“He wanted to show that he could handle it:” Recapping Governor Walker’s night at the GOP debate

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MILWAUKEE — The first GOP presidential debate is in the history books. It was entertaining, exciting and informative. With a crowded stage, it was hard for candidates to set themselves apart.

The debate lasted over two hours. It was a showdown between the top 10 GOP presidential front-runners. Each went head to head, sometimes butting heads.

Governor Scott Walker

Governor Scott Walker

“It was very entertaining and that’s a good thing,” said Mordecai Lee, UW-Milwaukee professor.

Lee says these interactions show us how diverse our choice for president is.

“This shows us that within the Republican Party, they’re not all carbon copies of each other. There are degrees of conservatism. There are degrees of social values. It was good to see the interaction,” said Lee.

Donald Trump dominated the debate, while Governor Walker laid low — giving straight, concise answers and not throwing jabs at anyone in his own party.

“The last thing he wanted to do was commit a gaffe. The last thing he wanted to do was to have a bad night. How do you have a bad night? By not talking as much, by sticking to very safe scripts, by sort of putting your head down while they’re shooting at each other,” sad Lee.

Candidates were given 60 seconds to answer questions, but Walker often took less than that. According to the New York Times, Walker spoke a total of just five minutes and 45 seconds — less than all but one GOP rival.

“That’s exactly what he wanted. He wanted to show that he could handle it. That he’s ready for the big time, but he understands the tactics he needs to succeed in these kinds of debates,” said Lee.

Lee says if there was a winner Thursday night it was Dr. Ben Carson who spoke less like a politician and more like a conservative Christian. By next year, Lee says he won’t be surprised if Donald Trump’s bubble becomes slightly deflated and Dr. Carson doubles his numbers in the polls.