CLEVELAND, Aug. 6, 2015 — Donald Trump pledged that if he won the GOP nomination he would not run as an independent.
Rand Paul said that Trump is “used to buying politicians.”
When asked if his lack of political experience was a liability, Ben Carson said the most important thing is having a brain.
Marco Rubio cited his being Florida speaker. “How is Hillary Clinton going to lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck?”
Jeb Bush noted that his last name cuts both ways. They called him “Veto Corleone” because he vetoed 25 line items in the Florida budget.
When Megyn Kelly cited Trump’s sexist comments, “The big problem this country has is being politically correct.”
When Chris Wallace asked about Ted Cruz’s divisiveness, Cruz reminded people that he tells the truth.
Brett Baier challenged Chris Christie’s record as New Jersey governor. Christie reminded everyone that he turned around the Jon Corzine reign of error.
Kelly asked Walker about his opposition to abortion even in case of the life of the mother being threatened. Walker turned the tables and reminded everyone of Hillary Clinton’s pro-Planned Parenthood stance.
Wallace asked Huckabee about social issues, and Huckabee gave his pro-life abortion stance based on the Fifth and 14th Amendments to the Constitution.
Wallace asked Rand Paul about attacking his own party on ISIS. Paul said the best way to defeat ISIS is to not fund or arm them to begin with.
Kelly challenged John Kasich on expanding Medicaid. Kasich pointed out that Ronald Reagan expanded Medicaid. Kasich spoke of the tsunami of drugs and the fact that his state went from deficits to surpluses.
Wallace asked if Jeb Bush stood by his immigration views, which some have derided as amnesty. Bush does.
When Wallace challenged Trump on his immigration remarks, Trump said, “If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration.”
Trump insisted that the Mexican government was behind the illegal immigration but did not offer proof, just saying that American leaders are “stupid.”
Kasich defended Trump and restated his own record.
Rubio pointed out that Central America has illegal immigrants coming in, not just Mexico.
When asked why he no longer favors a path to citizenship, Walker said that he listened to the people.
Ted Cruz absolutely support’s Kate Steinle’s law and lashed out at Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell for blocking it. He said leaders deliberately do not want to enforce the border. He blocked Chuck Schumer’s amnesty bill.
Christie reiterated that Paul would be liable for a terrorist attack if surveillance laws were weakened.
Paul said, “I want to collect more records from terrorists and fewer records from ordinary Americans.”
Christie said that was “a totally ridiculous answer.”
Paul said Christie “fundamentally misunderstand(s) the Bill of Rights.”
Paul was practically screaming.
Cruz said we cannot defeat radical Islamic terrorism until we say those very words. The Obama approach is nonsense. “If you join ISIS, if you wage jihad on America, you are signing your death warrant.” Americans joining ISIS forfeit their citizenship.
Bush said his brother’s Iraq War was a mistake based on faulty intelligence.
Walker cited the disengagement from America as a threat to the Middle East.
Asked about waterboarding, Carson said he would not broadcast his views.
Trump defended the Canadian single payer healthcare system.
Trump cut down Paul. “I don’t think you heard me. You’re having a hard time.”
Trump defended his giving to both parties. A laugh was had when Kasich said, “you never gave to me.” Trump explained that he bought Hillary Clinton through her foundation.
Walker noted Clinton had failed everywhere.
Huckabee said government is not too big to shrink, but attacked Wall Street and government. He supports the Fair Tax.
Carson spoke of tithing, with a 10 percent tax rate for everyone.
Bush refused to disavow Common Core but spoke of his own successful education record as Florida Governor.
Rubio said Common Core is bad because it is a federal mandate and education should be at the local level.
Kasich would combat Hillary’s class warfare with economic growth. “Economic growth is the key to everything.”
Carson pointed out that Hillary follows the Saul Alinsky model of tearing people apart.
Bush explained that 4 percent growth requires raised expectations. Fix convoluted tax code and replace Obamacare.
Walker defended his Wisconsin record.
Christie said Huckabee is wrong on entitlement reform. We have to raise the retirement age of social Security.
Huckabee is against raising the retirement age.
Trump defended his legal use of bankruptcy restructuring laws. Trump pointed out that these lenders “are killers.” They are not “little babies.”
Asked about increasing entrepreneurship, Rubio answered by offering a need to reform the tax code, repeal Obamacare and repeal Dodd-Frank.
On Iran deal, Walker would tear it up on day one.
Paul again made the apples and oranges comparison of Reagan and Russia with negotiating with Iran.
Huckabee cited Reagan’s “Trust but verify.”
Bush gave money to Michael Bloomberg Foundation, which gave money to Planned Parenthood. Huckabee said he gave because of the foundation’s commitment to education. He did not know about the abortion donation. He was a pro-life governor.
When asked why he supported abortion in cases of rape and incest, Rubio denied ever saying that. He did not clarify his position.
When asked why he went from being pro-choice to pro-life, Trump said he and Reagan both evolved on the issue. He offered a personal tale that was meaningful.
Bush backed off from past comments about Trump but said he would be more optimistic and hopeful and less divisive.
Citing ISIS hacking off heads, Trump said, “We don’t have time for tone. We have to go out and get the job done.”
Kasich believes in traditional marriage but the court has ruled and he accepts it. We have to love people and treat them with respect. “God gives me unconditional love and I am going to give it to my friends, family and people around me.”
Paul does not want the federal government interfering in marriage or guns.
On the Black Lives Matter movement, Walker said we would give more police training.
On foreign policy, Trump said, “We have a president who doesn’t have a clue.”
Cruz did agree that China and Russia have engaged in cyber warfare against America.
Asked if he would have used force against Syria when they used chemical weapons, Carson did not answer the question.
Walker mentioned that Russia and China know more about Hillary Clinton’s email server than the United States Congress. Walker would build a missile defense system to protect eastern Europe.
Huckabee’s line about the military was stolen from Rush Limbaugh.
Asked about cutting aid to Israel and reversing himself, Paul insisted he had no animus toward Israel.
Christie gave clear specifics on target goals for military increases, disagreed with Paul on Israel.
Cruz spoke about how Jesus saved his father and his family.
Kasich spoke of bringing people together.
Walker said his faith gave him patience when dealing with vicious protesters.
Rubio spoke about reforming the Veterans Administration.
Carson said he does not speak about race because he is a neurosurgeon. That is his field of expertise. He did condemn the “purveyors of hatred” without mentioning names.
Carson made everyone laugh when he said he was the only one to take out half a brain but then he went to Washington and thought maybe he was not the first to only have half a brain.
Donald Trump was the big winner because a frontrunner only has to hold serve. Trump more than held his own. Grade A.
Chris Christie was also a winner because he gave back far better than he got. Grade A-.
John Kasich was a winner because he showed real passion and humanity. Grade A-.
Ben Carson’s closing statement saved an otherwise average night. Grade B-.
Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker were just there. They did not hurt or help themselves. Walker looked dispassionate, lacking his usual fire. Grade C.
Mike Huckabee was a breakout debate star in 2008 but now looks unimpressive. He plagiarized a line. Grade C-.
Jeb Bush failed to address the concerns swirling around him. Grade D.
Rand Paul got clobbered and on a couple of occasions looked like a raving lunatic. Grade F.