The questions were substantive and fair during this debate though they cut Cruz short more often and in a harsher way than they did any of the others except for perhaps Carly. The topics were varied. Carson, who was coughing throughout, was mostly ignored and all have obviously decided his campaign is over.
The key moments were on the NSA, foreign policy and immigration. Rubio took some hits on immigration that might affect his numbers. He’s very vulnerable on that issue.
Jeb’s campaign is probably over and Kasich’s probably is too. Christie and Paul will probably be on the debate stage in January. Paul gave his best debate yet.
There were three leading candidates in the debate and there were two that Fox News decided to rip into – Cruz and Trump.
Ted Cruz said he never supported legalization and suggested he would deport illegal immigrants. The Rubio campaign has argued that Cruz previously supported legalization during the debate over the Gang of Eight bill, which Rubio championed in the Senate.
Cruz introduced an amendment in 2013 that allowed for legal status that he now says was meant to show that the comprehensive immigration bill was really about citizenship rather than a true representation of what he believes.
The Rubio campaign disagrees, citing it as evidence that their positions aren’t that different. That’s definitely not true.
“He has attempted to muddy the waters,” Cruz said on the stage. “Where there was a battle over amnesty and some chose, like Sen. Rubio to stand with Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer and support a massive amnesty plan. Others chose to stand with Jeff Sessions and Steve King and the American people and secure the border.”
Having listened to both on the issue of immigration since the immigration bill was designed, they have always been very far apart. It’s simply not true that they are close on the issue.
Most who have read the bill or understand the dynamics agree that the Rubio Gang of Eight bill was about citizenship and amnesty. It was praised by Chuck Schumer and John McCain.
I’m taking a minute here to go over the allegedly objective analysis by Megyn Kelly, Chris Stirewalt and Howie Kurtz.
CNN was fairer to Cruz than Fox. Megyn Kelly and Brit Hume targeted Ted Cruz for a heightened attack on his credibility.
After the debate and at the beginning of the after-debate analysis, Megyn Kelly and Brit Hume seemed well-prepared to attack the Rubio-Cruz exchanges, especially the one in which Cruz said their views on immigration were far apart.
Back in 2013, during the Gang of Eight bill debates, Cruz put out a compromise amendment which would allow legalization but not citizenship. It was desperate times and there is no question that anyone who said they didn’t support the immigration bill would be called a racist. Cruz was one of the people who defeated the bill.
Megyn had the clip of Cruz talking about the amendment. Brit said Cruz was not telling the truth and Megyn claimed that the way he handles Rubio is to bring up the Gang of Eight bill. She meant that as an insult.
They didn’t allow for any nuances. They did not discuss the fact that Rubio always says his immigration plan is the same as Cruz’s when it is not. Rubio escapes scrutiny on that issue.
They tore into Cruz over his position on the NSA. Brit went back to calling him a liar over legalization. They also repeated the over-stated remark that the NSA can’t get five years of records but failed to mention that they can get two years of records, among other pluses they didn’t have before.
Brit ended with yet another jab at Cruz, “he’s an enormously impressive candidate in many ways, but…he can’t shake hands with the truth.” That’s a really awful left-handed compliment.
They were much too eager to destroy Cruz’ credibility. Brit called him a liar four times and Megyn grinned broadly – objective interviewer.
Cruz could be the next one the Establishment and Fox are out to destroy – just my impression. They are not objective analysts, they are commentators. Fox is pushing for Rubio now but Rubio is the amnesty candidate.
A little later, they played up the exchange between Trump and Cruz in which Cruz said all the people on the stage would make a better candidate than Hillary rather than attack Trump. The so-called analysts tried to make Cruz look weak by not attacking Trump but it actually was a deliberate tactic, not weakness.
They obviously wanted Cruz and Trump to kill each other.
Chris Stirewalt, her toady foil, said Cruz “looked like a caddy…it was cringy…it did not feel good to watch.” Megyn mentioned a comment from the Libertarian Commentary writer that supported their assault.
