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Little Risk Taking at Year's Final Republican Debate

The Cruz-Rubio Rivalry was at the center of a session that focused on national security.
Bloomberg business news

Trump and Cruz Play Nice at Vegas Debate

National security dominated in a debate that featured limited sustained candidate clashes and not a lot of risk taking. No candidate truly excelled, and no one had a dreadful evening. That means the race likely will go into the New Year without much of a change in the rank order of the candidates—the leaders coming into the debate are the winners leaving the debate. Standing out on such a crowded stage remains a real challenge.

Executed his decision to define his evening with a sustained effort to take down Trump. Early on scored an effective moment by deeming his rival a “chaos” candidate, later impugned Trump’s past statements about national security, and intrepidly mocked Trump throughout. Didn’t back down when the billionaire insulted him in return, surely winning points from his own supporters and maybe some new anti-Trump adherents as well. Perhaps even got under Trump’s skin once or twice. When he wasn’t hitting the front-runner, brought his “A” game talking about national security. If the establishment eventually decides it must select a contestant from the current crop who is willing to take on Trump without flinching, Jeb might find his path to a comeback.