(CNN)Top political strategist for George W. Bush, Karl Rove was unimpressed with a couple of debate performances from Thursday night, critiquing the style and tone of Donald Trump and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
Rove reviews: Donald Trump, Rand Paul struggled at debate
The Kentucky senator "overreached," Rove said during Fox News' Kilmeade & Friends radio show on Friday. "You gotta be careful about sort of getting into somebody's chili, and he overreached a couple of times and got swatted most effectively by Trump."
Immediately after Trump's response regarding single-payer health care system on how "it could work in a different age," Paul was quick to interject, "Newsflash -- the Republican Party has been fighting against the single-payer system for a decade, so I think you're on the wrong side of this if you're still arguing for single-payer."
Although Paul's words may have excited his supporters, Rove said the sparring with Trump and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie could turn off some Republican voters.
But Rove also criticized Trump's choice of words as limiting how much support he could really get.
"If you like Trump, that's not going to necessarily turn you off but the issue is that 80% of the people are supporting somebody else," Rove said. "Language like that, attack on Megyn (Kelly, the Fox News debate moderator), his refusal to say I'm a team player -- all of those things create a ceiling on how far he could go, and I think we may actually see some diminution in support of the next couple of weeks."
With perhaps the exception of two people last night -- Trump and Paul -- Rove said he believes the rest of the GOP hopefuls "opened up opportunities for upward movement."