Trump says "questions were not nice," Rubio makes best of his time

This was the question at issue, in particular, for Trump.

“You’ve called women you don’t like, ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ slobs, and disgusting animals,” Kelly opened a question to Trump.

“Only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump quipped.

“No it wasn’t. For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O’Donnell. Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women’s looks. You once told a contestant on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” Kelly asked Trump.

Trump answered smartly by going back to his appeal as an anti-PC guy, but this is also a question about basic decency and what will be a major liability for him as a candidate. Stories about how he treats women will continue to surface and his ability to treat a fellow female candidate with respect will be tested. Nonetheless, Trump supporters are busy on Twitter asserting that Trump calling people disgusting animals is brave truth-telling but Megyn Kelly asking about it is unprofessional and crass. Here’s the exchange. Unleash in comments!

After the debate, Trump told press in the spin room:

“I thought their questions to me were much tougher than to other people, but maybe I expect that,” Trump said.

“I thought it was an unfair question,” Trump said. “They didn’t ask those questions of everybody else…Those weren’t even questions. They were statements.”

And more: “The questions to me were not nice,” Trump continued. “I didn’t think they were appropriate. And I thought Megyn behaved very badly, personally.”

The final time tallies for each candidate:

Rubio falls a little below the middle on talking time, but really made the best of his time. While Christie and Paul were duking it out, while Trump was punching, while Jeb was…jebbing, Rubio was calm, above-the-fray, and characteristically smooth and eloquent. His first answer brought the rowdy room back down after the ruckus caused by the pledge question posed about running independent, and the moment was a symbol for his entire debate performance.

Jonathan Last notes:

Marco Rubio: The second most important development of the debate was Rubio’s ability to put the Gang of 8 to bed. Rubio was good all night—if we were doing a sabermetric ranking of the candidates, he lead the field. Easily. But the important thing for the long-term is that he’s squared the immigration circle. With that figured out, he really does look like Clinton ’92.

I’m betting he didn’t answer all questions on this issue to your satisfaction, but his overall performance was pretty undeniably strong.

Walker didn’t hurt himself and had one good line on Hillary and e-mails, which will be clip-worthy, but he could have made much more of his at-bats. Huckabee edged out much of the field in talking time, and had a couple good Huckabee moments, including a great joke about Hillary in his closing statements. Carson’s closing statement was very strong, but he was low-key for much of the rest of the debate. Cruz was competent, but surprisingly quiet, I thought. There will probably be a bit of shuffling between the Trump, Huck, Carson, and Cruz camps.

And, Carly Fiorina was somewhere watching like:

Who do you think won?