Cleveland Oh (Storch Report) — At the outset we should make it clear that it was not a Debate, although that is what it was called by the sponsors, which we should note were Fox News, Facebook and the Ohio State Republican Party; it should be more accurately labeled a Press Conference, with the rules of the conference being set by those asking the questions, Fox News.
The clear- cut winner among the headliners was, Carson, who hardly got much time to speak and on the under-card it went to Fiorna. Both should receive a significant bump in the Polls.
While Fox gets few kudos from me for its anchoring of a debate it tried to make into a show right from the outset by asking a question to which it knew the answer, asking the candidates who would run as a third candidate if it did not get the GOP nomination as Donald Trump raised his hand to boos, was sophomoric.
Trump got the attention from the get-go and I place the fault for that on Fox, but came off deservedly so as the bully of the night.
It was further exacerbated by anchor Megan Kelly’s smug, aggressive and non-journalistic attitude toward the candidates, trying to impress her boss, Roger Allies, with her toughness while making the event into a show rather than a so-called debate, which was nothing more than a two hour question and answer session designed by Fox News.
It was an unimpressive presentation.
However, Ben Carson, that quiet, soft-spoken, humble, non political neurosurgeon knocked the ball out of the park in his closing statement, having earlier said, that he didn’t think he was going to get another chance to talk, when he said:
While other candidates’ closing statements cited God and their families, Ben Carson’s closing statement went the comic route with one extended comment that resonated, “I haven’t said anything about me being the only one to do anything, so let’s try that…” Carson said, poking fun at his fellow candidates who struggled to fit their accomplishments into their closing statements. But with the exception of Trump, Carson was the only non-politician on the stage, so he couldn’t point to a long political resume. Instead he decided to cite his medical one.
“I’m the only one to separate Siamese twins,” Carson continued — “The only one to operate on babies while they were still in the mother’s womb, and the only one to take out half of a brain. Though, you’d think that if you’ve gone to Washington, someone had beaten me to it,” Carson said.
But after receiving a wide range of laughs, Carson grew serious. “But I’m very hopeful that I’m not the only one who’s willing to pick up the baton of freedom,” Carson said. “Because freedom is not free, and we must fight for it every day. Everyone of us must fight for it because we’re fighting for our children and for the next generation.”
Out of the 10 headliners, in my opinion, only Trump came off as the fool, the rest fared fairly well.
Carson should score big time and Fiorna should become a headliner in the next round of so-called debates.
It was determined by Fox that the 10 candidates who fared best in an average of the last five polls released before 5 PM Tuesday would be admitted to the prime time debate, the others would be relegated to the under-card.
On the under-card the clear-cut winner was Fiorna, based upon her fluidity of rhetoric, her strength of points and ability to take on Trump, Obama and Clinton.
Of the seven that didn’t make the first cut, none did badly but Fiorna out-shined the field. Perry, Santorum, Jindal and Fiorna showed passion while Graham and Gilmore lacked it and Pataki was moderate on the passion meter. As for Graham, his statements focusing on troops on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan were fatal to his campaign, although many do believe it is the only way to defeat ISIS by taking the fight to them rather than letting it play out in America.
It should be noted for those that were not aware, there was no audience during the under-card debate, only friends and family.
An audience is a significant factor in any public event and can change the dynamics and the perception of both the public and the pundits, as was witnessed during the headliner debate when the audience was 5,000.