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ABC Republican Presidential Debate

On Saturday night, February 6th, the Republicans debated for the last time before the New Hampshire Primaries. Out of the 8 candidates, 7 attended and were invited. The 8th candidate, Carly Fiorina was not allowed to come. ABC wouldn’t invite the former HP CEO even though she beat Chris Christie and John Kasich in Iowa and tied with Jeb Bush, all three of whom were invited to the debate.
At the beginning of the debate, Dr. Ben Carson didn’t come out when his name was called causing confusion for the entrances leading the moderators to announce that these were all the candidates on the stage even though three, Trump, Carson, and Kasich were missing. After getting everyone on the stage, the debate began.
Marco Rubio made a profound statement that Rush Limbaugh says is the reason for people attacking him so much. “And let’s dispel once and for all with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. Barack Obama is undertaking a systematic effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world.
That’s why he passed Obamacare and the stimulus and Dodd-Frank and the deal with Iran. It is a systematic effort to change America. When I’m president of the United States, we are going to re-embrace all the things that made America the greatest nation in the world and we are going to leave our children with what they deserve: the single greatest nation in the history of the world.”
Marco Rubio is saying that Barack Obama hates America and is trying to bring us down in the world and weaken us. After Dinesh D’Souza came out with the documentary 2016: Obama’s America in 2012 telling Americans about Barack Obama’s past, his motives, and what he would most likely do in the future, this line of thought moved from a conspiracy theory to a likely theory. Nobody has seems to question D’Souza’s evidence as presented in the documentary, however Vice President Joe Biden said that it was nonsense, but could not point to a specific fact he disputed.
After Marco Rubio said the above quote, Chris Christie rebuked him, ending by saying, “I like Marco Rubio, and he’s a smart person and a good guy, but he simply does not have the experience to be president of the United States and make these decisions. We’ve watched it happen, everybody. For the last seven years, the people of New Hampshire are smart. Do not make the same mistake again.”
Rubio responded by saying, “Well, I think the experience is not just what you did, but how it worked out. Under Chris Christie’s governorship of New Jersey, they’ve been down-graded nine times in their credit rating. This country already has a debt problem, we don’t need to add to it by electing someone who has experience at running up and destroying the credit rating of his state.
But I would add this. Let’s dispel with this fiction that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is trying to change this country. He wants America to become more like the rest of the world. We don’t want to be like the rest of the world, we want to be the United States of America. And when I’m elected president, this will become once again, the single greatest nation in the history of the world, not the disaster Barack Obama has imposed upon us.”
Rubio is under fire for repeating that same phrase in his response as he had in his answer just a minute before. He isn’t just under fire now after the fact, but Chris Christie called him on it immediately after it happened. He said, ” I think he mentioned me and my record in there, so I think I get a chance to respond. You see, everybody, I want the people at home to think about this. That’s what Washington, D.C. Does. The drive-by shot at the beginning with incorrect and incomplete information and then the memorized 25-second speech that is exactly what his advisers gave him.
See Marco, the thing is this. When you’re president of the United States, when you’re a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn’t solve one problem for one person. They expect you to plow the snow. They expect you to get the schools open. And when the worst natural disaster in your state’s history hits you, they expect you to rebuild their state, which is what I’ve done.
None of that stuff happens on the floor of the United States Senate. It’s a fine job, I’m glad you ran for it, but it does not prepare you for president of the United States.”
That response turned this into a heated argument. “Chris, your state got hit by a massive snowstorm two weeks ago,” Rubio responded. “You didn’t even want to go back. They had to shame you into going back.And then you stayed there for 36 hours and then he left and came back to campaign. Those are the facts.
Here’s the bottom line. This notion that Barack Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing is just not true. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”
Christie said that proved his point, “There it is. There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.”
“Well, that’s the reason why this campaign is so important,” Rubio continued. “Because I think this notion — I think this is an important point. We have to understand what we’re going through here. We are not facing a president that doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows what he is doing. That’s why he’s done the things he’s done… This is a president that’s trying to redefine this country. That’s why this election is truly a referendum on our identity as a nation, as a people. Our future is at stake… [I]f we elect [a democrat] our children are going to be the first Americans to inherit a diminishes country. That will not happen if I’m elected.”
“You know what the shame is — you know what the shame is, Marco? The shame is that you would actually criticize somebody for showing up to work, plowing the streets, getting the trains running back on time when you’ve never been responsible for that in your entire life.”
“Chris, you didn’t want to go back. You didn’t want to go back.” Rubio repeated while the crowd applauded.
“And the fact is, I went back, it got done and here’s…” Christie was cut off by Rubio.
“You didn’t want to go back, Chris.”
“Oh, so — wait a second. Is that one of the skills you get as a United States senator ESP also? Because I don’t think it is.”
Now Rubio decided that instead of addressing Christie, he should address the public as well. “Chris, everybody — you said you weren’t going to go back. He told everyone he wasn’t going to go back. They had to shame him into going back. And when he decided to go back, he criticized the young lady, saying, what am I supposed to do, go back with a mop and clean up the flooding?”
