John Bolton

John Bolton

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Ted Cruz Wins CNN Debate But Cruz-Rubio Brawl Was a Draw

Cruz cementing second place but yet to close on Trump nationally!

Here's the latest polling average from Real Clear Politics. Previously Cruz and Rubio appeared locked together but now Cruz is pulling ahead.

In the Tuesday debate on CNN from Las Vegas Cruz was the center of attention and got the most speaking time. The brawl between Cruz and Rubio did help illuminate the two candidates positions on both national security and immigration. From my perspective, Marco Rubio is stronger overall on national security because I do believe we need to get rid of Assad and break the Iranian influence in Syria. But Cruz is stronger on immigration.

Cruz does have other weak points on national security as illustrated by Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal.

Rubio endured the most negative mentions, mostly from Cruz.

Jeb Bush won the Facebook soundbite war when he told Trump "you can't insult your way to the presidency." Otherwise his performance was flat. He just doesn't seem to shine in these debates. No wonder that a debate party at his Miami headquarters was nearly empty.

We're starting to learn more about how the candidates differ on key issues like national security and this debate was an important step in that process. Perhaps when the field narrows, the opportunity to compare and contrast among the top leaders will improve. But at this point, I have to say Cruz is looking good!

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