There were 7 Republicans on the stage, but this was the 3-D debate, the desperate demolition derby. And when all the candidates’ collisions were finished, a few looked ready to rumble some more, but others were totaled.

Donald Trump was the biggest winner: You like the Donald, you got him. He may even increase his support, thanks to a strong defense of his temperament and the harshest criticism of President Obama.

Another winner: Gov. Chris Christie. He needed a powerful debate performance to turn his campaign around and I think he got it. He’s always loud, but tonight he found his voice. He was tough, aggressive, clear and compelling.

You know this: There were some big losers, too. Given the stakes, there had to be. The biggest loser was Sen. Marco Rubio. This was his worst debate. He didn’t sound, or look, confident; he repeated himself; and when he was directly attacked by Gov. Chris Christie, he withered. Sen. Ted Cruz lost too. Given a chance to challenge Trump’s fitness for the White House and personal make up, he stood down. And he could only apologize to Ben Carson, after suggesting–wrongly–that Carson was quitting the race after Iowa.

If you have a picture of all the Republicans who debated tonight, save it! Because I don’t think they’ll be together again. New Hampsire is about to do what it always does: Turbocharge some candidates on the road to the White House, and make others road kill.

(Copyright (c) 2016 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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