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    DEBATE PART 2: Liveblogging the Primetime Candidates

    DEBATE PART 2: Liveblogging the Primetime Candidates

    *DING* Round 2!

    Everyone still with us?

    That first debate wasn’t just a debate–it was a firehose of information, talking points, and (most importantly) soundbites. The night is young, though, and we’re ready to see how the top ten candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination measure up.

    Here’s who you should expect to see on the stage at 8:50 p.m. ET:

    • Donald Trump
    • Jeb Bush
    • Scott Walker
    • Mike Huckabee
    • Ben Carson
    • Ted Cruz
    • Marco Rubio
    • Rand Paul
    • John Kasich
    • Chris Christie

    To watch the debate online, click here. (You’ll need a cable authentication to stream live from Fox.)

    You can follow the discussion on Twitter here:

    Round 2 begins in 3…2…


    Right out the gate, the vibe here is different. These candidates have been given the benefit of a full(ish) house.

    Carly Fiorina will not be denied attention in the prime time hour:

    The media is apparently enjoying the suspense…which may or may not benefit the coverage of this debate:

    Right off the bat, Bret Baier gets Trump’s third party squeaky wheel-itude out of the way:

    …but Rand Paul attacked!

    Ben Carson fields the first substantive question of the debate, hitting back against his lack of knowledge about the political realm.

    Rubio knocks one over second: “If this election is a resume competition, then Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president.”

    Jeb Bush asked if he understands America’s concerns with “dynastic politics.” Jeb runs right into his accomplishments as Florida governor. “I earned it”—then this:

    Megyn Kelly asks a low-hanging, but fair question about Trump’s rhetoric—especially towards women. He tried to deflect with a joke, but she didn’t let it go.

    Temperament was the heart of this question, and Trump says, “what I say, is what I say,” and rejects political correctness.

    Chris Wallace hits Ted Cruz on his relationships with the Senate leadership. His “we want someone who speaks the truth” line falls a little flat. Still, he stayed true to what he’s been campaigning on so far:

    Christie goes substantive, defends rocky record in New Jersey with what he has accomplished:

    Walker handles the abortion question with care (“would you let a woman die if…”), and when he mentions how he defunded Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin, gets some cheers.

    Huckabee similarly plays to his pro-life roots, and challenges the idea that we’re stuck with the laws we’ve got.

    Rand Paul asked to answer for his assertions that we “created ISIS”—turns it around and argues against sending aid overseas:

    Katich is working very, very hard to defend Medicaid expansion in Ohio, says that OH Medicaid is growing slower than most other programs, overall budget still in the black.


    Quibble: Trump claims that “nobody was talking about illegal immigration” until he brought it into the forefront. True? False? I take issue—tell me what you think in the comments.

    Commercial break comes to a close, and we’re still on illegal immigration. The mods are having the candidates address each other, so expect this to get increasingly more heated.

    Marco Rubio jumps on the issue, agrees with Kasich—people are frustrated, they feel like they’re being taken advantage of. Hits the need for border security, e-Verify, and the difficulties that those who attempt to immigrate legally encounter.

    Scott Walker pressed on his change of heart over immigration:

    …says he listened to what the people were telling him.

    Ted Cruz draws the long straw, fields “Kate’s Law” question…and takes the opportunity to pivot and attack his Senate colleagues.

    Christie and Paul in an all-out brawl over surveillance and national security. This is the dirtiest play we’ve seen tonight.

    That was intense. We’re going to see op-eds flying from both sides over that question—as we should. Rand Paul has been stumping on surveillance for ages, so don’t expect to see him back down.

    People responding well to Cruz’s answer on a strategy for defeating ISIS:

    Sounds pin-drop quiet as Bush tries to explain why he believes, knowing what we know now, the Iraq war was a mistake.

    Walker did a decent job emphasizing the need for coalition building in the Middle East—says we need not just Israel, but other gulf states.

    Ben Carson felt forgotten, but finally got to answer a foreign policy question—on enhanced interrogation techniques.


    Moving on…

    A funny thing happened when Trump started talking about the influence of the donor class:

    Huckabee took time to decry the centralized power structure in Washington, DC, says it interferes with state affairs…

    …and Carson may have come out in favor of a popular tax plan:

    Then the candidates moved on to education, and Common Core:


    It’s time to talk about Hillary Clinton…

    (Although this is a fair question:


    Walker hit hard with a question on an underperforming jobs plan—he counters with the idea that it’s better to aim high than undercut potential.

    …and Christie may have stumbled hard on entitlement reform:

    …and Huckabee attacked:

    Christie came back saying that the system is broken (and has been stolen from) and needs reform.


    He’s defending his investment records, even in the face of bankruptcy. Also addressing how he’s used laws to his advantage.

    …and Marco Rubio fields the American Dream question! Seems apropos considering his campaign messaging thus far.

    Aside: Marco Rubio is fielding a ton of praise on Twitter right now. Do you agree—is he leading the pack? Take it to the comments!

    Iran deal…Walker wants to tear it up, but Paul doesn’t want to discount the value of negotiations as a rule.

