Live Blogging the Republican Presidential Debate

Live Blogging the Republican Presidential Debate August 6, 2015

I usually hate campaign debates. Rarely does anyone say anything remotely substantive. As I’ve said many times, they’re really just dueling catchphrase festivals. But having Donald Trump in the debate makes it a whole different ballgame. For sheer entertainment, this is worth watching. So I’m going to live blog the whole thing on this post starting at 9 pm. Enjoy.

Let the games begin!

Donald Trump walks in wearing one of his signature suits. Pants and jacket made in Mexico (hopefully not by rapists) and shirt made in China). And I think he got his toupee trimmed for this special occasion.

The moderators keep talking about how great the audience is. Seriously, are you open mic hacks at a comedy club? They did everything but “give yourselves a round of applause for being so wonderful.”

Trump already made one crucial mistake, picking a red tie that clashes with his fake tan orange skin.

I so wish they’d had Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade and Elizabeth Hasselbeck do the moderation.

Oh snap, they just set Trump up hard with that first question.

“If I’m the nominee, I will not run as an independent.” Genius. Pure genius.

Rand Paul goes on the attack immediately!

2nd question goes right after Ben Carson for not knowing much of anything about politics, including a list of things he’s said that are flat out false. His answer was a bunch of empty platitudes about what made America great.

Rubio is talking too fast. Maybe he’s saving up time so he can take a refreshing drink of water.

I’m shocked. They’re actually asking tough questions and clearly pitting the candidates against one another. “That other guy said you’re a big poopyhead. How would you respond?”

Ooh, Megyn Kelly going right after Trump for his blatantly sexist remarks. You go girl.

Ha. His answer is that it’s a bad thing to be politically correct. Therefore it’s okay that he attacks women constantly in a sexist manner.

Cruz did a great job of turning that question around in his favor.

Another great question from Megyn Kelly, going after Scott Walker for being anti-choice even to save the life of the mother. He had no real answer.

Huckabee says we know a fetus is a person because of the “DNA schedule.” What the hell does that mean? He also wants the president to just declare abortion illegal on his own. Constitution? What Constitution?

Good question to Rand Paul, trying to force him to stand up for his isolationist foreign policy. He’s dodging it, though.

Kasich is waving his hands way too much.

Jeb Bush: “We need to be much more strategic about how we deal with our borders.” A textbook example of politico-babble. There isn’t a shred of substance whatsoever in that statement.

Ooh, they asked Trump for evidence of his claim that the Mexican government sends rapists and murderers here. He won’t answer, of course. Not even an attempt to answer it.

Holy shit, Chris Wallace actually pointed out that Trump didn’t give any evidence. He cites anonymous border control agents, who are not in a position to know what the Mexican government is doing. And then he got pissed and railed against “stupid leaders.” He got under Trump’s skin and that can only be a good thing. He may blow his top soon.

They ask Kasich about Trump’s immigration claims and Kasich recites his totally unrelated alleged accomplishments.

Cruz has done really well so far. He’s helping himself a lot, purely as a matter of political calculation.

Chris Christie says he’s gone before the “Foreign Intelligence Service Court.” You’d think he’d know that it’s the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, then.

Ooh, sparks between Christie and Paul. Paul is absolutely right and Christie is being a demagogue.

Damn, Megyn Kelly is asking some really tough questions. I’m pleasantly surprised.

Walker: “You talk about Egypt, probably the best relationship we’ve had in Israel in my lifetime.” Wut?

Carson: “We’ve gotten into this mindset of fighting these politically correct wars. There’s no such thing as a politically correct war.” No shit. So what are you babbling about?

They asked Trump why he supported single payer in 1999. He said it works “incredibly well” in Canada and Scotland (?), then says he isn’t in favor of it. Brilliant? He says he’ll take care of the poor “through a different system.” Whatever that means.

