When Fox News said it would only let 10 GOP candidates into its primetime debate, it offered to let the remaining seven participate at an earlier afternoon event. It was intended to be a consolation, but it wasn't much of one.
Update: Coverage of the second Republican debate.
The first round of questions, on the theme of "electability," bluntly challenged everyone on their biggest political weaknesses. Second, candidates were asked why Donald Trump is doing better in the polls then they are. Ouch.
For everyone except Carly Fiorina, it was a very low-energy affair, with even normally charismatic candidates like Lindsey Graham sounding flat. That's partly explained by the fact that there was practically no one in the audience at Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena:
Empty arena for Fox News second-tier debate: pic.twitter.com/CbN8xoEvyH— Michael Calderone (@mlcalderone) August 6, 2015
Avik Roy, an adviser to Rick Perry, tweeted that the event wasn't open to the public. This decision only further feeds the sense that this event is rather humiliating to the candidates participating. Great debate moments often tap into the energy of the crowd, but this group of candidates didn't even have the opportunity to do that.