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Viguerie: Quick Takeaways From The Debate

Richard A. Viguerie, CHQ Chairman

I believe the most important quality to look for in the Republican candidate for President is being a fighter; who came away looking electable, who came away looking like Ronald Reagan and who came away looking like a fighter in last night's debates? 

Richard A. Viguerie

I had an opportunity to appear on progressive political commentator Ed Schultz’s radio program this morning and wanted to share some of my first impressions of last night’s Republican presidential debate with our CHQ readers.

The real stars of the debate were the Fox News Interviewers…

My first takeaway was that the real stars of last night’s debate were the Fox News interviewers – and I don’t mean they overshadowed the candidates – but that they asked good solid questions, no “gotcha” questions – they were mostly tuned into what is on the mind of Republican voters.

None of the establishment candidates effectively neutralized Trump…

Of course prior to the debate the media and punditocracy all said the debate was about Donald Trump, I disagree with that – Trump’s rise in the polls is about his message, and his outsized personality gives him a big microphone through which to deliver it. Last night none of the establishment candidates, like Jeb Bush, effectively rebutted or neutralized that message.

Trump’s support comes from anger at the corrupt, weak and lying Republican leadership, not because they are not singing Kumbaya and getting together with the Democrats to “get things done,” as Ohio Governor John Kasich implied.

Voters are angry at the Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner because promised action on amnesty for illegal aliens, out of control spending and other issues and promptly abandoned their promises after the election.

Trump made a very accurate point in saying the other candidates were dealing with some issues, e.g. illegal immigration, only because of him.

The only way to get Trump’s voters…

Going after Trump is not the way to get his supporters – going after the duplicity, lying, weak Republican leaders  and being a credible alternative deliverer of his message is the only way to get his voters and, although Cruz gave it a good try, in my view no one broke through last night.

That said, the candidate who came closest to hurting himself was Trump. Trump had an opportunity to expand his base, but his performance likely did not increase his support. He’s obviously not an experienced debater and his theatricality did not always play well in the more structured environment where the media asks the questions and controls the clock.

Jeb Bush also got hurt…

Jeb Bush also got hurt last night; he came across as flat and scripted while Marco Rubio, Chris Christie and John Kasich all did well.

Solid performances by Rubio, Kasich and Christie give establishment Republicans who are unconvinced that Bush is the candidate to carry their standard viable alternatives and make it much more difficult for Bush to sew-up the 35% or so establishment Republican primary vote and lock-up the nomination.

Scott Walker did not rise to the occasion…

Another surprise was that Scott Walker did not really rise to the occasion last night. Conservatives are looking for a fighter – which is why Carly Fiorina shined in the first debate – and Walker’s performance lacked any evidence of the zest for combat or fire that conservatives are looking for in their candidate for President.

Dr. Ben Carson often looked a little lost…

And much the same thing could be said for Dr. Ben Carson. He came across as very smart, likable, a nice guy, but zest for combat? No way.

Smart and funny, sure; but Dr. Carson often looked a little lost, like he – a neurosurgeon – had suddenly found himself on stage with a group of violinists or some other group to which he didn’t belong, but he gamely played along.

The big losers last night were Obama and Hillary…

 The debate had a big audience that does not normally watch Fox; three hours of strong articulate attacks on Obama and Hillary are bound to hurt their numbers and I expect them to go down in the polls after last night.

Carly Fiorina looked closer to Reagan than anyone else…

My bottom line takeaway from the early debate was that Carly Fiorina clearly deserves to be considered to be a top-tier candidate. She looked closer to Reagan than anyone else in terms of clarity and drawing clear lines in the sand, especially on her answer to Trump.

Ted Cruz did well, but…

We can stipulate that Ted Cruz is the most articulate and consistent conservative, but his number one problem is convincing voters he can win both the nomination and the presidency. Above all else we conservatives want to win the 2016 election and conservative voters will accept their second or third choice if that candidate appears to be a better bet to beat Hillary Clinton.

Conservatives see 2016 as the whole ball game…

The reason “electability” is so important is that while Liberals see 2016 as important; conservatives see 2016 as the ball game.

If Hillary Clinton were to be elected President, in four years she might have three or four Supreme Court appointments, innumerable lower court appointments and the full resources of the federal government to pursue such oft articulated policies as overturning Citizens United and granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.

With the feckless establishment Republican Capitol Hill leadership as the only defense against the third term of Barack Obama, we would be well on our way to one party rule should Clinton be elected President in 2016.

That is why I believe the most important quality to look for in the Republican candidate for President is being a fighter; that’s why Carly Fiorina looked so good – and Scott Walker, Jeb Bush and Dr. Ben Carson were disappointing – they did not look like fighters.

