Okay, here goes.

ABC effed up the introductions big time – almost forgot Ben Carson – calling the names in the wrong order. And then totally forgot John Kasich. The candidates were confused.

Trump says he has the temperament because he built a corporation. He says he brought up “the problem with Muslims.” And …. Brings up his opposition to the Iraq War.

Cruz dodged the question about his comment about Trump’s temperament to attack Obama, Clinton, and Sanders. Asked again he said, “the voters will judge our temperament.”


Trump points out that Cruz didn’t answer the question. “We’re going to win with Trump.”

The Cruz flier re Carson comes up. Carson says he won’t attack Cruz, but attacks his staff. Carson brings up his volunteers, including the one who died. Cruz apologizes and says it was in the news. Doesn’t explain why they made it look like a government document or why they felt the need to report “the news.”

Carson calls Cruz a liar. Then says he’s not.

Rubio doesn’t like the comparison with Obama. Says Obama knows what he’s doing. He’s deliberately ruining America.

Christie attacks Rubio head on. “You have not made a decision for which you’ve been held accountable.” “I like Marc Rubio.” He’s smart, but it would be a mistake.

Rubio accuses Christie of ruining NJ’s credit rating.

Christie – accuses Rubio of “a drive by shot” at the beginning then a canned speech for 25 seconds. Christie is hot! Lots of democrats rooting for Christie, because Rubio is fucking slick! Christie cuts him off again, “There it is, the memorized speech.”

I think Christie is drawing blood.

More below the fold.

Jeb asked about complimenting Rubio in 2012. He says “this is 2016.” Both Jeb and Christie are losing ground to Rubio as the moderates and sane people coalesce around Rubio, but Rubio is a fucking suit and those guys are understandably pissed.

Cruz asked what he would do about N. Korea’s ICBM test. Cruz blames Clinton and Obama. He does get around to saying he wants to put anti-missile defense in S. Korea And we have to harden the grid against N. Korea satellite attack. Asked whether he would have attacked N. Korea today, says he would need to hear intelligence briefings on N. Korea. Attacks the Iranian nuclear deal and says he’ll rip to shreds the Iran deal.

Kasich wants to intercept N Korean ships and aircraft. Rambles, talks about non-state radicals. I don’t know what he’s saying. Oh, ballistic missile defense in Japan and S. Korea. We should have told Japan to take it down. What?


Jeb attacks Obama says he’s in retreat. Supports pre-emptive strike.

Trump disagrees with Rubio. Thinks Obama is incompetent. Then says he would deal with China to control N. Korea. Actually makes the most sense of all of them even if it’s oversimple.

Rubio goes back to his memorized speech.

Jeb says it’s weakness to negotiate release of Americans arrested.

Christie: “You never pay ransom to criminals.”

Kasich on immigration – need to shut up border. Give 11 million legal status, but not a path to citizenship. Leaving children in the house while deporting parents is wrong – he just lost 10 percent of the Republican vote. He didn’t have it anyway.

Cruz has 11 page plan – build wall, triple border patrol, increased aircraft monitoring, put e-verify in workplaces, cut off tax dollars to cities bucking federal law, and tighten up visas to screen people coming in legally who don’t leave. Zero tolerance deportation of anyone found here illegally. Clinton deported 12 million. Bush deported 10 million. Fact check?

Rubio won’t admit he ran from his own legislation. He says it can’t pass because Federal govt won’t enforce law. Entry-exit tracking system for visa overstays.

Christie piles on Rubio again for not answering the question. Go Christie! Rubio scares me the most in terms of electability. Christie’s main mission tonight is attacking Rubio, who has the moderate voters…. You know my analysis.

Trump attacks Obamacare for making insurance companies rich. He will save people from dying on the street .

Cruz calls Trump plan socialized medicine. Advocates allowing insurance policies to be sold across state lines, which means the least restrictive third world southern state will dictate insurance regulations, or lack thereof, and everything passed in California and elsewhere will be rendered moot.

Trump defends eminent domain – the conservatives say they want the keystone pipeline, “It wouldn’t go 10 feet” without eminent domain. He’s right.

Jeb attacks Trump for using eminent domain for private purposes. “To turn property into a parking lot for his casino is not public use.”

Trump told Jeb to be quiet. Get’s booed. Says “that’s all of his donors and special interests.” More boos.   Trump, “I don’t want their money.”

Jeb says Keystone is “public use.’ Trump says, “privately run.” Moderator tries to break in and Trump cuts him off saying “excuse me John.” More boos from Jeb’s donors and special interests.

Jeb looked pretty good in that exchange – reasonable. But it’s too little too late I think.

