Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were almost universally judged the big winners Tuesday night by a group of neutral observers who spoke to me shortly after the fourth and latest televised forum concluded in Milwaukee.
They almost unanimously put Carly Fiorina in the winner’s circle with Rubio and Cruz. Their praise of the California businesswoman’s performance on stage Tuesday was in sharp contrast to the widespread panning she drew after the last debate in October.
GOP consultant Ford O’Connell agreed. Rubio “was without question the most substantive while looking presidential. I suspect this will help Rubio gain greater ‘insider’ traction. Cruz was the runner-up and Fiorina also had a solid night.”
He added that “Trump and Bush didn’t help their causes, but in Trump’s case I am not sure it matters.”
Both Pietrusza and O’Connell agreed that it was a bad night for John Kasich, with O’Connell concluding the Ohio governor “is about five minutes from no longer being on the main stage in the next debate.”