They asked Trump what specifically a politician has done for him when he’s donated to Democrats. His answer: Hillary Clinton went to his wedding. Seriously. Holy shit.

Carson says his tax system is based on tithing in the Bible. That means a 10% flat tax, which would explode the deficit.

Jeb Bush is for “higher standards in education.” Meaningless cliche alert!

Rubio: “I believe in curriculum reform.” Whatever that means. “I’m for doing something different.” Thanks, you’ve been helpful.

Kasich has some flop sweat. Somewhere Richard Nixon is smiling.

Kasich: “America is a miracle country.” *headdesk*

Carson gives us the first Alinsky reference of the night. Didn’t apply there, but he got it out.

Hey Jeb, how would you grow the economy at 4% and create 19 million jobs? “I think we have to have high expectations.” The power of positive thinking for those incapable of thinking.

Justin Schieber just texted me: “John Kasich Is old Jeremy Renner. Seriously, it’s weird.”

Christie’s answer on entitlement reform is scary, but he may be the first one tonight to actually answer a question directly.

Christie and Huckabee just had an actual substantive exchange on Medicare and Social Security. I am astonished.

Trump: It’s okay to rip off lenders because they’re “not babies, they’re killers.” Uh, okay. And he made a lot of money on it, so it’s okay.

Ooh, the Iran deal. Everyone agrees that the deal gives Iran everything. Not one of them can offer a single example. Rand Paul just flat out lied, claiming that Obama shouldn’t have dropped the sanctions without evidence of compliance. Not a single sanction has been dropped and will not be dropped until there is that evidence. Huckabee is just blustering.

I think Trump is one tough question away from telling the moderators to go fuck themselves.

Bush: “I created a culture of life in our state.” Stupid cliche alert.

Another tough Trump question, quoting him saying he was “very pro-choice” in 1999. “When did you actually become a Republican?” Oh, snap.

Trump has “evolved” on abortion.

Bush is trying to position himself as the anti-Trump, a moderate, “nice” voice. Smart politics.

Ted Cruz has been silent for the last half hour or so. Is he still on stage?

Trump blames his name-calling on ISIS beheading people. Seriously.

Wow, Kasich just said he recently went to a same-sex wedding! That’s freaking brave in this context.

Trump babbles a non-answer again, just going on about our leaders being stupid.

Cruz gets a question, answers some other question he wishes they’d asked instead.

Carson uses the “Our navy is at its smallest size since 1917” bullshit. Way to use an idiotic argument, Ben! You’re growing up before our very eyes.

Ha. Huckabee thinks we don’t have enough B-52s. Yeah, we don’t have enough horses and bayonets either. We have B-2 bombers now, you ignoramus.

Everyone other than Trump wants you to know just how humble their beginnings were. “My second cousin grew up without a head.” I’m waiting for them to mention how they walked uphill to school, both ways.

Trump: “I was so deprived growing up that the black servant that breastfed me only had a B cup.” /satire

Carson thinks we should “move beyond race.” Which means, of course, that we should pretend racism no longer exists. Ben, your uncle called. I think his name was Tom.

Kasich says we had a $5 trillion surplus when he was in Congress. In what fucking universe?

Cruz: “I’ll instruct the DOJ and the IRS to persecute religious freedom.” WUT?

Carson: “Freedom isn’t free.” I suspect he has a Learn a Platitude a Day desk calendar.

I think it goes without saying that Donald Trump just gave the strongest, greatest. classiest performance of any candidate in the history of the world. To celebrate, he’s going to have his third wife stuffed and gold-plated and go find a younger model to replace her.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment

    Thank you, Ed:

    I’m glad you’re liveblogging it so I don’t have to live watch it.

  • KB

    Open, open, open.

  • Deepsix

    This is gonna be good! By which I mean entertainingly bad.

  • Deepsix

    It starts off as awkward as humanly possible…

  • KB

    This is MUCH better than watching it myself.

