John Kasich — With a smaller field and more time on stage, the Ohio governor lived up to his explicitly stated bid to come across as “the adult on the stage,” but it’s not clear that Republican-primary voters want that.
Held his own
Donald Trump — Took the brunt of attacks, which is natural for the front-runner, and was easily baited into the body-parts bragging and trash-talking.
But wanted to come across as presidential, and sometimes succeeded, and showed more depth of knowledge and deal-making “flexibility” than in the past.
NOW: Who won the Republican debate?
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz — Attacks clearly rattled Trump as they hoped. But each man needed to distinguish himself as the “not-Trump” candidate.
That they were interchangeable in their attacks Thursday night meant neither man managed to stand out from the other.
However, each did “well enough” to stay in the race and split the anti-Trump vote. Mr. Cruz was able to take advantage early of Mr. Rubio’s attacks without coming across as the “bad cop” himself.
• Washington Times Staff can be reached at 202-636-3000.