Winners and losers of fourth GOP debate revealed

December 8, 2023

Pundits are arguing for the winners and losers of the fourth debate and final debate for GOP presidential candidates this year.

Former President Donald Trump did not participate, yet many claim he was still the winner.

The event

"Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) duked it out over two hours," the Hill reported.

"The sometimes-contentious debate was moderated by Elizabeth Vargas of NewsNation, Megyn Kelly of SiriusXM and Eliana Johnson of the Washington Free Beacon," it added.

The battle for second place

"Trump, who holds a healthy lead in preliminary polling for the next Republican presidential nominee despite facing 91 felony charges spread over four indictments, still commanded a major presence Wednesday night," Newsweek reported.

"Haley and DeSantis wasted no time taking the battle for second place to the debate stage, while Christie and Ramaswamy fought to stay in the race," it continued.

DeSantis shines

"Of the candidates onstage, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) came out best, with a smooth performance that stayed relatively above the fray and seemed to connect with the Alabama audience," the Washington Examiner reported.

“He more than any others had a bit of that story that’s so important to gaining a sense of authenticity and credibility,” said Kirstin Kiledal, professor of rhetoric at Hillsdale College. “He had people and names and places and examples of work that he had done where he had been successful, over and over again.”

The debate also came shortly after DeSantis debated California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on "Hannity."

The performance was an improvement in the governor's rocky campaign but many question whether it will be enough to make gains against Trump with just weeks until the first primary in Iowa.

All candidates continue to press full blast in the weeks ahead of the first primaries, knowing that a major shift must occur to help any of them pull ahead of Trump's large lead in ongoing national polls. Trump appears to win without even showing up, claiming an unprecedented advantage over his competitors ahead of 2024 in a potential rematch against President Joe Biden.

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