Almost exactly a year is still left to go before voters select the next president of the United States, and the Republican party is already four debates into their run to narrow down the heavy load of candidates (there are still seven debates to go). On Tuesday night, the "main event" on Fox Business Network included Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich and Rand Paul for the debate in Milwaukee, Wis.
In their second business and economy-focused debate, the candidates took a sharp turn from grandstanding and boisterous behavior to actually focus on policy. Such a shift in the atmosphere ultimately led to a rather
boring lackluster debate, though there were a few notable moments, including one final win for moderator Neil Cavuto.
1. Trump took some punches Despite promising to put up a tough fight, Tuesday night's debate saw Trump actually take some hits for his words. At one point when Fiorina tried to talk over another candidate, Trump cut in asking, "Why does she keep interrupting everybody?" The answer? Boos from the audience. When Kasich called Trump's plan for a wall along the Mexican border "a silly argument," the businessman swung back. "I built an unbelievable company, worth billions and billions of dollars. I don't have to hear from this man." (And of course, when he first mentioned his now-famous wall...the audience laughed.)
2. That darn time limit dilemma Unlike previous debates, Fox Business attempted to enforce a clearer regulation of time limits on the candidates. The key word is "attempted," as the candidates combined surpassed the limit 34 times, prompting a bell each time. It was Carly Fiorina who came out as the champ, going over her allotted time at nine points during the debate and not caring about the rule. Such a feat poses the question: If you ring a bell during a crowded debate and none of the candidates heed it, has the bell even rung?
3. The "Clinton" count Bush was in it to rescue his image Tuesday night, and aimed to turn nearly every argument into an anti-Hillary Clinton statement. The former Florida governor name-dropped the former Secretary of State a grand total of seven times as he simultaneously fumbled over his own opinions and metaphors. Maybe Hillary shouldn't be Jeb's biggest concern just yet...
4. Carson likes vetting...so long as he's not the target His brand may be "trust" but after recent concerns about lies he's made about his past, Carson went on the attack, declaring that the media is "obsessed with inconsistencies." He clarified that he has no problem with the vetting process for candidates, but "what I do have a problem with is being lied about and then putting that out there as truth."
5. The arguments were few In a bit of carry-over from the last debate, which saw the candidates go after each other as if it were a wrestling match, there were only a few instances of personal attacks during the two-hour debate. Kasich and Trump fought over illegal immigration policy, Rubio went on the defensive by calling Paul a "committed isolationist," and Kasich argued for a chance to answer someone else's question. As for poor Bush, he pushed early on to get the moderators to address him and declared, "I had about four minutes in the last debate. I'm going to get my question in!"
6. Moderator shade, #FTW. Perhaps the brightest highlight of the debate came in literally during the final moments after the candidates gave their closing remarks. Considering the aforementioned arguments moderator Neil Cavuto thanked the candidates for "helping save time by talking over one another." He then threw some shade at the previously panned CNBC moderators by saying that "business debates can be riveting, because it wasn't about us, it's about them."
What did you think of the debate? What do you want to see the candidates talk about the next time they meet?