Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate shaped up to be perhaps the best appearance by the candidates so far. They were focused on the issues while managing to avoid many of the petty bickering in previous debates.
But there were stark differences between the candidates, and several dustups over policy in fighting terror, immigration, and other important issues.
Surprisingly, the most online chatter came from an unexpected topic: John Kasich‘s “flipper hands.” The man simply couldn’t control them all night, to the horror (and perverse delight) of the online world.
But who won?
Pundits and commentators who live-tweeted the event weighed in with their thoughts.
Did it come down to just Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio?
Cruz shines. Christie strong. Rubio on the ropes. Trump holds his own. Carly consistent. Carson snores. Kasich who. Jeb: nobody cares.
— Andrea Tantaros (@AndreaTantaros) December 16, 2015
Krauthammer: Cruz and Rubio did the best but essentially neutralized each other. From a polls perspective, that's probably right.
— Ken Gardner (@KenGardner11) December 16, 2015
Candidates attack Donald Trump at their own peril.
Rand Paul just lost to Donald Trump, as well.
Every candidate who attacks Trump fails with my focus group. #GOPDebate
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) December 16, 2015
Another takeaway from tonight: Cruz strategy of pretending to be best buds w/ Trump continues to pay dividends
— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) December 16, 2015
— Katie Couric (@katiecouric) December 16, 2015
Jeb Bush tried, but it’s pretty clear most feel he’s beyond recovery.
Ben Carson may have seen his better days according to the pundits.
Does Carson not have an opinion, or does he not want to get sucked into that debate? Doesn't it matter? #GOPDebate
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) December 16, 2015
Fiorina tries to get a word in edgewise again while Cruz/Rubio go at it again.
— Julie Banderas (@JulieBanderas) December 16, 2015
Frank Luntz’s focus group saw many people switch their allegiances, with Chris Christie picking up a significant number.
Four Luntz focus group people interviewed switch votes to Cruz after debate. Three switched to Christie. Trump, Rubio lost supporters.
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) December 16, 2015
And yes, the most talked about subject of the night was Kasich’s chopping hands. The Ohio governor probably won’t be the Republican nominee, but his hands will live on forever.
Kasich is windmilling his arms like a crazy man again! #CNNDebate
— Jack Furnari (@JackBPR) December 16, 2015
Kasich's closing argument: Did you know I'm from OHIO? Also: My heart. It's big. [Insert: Hand chop] #gopdebate
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) December 16, 2015
Whoever can best photoshop weird stuff into Kasich's awkward hands wins Twitter tonight. #GOPDebate
— Joanne Nosuchinsky (@JoNosuchinsky) December 16, 2015
Kasich: "As president of the United States I will not hesitate to impose order on my hands. Right now there's no controlling them."
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahDispatch) December 16, 2015