10:49 Waiting on the final segment. Guys, talk at me in the comments. Seeing any "breakout moments" here? I'm not, really, although I think Carson and possibly Paul will be dropping out of the top 10 before next time.
Megyn Kelly wants to know if the candidates have heard from God.
Cruz: Yeah, God talks to me. He talked to my Dad, too. And God says we need a conservative. Kasich: I believe in miracles. And I'm talking about pretty much everything except God, but I think he wants America to be strong. Walker: Blood of Jesus Christ redeemed me from my sins, God calls us to follow his will and that's what I'm trying to do by busting unions.
Rubio, God, and also what about the veterans? Rubio: God has blessed the GOP with good candidates and (something about the Democrats), and he's blessed the country with soldiers I can send off to die in nonsensical wars, but it's all the VA's fault. Carson, how can you heal racial divide? We need to stop driving wedges, I don't talk about race because I'm a neurosurgeon and all the brains look alike.
Kasich: People want to know what I've done. I'm a political careerist (1 year researcher for Ohio Legislative Service Commission; 4 years staffer to US Representative Buz Lukens; 4 years Ohio State Senate; 18 years US House of Representatives; 4.5 years Ohio Governor).
Christie: Born middle class, dad worked in an ice cream factory, I became a political careerist (3 years as Morris County, New Jersey Freeholder; 7 years as US Attorney for the District of New Jersey; 6.5 years as New Jersey Governor).
Paul: I'm a different kind of Republican. Gonna talk like a libertarian for a minute. Only one who leads Hillary in five Obama states.
Rubio: My parents were born in Cuba, came to America to have a chance. Journey from my dad's bartender days to my political careerism is great (two years West Miami City Commission; nine years Florida House; 4.5 years US Senate). Namechecks New American Century.
Cruz: I'll rescind Obama's executive actions. Then I'll have DoJ investigate Planned Parenthood. And I'll have the IRS persecute religious liberty (yes, I think that's what he actually said) and move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Carson: I'm the only one who's separated Siamese Twins (and other surgical stuff). Only one to take out half a brain, unless you look in Washington. Freedom is not free (yeah, there's an original).
Huck: Seems like this election is about someone high in the polls, who does not know how to govern, could not lead. Hillary Clinton. We need leadership, and I play a mean bass line.
Walker: Let me tell you what a careerist I am (nine years Wisconsin State Legislature; eight years Milwaukee County Executive; 4.5 years Wisconsin governor).
Bush: I believe we are at the verge of greatest time to be alive, but DC is holding us back. Hints that he might not be a Know-Nothing on immigration. Commits to "fixing" things.
Trump: Our country is in serious trouble. We don't win any more. We can't beat China or Japan or Mexico, we can't do anything right. We need bigger military, better VA, end ObamaCare, make America great again.
10:36 Trump, if you were prez how would you respond to Iranians visiting Moscow? Trump: I would be soooooo different. Don't want to say Obama is incompetent, but ... if you look at the deals we make. We shouldn't have brought POW Bergdahl home because I hate America. I don't understand the Iran deal, but I'm going to talk about it until my time is up and then some.
Russia was behind cyber attack on DoD, previous China attack on DC. Cruz, have Russia and China committed acts of cyber war and what would you do? Cruz: Of course they have, because Obama and Clinton. I'm going to raise my voice about Russia and China and especially Iran. We need a commander in chief who will really get our tits in a wringer. I'm your guy.
Carson, Obama set a red line on Syria. Let's pretend that Assad did use chemical weapons even though it seems to have been our "moderate rebels." Would you use force? Carson: We've weakened ourselves military so much ... [dear God ... this nutball thinks the US military is too small? What planet is he FROM?]
Walker, what would you do if Putin tried to destabilize the Baltic states? Walker: If I'm president, Putin won't dare do anything because I'm Scott Walker. Even though I've never spent a day in the military in my life, I am Eisenhower and Patton rolled into one.