Christie ended with, “It gets very unruly when he gets off his talking points.”
That’s a heated exchange you can expect to hear more about as the week progresses. Later in the debate Donald Trump brought this point up again. Martha Raddtaz, one of the debate moderators asked Trump this question. “Do you have a red line with North Korea? Would you consider military action? And how far would you let them go?”
Trump responded first by attacking Rubio about something that has no relationship to North Korea. “Well, let me say a couple of things. First of all, Marco said earlier on that President Obama knows exactly what he’s doing, like we have this president that really knows. I disagree, respectfully, with Marco.
I think we have a president who, as a president, is totally incompetent, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
I think he has no idea what he’s doing. And our country is going to hell. So, I just want to say, we disagree on that. Is that okay?”
Rubio responded with what in my opinion was a solid answer. “Here’s the broader point, as well, and then I think it touches on what Donald just mentioned. Barack Obama views America as this arrogant global power that needed to be cut down to size. OK?
This is a president that views this country as a country that’s been too powerful in the world and we create problems around the world.
For example, it’s one of the reasons why he had betrayed Israel, because he believes that if we create separation from Israel, it will help our relations in the Islamic world. The same is happening in the Asia-Pacific region with accommodations to North Korea. North Korea should be back on that list of terrorist nations, as an example…”
Later in the debate when asked about the feasibility to deport illegal immigrants, a big part of both his and Trump’s immigration plans, he said this. “We saw just this past week the head of the border patrol union testify before Congress that President Obama had given the order to the border patrol to stand down, not to enforce the law. That is wrong. I will enforce the law, and for everyone who says, you can’t possibly do that, I would note that in eight years, Bill Clinton deported 12 million people.
In eight years, George W. Bush deported 10 million people. Enforcing the law — we can do it. What is missing is the political will. And when they were deporting the people, the border wasn’t secure, so they’d come right back. Once you secure the border, enforcing the law will solve this problem and that will benefit American workers.”
Just after this, Rubio was asked about his involvement in the “Gang of 8” immigration reform bill and amnesty. After this Chris Christie was back attacking Rubio. This really shocked me that again, just after a pretty heated exchange Christie would attack Rubio again. After making 3rd place in Iowa, I assume Christie hopes to make Rubio look bad and take his votes in New Hampshire.
However, a few minutes later came what I think was the biggest moment in the entire debate. Guest moderator Josh McElveen, political director of a local New Hampshire news station asked Donald Trump the following question. “Mr. Trump, you have said, quote, “I love eminent domain” which is the seizure of private property for the sake of the greater good theoretically. You tried to use the measure in business endeavors, you’ve said you’d support its use for the Keystone Pipeline project. Here in New Hampshire, a project, though, known as the Northern pass would bring hydro-electric power from Canada into the Northeastern grid. Do you see eminent domain as an appropriate tool to get that done?”
“Well, let me just tell you about eminent domain because almost all of these people actually criticize it, but so many people have hit me with commercials and other things about eminent domain.
Eminent domain is an absolute necessity for a country, for our country. Without it, you wouldn’t have roads, you wouldn’t have hospitals, you wouldn’t have anything. You wouldn’t have schools, you wouldn’t have bridges. You need eminent domain. And a lot of the big conservatives that tell me how conservative they are — I think I’m more than they are — they tell me, oh — well, they all want the Keystone Pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline, without eminent domain, it wouldn’t go 10 feet, OK? You need eminent domain. And eminent domain is a good thing, not a bad thing.
And what a lot of people don’t know because they were all saying, oh, you’re going to take their property. When somebody — when eminent domain is used on somebody’s property, that person gets a fortune. They get at least fair market value, and if they are smart, they’ll get two or three times the value of their property. But without eminent domain, you don’t have roads, highways, schools, bridges or anything.
So eminent domain — it’s not that I love it, but eminent domain is absolutely — it’s a necessity for a country. And certainly it’s a necessity for our country… Yes, [I would support the hydro-electric plant].”
Out of nowhere, Jeb Bush jumped in. “The difference — the difference between eminent domain for public purpose — as Donald said, roads and infrastructure, pipelines and all that — that’s for public purpose. But what Donald Trump did was use eminent domain to try to take the property of an elderly woman on the strip in Atlantic City. That is not public purpose, that is down right wrong.” The audience then gave a large applause, but Bush continued.
“And here’s the problem with that. The problem was, it was to tear down — it was to tear down — it was to tear down the house…”
From here on, below is the official transcript from the Washington Post. It gets very complicated, and I think it will be easiest to understand if you read from it.
“TRUMP: Jeb wants to be — he wants to be a tough guy tonight. I didn’t take the property.
BUSH: And the net result was — you tried.
TRUMP: I didn’t take the property.
BUSH: And you lost in the court.
TRUMP: The woman ultimately didn’t want to do that. I walked away.
BUSH: That is not true. And the simple fact is to turn this into a limousine parking lot for his casinos is a not public use.
