United States Republican presidential candidates’ first debate

This video from the USA says about itself:

Rachel Maddow – 2016 candidates line up their big money backers

April 13, 2015

Rachel Maddow reports on the billionaires and super PACs behind some of the major candidates in the 2016 race for the presidency, and how big money shapes modern American democracy.

By Steven Rosenfeld in the USA:

The GOP’s First 2016 Debate Showcases Its Right-Wingers and True Crazies

Fox News shows the nation how nuts the GOP has become

August 6, 2015

The Republican Party’s first official debate of the 2016 presidential election showed the GOP’s leading candidates as not just all hard right-wingers, but different shades of crazy.

There was Donald Trump, who will doubtless draw the most press attention by declaring right off the bat that if he is not the nominee, he would seriously considering running as an independent—which, as Fox News’ debate moderator Bret Baier said, “would almost certainly hand over the race to Democrats and likely another Clinton.”

That brought boos from the crowd and a spontaneous attack by Sen. Rand Paul, who blared, “This is what’s wrong. He buys and sells politicans.” To which Trump replied, “ Well, I’ve given him [Paul] plenty of money.”

That feisty spree set the tone for much of the next two hours. Trump would go on to explain that, of course, he spends money to buy politicans’ attention, and failed to see anything at all wrong with that. When asked what he got in return from Hillary Clinton, he said that she came to his latest wedding. But beyond political gossip like that—or saying he was tired of being criticized for being politically incorrect after crude and sexist statements about women—the Fox News debate made it clear that most of the GOP’s leading candidates roughly fell into two right-wing camps: truly crazed extremists (Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee) or blandly presentable right-wingers, whose agenda is still remarkably out-of-synch with mainstream America (Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Chris Christie).

The blander crazies are probably the more dangerous crew, because even though their policies are very far to the right—anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-tax, anti-immigrant, anti-government, anti-science—they will be portrayed by mainstream media as moderates. Take reproductive rights, just an example.

Bush answered a question about being on the board of ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s foundation, which has supported Planned Parenthood, by saying that his record as governor was to lead the country in restricting abortions, passing parental notification laws, outlawing late-term abortions, and being first in the nation to have pro-life license places. That was the quote-unquote, moderate response, when compared to Mike Huckabee, who said that the next president must declare that the Constitution’s 5th and 14th amendments protects the rights of the unborn “from the moment of conception.” Speaking of the Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion rights, he said, “It’s time that we recognize that the Supreme Court is not the supreme being.”

Other social issues followed the same arc. Early in the debate, one Fox moderator pressed Ohio Gov. John Kasich for being a litte too much like St. Peter because he expanded his state’s Medicaid program under Obamacare, which Kasich defended. But when asked about same-sex marriage, he replied, “If one of my daughters happened to be that…” Kasich quickly followed up by saying, he’d love his daughters unconditionally, but such exchanges showed just how immoderate the GOP’s supposed moderates are.

The more serious exchanges were interrupted by moments that were astounding political theatre, such as Trump sparring with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly who said, “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals…’ Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” Trump began his reply, saying, “I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct… I frankly don’t have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn’t have time either. This country is in big trouble.”

Exchanges like that quickly ended and were followed by other zany questions, such as asking Ted Cruz why he recently called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar? To which, Cruz replied, because he was one—and the country needed politicians who spoke the truth. “As Republicans, we keep winning elections. We have a Republican House. We have a Republican Senate, and we don’t have leaders who honor their commitments. I will always tell the truth and do what I said I would do.”

When it came to specifics of what the candidates would do, the template was roughly the same. The plan is to cut taxes and regulations to promote economic growth, build up the military—including sending troops overseas [to] fight a new ground war with ISIS, and saying that this strategy worked for Ronald Reagan and would surely work again. Of course, there were small differences. On immigration, everyone objected to amensty for the undocumented already in America, but some—such as Jeb Bush—said a pathway to legalized status was needed, especially to ensure economic growth. Others were less charitable. Trump, of course, said a new border wall needed to be built—but with a large door in it for those following a legal process to enter.

The debate did showcase the candidates’ political skills and that might shake up their ranking in the polls. Chris Christie had a good night, feistily dismissing questions about New Jersey’s lagging economy under his watch—it was worse before he got there, he said—and eagerly attacking Rand Paul for his opposition to NSA spying on Americans. … And Jeb Bush, when pressed on being the heir to a political dynasty, replied he had a higher bar to prove himself with voters, which came across as both insecure and honest. In contrast, Scott Walker, who didn’t make any mistakes, came across with answers that seemed a bit too canned—practiced and unengaging.

