GOP debate: Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush brawl

Rubio fired back, saying Bush never took issue with Sen. John McCain missing votes when he was running for president.

Whos running for President?    Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton launched her presidential bid on April 12 through a video message on social media. The former first lady, senator and secretary of state is considered the front-runner among possible Democratic candidates.

“Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion — so you can do more than just get by — you can get ahead. And stay ahead,” she said in her announcement video. “Because when families are strong, America is strong. So I’m hitting the road to earn your vote, because it’s your time. And I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats, announced his run in an email to supporters on April 30. He has said the United States needs a “political revolution” of working-class Americans to take back control of the government from billionaires.

“This great nation and its government belong to all of the people and not to a handful of billionaires, their super PACs and their lobbyists,” Sanders said at a rally in Vermont on May 26.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley launched his presidential campaign May 30 in Baltimore with an appeal to the party’s progressive base that he hopes will upend the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton is destined to clinch the Democratic nomination.

“This is the urgent work calling us forward today: to rebuild the truth of the American Dream for all Americans,” O’Malley said at his rally. “And to begin right now.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, officially announced his presidential bid April 7 at a rally in Louisville. Paul is the son of former presidential hopeful Ron Paul of Texas.

“Today I announce with God’s help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I’m putting myself forward as a candidate for President of the United States of America,” Paul said at the rally.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has made a name for himself in the Senate, solidifying his brand as a conservative firebrand willing to take on the GOP’s establishment. He announced he was seeking the Republican presidential nomination in a speech on March 23.

“These are all of our stories,” Cruz told the audience at Liberty University in Virginia. “These are who we are as Americans. And yet for so many Americans, the promise of America seems more and more distant.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, announced his 2016 bid with a rally in Miami on April 13, a day after Clinton announced. He’s a Republican rising star who swept into office in 2010 in a wave of tea party fervor.

“Grounded by the lessons of our history, but inspired by the promise of our future, I announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America,” Rubio told supporters at Miami’s Freedom Tower.

Carly Fiorina, a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, announced her bid for the Republican nomination on May 4. In 2008 she served as an adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, and in 2010 she unsuccessfully ran for Barbara Boxer’s Senate seat in California.

“Yes, I am running,” Fiorina said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “I think I’m the best person for the job because I understand how the economy actually works. I understand the world; who’s in it.”

Republican Dr. Ben Carson announced he was running for President during a speech May 2 to thousands in Detroit. The retired neurosurgeon and surprise conservative star had been exploring the idea of running for a few months before the announcement.

“I’m probably never going to be politically correct, because I’m not a politician,” he said in his announcement. “I don’t want to be a politician. Because politicians do what is politically expedient — I want to do what’s right.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee formally announced his candidacy at a rally in Hope, Arkansas, on May 5. Huckabee unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination in 2008. This is his second attempt.

“I truly am from Hope to higher ground,” Huckabee told the crowd during his announcement. “So it seems perfectly fitting that it would be here that I announce that I am a candidate for President of the United States of America.”

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination from a factory on the outskirts of Pittsburgh on May 27. Santorum, who ran unsuccessfully in 2012, is widely considered the most socially conservative candidate who will enter the race.

“As middle America is hollowing out, we can’t sit idly by as big government politicians make it harder for our workers and then turn around and blame them for losing jobs overseas. American families don’t need another President tied to big government or big money,” he said during his kickoff rally.

Former New York Gov. George Pataki formally announced his bid for the White House in a YouTube video released on May 28. The Republican served three terms as New York’s governor, including during the 9/11 attacks.

“My vision was not a partisan vision. It was a vision about people, about what we could accomplish together,” Pataki said as he narrated a four-minute announcement video. “If we are to flourish as a people, we have to fall in love with America again.”

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham made himself the ninth Republican candidate to announce his candidacy. Graham launched his bid in Central, S.C., on June 1. Graham is betting his foreign policy experience will set him apart from other potential contenders.

“I want to be President to defeat the enemies trying to kill us, not just penalize them or criticize them or contain them, but defeat them,” he said at his kickoff event.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie jumped into the race June 30 during a rally at his former high school in Livingston, New Jersey. He is the 14th candidate on the Republican side to join the race.