Huck, how would you handle trans-gender soldiers? Huck: Military is not a social experiment except when I want to impose my religious views on it. I'm as crazy as Carson and think our military is too old and small.
Paul, first budget you proposed cut aid to Israel. Why did you tuck tail and run as soon as you got called out on that? Paul: I proposed balanced budgets, and even Netanyahu says Israel would be stronger if it was independent. Israel is a great ally even though they spy on us, murder our citizens and sell our secrets to China, but we're too bankrupt to support even such a great ally.
Christie: I'm a fucking idiot who thinks the US military is too small, too, and here's how much bigger I want to make it. This will send a clear message around the world that we are fucking psychopaths who don't know how to balance a fucking checkbook.
10:32 Break. Unless something happened early on while I was out on car rescue, I'm not seeing a breakout yet. Christie has bombed big-time so far, I think. Trump and Bush are holding their own. I think maybe someone slipped Walker a roofie or something. Or maybe he's a zombie?
10:22 Bush, you say you support de-funding Planned Parenthood, but until last year you were on the board of a charity that gave them money. WTF? Bush: Yeah, I was on Bloomberg's foundation's board but didn't pay attention. But I de-funded Planned Parenthood as governor of Florida and was a pro-life governor.
Rubio, you favor a rape/incest exception. WTF? Rubio: No, I don't. I think right to life is in the Constitution. We are barbarians for murdering millions of babies.
Trump, in 1999 you were "very pro-choice," even supporting partial birth. Why did you become a Republican? Trump: I've evolved on many issues, so did Ronald Reagan. I was in business, they asked me a question, I said I hate concept of abortion. Friends were going to have abortion, they had the kid and he's great. As far as being GOP, I am from New York which is Democrat but I have started to see the negatives because Obama.
Bush, press says you called Trump a clown and buffoon, did you? Bush: No, but he is divisive. We need an uplifting message and I have one from being governor of Florida.
Trump: Glad he didn't say that stuff. But he did say was my tone, and I understand that, but when you have TEH MUSLIMS cutting Christian's heads off, we don't have time for tone.
Kasich, if you had gay kid, how would you explain your support for marriage apartheid? Kasich: The court has ruled, it's over, I just went to a gay wedding and would be fine if my kid was gay.
Paul, what would you do to ensure Christians are not persecuted for their views on marriage. Paul: I don't want my marriage or my guns registered in Washington, and government shouldn't be able to interfere with religious beliefs.
Walker, #blacklivesmatter says police violence is civil rights issue of our time. Agree, and do what about? Walker: We need better training.
9:58 Kasich, how will you fight Hillary on the class war? Kasich: My dad was a mailman. I think she will come at me narrowly, I have to go broad, pro-growth. I balanced the federal budget (he keeps saying that). It's important to reach out to people in the shadows. America's a miracle country and we have to make that apply to everyone. He's kind of exercised, but not very exciting.
Carson, same question. Carson: If Hillary is candidate, which I doubt, she is the epitome of progressive movement and counts on people being uninformed, Alinsky model. I believe people are not stupid. If I wanted to destroy country, here's what I'd do (starts saying weird shit).
Bush, you promised 4% economic growth and 19 million jobs in two terms. That's triple your dad and your brother combined. What the fuck? Bush: We've done that 27 times since World War II. Buncha statistics, and I'm trying not to be boring here but not succeeding. Get rid of ObamaCare and replace it with ... something.
Walker, when you ran for governor you promised you would create 250k jobs in your first term. Did like half that, 35th in job growth in country. Why should voters believe you now. Walker: The voters in Wisconsin like me anyway. Speed round of stuff he'd do.
Christie, you want entitlement reform including screwing with Social Security. Huck says he can save Social Security without screwing with it. Is he lying? Christie: No, he's not lying, he's just wrong. We need to phase in a two year increase in retirement age over 25 years, means test people over $200k in retirement income who don't need it. If we don't, this will bankrupt the country.
