Opinion writer

We can all agree that the CNN debate went on way too long. But I think we can also agree that the knock-out moment of the night was delivered by Carly Fiorina. It was in response to a question about Donald Trump’s intemperate remarks in a Rolling Stone profile published last week about her face and his contention that he was talking about her “persona.”

 

You know, it’s interesting to me. Mr. Trump said that he heard Mr. Bush very clearly in what Mr. Bush said [about funding for women’s health programs].  I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.

With that, the audience’s sustained applause audibly hammered home the message to the GOP frontrunner that what he said and his defense of it were indefensible. Fiorina’s response was pithy, but just as devastating as the one-minute ad she put out after Trump’s musings in Rolling Stone.

Fiorina did something no other candidate has been able to do. She put Trump on the defensive. And as the night dragged on into policy, Trump diminished even further. His bombast played well in the first debate and at his rallies since then. But the three-hour debate showed us that reality-television stars are only entertaining for the first 60 minutes.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj