I'm late to the game tuning into a recording of the eighth Republican debate the morning after. This debate, like the democratic one earlier this week, was more contentious and had lots of back and forth. The big reason for the arguments were the last stands from Governor Kasich and Governor Christie in New Hampshire. Senator Rubio came in with a third place win in Iowa but got shot down multiple times by the other establishment candidates including Governor Bush, a fellow Florida politician.
The debate was hosted by ABSNews and the moderators didn't get as much flack as the MSNBC moderators did when they hosted the last GOP Debate. The moderators did bring up some knowledge about current events that even the candidates seemed to lack.
The businessman Donald Trump was back on the stage after eschewing the previous Fox News debate, which he credited as the reason for his second place finish in Iowa. Trump is polling at the front of the pack followed closely by Marco Rubio and Senator Cruz, who finished first in the Iowa caucus.
The first spurt of fireworks came as Chris Christie attacked Marco Rubio for his canned speeches. The Senator repeated himself multiple times mostly about Obama's knowledge of what he is doing. Several politicians pounced on Rubio's repetition, especially Christie who sought to appear tough and gain a third or second place appearance in New Hampshire.
Across the stage John Kasich, who received endorsements from big newspapers like the New York Times and the Boston Globe, tried to make a case for a more moderate conservatism and found agreement with Chris Christie.
Two candidates who suffered the most simply for not gaining any attention. First, Dr. Ben Carson who actually finished fourth in Iowa but was hit by a clever Cruz campaign information spread where they said Carson had ended his campaign. Cruz apologized but the damage was already done. Carson hardly had a chance to speak, a common complaint whenever he answers his question. He always looks rough on the foreign policy issues. Jeb Bush is the other candidate who tried to fight back against Trump and take shots at Rubio but didn't appear to gain much ground. The Bush campaign has probably been the biggest debacle of this election.
Ultimately, it will be the voters of New Hampshire that will decide who gains momentum on Tuesday night. My predictions after the rough performance from Rubio have changed as I thought the Senator would take second place. It's tough to predict with some of these other candidates jumping into the fray and having a greater chance in a northeastern state.
Trump has a large lead in the polls, which may exaggerate but make him a safe pick. He did a decent job coming off as a less extreme candidate. He started out very wild with absurd statements but has toned it down. His biggest moment was a argument against the audience who he claimed were all donors of other candidates.
Rubio is polling second but I think he will have to settle for another third place, possibly a fourth if Kasich or Christie could gain momentum. I'm surprised by Cruz's high performance but I think he can continue with this Iowa momentum and take a second place over Rubio plus his speech on his sister's overdose could have gained traction. Cruz and Trump moved through the debate unscathed as the establishment candidates try to determine who will take the mantle. Tuesday night will give another candidate momentum to move on to South Carolina and Nevada.
I'll also drop in here the Bernie Sander on the democratic side is my pick for the New Hampshire primary handily beating Hillary Clinton but I'll find out on Tuesday!