Three Senators, four governors, two former governors, one former neurosurgeon, a successful business woman and Donald Trump walk into a bar. Just kidding, they walk into the second round of the GOP debates in California. Donald Trump, Former Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Scott Walker, Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Mark Rubio, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Chris Christie, Gov. John Kasich, and Carly Fiorina will square off during tonight’s debate and we can’t wait.
Given just how much has changed in the GOP race after the first debate and given the upcoming end to the fundraising quarter is Sept. 30, the pressure is on.
Read the live updates below:
13 of the 15 candidates pose for a photo, as Gov. Jindal and Sen. Graham remain in the spin room, the top 11 candidates take their places at there podiums.
8:15: The candidates are given 30 secs to introduce themselves. Huckabee knocks Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton. Trump says Trump things, he is rich and will fix America. Walker praises Ronald Reagan, as many will do throughout the evening. John Kasich reminds everyone that he flew on the plane behind them with Ronald Reagan. Chris Christie takes time to knock Obama and the state of America.
8:30: 1st question asked by moderator Jake Tapper, is about Donald Trump’s seriousness as a candidate. Fiorina dodges the question, Trump insults Paul. Paul calls him out on it. Trump is extremely confrontational- no substance all flash. Walker interjects and bashes Trump for not talking about issues. Trump goes after Walker’s record, using his imagination not truth. Kasich says that they should cover the issues not this bickering. Tapper is trying to stir the pot, quotes Dr. Carson saying that it is easier to be an outsider, he addresses Christie, who says that Ben is not talking about him. Carson addresses issues and the need to end divisiveness, refusing to play ball.
8:45: Jeb is asked about Trump’s claim that he is a ‘puppet’ because he is beholden to special interests. Jeb claims that Trump tried to use his money to get gambling legalized in Florida. Trump continues to claim that he is not taking money from anyone. Trump and Bush go at it… “More energy tonight,” Trump quips. Dr. Carson interjects- asserting that he is beholden to no one but the American people.
Trump is asked about Russia and the current crisis in Syria. He dodges the question by saying he would be friends with Putin. Rubio offers a clear, comprehensive plan to deal with Russia, as does Carly Fiorina- who shows her chops on foreign policy. Cruz is asked about the Iran deal, he falls back on his usual talking points, by bashing the current administration. Tapper is trying to pit Cruz against Kasich but Cruz won’t bite. Kasich agrees that the deal is bad, but says the coalition building is necessary. Paul is asked about China and insists that diplomacy is paramount, differing with Fiorina. None of the candidates agree that we should cancel the state dinner with China.
9:00: Hugh Hewitt asks Trump if the three Senators on stage bore responsibility for the Syrian Crisis for not voting for the President’s flip-flop on Assad and then attacking him. All three Senators argree that the “pin-prick” of an attack would have done nothing. Cruz beats his chest, and shows how much of a ‘Hawk’ he is. Kasich chimes in with the sensible answer, that we should not act unilaterally.
Tapper asks Huckabee about Kim Davis and if the other candidates who disagree with him are wrong. He doesn’t insult Jeb, but does insist that the Supreme Court cannot “make law” thus Davis isn’t really acting illegally. He refers to religious accomodation. Jeb tries to find a compromise between the law and personal freedom.
Dana Bash asks about defunding Planned Parenthood, at the cost of a government shut-down. He is for defunding, but not for a shut-down. Cruz states that he is proud to “stand for life,” claiming that Planned Parenthood sold “body parts-aka- Fetal tissue” Christie touts that he has defunded Planned Parenthood in New Jersey, admonishes Clinton, dodges the shut-down question.
9:15: Fiorina equates Iran and Planned Parenthood, quite impressively and passionately with a great deal of specifics.Yet again Tapper pits Trump against Bush. Jeb boasts his record in Florida and finds a legislative pathway to defund it. Trump speaks in vagueries, insults Jeb, then defaults to Iran. Carly Fiorina is asked about the “Look at that face, comment,” she gracefully replies that everyone in America knows what he meant.
