A CNN panel praised Republican presidential candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley’s performances during the first 2024 Republican primary debate Wednesday.
The panel said Ramaswamy and Haley had an “excellent night” in the first Republican National Committee (RNC) debate. Eight candidates met the 40,000 donor threshold to participate, with Ramaswamy standing at the center along with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Co-panelist Alyssa Farah Griffin said Ramaswamy’s “smugness and antagonistic approach” brought out a side of former Vice President Mike Pence that is sometimes hidden from the public. She also predicted many DeSantis supporters will shift their support for Ramaswamy after the debate.
“I think you’ll see a bump for Vivek from the DeSantis supporters, but I think you’ll see a bump for Nikki Haley,” Griffin said.
Co-host John King said Ramaswamy was a “fill in” for former President Donald Trump by being the “anti-establishment candidate.” (RELATED: ‘Rookie—’Super PAC Puppet!’: Debate Devolves Into Yelling Match Between Vivek, Pence)
“The crowd loved it,” King said regarding Ramaswamy.
CNN senior political commentator David Axelrod claimed DeSantis looked “weak” and like a politician in certain instances, while Ramaswamy and Haley both had a great night. Axelrod said, however, Trump was handed the ultimate victory despite not attending the debate.
“One of the strengths of a Ramaswamy and a Trump is that they’re not politicians. So, I agree Nikki Haley had an excellent night. She was strong. But I do think that for Trump’s project, I think they come out of there no less divided than they were before, and there’s no one emerging as his principle opponent.”