By George E. Curry
George Curry Media Columnist
Republican Presidential Debate:
Cathleen Decker, Los Angeles Times
“His challengers should know by now that they can’t beat Donald Trump at mockery, although Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tried anyway in Thursday’s two-hour presidential debate. For the second straight Republican debate, civility swiftly gave way to mayhem.” Chris Cillizza, Washington Post
“…within the first 10 minutes of the debate, Trump was insisting that questions about his endowment – not the financial kind – were way off.”
“Trump, as he has in nearly every debate, showed a wafer-thin understanding of policy and, when pressed about that lack of knowledge, reverted to namecalling.”
“The first hour of the debate was an absolute disaster for Republicans hoping to rebrand their party heading into the 2016 general election.
It looked more like a high school cafeteria food fight than an even semi-serious conversation about issues.” Dan Balz, Washington Post
“Designed to define candidates’ differences, the debates have become tedious and repetitious rather than enlightening or illuminating.
No new information was imparted, no truly new arguments advanced. Even the insults were tiresome.”
Patrick Healy and Jonathan Martin, New York Times
“At times, the face-off in Detroit also deteriorated into the kind of junior high school taunts that have startled many Republican elders but have done little to dent Mr. Trump’s broad appeal.”
“Mr. Trump, offered the chance to respond to Mr. Romney with harshness or with substance, chose the former.”
Jenna Johnson, Washington Post
“Donald Trump is obsessed with size. Obsessed.
“For months, the Republican front-runner has endlessly bragged about the size of his crowds, poll results, personal wealth and any other number he can use to measure himself against his rivals.
He often exaggerates, although he swears his measurements are precise and verified.
At times the 2016 campaign has felt like, well, a measuring contest in a high school boys’ locker room.”
Frank Bruni, New York Times
“Trump has succeeded at nothing as fully as he has at infusing the presidential race with a vulgarity that’s absolutely breathtaking.
“… We actually witnessed an interchange – in the first 10 minutes, no less – about how well endowed (or not) he is.
“It’s worth stopping for a second, letting that sink in and wondering what it says about our country and political process right now.
Philip Rucker, Ed O’Kefe and John Wagner, Washington Post
“The hottest topic in Michigan – the tainted water scandal in Flint – was brought up in only one question, and it came more than halfway through the debate. Only Rubio was given the chance to respond, and when he did so he expressed outrage while also complaining that Democrats have politicized the issue…”
“Despite the harsh rhetoric, Cruz, Kasich and Rubio all said in response to a question that they would support Trump if he was the nominee, and Trump said he would do the same if one of his rivals won.”
Anne Gearan and Abby Phillip, Washington Post
“Sanders angrily hushed Clinton as she sought to interject. ‘Excuse me, I’m talking,’ he said, drawing gasps from the audience.
“If you’re going to talk, tell the whole story,” Clinton replied.
“You’ll get your turn,” he snapped.
Chris Cillizza, Washington Post
“The senator from Vermont had effectively walked a fine line in the previous six debates when it came to attacking Clinton without coming across as bullying or condescending.
He tripped and fell while trying to execute that delicate dance on Sunday night.”
“The former secretary of state came ready to fight on Sunday night. She kept her hit on Sanders’s opposition to the automobile-industry bailout well hidden in the run-up to the debate to get maximum impact when she dropped it on his head.”
“It seemed as though no matter what Clinton was asked about in the debate, her answer wound back to a defense of the current occupant of the White House.”
“Don Lemon’s repetition of the ‘Avenue Q’ question was, um, less good. Ditto the ‘Whom do you pray for’ question.)”
Todd Graham, CNN
“I appreciated Sanders’ response when Clinton said she’d release her transcripts of Wall Street speeches when everyone else did.
Sanders, who’s never given a speech to Wall Street, began by waving his arms wildly, as if shooing pigeons in the park, and yelled, ‘I release it.’ This even got a chuckle out of Clinton.”
Nicholas Confesore, New York Times
“Asked a provocative and difficult question – what racial blind spots do you have?
Hillary Clinton dodged with all the elegance of a supertanker, instead answering a previous question before being pushed again by a moderator.”
“Whether by choice or necessity, Mrs. Clinton is running as a defender of not only President Obama’s legacy, but also her husband’s.
“To a nation still wondering why the Republican candidates are publicly debating penis size and incontinence, the Democrats offered a largely substantive debate about domestic policy.”