This guy wants to be president: January 28th debate live blog
If you’re new to this live blogging stuff, it’s a bit like live tweeting except you don’t have to keep hunting through Twitter and I can comment in over 140 characters. Just reload this page once in a while to get the latest pithy comment from me. But do your own fact-checking because I’ll mention when I catch a factual error, or think something is just being made up, but I won’t have time to research and link.
The debate starts at 8 central time. Click the “read more” link to, try not to be surprised, read more.
Why is the arrangement of candidates in these debates determined by poll position? Maybe the same reason there’s usually one candidate who gets half the questions. I guess I prefer the way local candidate forums usually work. And the moderators open with a cut at Trump and a question about Trump.
Cruz ignores the question to give an opening statement. Actually, I kind of respect that. “Fly TO” country? </pander> And Cruz gets second question too. Also about Trump. Multiple levels of suckiness.
Chris Wallace: “establishment versus grassroots”. What does “establishment” mean anyway? Is there a membership card or something? Rubio ignores question to promise to beat Hillary.
Baier asked Bush about establishment candidates splitting vote. Bush panders to Iowa and New Hampshire. Does pandering to states really work? Data, people, I want data! Bush says it takes a subpoena from the FBI to get information from Hillary. That is of course a lie. Like father like son like other son.
Christie asked about governing a blue state. Says Obama and Hillary have never been in a position to be held accountable. Say what?
Paul asked why he didn’t embrace his father fully politically. Weird question of the night. So far … this is Fox after all. Paul goes off on Cruz, and I don’t blame the candidates for ignoring these stupid questions. Cruz responds by invoking Reagan and says he’ll sign bill auditing the fed. Rubio says, I guess unlike his opponents, he’ll keep the country safe by continuing to collect Americans’ phone records. Paul attacks warrantless record collection.
Kasich denies he’s establishment. He’s a reformer! Touts job creation in Ohio. No mention of the auto bailout that stopped the bleeding.
Carson touts that he is the only one without political experience. Might say something he had to wait this long for a question. He just said the most coherent thing I’ve heard him say ever maybe, but too late now.
Cruz asked about voting against defense spending. Cruz promises to utterly destroy ISIS. He promises carpet bombing again. Does he have a clue he’s calling for bombing occupied people? He says Obama has degraded the military. Gives numbers that sound utterly phony on planes and ships. Rubio goes after Cruz and Paul for cutting defense spending, reminds us ISIS is evil. Therefore unlimited spending on planes and ships? Smallest air force in history — does he know how planes have changed, or does he think a biplane and an F-16 are the same? Cross talk over each other, lest there be someone someone who thinks they support ISIS.
If you’re getting frustrated that they posturing and making up whatever makes them sounds tough, that’s what conservatives have always done. They fearmonger against anyone who doesn’t want to spend ervery penny on more defense spending. Speaking of which, see Dan Burns’ series on defense spending.
Christie asked about NSA collection of data and his “inexperienced” opponents, attacks Hillary over email with utter nonsense, that the country was somehow put at risk because she used a personal email server. Cruz and Wallace talk over each other. Cruz continues to jabber. In case anyone was wondering why anyone who knows Cruz hates him.
Bush asked what lessons he learned from his brother’s mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Audience boos. How dare anyone pretend there were any mistakes by a Republican president! Bush advocates for doing what Obama has already done. I doubt he honestly has no idea.
Cruz whines about being attacked. Audience boos. Cruz threatens to walk. I guess he’s Trump Junior. Rubio and Paul push to be recognized next. A group of kids might have more manners than these guys seeking the presidency. All Rubio has to say is he’s tough on defense. Paul having one of his sane moments about how contradictory the tough guys’ policies are.
Kasich keeps talking over moderators. Kelly says Google searches for terrorism is up a lot since 2008. Probably — internet usage has grown and searches for just about everything is up. Is there no skepticism there at all? Rubio goes on about ISIS being evil again. Promises to send people to Guantanamo. Because imprisonment without charge or trial is so American I guess.
Webstream hiccup — what was that about closing mosques? Paul accuses Rubio of working with Chuck Schumer. Rubio says he’ll be tough on border security and brings up ISIS again. Christie asked about why shouldn’t we profile when Muslims attacked San Bernardino. By the way, in case anyone was wondering, San Bernardino is the only mass shooting that matters because Muslims. Megan Kelly upset someone saw Muslims going in and out of the house and no one did anything about it.