Trump is asked about the specifics of his immigration plan, he says the word wall, and then just random buzz words, not one specific is given. Christie speaks with more specifics, but that he disagrees with mass-deportation, Ben Carson chimes in with some humble speak.
9:30: Trump is aked about his comments, saying that Jeb is soft on immigration because his wife is a Mexican-American. Jeb asks for an apology, to his wife who is in the audience. Jeb is on his A- Game now, Trump just sounds like a nativist and a racist for continuing to insult Jeb for speaking Spanish. Rubio backs up Jeb, in the form of a personal story about his immigrant grand-father and the American dream.
Sen. Cruz is asked about Carson’s immigration plan. Cruz is trying too hard to be on Trumps side, and speaks in all or nothing terms, saying that he is the only candidate that is against amnesty. Carson refutes Cruz’s assertion that his plan is amnesty, explaining his proposed guest-worker program.
Birthright citizenship- Trump is asked about the 14th amendment, he once again uses vagueries and disputes the clarity of the amendment. Ms. Fiorina brings the immigration issue back to the Obama administration, and the need to amend the Constitution. Carly sounds like a grown-up and Trump falls back on talking points. Rand Paul also questions the intepretation of the 14th amendment, however he does so through the use of legal references.
9:45: Fiorina is asked about her tenure at HP, she explains in great detail what happened. Trump insults her, and tries to fall back on the record he doesn’t have. Carly tells the truth about Trump and his 4 bankruptcies, also defending her own record.
Chris Christie interjects that the panel needs to stop entertaining the back and forth between Fiorina and Trump, he is agrresive but respectful. She comports herself and responds accordingly. As the debate has focused on the economy now, John Kasich speaks to his record but does not agree with Trump and Bush who want to eliminate the carried interest loop-hole. Huckabee suggests his fair tax, Carson is asked about his flat-tax, he doesn’t agree with a progressive tax system, believing it to be socialism. Trump actually has a plan and sounds cogent, he explains why the tax system is graduated and has always been, Paul wants a flat-tax and to eliminate the tax code.
Gov. Walker is asked about raising the minimum wage, talks about tax-cuts. Tapper quotes Walker as calling raising the minimum wage”lame”. Carson has a very sound plan about raising the minimum wage, wants it adjusted for inflation and there to be two, one for those starting out and one for those who are established.
10:00: Trump is asked about foreign policy, in regard to his performance on the Hugh Hewitt show. Rubio criticized Trump’s inexperience, Trump just says that he will have a great team and a great plan. Rubio speaks with clarity about the enemies that face America, Trump doesn’t have a response. Jake Tapper tries to cause confrontation, and succeeds as Trump insults Rubio, by insulting the entire senate. Trump claims that he will know “everything” by the time he takes office. Rubio, is on point– as he sounds like an intellectual and Trump sounds like a fool.
Hewitt asks Jeb about being a Bush, and that his foreign policy team has members that were on his Father and Brother’s staff. Jeb replies that the reason the team is similiar is that his Father and Brother were the last two Republican President’s.
He asks Trump about specifics and Donald takes a chance to insult both Rand Paul and Jeb, claiming that he was the only person on the stage opposed to the war. Trump claims that Jeb’s Brother gave us Barack Obama, This is getting personal and Walker steps in to defend Jeb’s brother. Rand says that he is against wars as well, and quotes Jeb.
10:15: The foreign policy debate continues and even Dr. Carson disagrees with Donald Trump, he speaks to the danger of global jihadist’s. Christie speaks about 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, he supports the war and agrees with Jeb that America is safer because of his Brother. Carson speaks to the alternatives to war, and shows his cerebral mentality. Christie fear-mongers recalling what happened in 2001, and Carson simply states that you can be strong and not forgo your intellect, and states that we must have a stronger military. The hawks are loose as Rubio says that intellect cannot solve radical Jihadist’s. Kasich speaks to the faulty data that was handed to President Bush and snipes at Obama. Walker is asked about his stance on the standing number of military personel in ISIS occupied territory, he said we need a policy change.
