Who ‘Won’ Wednesday Night’s CNN Republican Debates?

Presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina ‘won the debate’ last night, says show guest Jennifer Mercieca.

By Laura Rice and Rhonda FanningSeptember 17, 2015 11:56 am|

The second GOP debate is in the history books.

Last night’s primetime event had some standout moments – a few fireworks, perhaps. It also seemed to be somewhat of a contest in stamina, since the main event lasted three hours. Just in case you didn’t make it all the way through Jennifer Mercieca, a communications professor at Texas A&M, has got us covered.

“I was looking to see who was able to come across as competent, as knowledgeable; who was able to distinguish themselves from the herd,” she says. “It’s hard when there’s 11 people on the stage. And some of them definitely faded into the background and others definitely emerged as interesting and dynamic figures.”

Take Scott Walker, for example: “I was trying to make the list as we were getting to some of the sillier questions at the end of how I was ranking people,”Mercieca says. “I managed to rank 10 of them and I could not come up with the 11th person. It took me a good five minutes to remember that Scott Walker was on the stage.”

Then there’s Carly Fiorina, who Mercieca says ‘won’ Wednesday night’s debates. Fiorina had a great response to Trump’s “Rolling Stone” comment about her face, Mercieca says.

“She did a great job with that line. She delivered it perfectly,” Mercieca says. “She didn’t say too much, she said just what she needed to say. And it supported the ad that she released this week.”

Fiorina’s response to Trump in the debates: “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”

But Mercieca says Fiorina’s best moment of the night – the one that truly made her stand out above the more masculine crowd – was something else.

“The biggest response from the crowd of the night was the moment where she grouped together the response on Iran with the response on Planned Parenthood, to elevate that conversation to be one of national character,” Mercieca says. “To me that was her biggest moment and that was the one where the crowd seemed to respond the most to any answer that was given of the night.”