Who Really Won The GOP Debate Last Night? RECAP Of The 2nd Republican Showdown [POLL]
Last night, CNN hosted an epic three-hour political melee under the guise of the second Republican Primary debate for the 2016 election. For THREE HOURS, eleven (ELEVEN!!!) candidates held the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, answering questions from moderators, trading barbs and trying to convince potential voters that they were the best man or woman for the job of Commander-In-Chief. It was a grueling grudge match and glorious popcorn fair for political junkies everywhere.
But who won? Or who do you think won? We're asking.
If you didn't have time to watch the whole thing, here's a handy recap of highlights broken down by candidate (with their preferred Secret Service codenames, because that was a question worth asking). And if you did watch the show, well you can review what happened as you scroll down to vote in our poll at the bottom.
Donald Trump ("Humble")
— CNN (@CNN) September 17, 2015
The republican frontrunner came into last night's free-for-all with a make or break cloud hanging over him and the other candidates knew it--piling on with digs at the former Apprentice host. Rand Paul slammed him for his comments on other candidates' looks, Scott Walker took aim at his lack of government experience, Jeb Bush tried to get personal and Carly Fiorina ripped him over his record for success in business. Still, according to NPR, Trump got more air time than anyone else.
Jeb Bush ("Ever-Ready")
— Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela) September 17, 2015
The ex-Florida governor took to Trump and tried to bring the frontrunner down a peg or two, but was only half-successful. He tried to get Trump to apologize to his wife for comments about Bush's stance on immigration being influence by who he was married to (she was born in Mexico), the mogul refused, and brought up Trump's own admittance to using his money to try and influence politicians. Bush also defended his brother George W.'s record as president and copped to smoking pot when he was younger.
Carly Fiorina ("Secretariat")
— BuzzFeed Politics (@BuzzFeedPol) September 17, 2015
Last night's winner according to Politico & Slate, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packer had a strong showing with her graduation from the JV republican candidate grouping to the debate between top-polling contenders. She came out HARD on Planned Parenthood and Trump's business record, as well as arguing for a buildup in American military. But her key moment was the decision to stay classy when baited to get into it over Trump's infamous comments on her looks in an interview with Rolling Stone, saying "I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said."
Mike Huckabee ("Duck Hunter")
— BULGEBULL (@BULGEBULL) September 17, 2015
The ex-Arkansas Governor and Southern Baptist Minister continued his strategy to court Christian Voters with his religious-influenced policies and rhetoric, which included his condemnation of Planned Parenthood and same-sex marriage. Two talking points that led Huckabee to again publically support Kentucky Country Clerk Kim Davis (the one who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses for gay weddings) and show a seemingly complete misunderstanding of the Supreme Court's function.
Scott Walker ("Harley")
Scott Walker rudely interrupted before he can give his response, this debate is savage https://t.co/8QI2STr5tY
— Jeremy Gordon (@jeremypgordon) September 17, 2015
Uhh....The Wisconsin Governor was there...We're pretty sure...We think. According to NPR, he had the least amount of screen time than any of the candidates.
Marco Rubio ("Gator")
— CNN (@CNN) September 17, 2015
The recently low key senator kicked off the night with a subtle joke about his infamous swing of water while responding to President Obama's 2013 State of the Union. He also jumped into some of Trump bashing and got a solid rebuke from the Donald on his attendance record in the Senate. But Rubio's true shining moment was when he tackled the issue of immigration through his own family's experiences.
Ben Carson ("One Nation")
— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) September 17, 2015
One third of the non-politicians running for the GOP nomination, the retired neurosurgeon's most memorable points of the night were to decry the belief that vaccines were linked to autism (another opinion voiced by Trump) and to tout his tax plan based on the bible.
Rand Paul ("Justice Never Sleeps")
.@RandPaul lays out his stance on the enforcement of #marijuana laws. Watch #CNNDebate live: http://t.co/NPqJZWHBTV http://t.co/FASe4FoqDH — Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) September 17, 2015
The token libertarian on the stage, Senator Paul (son of Ron Paul) stood out from the pack on more than a couple issues, most notable in favor of states' rights to legalize marijuana, his opposition to the war on drugs (two points which led to him admitting to have smoked marijuana when he was younger and calling out Jeb Bush for toking up years before as well) AND criticizing the decision to invade Iraq and Afghanistan.
Chris Christie ("True Heart")
.@ChrisChristie to Fiorina: You interrupt everyone else, you can't interrupt me. http://t.co/SzIjJeibRG #CNNDebate http://t.co/6d2n46LAz7 — CNN (@CNN) September 17, 2015
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was un-characteristically outshone by the other candidates last night. Although he did manage to unleash his trademark temper in an effort to keep Fiorina from talking over him AND attempting to "stop the childish back and forth" between Trump and Fiorina over their accomplishments and focus on the issue of helping the middle class. He also once again reminded people of his ties to 9/11 and was hit by Trump for the failure of Atlantic City.
John Kasich ("Unit One")
"At the end of the day, America's got to work." @JohnKasich #Kasich4Us #CNNDebate https://t.co/KBPxHtrZ6q — New Day For America (@NewDay4America) September 17, 2015
Seemingly the only adult in the room, the Ex-Ohio Governor was in the bottom third in terms of air time, but used that scarce attention to talk about issues and policy, touting his record and promising to turn Ohio red in a general election. Although he did suggest Mother Teresa, a non-American, as a female face to replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill.
Ted Cruz ("Cohiba")
The focus wasn't entirely on Mr. Trump. John Kasich and Ted Cruz mixed it up over Iran http://t.co/kynkf1iaok http://t.co/4DjyAJuCkU — New York Times Video (@nytvideo) September 17, 2015
The conservative wildcard in the room, Senator Cruz voiced a major opposition to the both the recent nuclear deal with Iran and Planned Parenthood. He also voiced a critical opinion of George W. Bush's appoint of John Roberts to the Supreme Court and vowed to destroy both ISIS and Obamacare.