The stakes were obviously high at the New Hampshire GOP debate tonight. With Ted Cruz fresh off his Iowa Caucus win and Marco Rubio bringing momentum from a strong third-place finish in Iowa, there was much anticipation and intrigue for what would lie ahead.
Before the debate even began, it started with a bang. Ben Carson failed to come out on the stage after being introduced, later to claim that the sound system was working improperly.
Once all the candidates settled in, the debate kicked off and the candidates did not leave New Hampshire voters empty-handed.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is battling former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Governor John Kasich for a strong showing in order to keep their campaigns going, got into an intense exchange with Rubio.
Rubio mentioned the fact that New Jersey had been downgraded several times during Christie’s tenure. Christie hit back by bringing up Rubio’s missed votes in the Senate and how he sounded scripted, like so many politicians are.
Sen. Ted Cruz, when asked to repeat his claim that billionaire business mogul Donald Trump lacked the temperament to be President, backed off of the claim by feebly saying that all the GOP candidates had a better temperament than Hillary Clinton.
Carson, when asked if he still believed Cruz was responsible for the rumor that Carson had dropped out of the race prior to the evening of the Iowa Caucus, simply referred to Ronald Reagan’s commandment that you should not speak ill of your fellow Republicans.
There was a very interesting exchange between Bush and Trump over eminent domain. When Bush accused Trump of supporting eminent domain, Trump went on a tirade accusing the audience of being special interest donors, which led to a chorus of boos. Staying true to himself, Trump channeled his inner bully, and it did not resonate with the New Hampshire audience.
Despite Christie’s aggressiveness towards Rubio, he did have one stellar moment that included his defense for the pro-life movement, even those with alcohol and drug addictions.
While Rubio seemed unprepared and wounded from Christie’s attacks, he redeemed himself with clearly articulating the dangers of ISIS and invoking a passionate plea on behalf of the unborn by stating: “I would rather lose an election than be wrong on the issue of life.”
Cruz, Carson and Kasich didn’t have impressive nights, but they didn’t cause any damage either.
Heading into the debate, 37 percent of likely New Hampshire GOP primary voters said they were still undecided. It remains to be seen if anything drastic will change due to the debate. We’ll find out what New Hampshire thinks on Tuesday.
Demetrius Minor is the Coalitions Director for Americans For Prosperity-FL. He is also the author of “Preservation and Purpose: The Making Of A Young Millennial and A Manifesto for Faith, Family and Politics.” He is a member of the national advisory council of the Project 21 black leadership network.
In addition, Demetrius is a former conservative talk show host, blogger (demetriuspeaks.com), former White House intern in the Bush administration, preacher, and graduate of the Pentecostals of Alexandria Minister’s Training Center (POATC).
Demetrius’s writings have been featured in Independent Journal Review, Townhall and The Washington Times.