GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is skipping Fox News’s Wednesday evening Texas town hall due to a scheduling conflict.
Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Dr. Ben Carson will participate in the town hall event, which Megyn Kelly is moderating and Fox News organized at the last minute.
Breitbart News will be providing live updates throughout the evening.
[It seemed like Kelly stole the thunder of a lot the questioners by revealing so many details about what they were about to ask the candidates. The event may have gone smoother had Kelly gotten out of the way and just let the questioners ask the candidates their questions.]
10:58: Kelly asks Carson whether he would release his taxes. Carson says he would be happy to release his taxes. He has “got nothing to hide.” He says “there are no scandals” with him and that is one thing he can guarantee to the people.
10:55: Carson is asked how he would explain to college students how conservative economic policies would be better than liberal ones advocated by Sanders. He says he would help them understand what Socialism is. Carson says many people think Socialism is being concerned about Socialism. He says Socialism is a Utopian dream where government takes care of people cradle to grave but, in reality, they all end up looking the same with a small group of elites at the top, a rapidly diminishing middle class, and a vastly expanding dependent class. Carson says he would show them the United States of America, which was the top economic power in the world less than 100 years after declaring its independence by creating an environment that encouraged entrepreneurial risk taking and capital investment. Carson says he would also explain to students that regulations are the most regressive form of taxation there is.
10:53: When asked what “we the people” can do to restore the Constitution, Carson says stop listening to the pundits and start thinking for yourself. He says learn about the candidates, read their position papers, and figure out how consistent they are with the Constitution. Carson says we won’t have to go through a revolution if we choose someone who is a member of “We the People.” He says the problem is we’ve been taking people who are member of “They the Politicians” who are controlled by the political class and they continue to manipulate us. Carson says he is
10:50: Carson is asked about Syrian refugees. Carson says religious tests should not be used to admit refugees. But he says we need to use “common sense.” Carson says we should “tighten up” our questioning/screening processes. He says most of the Syrian refugees don’t want to come here–they want to be resettled in their own countries. Carson says it would be “Jihadist malpractice” not to try to sneak terrorists into countries as refugees and we have to be aware of the terrorists’s intentions.
10:45: Kelly tells Carson that his critics have said that his neurosurgeon may not have prepared him for the presidency, running the country’s foreign policy. Carson says voters are always astounded by his foreign policy knowledge and he knows a lot more than candidates who give 60-second canned answers. Kelly asks Carson what’s the difference between Shia/Sunnis…. Carson says it is a relevant question because the Iranian Shias have stabbed the backs of a lot our Sunni allies. Carson says it is important to have the right advisers because he will never be an expert, for instance, on Russian affairs…
10:39: Questioner says Democrats posture toward black communities in election years. He asks what Carson is doing to help Republicans win over black voters. He says he doesn’t change his message before different groups. Carson says liberal policies have destroyed African-American families and have been detrimental. He says Republicans should be interested in finding ways to heal those families. He mentions that 73% of African-American babies are born out of wedlock, which means the baby is four times as likely to grow up in poverty while education will most likely end for the single mother. Carson says we should support those mothers not get abortions/break the cycle of poverty by providing child care and encouraging them to get GEDs and continue their education. Carson also says he would have a six-month hiatus on corporate tax rates with one condition: 10% of the repatriated funds must to be spent in enterprise zones and to help impoverished communities. He said that would be the biggest stimulus since FDR’s programs.
Carson says Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty. He asks, “how’d that work out?” He says everything–crime, poverty, out-of-wedlock births–is much worse. He say the government should read the Constitution.
10:37: Kelly asks Carson about the VA scandal. He says he has worked in number of VA and says they had wonderful staff but had to face a ridiculous “mountain of bureaucracy.” Carson says our veterans are incredibly important to our freedoms and “we have every obligation to take care of them as they took care of us.” Carson says he would attach an external support group to everyone who enlists in the military, and that group would help them integrate back into society. They would also get health empowerment accounts that would enable vets to go to any hospital they want… Carson says the VA will improve if they have to compete for those patients. “No question about it.”
10:35: Carson is asked how Republicans can appeal to young people. He says the country’s debt will impact young people and, quoting Thomas Jefferson, says it is immoral to leave “generations as far as the eye can see” with so much debt. He then talks about the $200 trillion fiscal gap, and young voters need to understand that “free college for everyone” will accelerate our fall of the cliff.
10:34: Carson says criticism of his remarks re: how Obama was raised “white” is nothing but hogwash. Audience members, including African Americans, laugh when Carson says having grown up in an affluent part of Hawaii with white grandparents and in Indonesia with a white mother does not represent the traditional black experience in America.
10:31: Kelly asks Carson about an article that urged Carson that he should admit defeat and leave the race, and that comes with being a “Christian candidate.” Carson says the political establishment/pundits think they re in control but “we the people” are in control. Carson says there is a possibility that we can “break the spell” they have over the people. Carson says he is staying in the race because he feels like we are in the process of losing our country and he doesn’t see anyone else who will do anything about it. He says one of the reasons we are in critical condition is because so many people are control or control lawmakers and screw “We the People.” He says he refuses to accept money from special interests/billionaires who want to control things because “they are a part of the problem.”
