GOP Debate Live Blog


Live blog out. Thanks for getting presidential with me tonight. Tweet at me or leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of the debate and who you think won!


Closing statements:

Kasich: Takes upbeat tone, saying, “I will continue to fight for you.”

Christie: Emphasizes that he belives America is no longer respected and how hard he will fight to keep Clinton from winning

Carson: We have to come together…on Ben Carson’s website…to heal this country

Rubio: Says 2016 is a pivotal year for America and electing Clinton will be like another Obama term…so elect him instead

Cruz: Starts with Benghazi, speaks to the military and says he has their back

Trump: Says nuclear deal is the only reason Iran let U.S. sailors go and thus it is a bad deal


Commercial break, then closing statements.


Bush refers to Rubio and Cruz as “back-bench senators.” Burn. Shifts into actual question he was asked…which I think was about cybersecurity but it was so long ago that I’m not really sure anymore.

Ah yes, it was about cybersecurity.


I’m gonna leave the rest of that Cruz-Rubio catfight out.


Cruz: “border security is national security.” Says amnesty bill expanded Obama’s powers and made it easier for refugees posing as ISIS to enter the country.


Rubio says all programs allowing entry into the U.S. needs to be reevaluated–including green card system–need to be reevaluated because they could be exploited by ISIS. Also claimed ISIS did not exist 24 months ago.


Kasich says many people feel the system is working against them not for them. Says he has heard a lot of hot rhetoric on the stage tonight, but U.S. and political leaders need to come together to solve problems, not continue divisive rhetoric.


Christie says sanctuary cities–which don’t enforce immigration laws–are where crime happens. Essentially Christie blames immigrants for violent crime in America. Takes a very strong stance on crime–not surprising for a former prosecutor.


Trump says his business is “peanuts” and would give it up–all the way to his children–if he became president so he could use his “whatever it is up here” *pointing to his brain* for the benefit of the country. Lucky America.


Carson then interrupts right before the commercial break to say the WSJ endorsed his tax plan (I tried to find this to post a link, but could only find articles critical of Carson’s plan).


Christie interrupts, says he wants to answer entitlement question Rubio never answered. But then my livefeed cut out so IDK what he said about entitlements. Sorry guys.


Cruz says his plan does not include a VAT tax. Cruz advocates a flat tax, so people can fill out their taxes on a post card and the IRS can be abolished, thus eliminating the “Washington Cartel,” as Cruz calls it. However, he neglects to say who would be on the receiving end of those postcards, if not the IRS.


Rubio attacks the value added tax–which he claims is part of Cruz’s tax plan.


Trump says corporate inversion is one of the biggest problems facing the country. Offers no solution.


Carson reiterates his flat tax idea. Calls current U.S. tax system “the most regressive” tax system in the world, imposed by the “evil government.”


Christie said some things which garnered tepid applause.


And we’re back with the tax code.


After the commercial break, tax reform, national debt and “the war on crime,” which is extremely vague and could mean anything.


The past five minutes has mostly been inaccurate back-and-forth between Trump and others.


Kasich says he supports free trade and PTT, agrees with Trump’s assessment that China needs to put the screws on North Korea. Kasich demands free but fair trade which he believes will benefit blue collar American workers.


The things Trump said about China and North Korea were dangerously close to factual. Trump looks like himself for the first time all day talking about trade with China and tariff rates.


Moderators asking rest of the field if U.S. should pause admitting Muslim refugees:

Kasich–says U.S. should pause Syrian refugee flow but need to respect Arab allies

Christie–says U.S. should not take Syrian refugees because he believes they cannot be vetted. Says U.S. can’t ban all Muslims (but can ban all Syrians, apparently)

Rubio–says U.S. should not take Syrian refugees and that Obama had underestimated ISIS

Cruz–says U.S. needs to pass his legislation to strip Americans who fight for ISIS of citizenship, should not admit refugees from any country with significant terrorist activity, doesn’t say if that would include Indonesia, the Philippines, India, etc.

Carson–says U.S. needs to get group of experts together and draw up new guide lines for immigration and refugee guidelines

Jeb–essentially tells everyone they’re crazy


Bush says Trump’s comments are unhinged. Gets a lot of applause. Says he understands why people support Trump’s policies but doesn’t agree with them.


Trump says he will not rethink Muslim ban and says U.S. cannot worry about political correctness. Trump says he has lots of Muslim friends, who apparently thanked him for calling for a ban on all Muslims in the U.S.


Christie touting the no-fly zone. Which could possibly have been a good idea in Syria…in 2012.


Carson seems to think the U.S. has some really open lines of communication with ISIS. This isn’t a Kremlin-red line thing. The U.S. doesn’t chat with ISIS. Also, he clearly has no idea what life in Raqqa is like.


Shoutout to Lindsey Graham. RIP to my favorite campaign.


Kasich asked about fracking and oil disputes with Saudi Arabia. Kasich touts his resume for a bit (it is one of the more impressive in the field), then says we need energy independence and should keep fracking. He says he wants to keep U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia strong but next president has to make clear that they have to stop funding radical clerics. Kasich stresses next president can’t undergo “on the job training” and touts his foreign policy credentials.


Bush being asked about how policy towards Iran would change. Says he would rebuild the military, particularly the Navy, and move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This statement is interesting only for its stupidity and for the lack of knowledge of the region it shows.