The crazies, however, may have won the night’s battle but set themselves back in the longer war. Trump clearly distinghished himself as someone who really doesn’t care what people think about him—he’s a businessman who will do whatever it takes. The other outlying ideologues—Cruz, Huckabee, Carson, Paul—all seem to be in narrower silos where their followers will love what they said, and how they said it, but they’re less likely to break through to a larger base.

You can be sure that the Republican Party will declare their first debate a great success. Millions of people watched. They saw candidates up close and personal. Their remarks will surely shake up the race. And, to be sure, the night will also be seen by Democrats as pure political manna from heaven—because the modern GOP was on display in vivid color, and because it is not a party of mere establishment right-wingers, but also out-and-out crazies running for the presidency.

Check out a full transcript of the primetime debate here. [Daniel Marans, HuffPost]

THE BEST AND WORST OF LAST NIGHT’S GOP PRIMARY DEBATES On this week’s “So That Happened” podcast, the HuffPost Washington bureau hashes out the highs and lows of last night’s shenanigans. From the worst moderator questions in the “kids’ table” debate to the annual rush to trot out the hardscrabble stories and Rand Paul’s eye-roll, last night’s debate kicked off the next stage of primary season with a bang. While Donald Trump continued to steal the show, it remains to be seen if Carly Fiorina can maintain her strong debate momentum and what John Kasich means for the Republican Party. And take a look at the debate, broken down by candidate word count. [Zach Carter and Adriana Usero, HuffPost]

It’s the one-year anniversary of Ferguson. But the Republican debate didn’t touch it: here.

The first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 campaign, held Thursday night at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, was a spectacle of such debasement and filth that it stands as a milestone in the degeneration of American capitalist politics: here.

A hard truth for Fox News: They need Donald Trump more than he needs them: here.

Louisiana Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal recently added to the anti-immigration rhetoric currently dominating the field of American politics. In an interview on Boston Herald Radio last Monday, Jindal explained that he would prosecute mayors of so-called “sanctuary cities” as accomplices to any crimes committed by undocumented immigrants: here.

Carly Fiorina Destroyed Value at Hewlett-Packard: here.

Carly Fiorina Is Against Vaccine Mandates But She’s For Them But Also Against Them: here.

THE AFL-CIO’s executive council meeting is this week, which means visits from presidential candidates: Martin O”Malley, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb, and, of course, Hillary Clinton, who has a 1pm date with the union federation tomorrow. There’s also a sole Republican visitor: Mike Huckabee. AFL-CIO’s president, Richard Trumka, along with progressive economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, who is leading a discussion on economic policy at the meeting, talked about what they’re looking for in the 2016 contenders, and what the next president can do for the middle class: here.

13 thoughts on “United States Republican presidential candidates’ first debate

  1. Fri Aug 7, 2015 11:48 am (PDT) . Posted by:
    “raccoon” redwoodsaurus

    SPECIAL REPORT: #GOPtbt Debate Recap

    Aug 7, 2015

    The Crazy Things The Republican Candidates Said, And The Important Things They Left Out

    Yesterday morning the Cleveland Plain Dealer featured a front page story about the “vanishing middle class.” The writers couldn’t have predicted the middle class would vanish from the presidential debate as well: after nearly three and half hours of debating between the two events, there was virtually no mention of working families and middle class workers.

    Over the two debates, the words “middle class” were said exactly two times by candidates. Instead, the cadre of Republican candidates disparaged immigrants, called for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, war-mongered, and ignored working families altogether. Not that it mattered: the few places the GOP candidates offered policy proposals were for the same outdated policies that crippled those families in the first place.

    We took a look issue by issue at how the candidates’ debate rhetoric doesn’t match reality:


    As the economy recovers, more and more of the country’s economic gains are going to the wealthy few as the middle class get increasingly squeezed. Rather than offer new ideas for how to help middle-class families, the Republican candidates clung to the same old, failed trickle-down theories.

