By and large, though, good debate, good TV, anyway, with lively exchanges (Chris Christie-Rand Paul, Trump-Megyn Kelly), dumb questions so dumb that they were actually good (seriously, God?), and a smidge of substance (Iran, Common Core, Social Security).
Mostly, though, they put Trump in his place, so good on you, Fox News.
WAS HE EVEN THERE? Ben Carson got a softball question early, then his second question at 9:44 p.m., to which he responded: “Thank you, Megyn. I wasn’t sure I was going to get to talk again.”
WAS HE EVEN THERE, PART TWO: Christie at least had a memorable exchange with Paul about the Patriot Act that ended with Paul reminding those watching about Christie’s infamous hug with President Obama. Aside from that, he got to talk some Social Security, around the time when people were heading back to the refrigerator for a refill on their Fireball.
HARDBALL QUESTION OF THE NIGHT: Chris Wallace napalming Trump on his four bankruptcies, pointing out that his most recent bankruptcy, in 2009, which cost creditors a billion dollars, and led to 1,100 layoffs. Trump weakly responded with his pat answer about how he has “used the laws of this country,” and that he has “never gone bankrupt, by the way.”
No, Fox News doesn’t like Trump, not at all.
WHAT QUESTION CAME AFTER THAT ONE ABOUT BANKRUPTCY? Marco Rubio got a softball from a Facebook user about something insignificant.
Which is a nice way of Fox to tell Trump, yeah, f—k you.
MORE HARDBALLS FOR TRUMP: Megyn Kelly point-blank asked Trump when he “actually became a Republican.” Trump, knowing we were all playing drinking games at home, and that invoking the name of Ronald Reagan would make us take another shot, invoked the name of Ronald Reagan, who was a Democrat a hundred years before he became a Republican. Nice move, The Donald. (Drink up!)
ABORTION THIS: A succession of candidates ensured that whoever gets the Republican nomination next year will get exactly 0 percent of the votes of moderate Democrat and independent women in the general with their answers on abortion.
Rubio interrupted Kelly to buttress his opposition to abortion even in the cases involving rape and incest. Jeb Bush insisted that as governor of Florida he “defunded Planned Parenthood.” Mike Huckabee invoked the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to make his case against abortion.
(Not that anything that Huckabee has to say about anything is important, given that he has zero chance of being the nominee.)
KA-CHING! One question about #blacklivesmatter, for some reason posed to Scott Walker, who mused for 15 seconds on proper policing, then we get a commercial break.
The first spot in the commercial break: a trailer for the movie “Straight Outta Compton.”
No, that wasn’t product placement. Not at all.
AWKWARD STATEMENTS: So many to choose from …
- Ben Carson advocated a tax system based on titheing. Reminding us that this is a Republican debate.
- Donald Trump signaled his support for single-payer.
- John Kasich played nice to Donald Trump on immigration. “Mr. Trump is touching a nerve because the people want a wall to be built.”
- Huckabee: “The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things.”
- Carson: “I’m the only one to separate Siamese twins.”
RAND PAUL, LIBERTARIAN: Great lines from the Son of Ron.
- “I don’t want my religion or my guns registered in Washington.”
- “The Fourth Amendment is what we fought the Revolution over.”
- Paul to Chris Christie on the Patriot Act: “You fundamentally misunderstand the Bill of Rights.”
– Compiled by Chris Graham