The single biggest piece of political news coming out of the debate is that the big crossfire I predicted for Ted Cruz did not happen–and largely because the unpredictable but always interesting Donald Trump, after baiting Cruz to attack him, decided last night to back off:
Asked about his comments describing Cruz as a “maniac,” Trump decided to back off: “I’ve gotten to know him over the last three or four days, he has a wonderful temperament. He’s just fine, don’t worry about it,” Trump said, reaching across the debate space to pat Cruz on the arm.
Just a little shadow boxing among friends, Trump seemed to say.
Score one point to Cruz for his brilliant light-hearted refusal to poke the bear (with perhaps an assist from Rush Limbaugh — the Trump barb provoked the first criticism of The Donald from Rush I’ve seen.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.