GOP Pundits Pick Rubio, Fox As Debate Winners

The raucous prime-time GOP debate on Thursday included sharp exchanges between a number of candidates seeking to break out from the crowded field.

GOP front-runner Donald Trump took several tough questions, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) had a notable tussle.

The Hill asked seven GOP pundits to weigh in with their winners.

Here are their thoughts:

Ford O'Connell

Winner: Rubio

Why: Without question, this was one of the most gripping presidential debates in years. Trump was bombastic and entertaining right from the start, and skirted questions like a lifelong politician in a tight, controlled setting; Trump's biggest error was not accepting the pledge to not run as a third-party candidate. Bush and Walker played it safe tonight and largely underwhelmed. Rubio was the clear winner tonight. Whether Rubio leads the headlines tomorrow and gets a bump in the polls is open for debate. Huckabee, Christie and Kasich also shined and will get more looks, but there is one person all 10 on the stage should be looking over their shoulders at in the next debate: Fiorina.

Read more at The Hill

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Analysis & Political Strategy