Republican contenders for the presidency met in a debate in Des Moines, Iowa last night to make their last major televised pitch before Iowans go to caucus on Monday.
But it was not the seven on the stage who were the star of the show.
The one contender who won the debate was the one who was three miles down the road doing his own thing – Donald Trump. His name, however, did come up 13 times during last night’s main event.
The big loser may have been Ted Cruz, who could not seem to get it together. He tried his knack for telling jokes and cracking humor, but most were lame or fell on an unappreciative audience.
Time and again he was slapped down by both Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. Cruz was not used to be the center of attention.
Paul and Jeb Bush had their appearances and debate night yet. Still there was no wow moment to move the needle. Rubio was in full command many times. He made a direct appeal to Evangelicals which was a slap to Cruz’s face.
However, Rubio got a bit of come-uppance from his former mentor, Bush, on the immigration issue.
John Kasich and Chris Christie appeared as themselves in last night’s ongoing GOP saga.
Unfortunately, Dr. Ben Carson seemed to be the wilting wall flower. Not that it was entirely his fault. The moderators gave him less than half the time allotted to Rubio and Cruz. Polls say that around 40% of Iowa voters have yet to make up their mind even though they must go and caucus in three days.
Last night, if they were able to stay awake and were not watching the Trump fund raiser for veterans, would have seen and heard a much more substantial debate on the issues from the seven on the stage.
But though deeper and meatier on policy than past debates, it is doubtful anyone of the seven or the four who debated earlier (Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Jim Gilmore – yes, Gilmore) made much of an impact or swayed anyone closer to a decision.
From the Cornfield, on Monday we will find who truly won the debate.