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September 29, 2023

Fox Business Loses the GOP’s Second Debate

Everything about the debate was dumb, wrong or poorly designed.

From the first dumb question to the abrupt ending that caught everyone by surprise, the GOP presidential primary debate produced by the Fox Business channel was a total disaster.

I know. I was there Wednesday night — in Row 5 of the Air Force One pavilion in the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

At the beginning of the debate it was a special treat to see and hear the praise that the Fox people bestowed on my father, his historic accomplishments and his strong and personable brand of conservatism.

But from then on it was all downhill.

Everything about the debate was dumb, wrong or poorly designed — the seven-candidate format, the trio of incompetent debate moderators, the high-speed stream of questions they asked and the rude behavior of the cross-talking candidates.

Unless something changes, it was a lineup of potential future losers to Donald Trump — Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ex-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman/commentator Vivek Ramaswamy, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and ex-VP Mike Pence.

They all tried to slip in their canned quips and pitches for their leadership abilities, but no one learned anything in two excruciating hours — except that it’s impossible to have a good political debate with seven people.

Other than Pence and professional Trump hitman Christie, the “Not-so Magnificent Seven” spent most of their time interrupting each other and beating up Joe Biden for all the problems his policies have brought America.

If I had to pick the top three “winners,” I’d go with the governors — Burgum, Christie and DeSantis. They should be in the next primary debate and the rest should go home.

Nikki Haley was very good at first. But then halfway through the debate she did her impression of a mad housewife.

She picked a fight with Kid Ramaswamy and hit Sen. Scott upside the face with a mean tirade that made no sense to any of us in Row 5.

At one point we were all confused because she and Scott were acting like a married couple having an argument over drapes.

The big winners, for sure, were the elephants who weren’t in the room — Trump and Biden.

By far the night’s biggest loser was Fox Business.

It proved it is no smarter or better than any of the liberal networks who’ve hosted previous presidential debates.

On paper it should not have been so awful.

Stuart Varney is great as the likable anchor of Fox Business’ morning show. And Dana Perino is the quiet star of Fox News’ deservedly popular show, “The Five.”

But neither of them had never moderated a political debate — and it immediately showed.

They had no control over the cross-talking candidates and acted like they had a quota of 100 questions they had to ask.

Half the time they were more concerned with firing off the next question than allowing a real debate to get started on important issues like our support for Ukraine or parental rights in schools.

It almost seemed like the people in charge at Fox had never seen a multi-person political debate before.

They should have made sure that on the important issues each candidate got a turn to answer the question, not just two or three, which would have prevented most of the annoying cross-talk.

And whoever thought that it was a good idea to put Ilia Calderón of Univision in as the third moderator should be fired.

Supposedly intended to appeal to Latino voters who increasingly are attracted to the GOP, her accent was so heavy that those sitting around us often couldn’t understand what she was asking.

Some friends who watched the debate on TV told me they turned it off after 20 minutes, but I was trapped there in Row 5.

The good news is that Air Force One that my father used didn’t fall on our heads. Thank God the food and wine was great again.

Copyright 2023 Michael Reagan

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