Christie however? I don’t know. Maybe with Rand Paul out he can pick up some of the maverick vote.

Kasich denies he’s a moderate.   He cut taxes and grew jobs. Dad can’t lose job.   We need to help the sick people and the “working poor.” And minorities.

Trump says he’s a conservative because he want to conserve money and wealth. And save the country.

Rubio – conservatism is about limited government. About free enterprise.   And about strong military. Obama doesn’t understand that.

Trump will bring jobs back from Japan, China, and Mexico – attacks the trade deals. Says we are “highest taxed country in the world.” Fact checkers????

Christie brags about NJ economy. Says veterans are dying because Obama doesn’t know what he does. Attacks Rubio. Responsibility. Rubio doesn’t have it.

Kasich brags about Ohio economy. Brags more. Balanced budget. Aimed at NH voters.

Rubio says Christie doesn’t understand insidious nature of Obama. Attacks Clinton and Sanders – he’s already thinking about the fall.

Rubio says business taxes are too high.

68 percent of Americans want to tax over a million. Nobody wants to respond directly. Jeb pulls out the welfare queen.   “Reward people for work rather than nonwork.”

Christie says 68 percent are wrong. He didn’t dodge. Says tax increases will drive millionaires out. Tried it in NJ. Didn’t work.

Cruz asked about carpet bombing. He says “overwhelming airpower is blessing of US.” Cruz says that carpet bombing isn’t indiscriminate. It’s “targeting oil plants. Targeting weapons depots.”

Again, Cruz doesn’t get the concept of carpet bombing.

We should kill the enemy and then get out. Destroy a country, but don’t try to rebuild it.

Rubio wants Arab ground force to defeat ISIS. And now we need to have airstrikes in a dozen countries.

Rubio tries to sound intelligent about sectarian differences, but it’s pretty micky mouse if you take it apart. Can’t type quickly enough. Says that Arab nations don’t trust Obama.

Trump says bomb the oil and take the oil. Blames environmentalists for us not bombing oil trucks.  And take away their money. Seize their bank accounts.

Bush wants more airstrikes in Libya. Without the US nothing seems to work. Obama sees it incrementally. We have to lead more aggressively.

Carson wants proactive foreign policy strategy in Libya. ISIS is on it’s way. Nobody on stage is acknowledging that ISIS has lost ground over the past year. Impression is that they’re expanding. Carson at least says he would defer bombing decisions until hearing from Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Cruz, waterboarding isn’t torture. Torture is only “excruciating pain which jeopardizes internal organs.” Vague as to whether he would reinstate waterboarding. Only if it’s “necessary.”

Trump – Bring back waterboarding and a hell of a lot worse, because they’re chopping heads in the middle east (including the Saudi govt, but they won’t talk about that)

Jeb – closing Guantanamo is a disaster.

Rubio – distinguishes between law enforcement and anti-terror. Accuses Obama of emptying Guantanamo when we should be filling it up.

Cruz – will rescind every single illegal executive order Obama made. And will repeal Obamacare.

Trump – He’ll make good deals, not bad deals. Iran deal is a bad deal. You have to get them to agree to what you want.

Kasich – no leadership in Washington. There’s no leader to inspire. Obama isn’t a King.

Jeb – “get back to the 10th amendment country.” Get everything back to the states.

I will say this, because I’m not running for office – the 10th amendment is an anachronism written at a time when we were a small agrarian country isolated from most of the rest of the world. 10th amendment should be repealed. But I’m not on the stage.

Republicans are in agreement mode.

Cruz on heroin. Couldn’t save his sister. She died. And then he blamed Mexicans.

Christie brags about drug policy in NJ and says he’s helping NH. Suggested mandatory drug rehabilitation. Says addiction is “not a moral failing but a disease.” Converting a prison to drug rehab center. I want to like him again. He forgot to attack Rubio.

Trump says he’s the last candidate Clinton wants to run against. Build a real wall at Mexico. Beat Hillary Clinton. Says she probably won’t be running because of emails. Democrats are protecting her.

Rubio – narrative is changing. People are understanding that election is turning point – a referendum on national identity. Attacks Clinton on emails. Benghazi.

Carson – Easy contrast between him and Clinton. She’s deceitful. Benghazi – he will never let go. Honesty and integrity.

Everybody seems to have been hanging back, but we have another hour. Christie hasn’t attacked Rubio in a while. Jeb and Cruz haven’t attacked Trump (Jeb should also be attacking Rubio).


Trump – Police need more respect. People who have seen excessive force sue. Police good. Weed out the problems. Police are amazing.

