The top eleven GOP presidential hopefuls met again Thursday night for a 180 minute long debate performance at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Before the debate even began, CNN helped set a new tone through their decision to alter their criteria for determining which candidates were included in the primary and secondary debates. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina, benefited from this rule change, which made her the only female candidate on the stage and a fresh addition for audiences watching around the country.
Unlike the first debate, where the moderators themselves ended up in headline news, CNN moderators Jake Tapper, Hugh Hewitt and Dana Bash kept the fiery exchanges between the candidates themselves. Many questions were formatted to include criticisms candidates had previously made about each other, which provided ample opportunity for the politicians to bicker and spar.
Some of the evening’s biggest topics included foreign policy, tax hikes and drug policy. Senator Marco Rubio spoke with ease about foreign policy issues, along with Carly Fiorina, who as a Washington “outsider” contrasted herself against Donald Trump, whose blunder earlier this summer some thought showed his lack of foreign policy knowledge.
Donald Trump found himself in the crossfire for much of the first portion of the debate and refused to falter one his one-liner punches and bickering with fellow candidates. After Senator Rand Paul accused him of relying on personal attacks, The Donald responded, “I never attacked him on his look, and believe me, there’s plenty of subject matter right there.” He also told former Governor Jeb Bush he showed “more energy” during the debate, which followed his popular critique of the Florida politician that stole headlines much of the summer.
Despite his common, unpredictably remarks, Trump’s overall performance review is mixed. The Washington Post reports that while Fiorina stood out on the crowded debate, Trump nonetheless remains the center of attention. However, Buzzfeed writes that “Donald Trump did not appear fully in control.”
However, Trump did grab 18 minutes of talk-time during the evening. Bush closely followed with 17 minutes, trailed by Ben Carson and Fiorina with approximately 13 minutes. Scott Walker, who was an expected front-runner, spoke the least amount of time with 8 and a half minutes. Governor John Kasich allotted about 9 minutes for himself, however attempted to separate himself from the bickering pack by stating early on, “If I were sitting at home and watch thing back and forth, I’d be inclined to turn it off.”
CNN’s live stream of the debate attracted a record number of nearly one million viewers and the live television broadcast is expected to bring CNN its largest cable audience ever.
To read more about last night’s debate, read Politico’s six important takeaways and The New York Times’ opinion on the most significant moments.
The next primary debate will belong to the Democrats. Tune in to CNN on Tuesday, October 3rd when candidates will take the stage in Las Vegas.