The internet has spoken: Carly Fiorina won the Fox News "kids table" debate in a landslide.
"I have to say I was most impressed by Carly Fiorina," said Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace shortly after the debate concluded.
Wallace's opinion was seemingly shared by the majority of media figures on Twitter (including Reason staffers):
Carly won. Knocked out everyone and everything. Not even close.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) August 6, 2015
so far my takeaway is that fiorina is by far the best person on stage and lindsey graham believes if we don't elect him we're all gonna die
— andy levy (@andylevy) August 6, 2015
Carly Fiorina, by a country mile. Not even close.
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) August 6, 2015
I think Perry did quite well. However, Carly is the winner for me. She showed real smarts, policy savvy, good quips, has presidential voice.
— Liz Mair (@LizMair) August 6, 2015
While Fiorina certainly didn't go overboard on specific policies she would like to implement, her rhetorical hold over the debate was masterful. She never stumbled, lost her train of thought, or gave a clunky answer. And her swipe at Donald Trump—who donated to Hillary Clinton and takes phone calls from Bill Clinton—was one of the most gratifying moments of the debate.
Even Rick Perry seemed impressed, and sort of endorsed Fiorina for Secretary of State at one point.
Fiorina also did an adequate job painting a picture of the 2016 election as a showdown between the conflicting ideologies of conservatism and progressivism, and lamented that big government was preventing too many people from realizing the American dream.
"2016 is going to be a fight between conservatism and a Democratic Party that is undermining the very character of this nation," she said. "I'm not a member of the political class… I will, with your help and support, lead the resurgence of this great nation."
She had her weaker moments, too: her foreign policy seemed only marginally more conciliatory than the hawkiest of the hawks, and she punted on an opportunity to stand up for tech privacy rights. Still, she is undoubtedly the candidate most deserving of promotion to the main event.