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Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said Tuesday that Donald Trump rose above the public's expectations at the debate.
"I don't agree on everything that he says, but he's been consistent in his message about bringing manufacturing back to the United States, bringing the cash back to the United States," Hutchinson said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "He's been consistent in his economic policy, he's been consistent on his immigration policy, he's been consistent on going after ISIS."
But if Trump is consistent about one thing in particular, it's change, Hutchinson said. The governor said Trump is a "change agent in this election," while Democrat Hillary Clinton represents an "anemic recovery" from the 2008 financial crisis and poorly constructed foreign policy measures.
Former Obama economic aide Austan Goolsbee, however, criticized Trump's performance at Monday night's debate, saying the candidate was in "concussion protocol this morning — Monday night football was not very kind to him."
Appearing on "Squawk on the Street," the University of Chicago economist went after Trump's lack of specificity and clarity.
"He was, I thought, basically out of his league," Goolsbee said. "He was mixing up, he couldn't tell the difference between VAT taxes and tariffs. All he just kept saying about his own tax plan was, 'Well, it's the biggest tax cut since Reagan.'"
On the other hand, Goolsbee said Clinton's performance resonated well, especially her stabs at Trump's inconsistencies as well as her message of unity, growth and shared prosperity.
"I think investing in human capital is a huge payoff, and that is the kind of thing that will increase your productivity [and] increase your growth rate," he said.
On CNBC's "Power Lunch," Trump economic advisor Kathleen Hartnett-White said both candidates' economic models recognize the need for infrastructure investment. But she said Trump would do that through private investment. Giving the Keystone Pipeline as an example, Hartnett-White said "that was something largely envisioned as something that would be private investment and not billions and billions of dollars of tax subsidy."
She defended Trump's temperament as "humanizing and they [supporters] can actually identify with his style much more than they can with the very, very scripted approach Mrs. Clinton has."
— CNBC's Mariam Amini contributed to this report.