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Wake Up To Politics - September 17, 2015

Thursday, September 16, 2015
418 Days until Election Day
41 Days until the Next Republican Debate
26 Days until the 1st Democratic DebateIt's Thursday, September 16, 2015, I'm Gabe Fleisher for Wake Up To Politics, and reporting from WUTP world HQ in my bedroom - Good morning: THIS IS YOUR WAKE UP CALL!!!
To send me questions, comments, tips, new subscribers, and more: email me at wakeuptopolitics@gmail.com. To learn more about WUTP and subscribe, visit the site: wakeuptopolitics.com, or like me on Twitter and Facebook. More ways to engage with WUTP at the bottom.

2016 Central

  • Debate: Takeaways Did you watch the GOP debate last night? I did – all five hours (two hours of the undercard debate and three hours of the main debate), and I thought they were both very exciting, even if they ran a little long. Both debates created tons of fireworks, and were very interesting to watch.
  • I thought the clear winner was Carly Fiorina. Making her debut on the main debate stage, Fiorina came away with a number of good lines against Trump and the other candidates, and Hillary Clinton as well.
  • Donald Trump did not lose the debate, but he certainly did not win either. After dominating the undercard debate (which he wasn’t at) and the first hour of the main debate, Trump went mostly silent. He definitely delivered his share of zingers, but the expectation going in was that the whole debate would center on Trump, and that’s not what happened. He also did pretty poorly with foreign policy answers, and showed up with more style than substance. Simply by not inserting himself into every question, Trump failed to live up to expectations.
  • Jeb Bush did pretty well – all of his best lines were related to his family, whether it was apologizing to his mother about smoking marijuana in college, or defending his father, and later defending his brother for keeping America safe, soundbites which could come back to bite him.
  • Chris Christie was also a standout from the primetime debate, making his voice heard among his 10 opponents. Christie had some tough words for his rivals, but his ultimate message was that his campaign was about the voters. In his introductory remarks, he even asked that the cameras be pointed at the audience instead of at himself (CNN acquiesced). Whether that message will catch on with voters and contribute to a rise in Christie’s numbers remains unclear.
  • Beyond that, many of those on stage were barely present. Besides an exchange on marijuana, Rand Paul stayed mostly silent; as did Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich and even Ben Carson, whose poll numbers have catapulted him into the top tier. Still, Carson was pretty “low-energy,” as Donald Trump might say, and it would be unsurprising if others (see Fiorina, Carly) surge ahead of him. Marco Rubio demonstrated an impressive grasp on foreign policy, but due to his heavy focus on substance and lack of a sharp one-liner, it appears he won’t catch on with voters.
  • Personally, I really enjoyed the undercard debate. With only four candidates, each person on stage got tons of speaking time, and there was a lot more excitement than expected and than parts of the main debate. Lindsey Graham got a number of laugh lines in, and was the standout to me, although Bobby Jindal also did well.
  • Wake Up To Politics coverage of last night’s Republican debate will continue later today! Check your inbox this afternoon for a review of the debate’s best lines! (There will be no Wake Up tomorrow)
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For more on Wake Up To Politics, listen to Gabe on NPR's "Talk of the Nation, the Political Junkie podcast, and St. Louis Public Radio; watch Gabe on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki, and read about Gabe in Politico, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Globe, and the St. Louis Jewish Light