Yes … Jeb Bush won Thursday night’s Republican debate, hands down. As Stephen Stromberg wrote in the Washington Post (see The GOP debate winner was … Jeb Bush?):
This is the first time in the GOP presidential race in which the candidate who was the most credible on the issues also won the debate.
“… he showed that one can put in a strong showing in a GOP debate without being a bile-spouting rage machine, and he may peel off some people who are attracted to the other candidates’ confidence rather than their specific, objectionable policies.
On point, crisp in his answers, and at ease, Bush was quick to respond on policy issues that he understands and knows so well. Perhaps his well executed performance was because he didn’t have Donald Trump goading and sticking a juvenile thumb in his eye every time Bush tried to speak. The debate minus Trump was refreshing. Seven candidates were able to discuss — and spar at times — without the distractions, not to mention lack of substance, of Trump.