The Carly Fiorina-Donald Trump showdown was billed as the moment to watch during last night's long and crowded GOP debate, and she's emerging as the biggest winner of both the exchange and the night—and is being talked about almost as much as Trump. Here's what the pundits are saying:
- Fiorina "commanded voters' attention early on by responding sternly, and unflinchingly, to Donald Trump's attacks on her appearance," writes Gabriel Debenedetti at Politico. "Women all over the country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said," she said, and Trump ended up walking his comments back, saying Fiorina "has a beautiful face and is a beautiful woman." Fiorina also impressed with her moving remarks on Planned Parenthood and on losing her stepdaughter to drug addiction.
- It was "Carly's night," agrees Rich Lowry at the National Review, describing her handling of Trump as "pitch perfect, understated, but pointed" and predicting that she will continue her rise in the polls.
- Chris Christie also had "a good night by any measure," according to Niall Stanage at the Hill, who says his best moment came when he told Trump and Fiorina that the average worker "could care less about their careers." Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz also had solid nights, Stanage writes, while Scott Walker, Rand Paul, and Jeb Bush failed to impress.
- Trump "was attacked from all sides," but that's exactly how he likes it, writes Anthony Zurcher at the BBC, noting that the front-runner did well with some early one-liners, but was "uncharacteristically muted" when responding to Fiorina. Trump emerged "bruised but not beaten," Zurcher decides.
- In Chris Cillizza's roundup of winners and losers at the Washington Post, he puts Bush in both columns, saying he was "flat" in the first couple of hours and didn't seem to have the heart for attacking Trump, but that he had a great final hour with remarks on Iran—and about his mom still being angry with him for smoking pot in high school. Cillizza also calls the debate length a loser, saying three hours demanded "a massive amount of the candidates, the moderators, and the people watching."
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