While analyzing the debate on msnbc, GOP strategist Steve Schmidt said Trump’s testy words with Kelly could prove pivotal to his staying power as a presidential candidate.
And that, pretty much, summed up the humiliating nature of this undercard debate for candidates excluded from the main debate at 9pm, with an extra dash of sexist condescension for Mrs Fiorina, the only woman running for the Republican nomination.
Donald Trump is none too pleased with Fox News. His startling declaration left his onstage rivals scrambling to compete for attention the rest of the night.
Giuliani, who ran for president himself in 2008, said he “could” see Trump as president, but would not throw his support behind a specific candidate yet.
While Trump was characteristically bombastic, most of the contenders standing alongside him clamored for their piece of the spotlight without engaging him directly.
Paul shot back, “I don’t trust President Obama with our records”. But the new candidate Kasich, who was unveiled on July 21, stuck hard to his empathetic message.
Although Trump says he will be the number one target on everyone’s radar, he said, “I’m going to have to do something back, but I’d like to be very civil”.
Trump has dismissed, in particular, the Bloomberg estimate, saying it doesn’t know what he has. He said Thursday border patrol agents agreed with his comments about Mexicans, and he took credit for immigration being an issue in the2016 campaign.
Kasich looked at ease throughout the night, at one point even deftly parrying a Donald Trump barb with a request for a campaign donation. And while Clinton didn’t specifically urge Trump to run, he was obviously feeding his giant ego.
The 5pm TV debate itself had been mortifying and boring in equal measure, thanks to patronising Fox News hosts. The earlier debate took places hours before the 9 p.m. ET main event, but was not without its own key moments. No Republican has ever won the presidency without winning Ohio. Only late in the debate did Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker raise the controversy surrounding her use of personal email and a private server while serving in the Obama administration. He called the U.S. health system corrupted by insurance companies, and said he now favours breaking barriers between state exchanges to allow nationwide competition.
And, on stage with Trump, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul after he was asked about the Kentucky senator’s opposition to the NSA’s collection of phone records for terrorism investigations. He’s not only creating waves in the U.S., he’s also crushing Canada’s party leaders when it comes to Google searches.
“When you’re sitting in the subcommittee just blowing hot air about this, you can say things like that”, Christie said. Trump also scolded the co-moderator, Megyn Kelly, for being unfair to him. “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct”, he said. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has figured out how to answer the question about whether he, like his brother, would have invaded Iraq, and his embrace of education reform gives him a unique agenda that can resonate across political lines. He said the election “cannot be a resume competition”.
The crowded field meant limited talking time for candidates, many of whom were introducing themselves to Americans for the first time. “And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either”.
Among those bounced to the earlier forum are former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and businesswoman Carly Fiorina, the only woman in the Republican field. “Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion?” she asked, noting that 83 percent of Americans feel otherwise.
While the candidates pitched their visions for the Republican Party’s future, they also were making the case that they would present the strongest general election challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.
The event was the first of six Republican Party-sanctioned debates scheduled before primary voting begins in February.
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