The 2016 election may be 16 months away, but the crowd of GOP presidential aspirants squared off last Thursday in the first debate. Front-runner Donald Trump dominated headlines and speaking time. Local reviews are mixed.
- Janet Coopersmith
Janet Coopersmith of the west side is director of corporate services for a software company.
Who won the debate? Governor Kasich. He stood out by seeming to have a sense of reason.
What, to you, was the night's standout moment? The first question, when Trump declined to pledge his support for the eventual nominee if he weren't it.
Whose performance surprised you? Bush's. He didn't exhibit much intelligence or strength.
Will Trump still be a player down the stretch in 2016? I doubt it. He's a shyster and a showman, driven more by ego than a genuine desire to be president.
If you had to bet a hundred bucks on the eventual nominee, who would you put your money on? Based on Thursday's debate, Rubio.
- Dan Rodriguez
Dan Rodriguez of Palmer Park is a commercial real estate broker.
What was the standout moment in Thursday's debate? The thing about Trump being disrespectful to Megyn Kelly and women in general.
For good or ill, which candidate surprised you? Carly Fiorina was very good. Rand Paul was disappointing.
Explain Trump's front-runner status. He cares less about political correctness than about getting things done. He can afford to be forthright and direct because he doesn't have to be re-elected or keep a job. I like him.
Is he good or bad for the GOP? He's a new breed of Republican that's bad for the mainstream, old school GOP. If he goes third party, it'll kill the Republicans.
Pick a 2016 darkhorse. Ben Carson. His message is resonating with more and more people.
- Nick Miller
Nick Miller of Patty Jewett is in the Army.
Was there a winner? If winning means talking the loudest and being the most aggressive, Trump won. None of them really answered the questions. They mostly riled up the crowd and went after applause.
Whose performance surprised you? Bush. He stumbled a bit, but he had more composure than most of the others, and he was slightly more eloquent than his brother was.
Give your read on Trump. He's loud, he's rude, he's combative. He's keyed in to right-wing anger, but he's entertaining — a carnival barker with charisma. And he's honest about using money to buy political favors.
Who is your darkhorse? Ben Carson ... the GOP needs the minority vote.