8:18 PM: So, yes, we’re trying to figure out what the hell was going on with Ben Carson.
8:20 PM: “I talked about Muslims. We have a problem.”
8:21 PM: For Trump, I think that was a pretty strong opening.
8:22 PM: Seems pretty clear that Cruz got briefed on very bad polling about himself.
8:25 PM: I’d say Ted Cruz is off to a really tough beginning of the debate.
8:26 PM: Here’s our definitive timeline of the Cruz/Carson debacle. Is Ted telling the truth?
8:31 PM: I don’t think this is the best way for Rubio to convince people he’s not repeating lines that he’s learned by rote.
8:33 PM: Rubio’s killing himself here. No one spontaneously repeats the verbatim line over and over and over like this.
8:37 PM: It was hard to keep up with all that was going on there. But I think that was one of those very bad spontaneous moments for Rubio. Christie (and others) have been pushing this line that Rubio is green, scripted and protected. Rubio couldn’t have illustrated that better than by trying to recover by going back to the identical pre-fab stump speech line three times in a row. Rubio defended himself from the charge that he’s just an automaton who can only give a stump speech by retreating again and again to his stump speech. And Christie was quick on his feet enough to catch it in real time.
8:45 PM: If Rubio’s boxing right now he really, really needs the round to end.