The GOP candidates’ first trip to MSNBC for a debate since October took place last night in Boca Raton, FL. MSNBC has a summary of reactions from major newspapers. The Miami Herald called it “a Rotary Club forum,” while the Boston Globe wrote the candidates, “appeared to have taken a mutual vow to stay civil.” It certainly did not provide the fireworks of the debate earlier this week.
Huffington Post’s Jason Linkins writes, “It’s all so depressing, watching supposedly seasoned journalists take wide passes at questions that could help voters break through the candidates’ carefully manufactured remarks and hold them accountable.”
Newsweek’s Holly Bailey blamed the mellow tone less on the moderators and more on the candidates. “Moderators Brian Williams and Tim Russert tried their best to shake things up, but the candidates stubbornly stayed on point,” she wrote.
Tom Peeling of the Palm Beach Post noted how well-behaved the entire room was. “Moderator Brian Williams of NBC News warned the crowd in advance of the debate that applause should be held to the end to save time, and what arguably might have been the best-behaved audience in debate history generally followed the rule,” he wrote. “The audience’s mild manners were outclassed, however, by the candidates themselves as none of the five on stage raised their voices, nor took many shots at each other.”