Who Won the Debate?

Thursday night's debate was the last one before the key Super Tuesday primaries this coming Tuesday, where 1/4 of the delegates for the whole country will be awarded.

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Who won? Obviously, each candidate may feel that they won; here is an outside observation.

1) Rubio probably won. He was on the attack much of the time, mostly against Trump. He seemed more loose and smiling than earlier debates, where he was subject to criticism when he repeated himself and seemed more programmed. Where in the past he seemed reluctant to take on Donald Trump, this time he called him a "con artist" and attacked him on a number of fronts.

2) Donald Trump did reasonably well. Although subject to multiple attacks from Rubio and also Cruz, he kept his cool most of the time. He avoided blowing up or saying anything that would cause large numbers of his supporters to desert him. He is still undoubtedly the front-runner.

3) Cruz seems to have moved beyond problems that have been dogging him. After he took quick action and let his communications director Rick Tyler go after posting an incorrect post about Rubio, Cruz seems to have regained the high ground and was not heavily attacked last night. He showed his sharp debating skills, but will it be enough to give him a victory in Texas on Tuesday plus some other states?

John Kasich and Ben Carson did well but did not get large amounts of camera time. In part this is due to the fact that the debate rules were that if someone attacks you, you get to respond. Since most of the attacks centered on Trump, Rubio and Cruz, they got most of the time. One of the evening's funnier lines was when Ben Carson asked if someone would please attack him so he could talk.