“We need a government in Washington D.C. that remembers you went there to work for us, not the other way around,” he said during the rally.

On June 24, hours before a kickoff rally, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced his intention to run. He was once a Republican rising star who passed on an opportunity to seek the White House in 2012.

“I’m running for President of the United States of America. Join me,” Jindal tweeted, with a link to his website’s announcement page.

Businessman Donald Trump announced June 16 at his Trump Tower in New York City that he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination. This ends more than two decades of flirting with the idea of running for the White House.

“So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again,” Trump told the crowd at his announcement.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush kicked off his campaign for the 2016 GOP nomination on June 15 in Miami. If his campaign is victorious, the Bush clan will become the only American family to have elected three of their own to the highest office in the land.

“We will get back on the right side of free enterprise and freedom for all Americans,” Bush said during his announcement.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich joined the Republican field July 21 as he formally announced his White House bid.

“I am here to ask you for your prayers, for your support … because I have decided to run for president of the United States,” Kasich told his kickoff rally at the Ohio State University.

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“The only reason you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position,” the senator said.

The back-and-forth underscored the competing rivalries that are simmering beneath a campaign that has been dominated by Donald Trump. Bush’s decision to go after Rubio for his work ethic in the Senate shows that he believes Rubio is blocking his lane. Bush, struggling to break through to the top of the GOP pack, was clearly trying to seize the narrative — but Rubio quickly and effectively counterpunched, owning the moment.

Rubio appeared to contrast himself from some of his rivals on stage, including Bush and Trump, without actually naming them.

Asked to address some of his personal financial troubles — and what they say about Rubio’s ability to manage the country’s finances — he offered a seamless response about his humble upbringing.

“Here’s the truth. I didn’t inherit any money,” Rubio said, before explaining how his parents didn’t save enough money to send him to school and how he and his wife have had to work to provide for their four children.

“This debate needs to be about the men and women across the country that are struggling across the country on a daily basis,” he added.

Tonight’s debate was Carson’s first since rising to the top of the polls and it tested the political newcomer on his preparedness to be on the national stage.

Carson, who has made several controversial comments about homosexuality and Muslims, said he has no plans to change his public rhetoric.

He said the idea that a person who believes marriage is between a man and a woman is a homophobe was “one of the myths the left perpetrates on our society.”

“That’s what PC culture is all about,” Carson said. “It’s destroying this nation.”

The other big target tonight: the media.

And as he did through much of the debate, Rubio led the attack, joined by Trump and Ted Cruz. In one memorable line, Rubio said Democrats don’t need a super PAC because they enjoy support from the mainstream media.


Ahead of the prime-time debate, the lowest-ranking GOP candidates — Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Lindsey Graham — battled it out at the Coors Events Center at the University of Colorado.

For all four men, the pressure’s on to raise their national poll numbers to qualify for the main debate stage hosted by Fox Business Network on November 10. The so-called undercard candidates offered their views on a budget agreement passed by the House earlier in the day that would lift the debt ceiling and avert a government shutdown.

Graham, a national security hawk, called President Barack Obama an “incompetent commander in chief” but said he approved provisions in the deal that would add billions of dollars to the Defense Department’s budget. Pataki, who was equally critical and accused Obama of holding the military “hostage,” said though he believed it was a “bad deal,” he would sign it in order to “protect our military.”

Jindal was critical of the agreement, but said closing the government over the budget deal was a “false choice.”

Graham was put on the spot for several policy stances unpopular among conservatives, including believing climate change is real, being willing to accept tax increases and supporting a path to citizenship for those who are in the country illegally.

“I’m not a scientist and I’ve got the grades to prove it,” Graham said, drawing laughter from the room. But the majority of scientists, he added, “are telling me that greenhouse gas effects are real, that we’re heating up our planet.”

Regarding immigration, Graham said he doesn’t believe in mass deportation, but instead wants to fix the problem by, in part, securing the country’s borders. “I want to talk about fixing the problem.”

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