Who Lost The GOP Debate? The Sixth Showdown Had A Surprising Downer Of The Night
Despite the ridiculous number of GOP debates Americans have already survived (please, no reminder on how many are still left to go), not many of the Republican candidates have seen their names on the debate loser list. The fourth and fifth rounds both saw Dr. Ben Carson coming out on the bottom. And pretty much everyone everywhere thought that the only loser from CNBC's October debate was the network itself. So viewers, of course, waited with bated breath to see if any of Thursday night's seven primetime round participants, other than Carson, would walk away defeated. So who was the sixth GOP debate loser?
Carson most definitely didn't have a good night. Between his reference about falling asleep and having to ask to hear a question again, the neurosurgeon seemed ridiculously out of it. But Americans finally got to see a fresh face knocked down, when Florida Sen. Marco Rubio showed that he just might not be cut out to keep up with the rest of the gang.
The first signs of trouble came when Rubio just couldn't seem to make his way into the action between other front-runners like Trump and Cruz. While candidates have placed blame on the moderators for the kind of speaking time they felt they were due, you could say it's Rubio's own responsibility to make sure that his voice was heard.
Rubio's real moment of crisis came when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a candidate who sneakily moved up from the kids' table debates to the primetime round back in December, metaphorically kicked Rubio to the curb. At Bartiromo's question on entitlement programs like Social Security, Rubio decided to talk about taxes and attack a particular aspect of Cruz's proposed tax plan. In the midst of an exchange between the two, Christie jumped in to "actually answer the question" that Bartiromo had initially put forth. Cutting off a response from Rubio, Christie appeared ready to cut Rubio out of the race altogether.
No, you already had your chance, Marco. And you blew it.
Toward the end of the night, Rubio started coming across as the teensiest bit desperate, taking the aggressive route. He did make a bit of ground by attacking Cruz's flip-flopping on immigration policy.
But in going after the Obama administration and, by extension, lead Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in his closing statement, Rubio came across as a candidate getting a bit ahead of himself.
Because you know it was a bad night when you couldn't even handle yourself against a candidate who was almost certainly out of the race altogether just weeks ago. Get past Christie first, Rubio. Then you can talk Hillary.