How Trump, Rubio and Cruz Did in Thursday Night’s Raucous Debate, as Seen by a Two-Time National College Debate Coach of the Year

Feb 25, 2016  •  Post A Comment

According to a two-time college national debate coach of the year, there were definitely winners and losers in Thursday night’s debate among the candidates for the Republican nomination to be President of the United States.

The coach, Todd Graham, in a commentary on the CNN website, gives performance marks to each of the five candidates who took part in the debate:

  • Ted Cruz: A
  • Marco Rubio: A
  • John Kasich: A-
  • Donald Trump: C
  • Ben Carson: D

About Cruz, Graham wrote that he “was assertive and his positions more clearly explained. Plus, he went on the offensive against Trump instead of against Marco Rubio.”

Graham said about Rubio, “Like Cruz, Rubio showed up last night. He was much stronger and more forceful….[H]is presence was way stronger than in previous debates.”

In giving Trump a “C,” Graham wrote, “Trump’s failure in this debate, which was in large part due to sustained and organized attacks from Rubio and Cruz, was that he forgot his general themes and he missed opportunities to attack Washington politicians….More importantly, both Rubio and Cruz forced Trump, time and time again, to defend (quite unsuccessfully) his policy stances.”

To read all of Graham’s comments about the debate—including his full reasons for the grades he gave all the candidates — please click here, which will take you to his CNN commentary. According to an editor’s note in the article, “Todd Graham is director of debate at Southern Illinois University. His teams have won national championships for three years, and he’s been recognized twice as the national debate coach of the year.”

debate-photo1Sen. Marco Rubio, left, and Donald Trump Get Into It During the Republican Candidate Debate on Thursday night, Feb. 25th


  1. I watched the debates as long as I could and then turned it off. True debates don’t include people trying to talk or even shout over each other. I’d love to have any network running a debate in the future have a “mute” button so that if any candidate talks more than their allotted time, their microphone is “muted”. Also, mute every candidates microphone when another person is supposed to speak. I can’t stand to hear supposed adults acting like children.

  2. The 2016 Repubican Presidential Debates shold receive an Emmy for the best Reality Show on TV. No, make that Comedy!

  3. As a conservative, I’m glad to see there are at least 3 candidates who WANT to be president. McCain and Romney just went through the motions and it showed in the General Election. Nothing is more boring than watch Hillary & Bernie promise FREE EVERYTHING to the masses. It was also very interesting seeing Rubio and Cruz expose Trump for the empty suit he is. I’ll give Trump this, he’s quite a showman and carnival barker, but when it comes to putting specific policy thoughts together he finds himself under water in the deep end of the pool. The exchange where Rubio pointed out that Trump repeats himself ALL THE TIME was telling. The only thing Rubio left out was that Trump always says “And I’ll hire the BEST people!”

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