Her other somewhat cooperating assistant Howie said he “couldn’t have hugged Trump any tighter if they were long-lost brothers,” but he then said it has been a smart strategy which did not bring a smile to Megan’s face.
Later the trio raved about Rubio’s performance. Stirewalt said Trump probably won and then attacked him for not knowing what the nuclear triad is. Democrat Bill Burton said Cruz won.
Kelly mocked Trump by first saying Cruz was a “maniac” and then taking it back. She said “Trump said he means what he says…at the moment he says it.” They all laughed sardonically.
They later talked about Trump’s killing of terrorist families, played a clip of Paul talking about the Geneva Convention, and ridiculed Trump’s lack of seriousness.
Burton concluded only Rubio was competition for Hillary. Burton is a former Obama campaign advisor.
In a conversation with Dana Perino, Kelly not-so-subtly smacked down Cruz and Trump again by promoting Kasich who won’t fight. She said the people don’t like the fights and she suggested Cruz and Trump were fighting fools, without saying it in those words of course.
On the O’Reilly show which came on before Kelly’s, every commentator assailed Trump but O’Reilly tried very hard to get an objective analysis. O’Reilly obviously doesn’t believe Trump will kill families and sees it as a tactic. He argued with Krauthammer over it.
Chris Christie had a few good moments, especially when he compared his experience as a governor with a legislator’s. Carly was good when she got a question and Kasich was Kasich.
The candidates were overshadowed by Trump, Rubio, Cruz and Paul.
Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul battled over the privacy rights of Americans and the government’s need to spy on Americans.
Marco Rubio believes that the metadata program was a valuable tool that we no longer have. Ted Cruz said that what Rubio said is not true and he knows it. Cruz called it an Alinsky tactic. Rubio suggested Cruz was discussing classified information. That wasn’t the case.
Paul, agreeing with Cruz, said we weren’t getting specific information from the metadata program which is what we need to fight terrorists, instead we were getting too much information.
Cruz said Marco has opposed border security and his gang of eight bill would have liberalized immigration. Rubio, he said, opposed stiffening border requirements for refugees or students.
Rubio “is the weakest of all on immigration”, Rand said. He also accused Rubio of having more allegiance to Chuck Schumer and the Democrats. [When push came to shove and Rubio saw how opposed conservatives were to the gang of eight bill, he chose the liberals. That’s just fact.]
Watch Rubio, Cruz and Paul debate privacy rights and terrorism and tell us what you think.
Donald Trump and Jeb Bush debated during this next segment. Jeb said he won’t get information from the shows.
Trump said he thought it was very sad that he [Wolf Blitzer] led Jeb Bush off to attack Trump with Mr. Trump this, Mr. Trump that…the same thing happened during the first debate. He thought it was very unfair and was done to get ratings.
“Jeb’s questions were leading him to attack me,” Trump said.
Trump addressed Bush when Bush tried to present an air of toughness, insinuating Trump wasn’t tough. Trump said, “Oh, yeah, you’re real tough, a real tough guy, I know that…I’m at 40% and you’re at 3%…”
Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz sparred over amnesty. Rubio claimed Cruz supported legalization but Cruz said he did not. Cruz said he was fighting to secure the border and Rubio was doing the opposite.
Donald Trump said Jeb Bush is saying the same thing about terrorism as he’s said about the border – it’s an act of love.
Jeb said Trump can’t insult his way to the presidency.
Trump ended with, “With Jeb’s attitude, we will never be great again.”
Rand slammed Rubio for dishonesty over the immigration bill, saying he’s for open borders. He added that Rubio has more allegiance to Chuck Schumer and to the liberals that he does for conservative policy.
In the next video, Ted Cruz said he wants to kill the terrorists and political correctness is killing us. He referenced the Obama administration’s refusal to target social media and other communications which might have stopped terror attacks.
Trump didn’t know what the nuclear triad was in this next segment but made good points about the use of nuclear weaponry.
Rubio said he wished Obama hadn’t spoken about ISIS because he made things worse.