    • Artor

      I haven’t had to restrain myself from hurling heavy objects at the monitor even once!

  • smhll

    I think you typed “Bush” when you meant Trump in one of the last paragraphs. (Rapist and murderer evidence.)

    • ebrayton

      I did and changed it a minute later.

  • Deepsix

    Rubio: “We need a fence to keep my people out”.

  • rawnaeris

    Disqus, *sigh*
    Anyway, I keep trying to tell people that Cruz is actually borderline brilliant but they keep not listening to me. He knows how to play a crowd, he’s not a bad speaker, and he’s not antagonizing Trump. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Cruz is angling either for Trumps VP nomination and/or Trumps money when Trump bows out of the race.

    • ebrayton

      I think this is spot on.

      • Mark Martin

        Hey Ed, i read all of your posts today and i think you’re going to make a great contribution here. Keep it up!!!

    • colnago80

      I have been writing on Brayton’s blog for months trying to convince people that Cruz is brilliant and was notorious in college and law school for being able to think fast on his feet. He was a champion debater in college so it’s not surprising that he was able to run rings around the other 9 clowns. I have said for months that Cruz is the most dangerous man in the Rethuglican Party, being a brilliant sociopath. Think Joe McCarthy or Huey Long with brains.

      • Mark Martin


  • raven

    Huckabee says we know a fetus is a person because of the “DNA schedule.” What the hell does that mean?

    It’s meaningless technobabble from a near illiterate.
    Huckabee has almost no real education and it shows. He’s ignorant about everything. Including I’m sure his religion and the Magic Book.

  • eric

    The winners right now are the MCs. Decent questions.

    Trump is being a jerk and I don’t think he’ll be leading after this. I don’t think Bush will either; his responses are milquetoast and basically unmemorable a minute after he finishes talking.

  • eric

    I am kinda sad nobody is really trying to out-crazy Trump. We’re getting a lot of the standard GOP close the borders, small government, tough on everyone type of rhetoric, but no NEW crazy claims. At least not yet.

  • HematitePersuasion

    This sounds like a coded negative reference to Common Core:

    Rubio: “I believe in curriculum reform.”

  • eric

    Good god, they are scared to death of Hilary. I think they’ve mentioned her 4-5 times so far.

  • John Pieret

    Carson: “We’ve gotten into this mindset of fighting these politically correct wars. There’s no such thing as a politically correct war.” No shit. So what are you babbling about?

    I suspect he means we can use nukes, nerve gas, flame throwers and any other means against ISIS.

    • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

      I wonder how he’d feel about us attacking Africa for their rich resources and to take slaves?….Hmmm…..

  • Mark Martin
  • eric

    Cason gave a nonanswer to how he would challenge Hilary; now Jeb is giving a nonanswer to his economy question…and now Walker is giving a non-answer to basically the same question.

    What I’m learning here is that we should’ve made “Hilary Clinton” and “Defund Obamacare” drinking terms.

    • rawnaeris

      “Hillary” wasn’t a drinking word? *glances at drink*

    • Brudder

      I locked p the booze for this, too dangerous.

  • rawnaeris

    What did Christie say *about entitlement reform, exactly (or approximately)?

    • ebrayton

      He offered specific changes, mostly in the direction of cutting benefits. Like I said, his answers are scary but he was the first person to answer any question directly.

      • rawnaeris

        Thanks. I don’t actually have it on as I don’t have cable.

      • Mark Martin

        As a CPA, every year I see people who make 200k+ a year on investments and still pull 30k+ from the SSA. I personally see this as a tragedy, that money should be going to people who need it.
        But as a progressive I don’t believe the Republican party will follow through with its promises, even if they do something like this they will find a way to make sure the rich are compensated.

  • eric

    Oh snap, they are really going after Trump about bankruptcy. His response is basically “everyone else does it too, and I’m proud I didn’t lose money when my companies went bankrupt”

    • Brudder

      “everyone else does it too, and I’m proud I didn’t lose MY money when my companies went bankrupt”

      There I fixed it.