Kasich has formed collaborative between police and community leaders. Appointed a liberal to run it. He’s trying to appeal to NH independents who can vote in primary.

Rubio would visit a mosque but accuses Obama of trying to stir up Muslim divide from everyone else. But we have to defeat radicals. Obama discriminates against Christians.

Christie – says she quarantined nurse because she was showing symptoms. (was she?).   Christie went to Mosques to build bridges. Says most Muslims are good people.

Carson – quarantines not simple issue. Don’t quarantine everyone coming from Brazil. Rapid response needed.

Rubio says women should have to register for the draft. Air force is too small. Navy too small. We need to rebuild military.

Jeb – women should sign up. We shouldn’t impose politics on military. We need more readiness. Dodges follow up question about women actually being drafted. Says we need more uniforms. Brags about support from generals.

Christie – Young women shouldn’t be discriminated against by not being allowed to register for the draft.

Carson – 14 percent decrease in recruiting. We need better treatment of veterans. Nothing to address the question.

Jeb – wants private voucher for veterans. We need to be able to fire VA officials. Civil service “reform” which will basically allow for cronyism. Attacks Clinton.

Kasich calls veterans golden employees. Give them jobs. Cheers.

Rubio’s brother is a veteran. He jumped out of an airplane. VA doesn’t treat him well. More people will be fired if he’s president. Backs vouchers.

Cruz, doesn’t respond as to whether families should be allowed to raise money for hostage ransom, but attacks Obama as weak.

Trump – you can’t negotiate that way with terrorists. He raised 6 million for vets. Fraud in VA will disappear when he’s president.

Rubio – marriage should be between 1 man and 1 woman. Democrats are extremists on abortion and media won’t challenge her on it. He will expose her in general election.

Jeb – I’m most pro-life person on stage. Passed snitch laws, etc. Exceptions for rape and incest. In the “sweet spot.”


Rubio – will sign anti-abortion bill with exceptions. It’ about life.

Christie – we defunded planned parenthood. Saved 50 million dollars. Attacks Clinton for murdering people in the womb. I hate him again. Rape and incest exception. Invoked Reagan.

They’re asked about superbowl predictios. Jeb notes that Peyton Manning supports him.

Closing statements:

Kasich talks about a positive message, trying to distinguish from others to attract indie NH voters.

Christie – Proud of his record and not attacking Rubio.

Jeb – notes Reagan’s birthday. Optimistic message. Philosophy of limited government, capitalism, and peace through strength.

Carson – Media has been mean to me. I’m honest and I believe in God.

Rubio – My kids (my dick works) . Will defeat Hillary Clinton.

Cruz – I stood up to Washington against the ethanol mandate in Iowa. I won anyway. I’m a leader. Constitution. Corruption in Washington.

Trump – slights Cruz for stealing Carson’s votes. We’re losers. I will make us winners.


Okay, in summary – Christie hit Rubio hard and Rubio didn’t see it coming.  Will it slow his momentum?  Christie almost started to come off as a bully, but that doesn’t help Rubio.  Then Rubio repeated the same canned speech twice!  I think it hurt.  How much?  It’s going to go viral.  But who knows.

Cruz did well for himself with their base, but he just comes across like a dick – I don’t know why.  It has Republicans worried.  Will he take second because Rubio was so weak tonight?  We’ll find out on Tuesday.  I will say that he had me for a moment in his account of his sister, until he blamed Mexicans.

Trump was doing find until he attacked the audience.  Kept getting himself booed.  The ending dig at Cruz probably won’t help by itself, but Cruz has declined in the polls in the wake of the flier, and Carson disputed his account – Cruz never really explained why it was necessary to mail a flier even if they got the news report wrong.  Trump clearly sees Cruz as his primary opponent, but before tonight I would have said he should be looking at Rubio.

This may have been Jeb’s best debate.  He was articulate, and didn’t come across as milquetoast as in prior debates.  But I think he’s lost too much ground and his potential supporters are probably already in Rubio’s camp solid even after tonight.

Kasich was upbeat and almost reasonable.  But he’s struggling to define himself as conservative as opposed to moderate, and you know he’ll be downplaying his denial if he pulls a miracle and wins the nomination.  He may do well in NH, and maybe mix things up a bit, but I don’t think it will last long.  His potential supporters will go for Rubio.

Carson – why is he even there?

Bottom line – I think had Rubio done well tonight a few others might have dropped out after NH.  But they may hang on for awhile to see if Rubio stumbles.

And I don’t think any of them will be able to defeat Clinton unless something solid comes out of the email controversy.  I actually think the winner will back off the Benghazi screams as it’s really about the base.  Nobody else blames her for it.