Monday, February 8, 2016

New Hampshire GOP Debate Gradebook


Vito and Vito, after the GOP debates, grade each candidate's performance. These rankings do not reflect the candidate's policies, only their debate performance. We try to be as objective as possible.

In the comment section below add your own grades and compare them to Vito and Vito. Do you agree with our grades? Who do you think won?

Click below for each candidate's grades!

Donald Trump
Vito DiGiovanni: A-
Vito Palmeri: B

Donald Trump seemed to be in the background. He wasn't at the center of attention like a front-runner usually is; instead Marco Rubio was. Trump received many boos from the audience when he accused all of them of being big time donors put there by the RNC. Marco Rubio missed a softball question when asked if Trump was a conservative and he could've taken advantage of that, but he didn't attack Trump.

Chris Christie
Vito DiGiovanni: B+
Vito Palmeri: A

Chris Christie called out Rubio for repeating the same old lines and rhetoric, something I've been waiting for for a long time. He had his best debate to date, even though he continued with his "governors are better than senators" rhetoric; which is played out now. Not sure if debate helped Christie, but it may hurt Rubio.

Ted Cruz
Vito DiGiovanni: B+
Vito Palmeri: B+

Ted Cruz was facing much criticism after the "Carson dropping out" scandal. He explained himself and apologized publicly, but even CNN released an article calling Cruz out. Cruz wasn't focused on too much, maybe because he is expected to do bad in New Hampshire. He wasn't a big supporter of water-boarding, which may upset a few conservatives. He was avoiding a few questions, but don't all politicians? He didn't attack Trump, but instead even said if he's president he may have Trump build the southern border's wall.

John Kasich
Vito DiGiovanni: B-
Vito Palmeri: B

The first time we are ranking Kasich higher than a D! New Hampshire is the moderate state during the primary. Even though Trump is up by double digits, a strong second place could rocket Kasich or somebody else into competitiveness. While in New Hampshire this weekend, many people I spoke to support Kasich, Christie and even Jeb! Kasich didn't do too bad and defended his record of governor of Ohio.

Jeb Bush
Vito DiGiovanni: B
Vito Palmeri: C+

Jeb didn't do too bad, except for when Trump told him to be quiet. Bush defended his record as governor and attacked Marco Rubio, as did everybody else and their mother. Jeb's poll numbers in New Hampshire increased a little bit, but far from Trump. Bush has been better on the debate stage since we started, but that's not saying a lot.

Ben Carson
Vito DiGiovanni: C
Vito Palmeri: B

Aside from the awkward entrance, Carson was Carson: quiet and solid. He did not stand out, but wasn't too shabby. He struggled on foreign policy and was excluded from a few discussions.

Marco Rubio
Vito DiGiovanni: C-
Vito Palmeri: C

Last but not least, the new establishment pick, Marco Rubio. Everybody focused on Rubio at this debate and hit him hard, especially Chris Christie. Rubio struggled with the attacks and couldn't rebut well. It was obvious. Christie called out how Rubio keeps avoiding questions and uses the same lines for every answer. Rubio did this religiously, only proving Christie's point, which was embarrassing. Rubio is a good speaker, and seemed alright when asked questions, but couldn't handle the heat. He, surprisingly, backed up and helped Ted Cruz once or twice.

ABC started the debate later than preferable and had a very awkward, yet entertaining beginning. The questions were legitimate and I liked how almost every candidate had a chance to answer the same question instead of jumping around or just pinning each candidate against each other. The moderators had control of the debate and allowed candidates to talk, but maybe that was because Fiorina wasn't on the stage.