  • eric

    Agreement between the candidates that they would ‘rip up’ the Iran agreement, but Rand at least had the decency to look uncomfortable while he was lying. Huckabee tried a canned catchphrase and it flopped miserably. He’s basically done; I don’t see him rising in the polls after this debate.

    I don’t know why debate MCs even bother asking about foreign policy any more. Everyone just pretends to be an uber hawk.

  • robin

    If Carson is going to tax us based on the Bible, can I pay my taxes in sheep and goats?

    • raven

      According to Exodus you can sell your kids as sex slaves if you need a few bucks.
      I’m sure the US armed forces can put them to use though. They always need more cannon fodder and slaves would be a cost effective way to fight our wars.

      • Kevin R. Cross

        I realize you’re being sarcastic, but that really is an unfair comment on the military. Whatever the idiocy of our political leaders, our military hasn’t used troops as cannon fodder since Vietnam.

        • raven

          Not true in the least.

          Reports about the end of the war in Iraq routinely describe the toll on the U.S. military the way the Pentagon does: 4,487 dead, and 32,226 wounded. The death count is accurate. But the wounded figure wildly understates the number of American servicemembers who have come back from Iraq less than whole.Dec 30, 2011

          How Many US Soldiers Were Wounded in Iraq? Guess Again.


          Our knowledge of medicine and battle field medicine has converted a lot of what would be dead soldiers in Vietnam to wounded soldiers in Iraq. Those wounded include a high proportion of head injuries, the signature wound of Iraq and something we can’t much treat. And amputees, something else we can’t repair.

          • Kevin R. Cross

            Yes, we’ve had a lot of casualties. You get that in a war, especially one that’s turned into an insurgency and gone on for more than ten years.
            But what you said was the military was using it’s troops for cannon fodder – in other words, deliberately sending them into harm’s way without backup or support and not giving a damn about what happens to them, and that simply isn’t true.
            Oh, and your link doesn’t work.

      • HairyEyedWordBombThrower

        Mamelukes again?

    • Jeremy Shaffer

      Sheep and goats? Hey, Jesus paid all our debts on the cross.

      • robin

        Hey, I forgot about that. I just let the IRS know that Jesus paid my taxes. Carson said so. (It doesn’t work in restaurants, but the IRS maybe?)

  • eric

    Last question is asking them if they got a message from God. Please please Trump, be an ass about it.
    But Cruz and Kasitch and just offering pat closing statements, and I expect pretty much everyone else but TRump to try and out-Christian each other.

    • Science Avenger

      I fell out of my chair when that question popped up. Part of me thnks it was satire that got taken seriously. Or perhaps a test of their diplomatic skills: the VIP you are discussing critical issues with says something absurd, keep a straight face in 3…2…1…

  • whheydt

    If we “don’t have enough B-52s” what does he propose to do? Build more? That’ll make Boeing happy, and might bring some really old guys out of retirement..(Production ended in 1962.)

    • Kengi

      They may be more effective than the trillion dollar F-35 program. Personally, I’d rather have a three or four Apollo programs for the same cost.

      • Artor

        I could go for a couple helpings of Universal Health Care for that price tag.

        • Kengi

          I’m fine with that. I’m sure there’s an another military program we don’t need that could pay for at least one Apollo scale program, though. As I recall, that was $200-$250 million in 2012 dollars. It’s something this nation can afford to do more then once every century or two without giving up on the quest for basic services, like universal healthcare.

    • Kevin R. Cross

      May not be a bad idea. The B-52 is a more effective and flexible weapon system than the B1b Lancer or the B2 Spirit – and unlike the latter, doesn’t cost a billion dollars per plane.

  • eric

    Rubio probably got a boost out of this debate, he came off as fairly sincere. Kasich got lots of claps just because of the crowd, but that may give him some good optics. Nobody stood head and shoulders above the others.

