Q: Why is Barack Obama the worst president in the history of the United States, and why would Hillary Clinton be even worse?
Okay, they didn't ask that question — but Fox being Fox, there were questions galore inviting the contenders to dump on Democrats. ClintonObama and ObamaClinton were condensed into single words. The audience ate it up, of course.
Every candidate got a totally predictable "gotcha" question, by and large answered by totally predictable talking points. Jeb Bush drew some audience disapproval for his failure to heartily endorse his brother's invasion of Iraq. (Where do they get those people?) Ben Carson deflected criticism of his abysmal knowledge of foreign policy by saying how smart he is. John Kasich impressed me somewhat by actually defending his decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio.
Donald Trump was asked about his contributions to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, and his answer was Trumpily brilliant. First, he pointed out that he'd also contributed to every candidate on the stage. (One, possibly Ted Cruz but it was hard to tell, whined "Not me! Not me!") Then Trump went on to explain that he'd merely been buying influence, not too subtly implying that all politicians are for sale. Unstated, but understood, was that Trump is so rich he can't be bought.
Unfortunately, Trump didn't get to speak often enough to turn the alleged "debate" into the laughfest I anticipated, but there was one interesting go-round between Rand Paul and Chris Christie on the subject of government spying on citizens. Christie, supporting the police state, was better received by the yahoos in attendance.
I don't believe that anybody "broke out" of the pack in this first unpacking of the clown car, but Trump, as Trumpy as ever, certainly didn't do himself any harm — despite the clear efforts of Fox to discredit him. I won't be at all surprised if his poll numbers are up today.