Huck, you say that would be breaking a promise to the American people. Explain how the "Fair" Tax will allow you to save American socialism. Huck: 60 million on Social Security. Nobody by choice. We promised them payback on the taxes we took, and it's the government's fault, not theirs. We shouldn't lie and steal, except in the same way we always have.
Christie: Newsflash, the lying and stealing has already occurred, trust fund is nothing but IOUs. We need to tell the truth and fix it.
Huck: We need the "Fair" Tax so that the 1% and the prostitutes and pimps have to pay too.
Trump, you've gone bankrupt four times. How is that you have the business savvy to run the country again? Trump: Because I have used the laws of this country to use a great job for myself, for my family, for my country, and it's not really me who went bankrupt, it's just the companies I sucked dry. And I'm proud of my deals.
Trump, lenders lost a billion dollars and 1100 jobs on Trump Entertainment. Trump: The lenders are not the sweet people you think. And everyone else in Atlantic City went bankrupt too.
Rubio, more than 3,000 sent us questions about economy. Here's one, tell us one action you would do to make economic environment more favorable for small business and entrepreneurs. Rubio: Economy dramatically down from five years ago, except for companies with connections in DC. Need to lower small business tax rates, reduce regulations, repeal and replace ObamaCare, improve education, repeal and replace Dodd-Frank.
Obama criticized GOP for trying to block Iran deal and making common cause with Iran hardliners. Walker, what if deal is undone? Walker: We need more sanctions.
Paul? Paul: I oppose the deal and will vote against it (there went his chance to differentiate himself in any positive way from the others).
Huck, what do you think about Paul? Huck: Ronald Reagan said trust but verify, Obama says trust and vilifies. I obviously know nothing whatthefucksoever about the deal's details, but I'm going to bloviate at length about them anyway, and work Israel into it because Adelson.
9:55 Break. Time for a smoke.
9:46 Trump, you used to be for single-payer, why do you oppose ObamaCare now? Trump: I'm the only one on this stage who came out against the war in Iraq. As far as single-payer, it works in Canada, it works in Scotland, but it can't work here. We need a private system. The insurance companies are making a fortune from their control of the politicians, except for the ones on this stage. We need to take care of people who can't take care of themselves.
Paul has a verbal brain fart and thinks Trump still favors single-payer.
Trump, you donated to a bunch of Democrats and now you say it was for business favors. What were those favors? Trump: Whatever you want them to do. I've given to most of the people on this stage. System is broken. I give. Two years later, I need something, they give. Hillary came to my wedding because I gave to her foundation.
Walker: Hillary is SUCH a BITCH.
Huckabee, will you abolish the DEA (EPA?), IRS, Department of Education? Huck: Government isn't too big to shrink, it's that the system is broken with lobbyists and mandates on states, etc. We should pass the "Fair" [sic] tax.
Carson, do you agree? Carson: Taxes should be like tithing, 10% flat tax, no deductions, etc.
Bush, you support Common Core, a lot of these others don't. Bush, I don't believe the federal government should create standards, that's a state responsibility, and school choice. As Florida governor, I created the first three voucher programs in the country. Screw the teachers' unions.
Rubio, why is Bush wrong on Common Core? Rubio: We need curriculum reform, but at state/local level. Common Core sucks because Department of Education (apparently he doesn't know that Common Core was created by the Republican Governors Association).
Bush, do you agree with Rubio? Bush: Yeah, but let me just keep talking to run the clock out.
9:39 Facebook questioner, how would you stop ISIS?
Cruz, how would you destroy ISIS in 90 days? Cruz: By killing TEH MUSLIMS and taking away the citizenship of people I don't like. Obama is an apologist for TEH MUSLIMS. We need to be more like al Sisi (dictator of Egypt).
Bush, you struggled to answer whether you would have invaded Iraq. You finally said no. To the families of those who died, how to tell them the war was a mistake. Bush: Knowing what we know now, we can pretend that we didn't know it then even though everyone else was trying to tell us to get our heads out of our asses. So I called the families of the people from Florida who died and lied to them. Barack Obama is an idiot for following the terms of the agreement my brother reached with Iraq and we need to go back and get some more Americans killed.