  • eric

    Oh man, it looks like they’re going to do Trump last. I want to watch his flame out but I also really want to flip over to the Daily Show. Choices, choices…

  • eric

    Carson uses his closing statement to say…nothing about policy or leadership whatsoever.

    • Science Avenger

      Believe it or not, a lot of GOP commentors thought Carson’s closing was “brilliant”.

  • Abby Normal

    Christie is positioning himself as the man with a plan. He’s quick and comfortable with the numbers. I’m curious to see if that’s something his party will respond to.

  • rawnaeris

    Cruz: “I’ll instruct the DOJ and the IRS to persecute religious freedom.”

    Wait, what? that’s a damaging bit of misspeak there.

    • eric

      Don’t think it hurt him, he got claps so it looks like everyone got the “stop” that was missing. But I don’t think he stood out as much as he wanted to.

      I’m thinking Trump will lose some points but they’ll be pretty evenly distributed among several of the other candidates.

  • Prof_M

    Rubio: God blessed the Republican Party with candidates. None for Democrats. Did you hear it?

  • Tony Thompson

    Carson: “We’ve gotten into this mindset of fighting these politically correct treating people with decency and respect wars. There’s no such thing as a politically correct treating people with decency and respect war.” No shit. So what are you babbling about?

    Given that the core of what people are engaging in when they’re being “PC” is advocating for marginalized and oppressed people to be treated with decency and respect, I thought I’d fix that for you Captain Bigot.

  • John Pieret

    BTW, for those who want to quote the juicy bits (not that there were all that many of them) Time has a transcript:

  • colnago80

    I really wish commentators would stop referring to these as debates. They are nothing of the sort, they are joint news conferences.


    “I really wish commentators would stop referring to these as debates.”

    And I really wish that people would stop referring to those fucking assholes as “Conservatives”. They’ve been nothing but reactionaries (think Stalin era politburo) since the mid 60’s. Adding the dixiecrats to their membership did not check that slide into insanity.

  • Georgia Sam

    “Freedom isn’t free.” Of course! As we learned from Team America, it costs $1.05.

  • abb3w

    For those looking in the aftermath, event transcript here.

  • The_Wretched

    I still can’t stand to listen to or look at Cruz.

    • Brudder

      He’s hella creepy; something intangible that’s hard to pin down exactly, but seriously creepy.

      • Science Avenger

        It’s his overdone fake ponderous speaking style, like he’s addressing a class of 3rd graders.

  • abb3w

    They asked Trump what specifically a politician has done for him when he’s donated to Democrats. His answer: Hillary Clinton went to his wedding.

    That actually seemed pretty sharp. Just before that, my reaction to his When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me” remark was “Wait, did he just admit to committing a federal felony on national television?” Looking 18 USC § 201(b) up now, that dodged a bigger bullet than even I’d first thought — the penalties not only include fines and prison time, but potentially the guilty party may be “disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States”. For example — President.

    Cruz: “I’ll instruct the DOJ and the IRS to persecute religious freedom.” WUT?

    Yeah, that was my reaction. The Time Magazine transcript says the verbatim was “The next thing I intend to do is instruct the Department of Justice and the IRS to start persecuting religious liberty” — and includes a (sic) in there.

    I’d presume he was thinking “stop persecuting / start protecting” or such, and it got mixed up coming out. Alternatively, it might be a sociopath’s Freudian slip.

    • The_Wretched

      I’m listening to the ‘debate’ this morning. I was pretty happy the fox hosts asked Donald to admit to a federal felony on live TV when I got to that point.

      Evenso, Trumps bluster and derail answers worked with the audience and likely won’t hurt his current lead.

  • Douglas McClean

    In Kasich’s alternate universe, was it still horrible policy to run a $5 trillion surplus (I assume he means per decade?) and he just did it anyway? Or was he proud of it?