Podhoretz writes that:
- [New Jersey Governor Chris] Christie played to his own strengths, talking tough on ISIS and terror while making the key point that the signal responsibility of the president is to keep the citizenry safe.
- Christie’s future in the Republican race rests entirely on his ability either to win or place a very strong second in New Hampshire['s primary].
- divisions on foreign policy were stark. [Florida Sen. Marco] Rubio is the hawk of the race, advocating without apology for the use of ground troops against ISIS in Syria.
- [Texas Sen. Ted] Cruz . . . called him reckless and hungry for war — and tried to tie Rubio to the ideas of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
- Rubio likely got the better of the foreign-policy fight, but he certainly got the worse of the exchanges over his stance on immigration.
- Cruz ripped into the Florida senator for supporting a path to citizenship in the failed immigration-reform bill Rubio co-sponsored in 2013.
- Rubio tried to get Cruz to admit he supported a legalization path. . . — Cruz said exactly that during a Senate hearing on May 21, 2013 — but Cruz skillfully used slippery Clintonian language to evade Rubio. . .
- Rubio came out a bit bloodied. But that was inevitable. Immigration is his greatest weakness. . . bound to become a major discussion point at some point, and it became so last night.
- The person with the most to gain from a successful Cruz assault on Rubio is Christie.
Cruz hopes to emerge as the only alternative to Trump, and to become acceptable to a GOP majority on that basis. A “bloodied” Rubio helps the Cruz strategy, so Cruz did well along with -- as Podhoretz noted -- Christie.
Rubio is down but not out. Cruz escaped last night from his 2013 effort to give illegal immigrants a path to permanent residency, but the truth is on video, and is beginning to come out. As for Christie, he must beat Rubio in New Hampshire 55 days from now--or else.