The big media story from the debate will be Marco Rubio’s confrontation with Chris Christie. But the larger picture might be about how well Donald Trump did.
Trump was relatively reserved. He wasn't bombastic. Or erratic. He was—by Trumpian standards—presidential? Okay, let's not get crazy. Trump wasn't able to stay in check for the full three hours—he couldn't help himself from lashing out at Cruz in his closing statement. And where candidates often lash out at the media when they get in trouble in a debate, Trump attacked the audience. The move was classic pro-wrestling—like Vince McMahon baiting the crowd. And it was so crazy that it kind of worked.Read more
New Jersey governor Chris Christie went after Florida senator Marco Rubio in Saturday's Republican debate:
Transcript via the Christie campaign:
DAVID MUIR: I do want to ask Governor Christie, you said, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. You heard Senator Rubio make the case that he has the experience. Your response?
CHRIS CHRISTIE: Sure. First, let's remember something. Every morning when a United States Senator wakes up, they think about what kind of speech can I give, or what kind of bill can I drop? Every morning, when I wake up, I think about, what kind of problem do I need to solve for the people who actually elected me? It's a different experience. It's a much different experience.Read more
At the beginning of Saturday night's Republican presidential debate, the moderators called Ben Carson's name, but for some reason he didn't come out onto the GOP debate stage. He stayed back for a few minutes, and eventually came out. Then the moderators seemed to forget about John Kasich.Read more
With Donald Trump skipping the debate to consort with Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum (because he cares so very much about veterans), Ted Cruz had a golden opportunity to make a strong closing pitch to Iowa voters. He missed it.
Cruz started out strong, with a clever line about Trump’s patois. But after that he failed to hammer home the difference between himself and Trump. Instead, he was dragged into debates about foreign policy and budget bills and immigration poison pills. Maybe Iowa voters will absorb the contrast—that Cruz has a grasp of policy and Trump doesn't implicitly. But maybe not.
As a tactical matter, it wasn't a bad performance from Cruz. He held his own against the other six candidates onRead more
The Charleston debate may have been more consequential than it looked at first glance. For starters, neither Jeb Bush nor John Kasich nor Ben Carson registered. (Except for Bush’s bizarre decision to make his most impassioned argument of the campaign in service of the rights of Muslim citizens from foreign countries. This was political malpractice.) The night further underscored the extent to which the race has really drilled down to four plausible candidates, who are competing in two very different races.
In the Christie vs. Rubio war, you saw a gotcha fight over Christie's past transgressions on conservative policy orthodoxy.Read more
The top Democrat running for president accused her Republican counterpart of being "ISIS's best recruiter." Hillary Clinton made the charge against Donald Trump in tonight's Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire:
Donald Trump "is becoming ISIS's best recruiter," Clinton said. "They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists."
It's unclear whether there is actually proof of Clinton's claim that ISIS is using Trump "to recruit more radical jiahdists.Read more
Reporters are being put on the ice (rink) for tonight's Democratic party primary debate in New Hampshire.
Evan McMorris-Santoro tweeted a picture of the set-up for tonight:
Press file/spin room/hockey rink. Expect the hear abt cands bodychecking each other tonight pic.twitter.com/9NsPKys2hj— E McMorris-Santoro (@EvanMcSan) December 19, 2015
Turns out, reporters are being handed hand- and toe-warmers:
Debate swag update pic.twitter.Read more
With just over a month until the Iowa caucuses, the Republican nomination field is taking clearer form. Of the original 17 candidates, only 4 can be said to remain in top contention: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Ben Carson.
What to make of these candidates, and what does their preeminence tell us about the Republican party as it heads into the presidential election year?
Of the top four, only Carson is following a well-worn path. While his personal story is unique, his appeal is traditional. The early date of the Iowa caucuses has long meant that candidates with a strong connection to evangelical Christians endeavor to use Iowa as a springboard to the nomination.Read more
Tuesday's Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas is the final GOP primary debate of 2015. With about a month and a half before the first primary contest—the Iowa caucuses on February 1—it's become clear the field of plausible contenders is much smaller than the 13 Republicans who will debate in two separate events Tuesday night. It's possible December 15 will be the last time Republican voters see most of the whole band together before the forthcoming breakup. So which candidates should be cut loose after tonight?
Let's begin with the first event, the "undercard" debate: future debate organizers should make a New Year's resolution to scrap it in the months ahead. The undercard debates have had someRead more
CNBC defends its performance at the last Republican debate by saying that candidates should be able to answer tough questions. Indeed they should. So, using the format of the CNBC questions to Republicans, here are some tough questions to ask Democrats at the next debate:Read more
It wasn’t much of a debate. This might have been because of the scheduling. Everybody ought to have something better to do on Saturday night than argue over the correct level of the minimum wage. Also, the atrocity in Paris hung over the proceedings, making the words of the candidates seem even more calculated and inauthentic than usual.Read more
The process of winnowing the Republican presidential field to a few candidates is beginning to take its toll, though the first actual voting won’t occur until February.Read more
There were a few weird moments at the debate last night, but none was stranger than the crowd reaction when John Kasich and Jeb Bush were talking about immigration. Both were unapologetically pro-amnesty. Neither bothered to make concessions about how problematic the breakdown of the rule of law is when it comes to illegal immigration. Bush didn't even make a kabuki gesture toward securing the border.Read more
Donald Trump says he helped out his Republican rival Jeb Bush at Tuesday night's debate in Milwaukee. In an interview with Morning Joe Wednesday, host Joe Scarborough asked the reality TV star how he could unify the GOP after saying harsh things about Bush and other Republicans.
"Did I stick up for Jeb last night? He couldn't talk. They wouldn't let him talk, I said, 'Let Jeb talk,'" Trump said.
"He really appreciated that," Scarborough replied sarcastically.
"Was that nice thing?" Trump replied. Watch the video below:Read more
During tonight's Republican presidential debate, Carly Fiorina went on an extended foreign policy riff:
"You know, Mr. Trump fancies himself a very good negotiator. And I accept that he's done a lot of good deals, so Mr. Trump ought to know that we should not speak to people from a position of weakness. Senator Paul should know that as well. One of the reasons I've said I would not be talking to Vladimir Putin right now—although I have met him as well, not in a green room for a show, but in a private meeting.Read more
During Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate, Marco Rubio articulated his disagreements with increasing the minimum wage, and explained his alternative ideas.Read more
If you were just listening to Chris Christie’s answers Tuesday night, you might have thought he was debating Hillary Clinton. The Republican governor of New Jersey used his demotion to the undercard debate in Milwaukee to focus not on the other three low-polling Republicans on stage but instead on the likely Democratic nominee.Read more
The Marco Rubio campaign is predicting the Florida senator will deliver a knockout punch to former Florida governor Jeb Bush in Tuesday night's debate, according to one reporter at the Fox Business Network. Charles Gasparino said he's hearing confidence from the Rubio camp.
"I can tell you, his people are telling me, they think they're going to TKO Jeb tonight as the establishment candidate," Gasparino said. "They're going to take him out, he's not going to recover from that."
Watch the video below:Read more
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