The Third Republican debate was marked by efforts to stand out with personal attacks and strong differences over policies.
The debate held by CNBC in Boulder, Colorado on the 28th of October was taken over by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, along with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, each of them taking digs at Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, who are in a dead heat for the frontrunner position, with Carson taking the lead the previous week on a national level, as well as in the primary voting state of Iowa.
Trump and Carson are seen as the Republican Party insurgents that have gathered a massive crowd of conservative Republicans that have grown frustrated by the Party’s establishment, but at this debate, both of them have been overshadowed by Cruz and Rubio, especially Rubio who is seen by voters as perhaps the only candidate for President who could unite the divided GOP.
According to Reuters, the debate has proven itself to be a turning point in the race for the White House and the 2016 Elections and the Republican Presidential hopefuls have entered a new stage of the race. Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to former President George W. Bush stated that Rubio was by far the clear winner of the debate. He said “Rubio won tonight with wit, good humor, great one-liners and substance.”
Jeb Bush, on the other hand, George W. Bush’s brother and former Florida Governor is rolling down in the national polls and did nothing to make a comeback and move forward in the field. Donald Trump kept his familiar statements and one-liners about being more competitive with China and Mexico, placing himself in the neutral position.
The clear losers of the debate that have fallen under the radar include Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul and John Kasich. They did not have any moments to shine, but also did not say anything that would hurt their chances.
Some of the major issues that the candidates have clashed over include their tax code policies, with Carson proposing a Bible-inspired tax plan and Carly Fiorina proposing a simplified tax plan of only three pages. Cruz made a strike joining Rand Paul in wanting to audit the Federal Reserve and pledging to eliminate the IRS.
Most of the candidates attacked the CNBC moderators for not asking substantial questions and being part of the mainstream media that Americans don’t trust. According to Reuters, Cruz was the one to voice the concern stating “The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage match. How about talking about the substantive issues?”
The Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also called on CNBC stating “The performance by the CNBC moderators was extremely disappointing and did a disservice to their network, our candidates, and voters.”
The night proved to be a reversal in the leading candidates, with Rubio and Cruz taking command of the audience. The question posed is will their performance do them favor that will be reflected in the national polls ahead of the primary vote three months from now in Iowa.