers at home spent.
The second Republican debate, a three-hour affair that veered from sophomoric insults to policy to late-night silliness, ended after 11 p.m. The debate felt at times more like a WWE presentation with all the candidates ganging up on the front runner Donald Trump.
Carly Fiorina – A last-minuted addition, Fiorina clearly proved she belonged on stage with top-tier candidates. Fiorina demonstrated strength on a number of points with her big moment coming when she talked about losing a child to drug addiction and her opposition to Planned Parenthood.
Asked Fiorina aide why no appearance in post-debate spin room. Deliberate? Why? Answer: ‘Yep. Mic drop.’ http://t.co/OXZtfix9LA
— Byron York (@ByronYork) September 17, 2015
Marco Rubio – For the most part he stayed away from taking shots at Trump and was masterful at his knowledge of foreign affairs and his passion on the issue of illegal immigrants.
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) September 17, 2015
John Kasich – His professional political experience provided an impression of being the adult in the room sticking as Kasich stuck to the issues. His message remained both positive as well as on point. His down- to-earth, blue collar style and refusing to attack others on the stage proved a winning combination for him.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) September 17, 2015
Jeb Bush – Displayed new-found energy and an ability to frame his arguments. He did spend a great deal of time battling Trump and defending the family name but overall got his key points showing a sense of humor and spunk.
This story makes me loathe Jeb! Honestly. Pandering by standing on his tippy toes? http://t.co/ftZgOPqOGU
— Stacy Washington (@StacyOnTheRight) September 17, 2015
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) September 17, 2015
Scott Walker – While he performed better than the first debate, which would not be a hard bar to clear, he simply was both unimpressive and lacked the ability to connect with the audience. Walker did not rise to the occasion and once again failed to impress anyone with his message.
It’s official. CNN asked Scott Walker only 3 questions in a 3-hour debate. They were more interested in baiting people vs Trump. #notright
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) September 17, 2015
Rand Paul – He just seemed out of place as he picked fights with Trump and fought with Bush of the Iraq War. He had enough airtime to make his points but they rang hollow and seemed be out of step with the rest of the people on stage.
— Ramtoad (@Ramtoad) September 17, 2015
Mike Huckabee – He preached to Christian Conservatives all night long. He brought up states’ rights issues but he brought little else to the table. If you liked him in 2012 then you will like again in 2016 because nothing changed.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) September 17, 2015
Dr. Ben Carson – He did enough to maintain momentum as the No. 2 candidate in polls. Carson supplied good points on both illegal immigration as well as immunization. Carson was clear but was not in the conversation on some of the international issues.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) September 17, 2015
Ted Cruz – He was passionate on Planned Parenthood, immigration, and the Iran Nuke deal. However, the passion was a bit too over the top. He also pushed Bush on both his father and his brother’s choices for the Supreme Court stating they were not conservative enough.
What will @tedcruz do as Prez? “We’ll kill the terrorists, we’ll repeal Obamacare & we’ll defend the Constitution, every single word of it.”
— JoeySkins #CRUZILLA! (@JosephEach) September 17, 2015
Chris Christie – He was better in this debate and his use of focusing on the voter was a clever tactic but again he found himself on the defensive too often. When he did speak on policy he pulled out the 9/11 card which he often uses and over plays. He did enough this time around to keep things moving but he still lives in the shadow of Trump.
— New York Post (@nypost) September 17, 2015