Rand Paul is asked about boots on the ground in Iraq, he does not believe there should be American boots on the ground over there. He separates himself from the crowd with this statement. Carly Fiorina injects into the conversation that we need to dramatically grow the size of our military.
10:30: On to domestic policy- yet again Jeb is asked about his brother and the appointment of Justice Roberts, Jeb is clearly dismayed by the continued focus on his brother. Jeb asserts that he wants established judges to be appointed, and that he thinks Justice Roberts has done a good job, Cruz says that it was his mistake to support Roberts. Huckabee goes on a rant about how the Supreme court is stacked with liberal king’s of a sort. He falsely claims that the 1st amendment is paramount in it’s protection of religious freedom. He does however make a valid point about the underuse and mention of the 10th amendment.
The legalization of marijuana, Rand Paul is asked about Chris Christie’s emphasis that he would end legal marijuana, Paul says that he would not interefere with the right’s of states. He goes on to state the unfair treatment of minorities in the criminal justice system. Jeb admits to smoking weed when he was younger, Paul points out that Jeb opposed the use of medical marijuana in Florida- the issue becomes about the way that we as a country treat drug addiction. Paul makes it clear that economics is a determining factor in punitive action. Paul is showing his libertarian roots here, believing in the 10th amendment and state’s rights.They argue over the merits of both medical and recreation marijuana. Carly Fiorina tells a personal story about burying a child because of drug addiction, but she does not support marijuana being legal, but does want criminal justice reform.
10:45: Jeb is asked about his stance on the 2nd amendment, and how in some states they can take away your gun without a hearing. He believes there should be a hearing, Rubio speaks to the greater epidemic of violence in America and the need to address the underlying reason for crime.
Trump is asked if wealthier Americans should not recieve Social Security. He thinks it should be a personal choice, but he is open to it. Christie asserts that very rich folks should not receive entitlements, that the programs will not remain solvent. Rubio is asked about the clash between corporate taxation and climate change- he is not in favor of any policies that limit economic growth when the U.S. cannot stem the tide of climate change alone. Christie agrees with him. Rubio makes it clear that he believes in climate change but that the U.S. contributes too little to cripple the economy. Walker agrees as well.
11:00:(Final update) Dr. Carson is asked about Trump’s anti-vaccine policy, he defers to the under-education of the American people. He assures Trump that the two are not linked, Trump still links the two, says that he is not anti-vaccine but believes the policy should be changed. Back to Dr. Carson, who dispels that there is any link between vaccinations and autism. Dr. Rand Paul, thinks that vaccinations are needed but that there should be some personal freedom included in the choices. Such as the spacing out and timing of them.
The candidates are asked what woman should be on the 10$ bill. Paul- Susan B. Anthony. Trump&Rubio&Cruz- Rosa Parks. Carly Fiorina doesn’t think we should change the bill, she thinks it’s a token move and that we should embrace the contributions of all women.
Jeb gets in the first true one liner saying his secret service code name should be “Every-ready,” because he is high-energy, Trump remarks his name would be “humble.” each draw laughs.
How would the world look different after you leave office, if elected? Huckabee gives the evangelical answer, sanctity of life and the strength of our military. Rubio speaks to where he would travel and how he would greet the world. Cruz, speaks with his usual vigor, touting tax reform, and repealing Obamacare, oh and by killing the terrorists. Carson, says he was a democratic before listening to Reagan. He speaks to a country that is united and admired. Trump, will make America greater than it has ever been. Jeb contrasts his policies against Obama’s and promotes growth and fixing the immigration system. Walker, talks about the optimism we once had, and the freedom we can have again by fighing on behalf of the American people. Fiorina. speaks about lady liberty and lady justice– espousing a powerful statement of equality, by far the best answer. Kasich promotes bi-partisanship and renewing a relationship with the world. Christie speaks to the rekindling of the “American Dream,” and with his last words shouts down the Iran deal.
Over three-hours of a political debate.