    ALERT: We’re trapped!

    SOCIAL ISSUES—Put on your helmets!

    Jeb Bush on the ropes defending his time on the board of the Bloomberg Foundation vs. his record as a pro-life governor. He handled a bad situation well.

    Marco Rubio now defending his pro-life record—contests the allegation that he supported exceptions to an abortion ban for rape and incest:

    Trump claiming he “evolved” on abortion, is proud to say he is pro-life. Readers—do you think that’s good enough?

    Gay marriage and religious liberty…helmets AND kneepads:

    Kasich gave the only answer he could on gay marriage…

    …and Rand Paul hit back hard on government invasion into the church.

    Foreign Policy and Iran—Nuclear Deals and Cyber Attacks

    Trump keeps it simple: “What’s happening with Iran is a disgrace.”

    Cruz fields the Pentagon hacking question, jumps right into Obama-Clinton foreign policy and doesn’t pull punches.

    Ben Carson is showing his weak chops on foreign policy, but still comes away with a good soundbite he’ll be able to build from: “If you don’t get the military right, nothing else is gonna work!”

    Scott Walker gave a solid answer on shoring up influence in Ukraine and the Baltic.

    Rand Paul on military funding: “we cannot give away money we don’t have,” doubles down on cutting non-surplus aid even to Israel. Paul stuck to his guns on not borrowing (from China) in order to send money to anyone. Do you think it hurt him?

    And NOW…

    Rubio may have just won this whole round of wrap-up questions:

    The closing statements, though, are putting a few candidates into a dead heat:

    And last but not least…

    There you have it! Got comments? You know where to leave ’em.

    The next GOP primary debate lands at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California on September 16

    UPDATE: We have a preliminary time breakdown

    prime time debate times


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    Sammy Finkelman | August 7, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Carson: Proportional, not progressive tax system, of 10%

    Sammy Finkelman | August 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Bush and Rubio get asked about Common Core and education. Bush says he knows how to do things right because he created three voucher programs in Florida. Rubio says the Department of Education, will turn a suggestion into a mandate.

    I don’t think the difference between them gets clarified.

    Sammy Finkelman | August 7, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    They get asked how would they create economic growth.

    Walker: I didn’t deliver the economic growth in Wisconsin that I promised, but you should always aim high. Get rid of regulations, repeal Obamacare, change the energy policy, give people education, lower the tax rate and change the tax code.

    Bush: It’s happened 27 times before since World War II.

    Christie: (promoted by a question about the difference between him and Huckabee) You’ve got to means test Social Security, (eliminate it altogether is someone is really, really rich or is making high income) and raise the retirement age.

    Huckabee: That would be breaking a promise. It was involuntary. Social Security and Medicare was robbed $700 billion dollars to pay for Obamacare. Congress shold end its own retirement program.

    Christie: I don’t disagree with that. I don’t have a retirement program in my state. But ending (ph) Congress’ retirement is worth about, “this” much.

    Huckabee: Fund Social Security with income from dividends and capital gains. That would happen if we had a consumption tax. That is paid by everyone, including illegals, prostitutes, pimps, and drug dealers.

    (The truth here is that Social Security is only in some kind of trouble if you project historically low rates of economic growth. Also, immigration benefits Social Security.)

    Sammy Finkelman | August 7, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Wallace to Trump: Didn’t you go bankrupt?

    Trump: I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country. I have never gone bankrupt.

    Wallace: Your line is your companies have gone bankrupt.

    Trump: Out of hundreds of deals that I’ve done, hundreds, on four occasions I’ve taken advantage of the laws of this country, like other people.

    Wallace: Let’s take the latest example, from 2009. Trump Entertainment Resorts, lenders to your company lost over $1 billion and more than 1,100 people were laid off.

    Trump: These lenders aren’t babies. These are total killers. These are not the nice, sweet little people that you think, OK?

    And I had the good sense to leave Atlantic City, which by the way, Caesars just went bankrupt. Every company, Chris can tell you, every company virtually in Atlantic City went bankrupt.

    Every company.

    I’ve gotten a lot of credit in the financial pages. Seven years ago I left Atlantic City before it totally cratered, and I made a lot of money in Atlantic City, and I’m very proud of it. I want to tell you that. Very, very proud of it.

    By the way, this country right now owes $19 trillion. And they need somebody like me to straighten out that mess.

    Eskyman | August 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Wished I’d watched the same debate you did, Amy.

    The one I watched was a disaster for Fox (when CNN & the NYT are praising your “fair & balanced” debate presentation, that means it’s BAD for conservatives.)

    Megyn Kelly was dripping venom toward Trump, as was Chris Matthews. Looked like a setup, bash Trump & spotlight Jeb. Worked pretty well, if you hate conservatives.

    I was very disappointed in the whole affair, which appeared to be make-it-up-as-you-go except for the extensive preparation for “gotcha” type reporting. Beginning of the debate was confused & disrespectful of ALL candidates, who had to stand there like a herd of beef cattle while the talking heads talked.

    If I’d been there in person, I would have walked out.

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