In the first Republican presidential debate, the two dominant forces were Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy – both using radically different tactics.
Ramaswamy came out the gate swinging with high energy and a combative spirit. He seemed to have struck a nerve, making him the prime target of attacks.
But Vivek was unfazed by the onslaught, often seen flashing a large smile in the midst of attacks, and gleefully firing back at his challengers.
His strategy stood in stark contrast to that of DeSantis, who largely avoided the fray – focusing instead on communicating his record directly to the audience at home.
While he avoided scuffles with other candidates, DeSantis wasn’t afraid of pushing back against the moderators.
Viewers walked away seeing strengths and weaknesses in both candidates.
With Vivek, many praised him as engaging and passionate, while others described him as obnoxious and off putting. At the same time DeSantis was hailed as strong and in control. But his detractors thought he came across as overly rehearsed.