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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why @RealDonaldTrump had a low energy night at the #RepublicanDebate #HNNPolitics

Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)
SIMI VALLEY, California — The second Republican presidential debate may have been one of the first times in this campaign that Donald Trump did not appear fully in control.

Trump’s performance didn’t exactly bolster the devil-may-care, brash persona that has attracted so many voters. Instead, Trump was a bit less loud than usual, peevish instead of commanding at times, and even — maybe? — a bit low-energy, his favorite attack against Jeb Bush.

Trump seemed even a bit sheepish when Carly Fiorina caused him to backtrack on his comment to Rolling Stone magazine about her face, saying “I think she’s got a beautiful face, and I think she’s a beautiful woman.” Fiorina did not smile.

There have been many times that Trump has said or done something outrageous enough to seem disqualifying and yet continued his vault to the top of the polls anyway. And it’s unlikely that a few tense moments on the debate stage could slow him down when nothing else could.

But on Wednesday, Trump even seemed to fade a bit during the last portion of the debate. Moderators allowed the other candidates to talk for a long period (more than half an hour) — Trump didn’t speak. The effect was much different from last month’s Fox News debate, in which Trump was undeniably dominant in a shorter and tighter format.

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