Here is the CitizenEcon.com scorecard on the FoxBusiness Republican presidential candidate debate:
Cruz was very strong, but he needs to convince doubters that he can 1) beat Hillary and 2) GOVERN, not just be passionate and smart. The base alone will not suffice. He held his ground, but it remains to be seen whether he gained any last night.
Carson is very likable on a personal level. He needed to demonstrate that he can can play with the big boys and girls, which is to say Rubio and Fiorina, on economics and policy. He fell short. He hasn't read enough of Thomas Sowell or CitizenEcon.com yet.
Trump was more restrained than usual, neither hurt nor helped himself. We may thank him for all the attention and color he has brought to the campaign and to issues that would not otherwise have been brought up, and allow him to settle quietly below Cruz, Fiorina, Rubio, Carson...
Rubio did very well, was very articulate and authoritative all around. His vulnerabilities are 1) He looks like he's 25, and 2) immigration-absolutist conservatives don't trust him. He needs to have a private come-to-Jesus powwow with Ann Coulter, Mark Levin and some Tea Party leaders and convince them that he has seen the light.
Dear conservatives: Whatever Rubio's weaknesses, they pale in comparison to the duplicity and deceit of Obama and Rodham-Clinton. Rubio won't be penning capricious unconstitutional executive orders in the middle of the night.
Bush almost had a few moments of statesmanship in which he might have answered the 64 dollar question posed by Mark Steyn, to wit, why a third Bush in 30 years is indispensable. But he is so verbally clumsy and socially awkward, he gives the impression of being the high school dork who couldn't get a date.
Rand Paul scored a few points, like pointing out that inequality is highest where Democrats are in charge, but his repeated blaming ISIS on W. Bush without mentioning Obama's premature withdrawal calls his judgement into question.
Kasich was HORRIBLE. His rants and interruptions were appalling. Not only were his policy prescriptions wrong, but he was rude and aggressive promoting them.
Kasich should be traded to the Democrats in exchange for Webb. Webb would even be a more acceptable VP to Cruz than Kasich would. And Kasich and Paul should be off the stage, to bring Jindal up to the adult's table. Jindal is under-rated and needs to have his turns.
Carly needed to distinguish herself or her somewhat stalled campaign would be in trouble. She not only shone, but stepped one rung at a time through the debate to come out on top, with her mastery of philosophy, policy, executive experience and issues, especially foreign policy.