The American Enterprise Institute weighed in on how the GOP candidates fared in the first Republican debate held in August:

Michael Barone discussed Carly Fiorina:

“It’s not always that you get a consensus on who was the winner in a multi-candidate debate, but there seems to be a consensus — in which I share — that Carly Fiorina was the clear winner of the second-tier Republican presidential debate at Cleveland. She came through with the best single line, and one that took a sharp dig against Donald Trump, ‘I didn’t get a call from Bill Clinton’ before she entered the race.”

Karlyn Bowman considered the impact the debate will have on the polls:

“There was much talent on the stage [last night], but we didn’t get to hear much of it… this debate was not a plus for the GOP and the party needs to rethink these cattle calls. Trump and Jeb Bush may be the front runners in the polls, but Marco Rubio and Scott Walker did well… Trump is still a wild card, but I doubt the other candidates’ standing in the polls will change much.”

Norman Ornstein believed big donors will see Rubio and Kasich as the winners:

“There were two prime audiences for this debate: the primary and caucus voters, and the big donors. For the latter group—the conclave convened by the Koch Brothers at Dana Point and others—the main question was who will look presidential, can hold his own in a debate, can provide the best chance of winning next November. On that basis, I see Rubio and Kasich as the big winners. As for the former group, Donald Trump probably did little to turn off the angry, anti-establishment populists who have been drawn to him.”

Ramesh Ponnuru examined Donald Trump’s responses:

“Maybe the polls will prove me wrong, but I didn’t think the night actually went well for Trump. The crowd didn’t like it when he refused to say he would back the Republican nominee. And he was at his least attractive in an exchange with Megyn Kelly, one of Fox News’s three moderators for the debate… She asked him about his disgusting comments about women over the years, and he responded that he had no time for “political correctness.” That probably went over well with some of his fans, who confuse being gross for being blunt. But he couldn’t stop himself from veering into whining about Kelly’s alleged unfairness to him, and hinting that he would retaliate in some fashion.”