Don’t have time to read this entire article or don’t care enough about the GOP debate to read it? Don’t worry because I got you fam, there’s a handy 3-minute synopsis video above.
On Wednesday night, the top 11 Republican presidential candidates gathered at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California for the second GOP debate that aired on CNN. The players in this political battle were Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, John Kasich and Mike Huckabee. The topics ranged from immigration to the Iran deal to the legalization of marijuana to nuclear weapons. If you didn’t have the interest or fortitude to withstand the three-hour debate, here are the highlights.
Out of the gate the debate got heated quickly when Libertarian-leaning Rand Paul was smashed by Trump, which is no surprise since both blasted each other in the first debate. “First of all, Rand Paul shouldn’t even be on this stage,” Trump declared. “He’s number 11. He’s got one percent in the polls. There’s too many people onstage already.”
Later Paul retorted after Trump was asked if it would be a prudent to decision to allow Trump access to the massive nuclear arsenal of the United States:
“Well, I kind of have to laugh when I think, ‘Hmm–kind of sounds like a non-sequitur.’ He was asked whether or not he would be capable and if it would be in good hands, being in charge of nuclear weapons, and all of a sudden he made a sideways attack at me. I think that really goes at the judgment. Do we want someone with that kind of character, that kind of careless language to be negotiating with Putin? Do we want someone like that to be negotiating with Iran? I think really there is sophomoric a quality that is entertaining about Mr. Trump, but I am worried. I’m very concerned about having him in charge of the nuclear weapons because I think his response, his his real response to attack people on their appearance, short, tall, fat, ugly. My goodness, that happened in junior high. Are we not way above that? Would we not all be worried to have someone like that in charge of the nuclear arsenal?”
Trump then trumped Paul with a clever barb, “I never attacked him on looks, and believe me, there is plenty of subject matter there. That, I can tell you.”
A month ago, Carly Fiorina was an unknown candidate relegated to the kids’ table of the GOP debate. After a sparkling breakout performance at the debate before the first debate, she powered her way to get an invitation to the main GOP debate on Wednesday night. And once again the former Hewlett-Packard CEO shined when the pressure was at the highest.
Trump made this dig at Fiorina in a Rolling Stone interview, “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” Last Thursday, the real estate mogul attempted to take back the statement by saying that his comments were in reference to Fiorina’s persona, not her attractiveness. Even though he said “face,” and even though you can’t see a persona. “I’m talking about persona,” Trump said. “I’m not talking about look.”
To which Fiorina responded with this mic drop moment.
Trump then acknowledged Fiorina’s physical appearance during the debate, “I think she’s got a beautiful face and I think she’s a beautiful woman.”
The biggest applause of the night by far, and one of the most tweeted about moments did not come from the entertaining Trump, but rather Fiorina. She spoke passionately about the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood. Fiorina referenced a video released last month by the anti-abortion group, the Center for Medical Progress, that shows a fully formed fetus at a Planned Parenthood facility.
“Anyone who has watched this video tape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”
Many believe that Chris Christie had a very strong performance and managed to insert himself into the conversation of legitimate candidates. When Fiorina and Trump were attacking each others business ventures, Christie interrupted and slammed both candidates:
“While I’m as entertained as anyone by this personal back and forth about the history of Donald and Carly’s career, for the 55-year-old construction worker who doesn’t have a job, who doesn’t have money to fund his child’s education, I gotta tell you the truth. They could care less about your careers. They care about theirs.”
Even Governor John Kasich got weary of the debate and discussing non-politics, “If I were at home watching this, I’d be inclined to turn it off.”
Wisconsin Governor, who is floundering and only captured 2 percent in the latest two polls, dropped this sick burn on both Obama and Trump.
— CNN (@CNN) September 17, 2015
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsTrump pounced on Jeb, by attacking his brother, George W. Bush. “Your brother and your brother’s administration gave us Barack Obama because it was such a disaster those last three months that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t have been elected,” Trump said. Bush defended his brother by invoking the devastation of the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, and his brother’s military response.
“Remember the rubble? You remember the firefighter with his arm around him? We’ll send a clear signal that the United States would be strong and fight Islamic terrorism. And he did keep us safe. As it relates to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure, he kept us safe.”
And Trump responded as only Trump can, “I don’t know, do you feel safe right now?” Not all of the debate was productive and thought-provoking discourse. This exchange between Jeb Bush and Trump quickly degenerated into what could have been babble between two 5-year-olds. Bush said that he stood up to Trump and his lobbying attempts when he attempted to bring casino gambling to Florida.
Trump: No, I didn’t.
Bush: Yes, you did.
Trump: Totally false.
