On Wednesday, the first of two CNN GOP Town Halls presented a host of awkward moments, which included a singing Ted Cruz, an EDM-loving Marco Rubio, and a sandman-esque Ben Carson. The Thursday night installment of this not-quite-riveting series brought John Kasich, Jeb Bush, and Donald Trump to the stage with Anderson Cooper on the mic.
The evening started out slow, but — as a whole — transformed into an oddball mixture of hugs, philosophy, and tabloid-style recollections. When these guys go one-on-one with a host, there’s not as much verbal violence coming down the pike, but Bush and Trump still managed to toss dirt around the joint. Kasich came off like the most upstanding guy in the world, which has much to do with his competitors. When one’s up against fellas like Cruz and Trump, sounding even relatively normal seems refreshing. Then again, the boisterous GOP candidates are the ones with the bigger poll numbers. Not much happened in the way of groundbreaking policy discussion, but the night included a discombobulating blend of heavier discussions from Kasich and comic relief from the other men. Here are some standout moments:
John Kasich Demonstrates His Solid Hugging Technique
One of the opening moments of this town hall recapped a poignant moment that occurred before Kasich stepped onstage. A supporter stood up and told Kasich about his father figure who committed suicide along with several other tragic happenings. Kasich, who has been playing the voice of reason among the GOP candidates, hugged the young man who found “hope in my presidential candidate that I supported.” Kasich told Cooper how this happens a lot, and that people often pour their hearts out to him. Can you imagine any of the other GOP candidates pulling off a segment like this one?