RUSH: Audio sound bites. Frank Luntz focus group. Frank Luntz, if you didn’t stay up or awake after the debate, Frank Luntz believes that Trump destroyed his candidacy last night. Frank Luntz believes that Trump imploded. Luntz had a focus group of people, as he always does on Fox after the debate, and he had a lot of people who claimed that before the debate they were rabid Trump supporters. And then after the debate, the vast majority of them wanted nothing more to do with Trump. Did you stay up to see that, Mr. Snerdley? (interruption) You did? I didn’t think you liked that stuff anymore. Well, here’s how it went. This is the Luntz focus group savaging Trump after the debate.
MAN: He skirted around questions better than a lifelong politician ever had.
MAN: I was really expecting him to do a lot better, but he just crashed and burned. He was mean. He was angry. He had no specifics. He was bombastic.
MAN: He just let me down. I just expected him to rise to the occasion and look presidential. He didn’t.
WOMAN: If he runs as an independent, he’s gonna be basically handing the election to Hillary Clinton. I think he needs to stand behind whoever is the nominee. That bothered me.
MAN: I was repulsed by it.
RUSH: This was all set up by Luntz telling — I guess it was Megyn Kelly, whoever the hosts were after the debate (imitating Luntz), “We’re gonna make news here, we got big, big news. I can’t wait to show you what’s happened here during this debate.” So everybody tunes in to see what the big news is. The big news is that with the Luntz focus group, it was a Trump crash and burn.
By the way, if you missed the first hour let me briefly recap. Right now on CNN they just concluded a little feature on how Kasich was the big winner. There were three Kasich sound bites or two Kasich sound bites from last night. The Drive-By Media, CNN, MSNBC, rest of them think it was the best answer of the night, about expanding Medicaid and gay marriage. And they said that the reason they thought it was among the greatest things said all night because John Kasich, finally, somebody, Kasich came along and made it look like the Republicans actually do care about people.
Okay. Here’s Luntz. Now, he was on CBS This Morning today, and Norah O’Donnell said, “Okay, Trump was quick to respond to you last night on Twitter, Frank. He called you a joke. He said your focus group is a joke, and he said don’t come to his office, you don’t come to his office looking for business anymore, Frank, he said, because you’re a clown.”
LUNTZ: I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but I’ve never been called a clown, and those focus groups are accurate. What do you say when you won’t guarantee to support the Republican nominee; when you call women some pretty horrific names; when you insult the moderator of the debate; when you don’t answer questions specifically; when you can’t even explain why you went bankrupt. I have to tell you, this was an amazing debate performance, not amazing because it was effective, amazing because I saw the destruction of a presidential campaign over those two hours. It really was remarkable.
RUSH: Frank Luntz thinking Trump imploded last night based on the reaction of his focus group, and, as you heard, Luntz’s review of Trump’s performance. And then last night in The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly went from moderating back to the host chair of her eponymous show and had Dr. Krauthammer on, and she said, “Charles, what is your reaction to the debate?”
KRAUTHAMMER: The real story is the collapse of Trump in this debate. The fact is he was out of place, and when you think about it, when he’s free form, when he’s uninterrupted, when he can do the flight of ideas, when he can go on on his own and ramble, he’s entertaining, he’s sharp, and he’s actually amusing. But here when he was controlled and in a tight setting, he was lost for most of the debate. And I think it showed that he was in a group of professional politicians whom he mocks, and yet they, as a group and individually, were able to handle it and to be sharp and persuasive most of the time, but they left him out in the cold.
RUSH: Message: You outsiders who think you can come in and join our club, don’t even think about it. Politics is its own business, and you just don’t come in here and crash our business as a brash outsider making fun of us and mocking us and telling us what’s wrong with us. You’re gonna end up eating an excrement sandwich. That’s the message there. David “Rodham” Gergen on CNN last night, Anderson Cooper 219, Cooper said, “So, David ‘Rodham’ Gergen, you have been defining Washington conventional wisdom since the term was invented, and you observed every president of every party there’s ever been since Lincoln. What did you think about who did well tonight?”