Walker, who can be our partner in the region? Walker: Egypt (military dictatorship) and Saudi Arabia (chief financiers of al Qaeda and ISIS). Those are our guys.
Carson, would you bring back torture? Carson: If we want to torture, that's our business, and I don't think we should be telling everyone about it. There's no such thing as a politically correct war, so just trust me. We shouldn't fight stupid wars, and since I've talked to the generals, I will know which wars are stupid and which ones aren't.
9:35 Christie, do you stand by your flying monkey insane opposition to Rand Paul's reasonable position on illegal NSA spying? Christie: Yes, I do. I loved being a federal prosecutor and being able to play Big Brother. This is not theoretical to me. We have always been at war with Eastasia. I respect civil liberties while completely ignoring them and stomping on them at every opportunity, and I want to be the big boot stomping on a face forever.
Paul: The Fourth Amendment is what we fought the Revolution over. I will stand for the Bill of Rights.
Christie: That's ridiculous.
Paul and Christie yell at each other a little. Sounds like the crowd prefers Christie.
Paul: Every time you prosecuted a case, you got a warrant. If you want to give Obama a big hug again, go right ahead.
Christie: 9/11! 9/11! Nothing to do with politics, noun, verb, 9/11!
9:30 Kasich: We need to take lessons from Trump. Mistake to tune him up. He has his solutions, others have theirs. I balanced the federal budget. People want the wall built.
Rubio, is it as simple as that? Rubio: People coming across border aren't from Mexico, but other Latin American countries. People feel like we're being taken advantage of and legal immigrants waiting keep calling my office.
Walker, from 2002 to 2013, you supported immigration reform. Now you're a Know-Nothing. Wazzup? Walker: I listened and realized that Know-Nothings vote Republican, and I don't want to break my record of 22 years on the taxpayer teat (nine years Wisconsin State Legislature; eight years Milwaukee County Executive; 4.5 years Wisconsin governor).
Cruz, will you "de-fund" "sanctuary cities?" Cruz: Yes, I hate federalism and want to force cities to enforce federal laws. A majority of candidates on this stage have sometimes been sane on immigration, but not me.
9:29 Back ... commercial break. What did I miss?
8:58 Yep, gotta go rescue a damsel. Be back as soon as possible. Maybe they won't start without me.
8:50pm Two things, before things get started:
- You may have noticed in the Kids' Table liveblog, I rattled off the "time on government teat" credentials of some candidates. No, I didn't do that from memory, I did it from a set of scorecards I'm developing, one metric among them being a "careerism score." On that metric, candidates get five points for each year they've spent on the dole (as an elected officeholder, appointed official, or government employee), for a maximum of 100 (100 with an asterisk if they broke the 100 mark). You may see more such numbers as this thread goes on.
- I may have to duck out, at least for a bit. Tamara just called with car trouble. If that happens, I'll let you know. It's far more important than listening to a bunch of Republicans talk.
OK, the Kids' Table is closed and we're about 40 minutes out from The Really Big Shew: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich. Will there be fireworks? Maybe. Maybe not.
IMO, it will only get really interesting or important to the ultimate outcome if one of the candidates is willing to cross the party picket line on immigration (Bush or Rubio seem to be the most likely to do that) or the Iran nuclear deal (Rand Paul looks like the only possible there, and it seems an unlikely, albeit heroic should it happen, cranio-rectal separation procedure).
Steve Schmidt, who was John McCain's top campaign man in 2008, is on MSNBC right now. He thinks the GOP could lose the general election tonight if someone doesn't break the immigration ice and the party's presidential line ends up hardening around a Trump-like position that can't garner at least 40% of the Hispanic/Latino vote.
I think Schmidt's right. The Republicans can't win the general election tonight, but they can lose it if they're not careful.
OK, the liveblog will start here in about 35-40 minutes. See you then.