The first GOP Presidential Candidate debate on August 6, 2015 was held at the Cav’s Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Debate host Brett Bauer started with a doozy in asking a question about who would commit to not running as a third-party candidate. This question was obviously directed towards Donald Trump and he rose to the occasion and raised his hand saying that he would not swear that he would not run as a third-party candidate. I had to think that really hurt him! Rand Paul spoke up if if turn saying this showed Trump is not a true Republican and that he would be willing to hurt the party and get Hillary elected rather than endorse a candidate that might best him in the primary race.
Each of the candidates had a minute or so to discuss why they should be president. Then host Megan Kelly asked Donald Trump why he should be President when he has social media accounts that has comments that could be taken as disparaging to women. She said he had called women some very bad names and he jokingly replied “Just Rosanne Barr”…a line that got huge applause. He fired back saying he doesn’t always have time to be Politically Correct. He said America doesn’t have time to be Politically Correct when we’re getting our butts kicked politically and economically by China and Mexico.
All of the candidates came obviously prepared. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, when asked how he could think he was ready to be President when he has no political experience, replied with the awesomely appropriate line “It isn’t Brain Surgery”. Rand Paul had a great response on his question regarding ISIS and Jeb Bush had a strong response to his question regarding amnesty for illegal immigration.
Trump was once again in the spotlight when Host Chris Wallace asked him about immigration and how the Mexican government is sending its criminals across the border. He responded strongly and got a good response from the crowd. Once again I found myself saying “I know he’s too brash but I like his answers!”
Governor John Kasich started off the conversation after the break with a response that sounded very presidential. Marco Rubio was next and gave probably the most detailed response in regard to illegal immigration. As I said above, each of the candidates came prepared and I saw no clear loser in the debate.
An hour into the debate, they started talking about Obamacare. Donald Trump was first up on it and he used his business experience to give a solid answer. Others had less memorable responses. Floridians Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio talked about Common Core educational requirements. Bush had been taking some hits in the past few months about his openness to federal standards for education and I think he came out with a response that helped take some pressure of him for that issue.
As the clock passed 10pm, each of the candidates got to talk about how they would promote job growth. Repeal of Obamacare, reduce regulation and reform of the tax code were common responses. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie showed strength in saying that Social Security would have to be reformed. As the conversation swerved over to the economy, Donald Trump was hit with some very direct questions from Chris Wallace and he unloaded with both barrels, saying he was proud of his business record and was the person American needed to get rid of our $19 Trillion Dollar debt.
Rick Perry and Cary Fiorina’s responses from the forum that had been held earlier in the afternoon were so strong that they were played for candidates to respond to the Iran nuclear agreement.
Abortion Rights issues came up next and Marco Rubio gave a balanced response. Then Megan Kelly asked Donald Trump a very hard hitting question that led with his background as a Democrat and pointedly asked him “When did you actually become a Republican”. Trump replied that we should all remember that Ronald Reagan had been a Democrat at one point and that people can change their beliefs. John Kasich gave a great response on Gay Marriage. I think I was maybe the best response I’ve ever heard a Republican politician give regarding that issue.
Scott Walker was next in the hot seat as the hosts asked him about the “Black Lives Matter” he gave the kind of level headed response I’ve come to expect from him. In other words, it was solidly answered but totally unremarkable.
The hosts then asked about Iran, the Russian and Chinese Cyber Attacks and other foreign policy issues. Donald Trump gave a surprisingly strong response. It was soon time for closing comments for each of the candidates All in all, I don’t really think there was a loser this evening. Rubio seemed to have more good moments than the others.
Governor Walker from Wisconsin came across as call him and very capable and he continues to be the person I think you’ll end up at the end of the day getting The nomination. I think Walker leading the Republican ticket with a Marco Rubio or Carly Fiorita as vice president would be a very powerful ticket for the Republicans.