Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) had the best night during the Fox Business Network debate on Thursday, according to veteran pollster Frank Luntz’s focus group.
However, two other presidential candidates also delivered lines that wowed the group: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).
Speaking on Fox News’ “The Kelly File,” Luntz played “two special clips” that the focus group had rated highly.
The first featured Rubio defending gun rights after President Barack Obama announced executive actions to expand background checks on some gun buyers.
“Criminals don’t buy their guns from a gun show, they don’t buy their guns from a collector, and they don’t buy their guns from a gun store. They steal them, they get them on the black market, and let me tell you: ISIS and terrorists do not get their guns from a gun show,” Rubio declared.
The senator added of Obama: “If there is an act of violence in America, his immediate answer — before he even knows the facts — is gun control.”
The focus group used words like “superstar, “unwavering,” and “articulate” to describe Rubio’s debate performance.
The same participants also loved Christie lecturing Obama during the debate. Christie cited Republican victories in elections across the US as proof that the White House’s policies had been rejected by the voters.
“After seven years of your policies, we have the biggest majority we’ve had since the 1920s in the House, a Republican majority in the Senate, and 31 out of 50 Republican governors,” Christie said to Obama. “The American people have rejected your agenda and now you’re trying to go around it. That’s not right. It’s not constitutional.”
Christie continued: “And we are going to kick your rear end out of the White House come this fall.”
Some members of Luntz’s group laughed after the pollster replayed that clip. Multiple people there said Christie had shown he was “tough” during the debate.
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