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Disappointed in the above column it almost seems he watched a different debate. Most of their gotcha questions did nothing to enable the candidates to show their abilities and policies. Megyn was a lite headed self important disgrace, Wallace was a typical not too bright actually sounding stupid liberal we all knew he was and Bret was a non-entity with a few nonsensical questions. Immigration has been the burning issue since Jeb's brother tried to force amnesty down our throat, it destroyed the GOP in the next election. The famous fence GW was going to build was defunded in a midnight move by his Texas buddy Hutchison apparently the plan from the start. To get to my point illegal immigration was and is the important issue for this country suppressed by both parties actually one party and a clone. Suppressed until TRUMP brought it up and TRUMP all the way.

Was Viguieries viewing the same moderators?

HW, I agree. From where did Viguerie conclude the Fox moderators did not ask 'gotcha' questions? Kelly explicitly excluded men who Trump has name-called from her question in order to conform with the Orwellian "War on Women" theme that the Demagogic Party has employed. Wallace overly focused on Trumps' bankruptcies as strawman for burning time not to ask questions on key policy failures hurting America and on which Republican conservatives are strong on.

Trump vs. Kelly

Trump's remark was crude and unnecessary. He knows this, but won't apologize. Not the person we need as president.

Fox News Presidential Debates

I have to disagree with the comment that Dr. Ben Carson looked a little lost and out of place. He didn't have the demeanor of a politician, but that's a blessing. There was a realness, a genuineness about him, and he was very articulate and able to get his points across clearly and succinctly. Maybe he didn't come out speaking loudly and waving his fists, but this is no proof that he's not a "fighter" for the things he believes in! Quiet sincerity and resolve speak volumes about a person. I thought he appeared very Presidential: dignified, calm, thoughtful, intelligent, and wise; and I appreciated that he didn't talk down to the audience or speak in a blustery know-it-all tone. Additionally, his closing comments were the best and most resonating of the whole evening. He came across as very warm and sincere. For the many viewers who perhaps knew nothing about him, he spoke of his phenomenal career as a pediatric neurosurgeon who'd separated Siamese twins and operated on BABIES (not fetuses) in the womb. He injected humor about Washington politicians. And he declared himself ready and willing to carry the baton of freedom for the sake of our children and the next generation. NOTHING is more important to the millions of Americans all across this country who are parents and grandparents than to secure freedom for our families! We've seen it slipping away alarmingly during the past seven years, and we're especially concerned about what the future holds for our families.

It's a shame he didn't get the same amount of time as others, but his comments resonated, and I think viewers liked what they saw and heard from him.

Moderators of debate try to Tabloid Trump

Agree with most of your analysis Richard, but NOT your compliments about the moderators. This could have been the worst moderated debate in memory. And that's saying something. First of all, the three moderators spoke for 30% of the total debate time. We are not interested in their opinions and long winded questioning. But more damning was their obvious, ham- fisted attack on Trump. Megyn Kelly took no time at all in setting the Tabloid tone when she pressed Trump, in her usual accusatory style, on comments he made years ago about Rosie O'Donnell. Really? Is this what the American people tuned into the debate to hear? I don't know how by any yardstick the FOX moderators can be hailed as winners. Trump's own oft used insult would be more in keeping with their odious behavior last night: LOSERS.


Enjoyed watching both debates. Lot's of great candidates. My short list includes Walker, Cruz, Perry,Christie, Jindal, Florina, Santoreum and Huckabee. On the bottom of the list is Rand Paul but I could even take him over Hilliary and Sanders and if we have to have another Democrat President it might as well be Biden.


I don't believe that the Fox News people did anything but showcase the fact that 1) they are paid actors, and 2)that they are there to do the bidding of the RNC.

The first question Baier asked was irrelevant -- that is after the six minutes of face-time they gave themselves before the candidates were marched out like Family Feud contestants. Would Trump endorse the eventual nominee if it's not himself? Invalid question which has nothing whatever to do with what kind of president would he or any of the other be if elected. Then, the balance of the questions rested on foreign policy and social issues. The former is valid, but the latter are for the most part states' issues. In any case, few Americans get out of bed in the morning primarily concerned with any of those issues. What most Americans are concerned about every day is their personal security, job security, the economy and the freedom to determine their own outcomes as they see fit. Re. the economy, the federal government, it's size, reach and taxes are the single biggest factor in its well-being. Scant time was spent there or with Obamacare, Sarbanes-Oxley and a host of other areas which affect our daily lives greatly.

Lastly, the Iran Treaty question was lame. There is no upside in it for America, which begs the question of "why the treaty" at all? I believe it's Obama's desire to destroy Israel, but that's another topic.

These debates were created by liberals for the benefit of liberals. The RNC put this one together clearly to pave the way for their boy Bush and his mini-me, Rubio. If I was Donald Trump, I'd begin my independent candidacy today.