10:30: Carson says everyone wants to call the game after the first inning when there is plenty of game left.
10:26: Kelly asks Rubio about tax returns. Convenient timing on Romney’s part to say the least. Rubio says his aren’t very complicated and he will release them. Kelly giggles/laughs about “exotic” tax returns.
10:24: Questioner says she is struggling because Cruz shares her values but Rubio is more electable. Rubio says you don’t have to compromise when voting for him because he has 15-year record of conservatism. Questioner says she like Cruz’s advocacy of limited government while she is uncomfortable with some of Rubio’s policies. Rubio says he has a history of enacting policies that ensured more limited government while he was a lawmaker in Florida. He says he can unite this party and also grow it by taking conservatism to people who haven’t voted in the past. He says that’s not just how we win an election but create a better future for America.
10:22: Rubio says we should not be transferring people out of GITMO because a substantial number are back on the battlefield. Rubio says we will have a “real war on terror” when he is president and if we capture any of the terrorists alive, “we’re taking them to Guantanamo.”
Kelly asks Rubio about interrogation, Rubio says he doesn’t talk about techniques because it can tip off terrorists.
10:17: Kelly says a questioner wanted to pose a question to Trump, but [she points out] since he is not there, she wants to ask Rubio the question. She asks Rubio about an Oklahoma gun range with “muslim-free” signage that denied access to a Muslim-American Army reservist. She also wonders if the anti-Muslim rhetoric has increased this sentiment. Rubio says what happened is “immoral” because there are patriotic Muslim-Americans and he points out there are Muslims who have died for this country. Rubio says our issue is not with Islam but just with “radical Islam.” He says we recognize the contributions Muslim-Americans make in the country and nobody should be discriminated against because of their faith.
Kelly presses Rubio on the rhetoric in the campaign (clearly a reference to Trump)… Rubio says a president has an “enormous megaphone” and points out that Obama is divisive and we should not be pitting American against each other. Rubio says we can recognize the threat of radical Islam without demonizing a religion/religious group.
10:14: Questioner, a science professor, asks Rubio what his position on stem cells would be. Rubio says he supports stem cell research but he does not support any research that would result in the creation of embryos solely for the purpose of cultivating stem cells. Rubio says all human life is worthy of the protection of our laws and that’s why it’s a human rights issue to him. Rubio says we can make advancements in stem cell research without creating embryos just to cultivate them for stem cells. Rubio says the question re: discarded embryos is harder and he is worried about an industry being created to destroy embryos to cultivate stem cells. Rubio says he’s against abortion even in the case of rape/incest but he has supported laws with those exceptions because he is interested in saving as many lives as he can.
10:08: Rubio is asked about criminal justice reform. Rubio says mandatory minimums for violent offenders resulted in a dramatic plunge in crime rates. He says he believes in minimum mandatory sentences for violent criminals/drug dealers. He says he is for diverting people out of the system for first-time offenses because the criminal justice system may lead to criminalization later on.
10:06: Questioner says small business owners have a lot of concerns–healthcare, regulations, etc. He wonders what Rubio will do to fix the broken healthcare system. Rubio says he will repeal and replace Obamacare. He says he led the effort to get rid of the Obamacare bailout fund and he says under his plan, small business owners would be able to give employees tax-free funds to use solely for medical insurance/expenses. Business owners would also be allowed to pool resources to form coverage groups. Rubio says competition will result in better coverage, lower costs, and better networks.
10:04: Questioner asks Rubio what he would do to provide more opportunities for students to reduce their debt. Rubio says he had $100,000+ in student loan debt up to four years ago. Rubio says colleges/universities need to provide information to students about how much their graduates make. Rubio would change the accreditation process and support more income-based repayment plans. Rubio then talks up his student investment plans where private investors could invest in students. He says it is better than a loan because all of the risk is on the investment group.
10:01: Kelly asks what Rubio will change to get a different result since he has not won any state so far. Rubio says he has been an underdog is whole life and the establishment was against him when he ran for Senate (before they co-opted him on the Gang of Eight bill as soon as he got to Congress). Rubio says Democrats don’t want to run against him and that’s why they attack him. And… that’s it. Nothing about the 3-2-1 strategy his campaign floated.
[Fox News, Megyn Kelly Treat Rubio like the Mainstream Media Treat Democrats]
9:55: Kelly asks Kasich about tax returns. He says he will be very glad to release the tax returns because there is nothing to hide.
9:52: Questioner laments the division and rancor in the country. She asks what Kasich would do to bring the country together. He says we are all Americans before Republicans. He says he worked with the Clinton administration to balance the budget and in Ohio, there hasn’t been the racial tension/violence that other cities have experienced because of his various government-community initiatives that brought police/minority communities together. Kasich says he will unite the Republicans and he will let Democrats come play in the orchestra even though he will set the tune.