(APPLAUSE)
And in Florida, based on what we did, we made that impossible. It is part of our Constitution. That’s the better approach. That is the conservative approach.
MCELVEEN: Mr. Trump, take 30 seconds.
TRUMP: Well, let me just — you know, he wants to be a tough guy. A lot of times, you’ll have — you’ll have — and it didn’t work very well.
BUSH: How tough it is to take away property from an elderly woman?
TRUMP: A lot of time — let me talk. Quiet. A lot of times — a lot of times…
BUSH: How tough it is to take away a property from an elderly woman?
TRUMP: … you — let me talk. Let me talk. Quiet. A lot of times…
(BOOING)
… that’s all of his donors and special interests out there.
(BOOING)
So — it’s what it is. That’s what — and by the way, let me just tell you, we needed tickets. You can’t get them. You know who has the tickets for the — I’m talking about, to the television audience? Donors, special interests, the people that are putting up the money.
(BOOING)
That’s who it is. The RNC told us. We have all donors in the audience. And the reason they’re not loving me…
(BOOING)
… the reason they’re not — excuse me. The reason they’re not loving me is, I don’t want their money. I’m going to do the right thing for the American public. I don’t want their money. I don’t need their money. And I’m the only one up here that can say that.
Eminent domain, the Keystone pipeline — do you consider that a private job? Do you — do you consider that…
BUSH: I consider it a public use.
TRUMP: No — no, let me ask you, Jeb.
(BELL RINGS)
Do you consider the Keystone pipeline private?
BUSH: It’s a public use. It’s a public use.
TRUMP: Is it public or private?
BUSH: It’s a public use. TRUMP: Real — a public use?
BUSH: Yeah.
TRUMP: No, it’s a private job.
BUSH: It’s a public use.
TRUMP: It’s a private job.
BUSH: Established by the courts — federal, state courts.
TRUMP: You wouldn’t have the Keystone pipeline that you want so badly without eminent domain.
MCELVEEN: All right, gentlemen…
TRUMP: You wouldn’t have massive — excuse me, Josh — (BOOING) you wouldn’t have massive factories without eminent domain.”
McElveen miraculously somehow managed to get the candidates to stop and then the ABC moderators took over from there. First of all, Trump is very weak on eminent domain. He tried to tear down an elderly widow’s house and turn it into a limousine parking lot at one of his casinos. He tried to use eminent domain to accomplish this. Obviously, a limousine parking lot is not a public-use. In order to use eminent domain, the property must be used to build a road, bridge, hospital, school, etc. Trump was trying to fool everyone saying that he just uses eminent domain to build schools, hospitals, roads, and bridges, which is not the case. Bush called him out on it.
In regards to whether the Keystone Pipeline would be a public or private use, I would say it is a public use. I’m sure Trump would argue that a private company would manage it. Yes, but private companies, not the government manage hospitals and sometimes private companies use eminent domain to build private toll roads. The Keystone Pipeline would not just benefit one company, but would help many companies, help the American people at large become less dependent on the Middle East for oil, and it would help our economy. There’s my take on it, but you can have your own opinion, and I’d love to hear it!
When everyone booed for Trump interrupting and trying to get more time, Trump said, “…that’s just all [Jeb Bush’s] donors and private interests out there.” Trump even went so far as claiming the RNC told the candidates it would all be a donor audience. That is false. Breitbart News reported the following. “Sean Spicer of the RNC told Breitbart News that in the audience of 1000, there are 75 donors.
According to sources on two different campaigns, individual candidates received fewer tickets than at any other debate, just 20.” Overall, only 7.5% of the audience was comprised of donors. But supposedly the RNC said that the audience was entirely made up of donors to Trump. At the end of that battle with Bush, Trump made a big mistake. Trump told the moderator, Josh McElveen, to be quiet. The crowd booed and Trump stopped, but that’s what stuck with me and I’m sure it stuck with many other viewers as well.
Near the end of the debate, Marco Rubio was asked, “Should young women be required to sign up for Selective Service in case of a national emergency?” Rubio answered this in the affirmative. “…I have no problem whatsoever with people of either gender serving in combat so long as the minimum requirements necessary to do the job are not compromised. But, I support that, and obviously now that that is the case I do believe that Selective Service should be opened up for both men and women in case a Draft is ever instituted.”
The same question was put forward to Jeb Bush. Here’s how he answered. “I do, and I do think that we should not impose any kind of political agenda on the military. There should be — if women can meet the requirements, the minimum requirements for combat service they ought to have the right to do it.”
Chris Christie interjected himself to answer the question. He said, “I have taught [my] daughters right from the beginning, that their sense of self-worth, their sense of value, their sense of what they want to do with their life comes not from the outside, but comes from within. And if a young woman in this country wants to go and fight to defend their country, she should be permitted to do so.” Ted Cruz responded after the debate saying that putting women on the draft is “nuts”. However, of course women can always voluntarily join the military, if we don’t have to dumb down our tests.
Those are the most important and talked about parts of the debate in my opinion. To learn more about the debate and see all the candidates and their opinions on the individual issues through the transcript of the debate, click here.

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