A number of people were surprised that the Fox News trio of Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace were willing to ask the tough questions of the GOP candidates.
"It was kind of like watching a tiger eat her young," said cable news executive to FTVLive in an email.
Others were also saying that the trio wasn't shy when it came to the tough questions. Austan Goolsbee, a former member of President Obama's cabinet, gave Fox credit this way: "If they were treating the Dems like this, I would have said they were gratuitously busting their chops," he tweeted.
Yochi Dreazen, managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine, said some of the candidates looked "shell-shocked" by tough questions from Fox, a channel defined by its conservative political and cultural tilt.
That's what public radio host Kai Ryssdal meant when he wrote, "have to hand it to Fox News moderators for going after their guys."
Halfway through the debate, BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith said Ailes is "clearly the winner of this. This is really good TV."
And while the moderators were praised by many, not everyone thought they did a good job.
Namely Donald Trump.
When Kelly pressed him on his history of disparaging remarks about women, Trump claimed he had only spoken ill of his longtime adversary, Rosie O'Donnell.
"For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell," Kelly said.
"Honestly, Megyn, if you don't like it, I'm sorry," Trump told the anchor. "I've been very nice to you, although I could probably not be based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn't do that."
Trump was up late last night and early this morning taking shots at Kelly and the others as well.
Mama was right, you can't please everybody.