Carson asked if GOP messaging has stoked islamophobia. The obvious answer is “yes”, but Carson attacks “political correctness”. Which exists only on the left of course.
Kasich answers question about building backdoors into modern communications technology to facilitate government access shouldn’t be talked about in public. Can’t wait to see how that one goes over. Kasich invokes Reagan because Republicans. If Republicans don’t like PC, how about saying something critical of Reagan? Let’s see how that goes over.
Bush attacks lack of funding for veterans because of the sequester. He’s right, but does he get that Republicans forced that in 2011 during the debt ceiling crisis? That Republicans deliberately manufactured?
Question about police body cameras. Paul mentions poor being fined repeatedly for no valid reason. Criminal justice system needs reform, blacks being poorly treated. I imagine some Republicans are wondering if Paul just switched parties. Credit to Fox for allowing the question from someone they described as a “Youtube star” and Paul for a good answer.
Baier asks for a specific spending cut. Christie says Planned Parenthood. Baier asks from something substantial. Christie just says abortion is bad. Baier asks what to do with people who lose health insurance if Obamacare is repealed. Cruz repeats lies about “job killer”, lots of people losing insurance. Cruz says let people buy across state lines. Health saving accounts, which are useless, make insurance portable and unlinked from jobs. How?
Bush says Puerto Rico has to deal with its structural problems. It can’t, which is the point. Bush says this is bigger than Puerto Rico’s status. Really? A state or a separate nation would have more options.
Kasich asked about Rick Snyder’s crisis with Flint’s water. Kasich has bromides like “we work for the people”.
Rubio asked why he flip-flopped on climate change. He denies ever not being against cap and trade. He was actually asked why he stopped believing it’s real, but he can’t say the real answer: there’s the evidence of science, but then again, there’s what it takes to run as a Republican.
While they’re in commercial break, good time for a reminder of our hashtag. #ThisGuyWantsToBePresident
Rubio asked about flip-flops on immigration, says ISIS is bad. I miss having Joe Biden in the race now, because he could say “A noun, a verb, and ISIS”. If you that reference, you are a politics geek. Bush says there needs to be a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants. Rubio jumps in to attack Bush for changing his position. Yes, Rubio just attacked someone else for changing his immigration position. He gets the unconscious irony award. Bush says Rubio was behind “gang of eight” immigration bill, and cut and run. Rubio claims “illegal immigration” isn’t under control. It’s dropping, but ever mind.
Fox has a mashup video of Cruz on immigration, calling for passing reform and finding compromise. Cruz says he was trying to fix problems in the immigration bill by taking citizenship “off the table”. Cruz name drops wacky nativist GOP congressmen.
Paul attacks Cruz for accusing everyone else of being for amnesty when he was too. Cruz says everyone is badly flawed except Cruz. Does any GOP colleague not hate Cruz? Rubio also says Cruz accuses everyone else of being a RINO (Republican in name only). Rubio says Cruz will say anything to win. Cruz calls Rubio very smooth.
Christie says Rubio and Cruz videos show why president needs to be from outside Washington.
Another “Youtube star” asking a question. Goes to Carson. Immigrant veteran and entrepreneur asks about rhetoric against immigrants, so Carson brings up Islamic terrorism. Bush praises the questioner, says we should be welcoming. I suspect Carson speaks from the conservative id, that immigration and terrorism are somehow the same thing for them. Rubio says he’ll be tough. He’s the supposed moderate establishment favorite, all without an idea in his head.
Cruz asked if his personality means he can’t get things done is he elected. Touts endorsements from Steve King, James Dobson, and campaign volunteers. Maybe they should get bumper stickers, “crazy enough to endorse Cruz”.
Bush asked why he attacks other GOPers instead of Hillary. He says he’s seen polls showing he matches up well against her. Maybe, but what about polls of non-family members? Rubio says Hillary doesn’t want to run against him. Says Hillary wants to put Obama on the US Supreme Court. Presidents can’t be on the supreme court, right Mr. Taft? If you get that reference you’re a historical as well as political geek.
Rubio goes after Bernie Sanders. “He’s a socialist!” Rubio says Hillary stored classified information on her computer and lied to Benghazi families. Rubio is repeating zombie lies — debunked, but too politically convenient to stop using.
Christie asked about “Bridgegate”, if it’s disqualifying, why would GOP take a chance on him. He says he’ll prosecute Hillary. Short version of correct answer, yes, it’s disqualifying. But hey Gov. Traffic Jam, try to salvage your hopeless campaign by saying stupid things about prosecuting Hillary. Yes I know, “Gov. Traffic Jam” was Tim Pawlenty’s nickname. What can I say, Christie really earned the right to take it for himself.
