Reagan Wannabes: The 2nd 2016 GOP Debate
The Huffington Post - 09/17/2015
So here’s what we learned from the second Republican presidential debate: Carly Fiorina knows how to sell her message — and how to plant a shiv. Jeb Bush was a prep school pothead. And Donald Trump has neither the inclination nor the capacity to transcend his shtick and become a serious presidential candidate.
In a debate that clocked in at nearly three hours, CNN’s Reagan Library extravaganza offered something for everyone. Each candidate served up at least a couple of effective moments, mixed in with stretches of less-than-stellar delivery. CNN had signaled in advance its intention to get the candidates to directly engage with each other, and engage they did. The moderators’ questions were crafted specifically to draw random pairs of debaters into back-and-forths, mostly over policy differences. Not all the questions landed with equal success, but for the most part CNN found a way to introduce substantive themes via the entertainment-friendly framework of conflict. Unlike last month’s Fox News debate, which turned largely on the moderators, the Reagan Library event kept its focus on the debaters.