Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
September 17, 2015

The GOP’s Reagan Library Debate With the Sound Off

The photo is pure, aversive Donald. He’s stood out by not assuming the pose. In spite of the crazy, a lot of people out there not only identify with that, but see it as redeeming.

Mark Peterson isolates on the same quality for MSNBC. And it’s even more effective at this angle because it’s so singular, and can also seem confiding.

Call it Romney-esque. Next to Trump, Bush looks like a guy trying out for the role of himself. And he thought he’d spend the campaign being compared, side-by-side, with his brother and his Dad.

Same deal, only worse. If we saw the pose plenty from Dubya, the stiffer Jeb can’t pull off “beseeching.”

What I’ll remember from this campaign is how Trump put Bush away early with the low energy remark. Forevermore, Bush showing vigor (because he is that flat) is going to stand out as compensating.

Carson’s soft spoken approach was working fine on the campaign trail the past two weeks. He had no antidote for this defoliant, however.

…More specifically, though, his slow and vague responses last night reflected his inability to handle the speed and intensity of a full-on presidential campaign. You can call Trump a goof, but he’s a pro. And what he’s more practiced at than anything is playing off someone’s earnestness.

Not that we knew she would burst his bubble, but Wednesday night had been predestined as the Donald – Carly show.

I love the symmetry of this screenshot. The race rebalanced (with momentum moving as you see), the GOP (counting Mittens) has been taken over by CEO’s.

I thought the most daring decision of the night, by the way, was Fiorina’s choice to come out in dark blue, downplaying her gender. With her strong performance, it more firmly accentuated her viability.

And, it made Trump look that much more smarmy for his misogyny.

As for the rest of the cast…

Having spent weeks trying to bring up his Christy-ness to Trump level, he did seem to be benefit by playing up the Jersey while toning down the nasty. And yeah, it’s cartoony. Seems your don’t stay on the island, though, without establishing yourself as some kind of character.

According to the caption:

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida jokes that he brought his own water to drought-stricken Florida.

Right, but the photo is as much, or more, about that response to Obama’s State of the Union where he was so nervous, he was fumbling for the Poland Spring. Politically, Marco seemed well hydrated last night.

Perhaps the most significant difference between last night’s debate and the previous encounter, as big as the difference between FOX and CNN, was the more sedate audience of well-heeled Orange County types. In contrast to the tone in the cavernous arena in Cleveland, last night’s event pulled for a little more class.

Finally, I appreciated Justin Sullivan’s photo for Getty as something of a prediction. The way he captures The Donald suggests the guy might actually have the audacity … to tone it down.

(photo 1: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters caption: Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush and Scott Walker pose for a group photo. photo 2: Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC caption: Republican presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Jeb Bush line up for a photo op before the CNN Republican Debate begins at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif.. photo 3: David S. Holloway, CNN caption: Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush speaks during the Republican Presidential Debate. photo 4: Max Whittaker for The New York Times caption: Donald J. Trump and Jeb Bush. photo 5: Mark J. Terrill, AP caption: Republican presidential candidates, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, right, and Donald Trump both speak during the CNN Republican presidential debate. photo 6: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters. caption: Ben Carson and Donald Trump talk during a commercial break. photo 7: Mike Nelson, European PressPhoto Agency caption: Media watch an exchange between U.S. Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina during the second presidential candidates debate. photo 8: AP photo? source: Quartz ‏@qz/Twitter caption: Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump are both right: They’re both pretty terrible at business. photo 9: screen shot: CNN. photo 10: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters caption: John Kasich and Chris Christie react. photo 11: Max Whittaker/Bloomberg News. photo 12: David S. Holloway, CNN caption: The audience during the CNN Republican Candidate Debate. photo 13: Justin Sullivan/Getty caption: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump makes a point during the presidential debates at the Reagan Library on Sept. 16, 2015 in Simi Valley, Calif.)

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