Thursday, January 14, 2016

Live-blogging the Republican debate

I'll be live-blogging the debate here. Keep reloading this post for more updates.

This will be the first main debate without Rand Paul, and the first debate without Carly Fiorina since . . . the first debate.

For more live-blogging, check out National Review, TPM, the New Republic, and Alex Knepper.

As always, I'll be writing down quotes on the fly, so they might not be perfectly verbatim, but I'll try to keep them reasonably accurate.

9:06 — Ted Cruz is asked why he disagrees with what President Obama said in his last State of the Union — that anyone who says the economy is declining is "peddling fiction." Cruz goes populist, saying the economy is getting better — for "lobbyists, millionaires, and billionaires."

9:08 — John Kasich takes a more pro-business, more technocratic, and less populist tone: the standard conservative line about how we need to cut taxes in order to stimulate economic growth and have "fiscal discipline."

9:09 — Chris Christie, in response to a question about when he'd use military action, starts out: "On Tuesday night, I watched story time with Barack Obama, and it sounded like everything in the world is just amazing!" His answer to the question is that he'd use it only when "absolutely necessary" to protect America — not to be "the world's policeman."

9:12 — Jeb Bush says Obama's claim that things are better now than when he took office is "totally an alternative universe."

9:13 — Bush says: "Terrorism is on the run." Wait, isn't that a good thing?

9:14 — Bush reminds us that Hillary Clinton is under investigation, and says her "first 100 days" might be "going back and forth between the White House and the courthouse."

9:16 — Marco Rubio is really on fire in his first answer. He says Clinton would not only be "a disaster" — "she's disqualified" by her email debacle and by "lying" about the Benghazi attacks.

9:21 — Cruz is asked about an apparent financial impropriety which was reported in the New York Times. He takes this as an opportunity to lambaste the Times for being biased against him. He admits to a "paperwork error" but says it isn't important.

9:27 — Cruz is asked about his constitutional eligibility to be president. Cruz sarcastically responds: "I'm glad we're focusing on the important issues." Cruz says the law is clear that he's eligible, and says some would even argue that Donald Trump isn't eligible since his mother was born in Scotland and later naturalized. Trump forcefully argues that Cruz shouldn't keep running without going to court to ask for a "declaratory judgment" to resolve the issue. Rubio starts talking but apologizes for "interrupting this episode of Court TV."

9:38 — Rubio and Christie go after each other. Rubio says: "Governor Christie has endorsed many of the ideas that Obama supports." He says someone like that can't be the nominee. Christie throws Rubio's past words back in his face, recalling a prior debate when Bush attacked Rubio, and Rubio responded that someone must have convinced Bush the attack would work. Christie also quotes Rubio's past praise of him as a "conservative reformer." Then, Bush finds a loophole, saying he was mentioned by Christie, so he's allowed to respond — but wait a minute, that doesn't really make sense. No one was attacking Bush, and Bush wasn't responding to any criticism of him. Carson satirizes Bush by jumping in: "I was mentioned too — he said 'everybody'!" And the moderators actually let Carson use that to take a turn!

9:44 — Kasich tells us about how his parents instilled the American dream in him — by saying: "Johnny, we don't hate the rich — we want to be the rich."

9:46 — Carson is asked whether "Bill Clinton's indiscretions" are "a legitimate issue" (to which several audience members yell, "Yeah!"), and what he thinks of the theory "that Hillary Clinton is an enabler of sexual misconduct." Carson dodges the question by responding purely in abstractions, like "Our strength is in our unity" and "There is such a thing as right and wrong."

9:55 — Rubio is asked about the fact that he's said Obama wants to take Americans' guns away, yet gun ownership has actually skyrocketed during the Obama administration. "That sounds like people are afraid the president's gonna take their guns away!" Rubio also cleverly reminds the audience of Obama's statement during the 2008 campaign that Americans "cling" to guns out of bitterness.

9:59 — Christie speaks directly to Obama: "We are going to kick your rear-end out of the White House come this fall!" Alex Knepper has a good catch about how part of Christie's message to Obama was a bit self-contradictory:

"Obama, we think you're a petulant child and a dictator. But we aren't against you - just your policies!" - Christie
10:03 — Maria Bartiromo asks Cruz what he meant when he said that Trump "embodies New York values." Cruz says most people know what that means. Bartiromo retorts: "I'm from New York, and I don't!" Cruz ripostes: "You're from New York, so you might not know!" Cruz ends by saying: "Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan" — a twist on Trump's odd stump-speech line that not many evangelicals come from Cuba (like Cruz). Trump points out that many conservatives have "come out of Manhattan" — including the founder of National Review, William F. Buckley. Trump goes into an extended, emotional account of how New York rebuilt after the attack on the World Trade Center, and ends by saying that Cruz's statement was "very insulting." Cruz doesn't even try to respond.

Earlier, Christie said the Second Amendment was put second because it's so important. Bill Scher is skeptical: "The amendments are ranked in order of importance? My response: Sure, I'd much rather lose my right to a trial by jury than have soldiers non-consensually quartered in my house!

10:19 — Trump is asked if he'll rethink his ban on Muslims entering the US. He says, "No," but emphasizes: "I said temporarily — I didn't say permanently." He adds that his "Muslim friends" have been thanking him for the proposal. Bush says he hopes Trump will reconsider it, since the ban would make it "impossible" to work with our allies to "take out ISIS." Instead, Bush would tighten up our visa policies.

10:26 — Christie criticizes Trump's proposal as simplistic: "You can't just ban all Muslims. You have to ban radical Islamic jihadists."

10:27 — Rubio takes a more understanding approach toward Trump's proposal: "Donald's tapped into some real anger about this issue." Rubio says he wouldn't allow anyone into the country if we didn't know why they're coming here.

10:37 — I've been spacing out during the discussion of China, tariffs, currency fluctuations, tractors, and soybean sales.

10:55 — Christie says everyone else has been avoiding answering the question on entitlements "because it's hard — it's a hard problem." I don't know if he's right, because I missed a bunch of stuff when Fox Business's live stream stayed on the break for too long. Rubio meekly offers to answer the question, but Christie shouts him down: "No, you already had your chance, Marco — you blew it!"

11:12 — The breaks keep staying away for too long, so I've missed more stuff. It comes back in the middle of Rubio giving a litany of Cruz's flip-flops. "That is not consistent conservatism — that is political calculation." As Cruz defends himself, the audience yells over him.

11:25 — Cruz lists things that need to "end," including Clinton "apologizing for saying 'all lives matter.'"

11:26 — Trump uses his closing statement to talk about the "terrible sight" of American sailors being held hostage by Iranians, and says we got them back only because we made such a bad deal with Iran. Of course, this wouldn't have happened under Trump, who would make great deals and "win" at everything.