For the second time this Wednesday, I am stunned.
The Adult Table apparently paid attention to the Kids Table debate earlier this evening.
All 11 of the candidates came to the stage of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to debate the issues!
For the second time in one day, voters were able to dine on real substance and not fluff.
At times, however, it did seem as if moderator Jake Tapper lost a bit of control in keeping the presidential wannabes in line.
You could see the frustration in co-moderator Dana Bash’s face more than once while waiting for the debaters to finish and allow her to pose the next question.
But – the candidates were actually talking real issues and providing real meat for us to devour!
While Donald Trump was a focus more than once, even then actual concerns were raised of which voters need to be aware. Trump remained strong and did not commit any gaffes, but he was not the star of the show.
Several of the GOP hopefuls had their moments tonight. The glory was spread around at different points and moments.
To me, however, the toughest person on the stage so full of testosterone was Carly Fiorina. She came across the strongest on national security and foreign policy. She also met The Donald head on with a twinkle in her eye.
Jeb Bush showed that he was willing to be more wired as he raised his energy level, joking about Trump’s assertion about “low energy”. Bush admitted to marijuana use, had a command of figures and defended his brother.
John Kasich gave a strong performance, touting his record. Kasich was more aggressive than the last debate.
The Chris Christie many remember showed up for the debate, but not with the same brashness that has got him in trouble before.
Dr. Ben Carson acquitted himself so-so. He readily clarified his previous remarks raised in questions and was not afraid to take a stand.
Marco Rubio had a decent night with more speaking time than in Cleveland in August. Rubio made some good points, but was it enough to move the meter?
Rand Paul, with frustration showing in his face and eyes, kept fighting back time after time. Unfortunately, the heir of the Liberty Movement seemed to be reacting more than charging forward.
Ted Cruz played it straight for most of the three hours on stage. Cruz managed to get backing from Fiorina in his position to take a stand over Planned Parenthood funding even if it leads to government shutdown.
The once darling of the Tea Party and the man conservatives thought would be the Great Hope for 2016, Scott Walker, clawed back, but not enough. While Walker made good use of his time, in comparison to the others, he did not break out.
Mike Huckabee sounded intelligent and factual enough, but still had me wondering why he was at the Adult Table.
From the Desert with my feet planted firmly in the Cornfield, all 15 of the Republican wannabes fared much better than they did in Cleveland. But as I said earlier today, it is time to prune the field.
Oh and my winner tonight?
And what did you think?