Tonight's debate didn't have a definitive winner and all of the candidates did a generally good job of presenting their positions.
My #GOPDebate focus group feels everybody won tonight.— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) March 11, 2016
The candidates. The Republican Party. The voters…
Focus group consensus: "We liked the civil, substantive #GOPDebate."— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) March 11, 2016
Internet focus group consensus: "We wanted to attack Trump more!!!"
TRUMP: Trump took an obviously calmer tone tonight, which was expected as the candidate prepares for a general election. However, Trump's worst moments came when he answered questions directed at his praise of authoritarian regimes and dictators, his plan to stay neutral as Palestinian terrorists continue to murder innocent Israelis and when asked about the violence playing out at his rallies, he denied incitement. It should be noted that just week ago, he told a rowdy crowd to "knock the crap" out of protestors. Today a Trump supporter was charged with assault for punching a black protestor in the face at an event.
CRUZ: After recently opening 10 new campaign offices in the Sunshine State in an effort to compete with Trump and Rubio, Cruz was able to steer the conversation tonight on a variety of issues. One of his strongest points came when he exposed Donald Trump's proposal to put a 45 percent tariff on imported goods from China as an enormous tax increase for lower and middle class working families. Transcript courtesy of CNN:
TAPPER: ... Donald Trump has so far won 35 percent of the vote. Those people are signing up to his vision of the Republican Party. What do you think is wrong with that vision?
CRUZ: Well, Donald is right, for example, he was just talking about international trade. He's right about the problems. But his solutions don't work. So, for example, his solution on international trade, he proposed earlier a 45 percent tariff on foreign goods.
Now he backed away from that immediately and he may come back with a different number tonight. I don't know where he'll be tonight. But I'll tell you what happens. You know, we've seen prior presidential candidates who proposed massive tariffs, you know, Smoot- Hawley led to the Great Depression.
And the effect of a 45 percent tariff would be when you go to the store, when you go to Walmart, when you are shopping for your kids, the prices you pay go up 45 percent. But not only that, when you put those in place, because a tariff is a tax on you, the American people, but the response of that is that the countries we trade with put in their own tariffs.
A much better solution that works is the tax plan I've laid out which would enable our exports to be tax-free, would tax our imports, would not raise prices for Americans, and would not result in reciprocal tariffs. Fix the problem and that's what's missing from what Donald says.
RUBIO: Coming off of what he described as "embarrassing behavior" over Trump's hand size, Rubio needed to have a strong night on his home turf. By sticking to the issues he knows best, telling stories about the American Dream and his family history, Rubio certainly delivered.
KASICH: Banking on a win in Ohio next week, Kasich delivered a consistent tone and record of experience getting things done as a governor. He was the only candidate on stage who embraced climate change as a man made problem.
During the debate, Ted Cruz reminded the audience only two candidates on the stage can move forward in a serious primary contest. Based on the math, he's right and it will be him and Trump so long as Trump doesn't completely dominate the delegate count on Tuesday.