The “Happy Hour” Debate consisting of the seven GOP Presidential Candidates who did not make the top 10 should not have been missed by true news conservatives.
It lasted just under 1 1/2 hours, and I thought it was generally interesting.
Let me say before I rank the candidates, I think what stood out to me was how poorly it was handled by Fox News. Many of the questions were way too long – longer than the answers allowed in some cases! Also, not having an audience in the arena for the debate was terrible. It really made for a flat atmosphere.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) August 7, 2015
As for the candidates, Carly Fiorina may have done herself so well that it will move her up to the top ten going forward, but the rest, I don’t think anyone did themselves any major damage.
Here’s my rankings from the “Happy Hour” Undercard Debate:
1. Carly Fiorina – She was very sharp, using the time she had extremely well. She took a jab at Donald Trump, saying she did not get a call from Bill Clinton before entering the race. Her answers on the Middle East were very specific, and she demonstrated she knows the issues and the details very well. In general, she came across as a person who was in command, and you could see her as a potential President.
2. Rick Perry – Perry did better than he did four years ago, but nowhere near as well as Fiorina. He had a bad moment when he referred to Ronald Reagan as “Ronald Raven” for some bizarre reason. But he made the case for how well he led in Texas, and that he could be very good as President – particularly on jobs and the economy. Perry helped himself.
3. Lindsey Graham – His delivery was not the greatest, but Lindsey Graham was very forceful and you can tell he believes strongly in what he is saying about U.S. Foreign Policy and the need to destroy ISIS. I don’t often agree with Graham, but he surprised me with how strongly he did in this debate.
4. Bobby Jindal – He talks too fast. It is sometimes difficult to understand what he is saying – at least for me. He needs to work on that. Of course, if you are having to work on that at this level – you probably aren’t going very far. But he did have some strong answers, and did not hurt himself. But he needed a breakout moment to change the dynamic.
5. Jim Gilmore – He actually did far better than I expected. Gilmore came across as knowledgeable and in command of issues, particularly Foreign Policy. But he really has no chance in this race, and he did nothing here to change that reality.
6. Rick Santorum – His strongest moment was when he said he would lead the fight for Traditional Marriage. He was strong and clear in his statement. But overall, you just have the feeling Santorum’s time has passed as he said a lot of the same things he said in the last election cycle. He should have dominated in this debate, with the experience he has from 2012. But he let Fiorina come out the real star. That’s a big loss for Santorum.
7. George Pataki – Without a doubt, the worst moment of the debate was Pataki declaring “I believe life begins at conception,” but going on to say he thinks abortion should remain legal in America. Essentially, Pataki said “Abortion is murder, but it should remain legal.” How he thinks he can win the Republican Nomination is a total mystery.
How do you think the candidates did? Share your rankings in the comments below.