Talk about opening a debate with a bang! Fox News came out firing at the Donald, asking candidates to raise their hand if they will not pledge to support the nominee if it isn’t them, and to pledge not to run as an independent. Knowing that Trump, being the person he is, would obviously raise his hand, the question was clearly an attack on him. The onslaught continued as Megyn Kelly attacked the Donald on his comments about women. Chris Wallace came after him for his failure to give “specific information” that Trump has about the role of the Mexican government in sending illegal immigrants into this country. It really wasn’t a good night for the current GOP front runner.
As far as the rest of the debate goes, the most heated exchange of the night was clearly between Chris Christie and Rand Paul. These two sparred for several minutes when discussing mass data collection by the federal government. Paul had one of the best jabs of the night during this clash when he looked at Christie and said “I don’t trust President Obama with our records. I know you gave him a big hug and if you’d like to give him a big hug again go right ahead!” To which Christie immediately came back with “you know who I remember hugging? The families of victims on September 11th.” Unfortunately, Megyn Kelly had to step in and break the two up.
The biggest gaff of the night is a tie: Mike Huckabee essentially talked about funding social security by forcing pimps, prostitutes, and drug dealers to pay in. Then when asked about his poor results as governor in New Jersey, Chris Christie’s only response was “if you think it’s bad now, you should have seen it when I got here.” So you’re admitting things are bad?
The best line of the night goes to Marco Rubio: Rubio actually had two great lines. The first was about the candidates’ records and resumes. He said that “this election should be about the future, not about the past.” Then when talking about Mexico, he said “I agree we need to build a fence. But if El Chapo digs a tunnel underneath it, we have to be able to deal with that too.” Rubio had a great night.
The biggest laugh of the night goes to Ben Carson: Carson in his closing statement said “I’m the only one who has removed part of a brain…although if you go to Washington you’d think someone beat me to it.” Nice.
The biggest surprise of the night: John Kasich coming out and saying that he thinks Republicans and the rest of the country should accept gay marriage, give them access to the American dream, and go on with our lives.
The clear loser of the night was Donald Trump. As I mentioned, Trump was attacked at several different points, including from the moderators. It’ll be interesting to see how it affects his polls.
The biggest winner of the night is a tie between Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. Both men came out looking incredibly presidential and clear about the issues that they support. Bush acknowledged that he had probably an even tougher problem than most because of his father and brother. He argued that he was his own man with his own record, also breaking with his brother on Iraq. He said that “knowing what we know now…I wouldn’t have went in.” Rubio was just solid all around. He was clear, concise, and didn’t waste his few moments that he was given speaking.