In contrast to the earlier debates, it was the moderators, not the candidates who came out swinging in Wednesday night’s
The CNBC moderators didn’t mince words in the early part of the debate, asking each candidate, including frontrunners
Donald Trump and Ben Carson to answer for his or her record, comments and more. Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush got responded with various degrees of success.
Ted Cruz used his time to criticize the harsh questioning, saying, “This is not a cage match.”
Rubio and Bush had a tense exchange over the Florida senator’s voting record, with Bush — the state’s former governor — defending the Sun Sentinel newspaper’s call for Rubio to give up his senate seat, calling himself “a constituent”and asking, “what is it, like a French work week? You get, like, three days where you have to show up?”
John Kasich got into nitty-gritty details of his economic plan and Christie talked about his idea to deal with Social Security and Medicare, working hard to draw lines between himself and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.
Christie gave thorough, competent answers to questions about the Justice Department and directed his criticism toward Clinton, earning applause from the audience. Bush boasted about his economic record and volunteered to give a Democrat who would cut spending by $10 a “warm kiss.” Fiorina slammed “crony capitalism” in a polished response, saying, “This is how socialism starts.” Faced again with negative questioning, Rubio used his speaking time to draw attention away from his financial troubles and toward his family-focused tax plan. A tough question from the moderators about Carson’s involvement with Mannatech elicited boos from the crowd and a measured response from the retired neurosurgeon, who claimed to have no connection to the health-supplement company even as he admitted to giving paid speeches at their events.
Trump reiterated that he’s using his own money to
finance his presidential campaign, slamming SuperPACs instead of his fellow candidates.
Rand Paul speaks for one of the first times tonight after Cruz mentions he was a sponsor for Paul’s “Audit the Fed” bill, saying “I don’t think the Fed should be involved with lobbying [Congress].” Carson says “I was wrong” on subsidies, and calls on the government to give them up altogether. Mike Huckabee is asked about income inequality asking why we haven’t concentrated on curing the four-biggest cost cutting diseases — alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease and cancer– in order to fuel the economy. Rubio got into an argument with John Harwood over the details of his tax plan, while Paul pushed in order to earn time for a response to explain how his tax plan would gain broad support of the public.
After denying that he had ever attacked Mark Zuckerberg about H1-B visas for foreign tech workers, Trump went on offense when moderator Becky Sharp read a quote directly from his website before changing the subject and mentioning his stance on guns, saying he has a New York concealed-carry permit. Fiorina continued to concentrate on small businesses in this debate, reiterating her previous argument that small businesses are getting “crushed” by big government. Christie again attacked the leading Democrats, criticizing Obama’s policies toward cops and Hillary Clinton’s energy policy. In a theme of the night, he also attacked the moderators, saying “even in New Jersey what you’re doing is called rude” after being interrupted while answering a question. Rand Paul says you should blame your grandparents for having too many kids instead of blaming politicians of either party for Social Security and Medicare issues.
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