I missed the debate on Saturday, but I heard there were some fireworks. Everybody ganged up on Marco Rubio, saying he was inexperienced and unaccomplished, and he reportedly didn’t handle it well. Jeb Bush scored on Donald Trump for using eminent domain on an elderly woman. Trump tried to shut him up, prompting boos from the crowd, whereupon Trump attacked them for being members of the establishment! (Details after the jump.)
So where are we now, after Rubio’s and Trump’s meltdowns? Are the governors, Bush, Kasich, and Christie, back in it? Is Cruz cruising? Again, I didn’t see the debate, so I’d like to hear your impressions.
A malfunctioning Marco Rubio crashed as he was overloaded by attacks last night from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who tried to portray the Florida U.S. senator as a Washington robot pre-programmed by political consultants during a high-stakes Republican debate.
“See, Marco — Marco — the thing is this,” Christie said, “when you’re president of the United States … 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.”
Rubio’s glitchy debate performance could be a game-changer just as independents make up their minds two days before the crucial first-in-the-nation primary. The first-term senator’s rivals have raised concerns he’s too inexperienced — just like, they say, President Obama was — and isn’t ready for prime time.
Four different times — often word-for-word and at awkward non-sequiturs — Rubio claimed Obama intentionally wants to make America like the rest of the world.
“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,” said Rubio, repeating the line for a third time in a matter of minutes.
“There it is. There it is,” pounced Christie. “The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody.”
Real-estate mogul Donald Trump confronted a Republican debate audience that repeatedly booed him during an exchange with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).
Their sparring come over eminent domain — the power of the government to force people to sell their private property — which many conservatives have long criticized.
After Trump defended the general concept of eminent domain as a “necessity” for government, Bush jumped in with a specific critique of the developer’s record on the topic.
“The difference between eminent domain for public purpose — as Donald said: roads and infrastructure and 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’s not a public purpose. That is downright wrong.”
This was a reference to Trump’s attempted use of eminent domain in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during the 1990s, when the real-estate mogul was investing in the city’s casino empire. The woman in question, Vera Coking, refused to sell her home andsuccessfully fought the state’s attempt to seize her land. . . .
On Saturday night, Bush attempted to continue ripping into Trump, but Trump started interrupting him.
“All right. OK. Jeb, Jeb — he wants to be a tough guy. He wants to be a tough guy tonight. I didn’t take the property,” Trump said, as he and Bush talked over each other. . . .
It was then Bush’s turn to interrupt. Bush asked how “tough” it was to try and take property from an elderly woman. Trump then shushed him.
“Let me talk. Let me talk. Quiet,” he said.
The audience loudly booed Trump, driving the back-and-forth off the rails. Trump said audience members were all members of the Republican establishment.
“That’s all of his donors and special interests out there,” Trump said of the people booing him. “That’s what it is. And by the way, let me just tell you: We needed tickets. You can’t get them. You know who has the tickets? … Donors, special interests, the people that are putting up the money. That’s who it is.”