Kasich asked about expanding Medicaid citing his faith. Cruz cites it to oppose Medicaid. Is only Kasich getting into Heaven? Kasich says he cut costs without cutting benefits. OK those of you who know Ohio, is that as funky as it smells? Kasich says to stop ignoring the mentally ill and drug addicted instead of using prisons. He’s right on that. We use jails as the backstop for lack of resources elsewhere.
Wallace asks Christie about Kim Davis. Christie says the law had to be followed, not that she had to be fired, but someone had to be able to handle license applications. He says jihadists want to impose their religion on us. ISIS is getting mentioned a lot more than Reagan. Be afraid!
Rubio says were the most generous people in the world because of our Judeo-Christian values. Since when are we the most generous? Most self-satisfied maybe.
Paul says abortion is always wrong. Wants to define life as starting at conception. Does he get that “always” means “always”, no exceptions? Paul asked if it should be state based, and he said both state and federal. I think he means the states can do what they want, as long as they do exactly what he wants.
Carson asked hypothetical about Russian troops going into Estonia. Carson says we need many more armored brigades in the Baltics. Does he have any idea of what the Russians are worried about? Or does he know where the Baltics are?
Rubio asked why he would blow up the restraints on Iran from the nuclear agreement. Says Iran is bad. Says they’re building long range missiles to reach us. Fact check please. Kasich says he’d be lining up allies to slap sanctions back on if the agreement is violated at all. It already works that way, but let’s pretend to not know that.
Bush answering a question that was cut off by the commercial, at least on the web stream. Bush says Trump attacks all Muslims, women, disabled people, says GOP can’t win without a unifying message.
Audience cheers mention of Terry Branstad. Cruz asked why he’s against ethanol, governor as accused him of being an oil toady (my word). Cruz says he doesn’t oppose ethanol, but would phase out subsidies along with subsidies for oil. Says he’ll allow ethanol market to expand without subsidies. Head explosion, he actually made a coherent case.
Carson asked about ethanol mandate, Carson attacks number of pages in new government regulations. He’d be happier with smaller print? Says we should be exporting more natural gas. Get government out of our lives. Nobody who says stuff like “get government out of our lives” means to include that parts of government that gives them money.
Closing statements. Paul makes oblique comment on being at undercard debate previously. Says he’s the one true fiscal conservative, will look at all spending. Kasich says we can solve problems, create jobs (wait, I thought government doesn’t create jobs). Christie brings up not hearing from his wife on 911. He can protect us better than anyone else. Bush says he has record as conservative leader, will restore alliances (which are broken?) Carson says please think of founding fathers as he shows he memorized the constitution’s preamble. It’s not too late. For what? Rubio goes religious. America’s light dimming because of Obama. Anyone shown him a recent job report? Cruz promises media noise will soon be over. Who do you trust? Implied answer, him, the guy everyone hates.
Kelly says she’s about to have on Cruz. Well, I bet the other candidates love that. It’s over, and unless there was some big ratings plunge, looks like this pissing match between Fox News and Trump goes to Fox, though I generally try to not form impressions about winners when I just don’t see things like a Republican. I did get the sense Rubio was on the defensive and Cruz came across as a real wanker. Everyone but Paul is running on the old conservative standby of fear. I was thinking Bush had a good night, but overhearing the post-debate coverage, I just heard Charles Krauthamer say that. So I must be wrong. Fox News is working its post-debate coverage to boost Rubio.
From Dog Gone: I found the whole right wing debate to be one big debacle. I don’t see how anyone could find a candidate seeking the GOP nomination on that stage, or anywhere else, to be a credible president, much less a credible candidate for president.
I was not aware that Taft had served as Chief Justice of the SCOTUS after serving as president. Obama’s press sec. is claiming he doesn’t want to be appointed to the SCOTUS, but who knows if he would feel that way should the opportunity arrive. I can’t see him being satisfied with anything less than Chief Justice, although it would be sweet to see him replace either Scalia or better yet, Clarence Thomas…….
The NJ press fact checked some of Christie’s claims; Christie did not fare well.
And too bad for Turnip-top Trump; from what I’ve seen Rand Paul was viewed as the top performer, which I assume means Paul won the debate, not Trump.
But does it matter? I don’t see any of them beating Hillary, OR Bernie.