Whether on the prime-time slot graced by Senator Ted Cruz or the kid's table afternoon debate where former Governor Rick Perry to his place, just too many candidates filled the stages. Neither Texan got more than about 10 minutes of cumulative time to speak and Cruz was additionally impaired by Donald Trump sucking all the air out of the room. They didn't stand out, but at least no one else — save maybe failed HP CEO and California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina and Florida Senator Marco Rubio — did either.
For Perry, not catastrophically screwing up has to be considered something of a victory, even if he did mispronounce "Ronald Reagan" as "Ronald Raven." His campaign insists that he didn't, but judge for yourself:
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Perry's campaign was so excited at his loser's bracket performance — he finished 11th in the five-poll average Fox News used to decide who would appear in the prime-time debate and was stuck with the rest of the not top-10 — that they sent out a press release touting his "win" seemingly before Fox News went to commercial after the debate. That's what happens when mere coherence is an improvement.
As for Cruz, he uttered his mantra "radical Islamic terrorism" several times as only he can, but missed out on saying anything truly fun when he was skipped over during the brief portion of the debate that focused on social issues. He tried to make up for that during his closing statement saying that he would order the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute Planned Parenthood his first day in office. He also said he would order the IRS and Department of Justice to "start persecuting religious liberty," but one has to assume that was a misstatement. The highlight of Cruz's night has to have been his serving as the inspiration of this tweet: