The whole event got off to a rocky start with moderators Martha Raddatz and David Muir botching the candidate announcements, but the debate moved forward. Hot Air’s Mary Katharine Ham was also present to ask questions, which some are were the best of the night. As for Rubio, he had a rough night, especially when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie pressed him on his record and experience.
From ht outset, Trump made something absolutely clear to the voters; the GOP is going to win with Trump. The Iowa Caucuses drama between Sen. Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson was also addressed, with the Texas senator apologizing to Carsonover the mishap that seems to be blown way out of proportion.
It didn’t take long for Rubio to become the target of Gov. Chris Christie. Rubio said that President Obama is taking drastic steps to change America for the worse, and that if elected; he is going to re-embrace what makes this country great.
It’s here that Gov. Christie said that he wakes up every morning thinking about ways to make New Jersey residents’ lives better, and that he’s held accountable for his actions. Se. Rubio, who he said he likes, doesn’t have that same level of accountability, being able to spin his way out of such standards through talking points. He also hit the freshman Florida senator over his absence in the Senate, especially concerning the Hezbollah sanctions act, calling it truancy not leadership.
Rubio hit back by saying that Christie presides over a state whose credit rating has been downgraded nine times. Still, Rubio kept repeating most of his opening remarks; the optics of which were not so good.
When immigration was brought up, Sen. Cruz propose building a wall and tripling the amount of border patrol agents. He noted that once you’ve secured the border, we could tackle our illegal immigration problem. On the wall Cruz added, “I’ve got someone in mind to build it,” while looking at Trump.
Rubio wants to expand the border patrol, have an entry/exit system to track the number of visa overstays, and have mandatory e-verify for businesses. Yet, the ghosts of the 2013 “Gang of 8” bill reared its head, with Christie chiming in pushing the senator if he fought for his bill. Again, Christie noted that this is a difference between a governor and a legislator, touting his record in taking on the teachers unions–and winning the fight over tenure. When Jersey Democrats wanted a tax increase and threatened a government shutdown, Christie took pride in the fact that he told them that he would go to Drumthwacket (the governor’s mansion) order a pizza and watch the Mets and wait for the government to reopen because he wasn’t signing an increase. The Democrats didn’t shut down the government, and the tax increase wasn’t passed, because they knew, according to Christie, that he would fight for what he thinks is right for the state.
Hot Air’s Mary Katharine Ham asked Donald Trump whether he was closer to Bernie Sanders than the conservative movement regarding health care policy, quoting the billionaire magnate for saying that everyone’s got to be covered. Oh, and the government is going to pay for it.
Trump said, “I’m closer to common sense,” while saying there are so many examples of something that we could do to fix our health care system. It was a garrulous, rambling answer that said the insurance companies are getting rich on Obamacare (they’re not), and that we’re not going to let people die.
Cruz added that socialized medicine would hurt the American people, while adding that he would allow Americans to buy insurance across state lines. This would drive down prices since competition and choice would be expanded concerning shopping for plans in this market. Carson said he wants to establish health empowerment accounts, which would allow families to function as their own insurance provider; there would be no middlemen.
Another spat highlighted by Leah occurred between Bush and Trump over eminent domain. Trump said that it’s key to provide the many services we have, and sometimes take for granted, in this country. Bush hit Trump for trying to seize a woman’s home to build a parking lot for limousines.
The rest of the night was dotted with questions about what it means to be a conservative, how to fight ISIS, the possibility of redeploying forces to Libya, the selective service, bringing back waterboarding, and whether the party’s positions on social issues might be too extreme.