GERGEN: In traditional terms, by normal standards, Donald Trump would have been hurt tonight. You know, that answer to Megyn Kelly had a boorish quality about it, that’s the way it came across. His first answer and a lot of his answers seemed very narcissistic, it’s all about him. But, you know, we’re in uncharted territory. And it’s a little hard to sit here and pontificate when you’re not quite sure in this political environment whether in fact Trump continued to score tonight.
RUSH: (doing Clinton impression) “Yeah, Bill Clinton’s sitting there and he’s watching and he loves everybody talking about Trump being a narcissist and nobody calls him one, he just gets away with it. I mean, there’s a guy, Bill Clinton looks at himself more in the mirror than most women do. And nobody ever says this kind of stuff about him, he just loves it, he loves it.”
Yeah, see the reservation here. David “Rodham” Gergen is not as certain as Luntz and Dr. Krauthammer are, because Gergen has seen Trump step in it before when everybody thought it was curtains, but he’s holding back here because he’s admitting — and I’ll tell you what these guys know, folks. They know, no matter what, I mean, they may tell you that Obama’s got 48% disapproval and we’re on the verge of a great economic recovery. They all know the depths of despair across this country.
They’re all aware of the unsettledness and the fear and the knowledge that things aren’t right here. And they are very much aware that a big number of people in this country do not approve of much of anything that’s happening here. And that is why the people who are quick — or not quick — to dump on Trump are not doing so. Because they understand who Trump’s supporters are, and they understand that Trump’s supporters are probably equal distributed in people who really do admire and like Trump, and just people who want anything other than this rotten bunch of people that’s delivered this country to the position it’s on now (i.e., an outsider).
So I think that’s why David “Rodham” Gergen would not join the club in hammering the final nail in the coffin of Trump. (interruption) What…? (interruption) You have a question? (interruption) Mmm-hmm. (interruption) There’s nobody, nobody…? (interruption) No. I have not seen anybody that thought Jeb Bush won the debate last night. In fact, that’s the first time his name’s been mentioned today.
Somebody did say to me that they didn’t see Karl Rove anywhere in the Spin Room after the debate. I think he’s giving Jeb a rubdown on the training table. Just kidding. Just a little lightheartedness interjected here, folks. No. Look, maybe Jeb’s name didn’t get mentioned here much in the post discussion but he’s still gonna end up being the leading fundraiser, performance notwithstanding. It isn’t gonna matter. It’s just the way it goes.
I mean, Jeb and Hillary are getting the lion’s share of the money right now, no matter what. So that’s a reality in politics you cannot wash away. He… (interruption) Yeah, there were some people praising Cruz. Most of the comments about Cruz were, “There was at least a 40-minute period where he wasn’t heard from. They didn’t ask him anything.” Same thing with Dr. Carson. No, the names I saw that are being not accolade’d but being praised are Rubio, Kasich, Huckabee (I kid you not: Huckabee is getting all praise out there), and Carly Fiorina from the first debate.
There are some who think that Trump stayed in character and did well. Others like Luntz and Dr. Krauthammer think it was over and that all that’s left is pour the dirt on the coffin. Walker, not particularly negative but not particularly positive. He was there. He was okay. Everything fine but nothing noteworthy. Christie, unfortunately, the contretemps between him and Rand Paul just overwhelmed and clouded everything else they did. I’ll tell you, the guy…
If anybody’s really being kind of ripped for having a bad night it’d be Rand Paul. But no, Jeb? Jeb hasn’t gotten a lot of ink. The Trump line on Rand Paul… I’ll tell you, the… How about Huckabee? Did you see Huckabee setting up what everybody thought was gonna just be a knockout insult to Trump, and he said, “Of course, I’m speaking of Hillary Clinton”? People in the room said that Trump was starting to glare at him and was getting ready to call him a loser and a clown outside the rules, if it had been his name mentioned.
We didn’t see that. The camera wasn’t on Trump as Huckabee was going through his insult. Maybe we have that. I’ve got a roster. My audio sound bite roster here is as thick as a debate briefing book. So during the break here I’ll see if we got the Huckabee thing. Let me move on. I got two more. No, just move on to number 11.
Because not only Fox moderated the debate last night, guess what else? They invited that lunatic that runs the Democrat National Committee to come on for 15 minutes and bash the Republican candidates. Debbie “Blabbermouth” Schultz was a featured guest in the post-debate coverage.