Very surprisingly, CNN actually put on a pretty darn good GOP debate. (I didn't seen the JV's, earlier in the day.)
Sure, CNN is still a Left-wing network of course, so there were a few questions about things Right-wingers don't recognize or care about, like Global Warming. Which would be fine in a D vs. R candidate debate, but completely doesn't belong in a GOP-only debate.
And of course they're still trashy/sensational like FNC, so it started out with several "so-and-so said this about you, take a moment to react" questions. Which might only be marginally useful to voters, as far as seeing how, both accusor and accusee, cope with aggression and pressure.
But what was fabulous about it is two-fold:
1) The thing was about 3, blessed, hours long. To a political junkie, that's not long, considering there were 11 (why not the "top 10"?!) candidates participating.
2) The moderator(s) did less talking, and there was responses and re-responses and re-re-responses from the candidates (vice just a bunch of interrupting with "we gotta move on"). In fact, the two co-questioners didn't get to ask hardly any questions, so their role was dubious. (Which is fine by me.)
Readily apparent was that everyone came with more energy this time, to the point of making Trump look somewhat demure. He's going to have to start coming out with details now (I think he said he'll have specifics of an economic plan to release in the next couple of weeks) to stay competitive. Everyone has ideas that are cringe-worthy (like Carly's "I won't talk with Putin, I'll just arm up" brinksmanship strategy for foreign policy), so it should be safe for Trump to start getting specific. (That is, I don't think something akin to mere "hope and change" -- his "I'll make America great again" -- will work, for a Republican.)
So what made this debate a gazillion times better than the FNC's is that I actually learned some things about the candidates' positions on things, and a little on how they differ. Unfortunately that's probably the best one there'll ever be.
p.s. It was good to see Rand Paul back to being his thoughtful and articulate self, unlike the prior debate where he didn't talk issues, just got into petty tit-for-tats with Trump and Christie.
p.p.s. I'm absolutely elated to have heard something to the effect that the three "outsiders" in the race are the top three in polling right now for the GOP.