Bush: You wanted it and you didn’t get it. I was opposed to casino gambling before—
Trump: I promise I would have gotten—
Bush: —during, and after! I’m not going to be bought by anyone.
Trump: I promise, if I wanted it, I would have got it.
Bush: Not even possible.
Trump: I know my people. Ironically, Trump held a 1997 fundraiser for Jeb Bush, where he raised $500,000 for Bush when he ran for governor of Florida. The following year, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts donated $50,000 to the Republican Party of Florida. Trump was actively lobbying to change gambling laws in Florida. The real estate mogul Trump was attempting to persuade the sunshine state to allow him to open casinos on Seminole tribal land. The tribe was seeking to open Vegas-style slot machines and poker in casinos, which would be managed by Trump. Trump stated that he believes that there is a link between autism and vaccines after a measured explanation by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
“Autism has become an epidemic. 25 years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control. I am totally in favor of vaccines, but I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Because you take a baby, and I’ve seen it. When I had my children taken care of over a long period of time, over two or three years. Same exact amount.”
Senator Ted Cruz declared, “If you elect me as President on the first day I will rip to shreds Obama’s deal with Iran.” Senator Marco Rubio discussed gun-control, and that legislation will not solve America’s rising violent crime problem.
There’s a broader issue here as well. First of all, the only people that follow the law are law abiding people. Criminals, by definition, ignore the law. You can pass all the gun laws in the world — like the left wants — criminals are going to ignore it because they are criminals. Here’s the real issue. The real issue is not what people are using to create violence, but why are they committing the violence.
Near the end of the Republican primary debate, Tapper asked the candidates what Secret Service code name they would like if they were President. He cited Ronald Reagan’s code name of “Rawhide,” which was an homage to his time as an actor in Western movies. The candidates answered:
Chris Christie — True
John Kasich — Unit 1, adding, “My wife says, ‘You’ll never be Unit 1. You’re Unit 2.'”
Carly Fiorina — Secretariat
Scott Walker — Harley, adding “I love riding Harleys.”
Dr. Ben Carson — One Nation
Ted Cruz — Cohiba, saying it’s because he’s Cuban.
Marco Rubio — Gator
MikeHuckabee — Duck Hunter
Rand Paul — Justice Never Sleeps
And the best by far were humorous answers by Bush and Trump. Jeb Bush — “Eveready,” telling Donald Trump, “It’s very high energy, Donald.” This was because Trump criticized Jeb for his “low energy.” Trump acknowledged the perfect response by giving Jeb this awkward low-five.
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsHowever Trump would not be outdone, he satirically answered the question by saying his code name would be “Humble.”
Trump was dishing out awkward hand-high-five-shakes like they were insults.
— CNN (@CNN) September 17, 2015
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsDuring a debate about the legalization of cannabis, Rand Paul argued about the “hypocrisy” of poor, black and Hispanic Americans receiving prison sentences for drug use while “rich kids” don’t. “I would like to see more rehabilitation and less incarceration,” Paul stated. “I think the federal government has gone too far. I think that the war on drugs has had a racial outcome, and really has been something that has really damaged our inner cities.” Bush chimed in, “40 years ago I smoked marijuana, and I admit it. I’m sure that other people might have done it and may not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom’s not happy that I just did.” Jeb Bush tweeted this in response to his admission that he drank and smoked pot while in prep school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.
Sorry Mom — Jeb Bush (@JebBush) September 17, 2015
And quickly the Internet spawned “Jeb Kush.”
— Favre In The Cut (@ASAPParm) September 17, 2015
//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsIn July, President Obama’s administration announced that a woman would appear on the $10 bill, which is currently occupied by Alexander Hamilton. Fiorina was asked who she would place on the bill and she responded by saying:
“I wouldn’t change the $10 bill or the $20 bill. I think honestly it’s a gesture. Don’t think it helps to change our history. What I would think is we ought to recognize that women are not a special interest group. Women are the majority of this nation. We are half the potential of this nation. And this nation will be better off when every woman has the opportunity to live the life she chooses.”
Here is the time of possession for the candidates.
Here’s how the candidates used their time.
There was definitely an agenda by most of the GOP presidential candidates to attack Trump, who has been leading in the polls.
If we were to decide the winner of the debate by Google search traffic, the winner would be Fiorina.//www.google.com/trends/embed.js?hl=en-US&q=/m/02mwvv,+/m/019x9z,+/m/0cqt90,+/m/03znkl&date=now+1-d&cmpt=q&tz=Etc/GMT%2B4&tz=Etc/GMT%2B4&content=1&cid=TIMESERIES_GRAPH_0&export=5&w=600&h=400
But the winner of the debate may have been the many faces of Donald Trump.