    Governor Jeb Bush touted his trickle down record in Florida, saying that he cut taxes every year. He continues to support tax plans that would disproportionately benefit the wealthy, such as eliminating capital gains. However, doing so would mainly benefit the wealthy few in Ohio—92 percent of Ohio’s millionaires would benefit, but the middle class will receive next to nothing.
    Governor John Kasich bragged about how he turned around the economy in Ohio “with jobs and balanced budgets and rising credit and tax cuts.” But Ohio’s middle class is not seeing the benefits. A new report from CAP Action shows the median income in the state is trailing the national average by $5,541 and median income has gone down since 2010—the year before Kasich took office. On the eve the debate, an editorial in the Cleveland Plain Dealer cited CAP Action’s analysis, calling it “eye-opening” and lamenting that tax cuts became “articles of Statehouse faith, robbing Ohio of money it could have invested in education, including early-childhood education, and university-driven innovation.”
    Senator Marco Rubio pushed his tax plan. But, if enacted, the Rubio plan would be a massive, costly tax giveaway to the wealthiest Americans, while slashing $2.4 trillion in revenue and ballooning the budget deficit.
    Governor Scott Walker showcased his leadership in Wisconsin, saying “the voters in Wisconsin elected me last year for the third time because they wanted someone who aimed high, not aimed low.” But in Walker’s Wisconsin, Wisconsin ranked 44th in the country for middle-class income growth.
    Governor Chris Christie went out of his way to praise his record of economic growth in New Jersey, touting that he “brought the budget into balance with no tax increases.” But, national employment grew almost two times faster that it did in New Jersey since he became governor.

    GOP candidates continued to oppose sensible action on immigration that would help millions of undocumented immigrants while boosting the U.S. economy. They offered no new solutions, but clung to unworkable ideas such as a big wall at the border.

    Governor Scott Walker claimed that the president “messed up the immigration system in this country” when he expanded federal actions that focus immigration enforcement on felons, not families. In reality, implementing DAPA and expanding DACA is estimated to help over 5 million individuals to work legally and live here without fear of deportation, and will grow the U.S. economy cumulatively by $230 billion over 10 years.
    Donald Trump claimed that the Mexican government is sending criminals across the border, saying “the fact is, since then, many killings, murders, crime, drugs pouring across the border, are money going out and the drugs coming in. And I said we need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly.” But in reality, the border is more secure than ever before.
    Health Care

    The Affordable Care Act is here to stay and it’s working. It’s helped bring affordable health insurance to millions of people and reduced the uninsured rate. Although the American people oppose efforts to repeal the ACA, the GOP candidates want to take us back to the broken healthcare system we had before.

    Donald Trump called the ACA a “complete disaster.” Actually, the ACA has succeeded in bringing quality, affordable health insurance to 16.4 million Americans. And since the ACA went into full effect, the uninsured rate has dropped almost 6 percentage points to 11.4 percent in the second quarter of 2015.
    Governor Jeb Bush continued his attacks on affordable healthcare tonight, saying he would “get rid of Obamacare and replace it with something that doesn’t suppress wages and kill jobs.” Reality check: Since the ACA went into effect, 11 million jobs have been created and unemployment is down by half.
    Women’s Health

    During the debate, the ten men on stage quickly rushed to attack women’s health, striving to outdo one other on how extreme each can be. But access to quality, affordable health care is not just a right, it’s a matter of economic security for women.

    Governor Scott Walker boasted about how he “defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago.” But Planned Parenthood provides critical health services to millions of Americans. In 2013, Planned Parenthood served more than 2.7 million women, men, and young people; 1.5 million of those patients received services through Title X, the nation’s family planning program.

    The GOP presidential contenders offered zero ideas to improve our education system. Instead of ideas to increase access to a quality education for all children, we heard more of the same conservative talking points to eliminate the Department of Education and lip service about the need for high quality education from the same governors that have cut education funding in their own states.

    Former Governor Mike Huckabee said, “there is no role at the federal level for the Department of Education.” At least five other Republican candidates also believe the U.S. Department of Education should be eliminated. But the Department of Education is critical for the nation’s children, especially at risk and high need students. The Department targets resources to the most at risk and highest need students to receive a quality education and afford college including $28.83 billion in Pell grants per year and over $25 billion to low-income and special needs students.
    Governor Scott Walker emphasized the importance of education saying that we need to, “give people the education, the skills that the need to succeed…That’s what I’ll do as president, just like I did in Wisconsin.” But during his time as governor, he cut school funding per student more than any other governor in America.
    The Topics The Candidates Left Out

    What’s just as shocking as the claims the candidates did make are the very important topics that were left out of the debate.