Cruz says Trump has “New York values” and that conservatives don’t come out of Manhattan. Trump responds with a yarn about 9/11 which, of course, sends the audience into a round of applause.


Can we get a fact check on that Eric Holder quote? I really don’t think he said “brainwash.” Cruz says everyone in a GOP primary has to say they support gun rights, but not everyone on the stage is as serious as he is.


Christie being asked about gun reform. Says his record in New Jersey is different from Obama’s, call’s Obama a dictator, a petulant child and calls his executive orders unconstitutional.


Rubio says people who commit crimes don’t get guns from gun shows. A statement which there is no way to prove or disprove because we have no idea who buys guns at gun shows.


Tump panders to the base about guns. Says Obama doesn’t want to “get people together and do legislation.” Because Republicans would love to “do legislation” on guns.


Bush says the U.S. needs to focus on mental health. Also says, oddly enough, that Obama doesn’t have the power to make executive orders.


Carson asked about Bill Clinton’s infidelity and whether Hillary Clinton can be blamed. Because logically, wives are always responsible for their husband’s infidelity. What the fuck, Fox Business?

Carson’s response: “is this even America anymore?” Not going to touch that one.


Kasich asked about Bernie Sanders and his feasibility as a candidate. Says if Sanders is the nominee “we’ll take every state.” Talks about job training, interest rates, the cost of higher education and making sure we are training young people about jobs that actually exist. Good moment for him–lots of applause. Showed a deep understanding of the economy there.


Bush jumps in with a very “free love,” except Hillary Clinton vibe.


Christie is Kasich with 200 more pounds and a bit more charisma.


Marco asked about comments he made regarding Christie. Starts by talking about Obama. Says Christie cannot be president because he supports too many of Obama’s ideas. Sows fear saying this generation of Americans could be the first to leave their children worse off than they were. That is a comment I will not even dignify with a response.


Trump insists to Haley that they’re great friends. She smiles awkwardly knowing the camera has found her in the crowd. Tump says he is angry because of how poorly Obama has run the country.


Cruz tells Trump he can be VP so if he’s right about the birther thing he can “get the top job.” Mic drop.


Tump responds with his poll numbers, saying he’s beating Cruz. Gets heavily booed. I can’t even understand what he’ talking about anymore. He’s lost his edge for sure. Never seen him this flustered.

Trump admits he only brought this up because Cruz’s poll numbers are rising.


Good. We’ve gotten to the Trump-Cruz birther issue. Cruz was prepared for this. He tears Trump apart. Cruz is doing well so far. Trump looks like he swallowed a bug.


The first commercial break. Pretty bombastic start. Everybody coming in hot.


Cruz gets asked about Goldman Sachs loan. Decries it as the “liberal media,” says he doesn’t have money like the Clintons and needed money for the campaign. Cruz calls it a “paperwork error.”


There’s that self-deprecating, Ben Carson humor. He’s also completely wrong about the preparedness of American troops. They ARE prepared for unconventional warfare; they are NOT prepared for conventional warfare anymore. Many high ranking military officials have said this leaves the U.S. vulnerable should it face a conventional opponent like Russia or China. By the way, those same officials believe Russia is the greatest threat to the U.S. Sorry ISIS.


Marco Rubio says Hillary Clinton is not able to be president based on her actions after Benghazi. Says Obama doesn’t understand intelligence briefings. Which Rubio does obviously, since he has such a stellar attendance record on the Senate Intelligence and never misses his intelligence briefings. Oh wait… 


Jeb Bush also jumping on the Obama-bashing train. Kasich the only candidate yet to speak without mentioning the president. Bush touts “peach through strength,” says U.S. military is too weak to project force anymore.


Chris Christie attacking President Obama’s State of the Union speech calling it “story time.” Christie says we need to rebuild alliances but let our allies know our limits. Carrot and stick kinda thing. Christie says military action used when “absolutely necessary” to protect American lives.


Second question to John Kasich, about what he would do as president if markets continue to spiral. Kasich says freezing federal regulations (except health and safety), tax cuts and balanced budget–his favorite phrase. Says these three things will lead to job growth and rising wages.


First question goes to Cruz. In typical Cruz fashion he thanks the moderator for the question and completely ignores it before going on an unrelated tangent.


That bell will not stop anyone from going over 90 seconds. Why don’t they just turn off the mics?


Did this little Fox Business News debate intro video just acknowledge the ongoing tragedy of gun violence in America? I bet the NRA loved that.


Commentators mention Donald Trump-Ted Cruz birther debacle but do not mention Cruz’s failure to report a loan from Goldman Sachs he used for Senate campaign. Priorities.


The players are taking the field.


Who else is live streaming? Are you having technical difficulties as well or is my wi-fi just the worst?


Inspiring seven seconds of commentary from Charlie Gasparino there. Definitely added to the discussion.


Lots of white people angrily discussing Nikki Haley in the debate pregame. That’s probably a good sign.


My fellow Americans, I have taken it upon myself to live blog the Republican Primary debate tonight (only the main debate, not the undercard debate because I have a real job that requires my attention occasionally). If you’d like to join me on this quest you can follow along right here. I promise it will be filled with insight and irony. Meet me back here at 20:00 (or 8:00 p.m.) CST and we’ll get presidential.

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