    A few days after the Clean Power Plan launch, climate change was not mentioned once. Climate change has an impact on every corner of the world – from public health and the environment, to national security and the economy. Earlier this week, the Obama administration released the final version of the Clean Power Plan, the biggest climate action the United States have taken to curb carbon emissions.
    On the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, voting rights was not mentioned once. 50 years ago yesterday, the Voting Rights Act was signed into law that prohibited racial discrimination in voting and paved the way for millions to cast ballots. The VRA is often held up as the most effective civil rights law ever enacted, yet many of the candidates have taken steps to further disenfranchise minority voters.
    Despite its centrality to so many important issues, economic inequality was not mentioned once. Four out of five Americans will experience at least a year of significant economic insecurity at some point during their working years, yet inequality was not brought up in the first Republican debate. Nor was an important aspect of that: the minimum wage. In fact, many of the Republican candidates do not support raising the minimum wage even though it would save taxpayers $52.7 billion over the next ten years.
    The entire conversation around #BlackLivesMatter lasted a total of 47 seconds. While the Fox News moderators did ask one question on how to address the problem of “overly aggressive police officers targeting young African Americans,” it was quickly deflected by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. What’s more, no Republican candidate has yet to reference the movement in their campaigns, except to dismiss and criticize it.
    The debate was a “gun-free zone.” In the wake of the shootings in Charleston, Chattanooga, and the Lafayette movie theater, no plan was offered for what to do about America’s level of gun violence, which far exceeds that of peer countries. In fact, though a common talking point of conservatives is that so-called “gun free zones” invite gun massacres, neither the Fox News moderators nor those on stage commented on the irony that the debate venue, the Quicken Loans Arena, is a gun-free zone.
    BOTTOM LINE: We could have predicted there would be some fireworks at last night’s Republican presidential debate, and there certainly were. But while last night’s debate may have made for good entertainment, that is just about where its value stopped. For what the candidates did choose to talk about, the rhetoric was either extreme or simply not matched by the policy reality. And more surprisingly, the candidates chose not to talk at all about some of the critical challenges — strengthening the middle class, improving the democratic process, tackling inequality, addressing climate change — that face the next president.


  2. Did you watch last night’s Republican presidential debate, Linda?

    If you are one of the wealthiest people in this country, then you had ten candidates talking about your needs for two hours.

    But in the entire time I watched, I saw very little discussion about the issues important to most American families. There was no talk about climate change and clean energy, raising wages and providing healthcare for all Americans, criminal justice reform and the undermining of the Voting Rights Act, and nothing at all about the crushing burden of student debt.

    And when they did talk about campaign finance reform and the billionaire class buying candidates and elections, it was the butt of a Donald Trump joke.

    We need to be discussing issues facing working families at a debate hosted by trade unions. We need to discussing climate change and environmental issues at a forum hosted by the environmental community. We need to be discussing civil rights issues and racial injustice at a forum sponsored by civil rights groups. We need to be discussing gay rights at a forum hosted by the LGBT community. In other words, more discussion, more debate is good for the Democratic Party and good for the American people.

    I know, and you know, that the best chance for this country is to discuss the issues that matter. Republicans aren’t going to do it, so we need more Democratic debates — more than the four scheduled by the Democratic National Committee before the Iowa Caucuses.

    And I know that if Secretary Clinton wants more debates, we’ll get them.

    Sign my petition and tell Secretary Clinton to encourage the Democratic National Committee to schedule more debates before the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire primary in February and to allow important constituencies within the Democratic Party to host their own debates.

    Here’s what I did hear a lot about last night: I heard a group of ten Republicans on stage longing for a return to the days of George W. Bush. The return to more war and tax breaks for the rich, and less jobs and health insurance for most American families.

    Do they remember the two wars George Bush put on the credit card?

    I do. Some of us voted no.

    Do they remember the 800,000 jobs a month we were hemorrhaging when Bush left office?

    I do. Some of us voted against the policies that led us there.

    The American people deserve more debates — debates about how we got to where we are today, and how we move this country forward. And if all the candidates running for the Democratic nomination, especially Secretary Clinton, call for more, then we’ll get them.

    Add your name and encourage Secretary Clinton to call on the Democratic National Committee to schedule more debates before Iowa and New Hampshire, and let’s start right away.

    We are at a moment of truth. We need to face up to the reality of where we are as a nation, and the best ways to move forward.

    Thank you for standing with me.

    Bernie Sanders


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