9:50: Questioner asks Kasich which Founding Father he looks up to the most and why. Kasich says George Washington because he didn’t want to be King even though he could have been president forever. Kasich mentions that he left government for ten years after balancing the budget and reforming welfare. He says he learned a lot about the private sector in those ten years, and that has made him a much more effective governor. Kasich says Washington was also a “compassionate man” and the drug-addicted, the mentally ill, and the working poor need to have more opportunities. Kasich says Washington knew it was “not about me ego and my way.”
9:48: Liberty voter laments there isn’t a liberty candidate left… Kasich says he believes in transferring a lot of the power to the states because the strength of the country is “bottom-up” (neighborhoods, family). Kasich says he wants to Uber-ize government. Regrinding privacy, Kasich says that presidents should get government officials and Apple executives together and say the government needs information in this one particular situation regarding the San Bernardino terrorists.
9:45: Viewers Not Happy GOP Town Hall Seems to Be “All About Megyn”
@megynkelly just interview the candidates. Ask substantial questions and get out of their way. We want to learn about them, not you
— kathy pd (@kathperridobson) February 25, 2016
That was exactly why Trump was very smart not to go on with the TMZ Megyn. It's all about her. Sick of it.
— G S Reed (@Reedgs119) February 25, 2016
Seems like it's all about Megyn! #KellyFile
— Ed Hall (@Doghall21Ed) February 25, 2016
— @lalauraru777 (@lalauraru777) February 25, 2016
9:40: Questioner asks Kasich about healthcare. He asks what would be a conservative free-market way to reform healthcare. Kasich says he would repeal Obamacare and take some federal resources that he would block grant (Medicaid) to the states. Kasich, who accepted Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, also talks about healthcare exchanges and rewarding hospitals that provide quality care in a cost-effective way.
9:36: Kelly Wonders if Kasich is Stealing Votes from Other Candidates:
Kelly asks Kasich about Trump’s lead in his home state of Ohio. Kasich insists he will win in Ohio and says he will defeat Trump in a two-man race. He says he is putting resources in states like Vermont, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Louisiana. Kelly says Republicans are wondering if Kasich is stealing votes from other candidates, and he says he finished second in New Hampshire and exceeded expectations in South Carolina. Kasich says he didn’t go to Nevada because he has been husbanding his resources.
Kasich says people inside the Beltway and lobbyists are the ones who want him to get out of the race. Kasich says that if were to get out, Trump will win Ohio and “that’ll be the end of it.”
“We intend to keep going,” he says, adding that he is certainly not going to listen to insiders in D.C.
9:34: Kasich joins the town hall from Louisiana. Kelly asks Kasich about his comments re: being president may not be his purpose. Kasich now says it is. He says that if he goes head to head with Trump in Ohio, he beats him by 18 points. Kasich says what he was trying to tell people is that we all have to find our God-given purpose and one isn’t necessarily bigger than the other. Kasich says he intends to go all the way, be the nominee, and beat Hillary Clinton by more than 11 points. He says this is what he is supposed to do and he is going all out.
9:29: Cruz says Trump’s tax returns are a bit more complicated and he will release his returns. He says he hasn’t made enough money to make his tax returns that interesting. Cruz says Romney has a good point because voters are entitled to know. Cruz says perhaps Trump has not made as money as he claimed.
9:27: Questioner asks Cruz about GOP/Latino vote. He points out that Texas is a majority-minority state and he says he got 40% of the Hispanic vote during his Senate run while Romney received 27% of the vote nationwide. Cruz says you don’t pander and embrace open borders and amnesty. He says a great number of Hispanics don’t favor open borders and amnesty because illegal immigrants take their jobs. Cruz says you earn the votes of Hispanics by making the case that conservative principles–faith, family, patriotism, love of God–are in line with theirs. He tells the story about his father who came to the country with $100 sewn to his underwear and washed dishes to make ends meet.
9:23: Cruz says he was deeply dismayed that a Texas Court brought criminal charges against someone who performed a public service by exposing Planned Parenthood’s evils (selling body parts) through undercover videos. He says on his first day in office, he intends to instruct the Dept. of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and to prosecute any criminal conduct by that organization. Kelly asks Cruz about Trump’s comments re: Planned Parenthood, and Cruz says Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortionist and he disagrees with Trump’s rhapsodizing about how wonderful Planned Parenthood is. Kelly points out that Planned Parenthood denies all of the charges.
He says Planned Parenthood is a “national criminal enterprise” committing multiple felonies and they should not get taxpayer funds.
9:20: Kelly asks Cruz about women in the military. Fox News allows a “Texans for Rubio” volunteer to ask Cruz a question about the issue. She asks why Cruz thinks young women are less capable or owe less of a debt than young men. Cruz thanks her for her service and says women are capable of doing “incredible things” but when it comes to the military, we shouldn’t be governed by political correctness. He says it is one thing to say we have many women who serve courageously but we should not be forcibly drafting women and putting them combat. He says it is “perfectly appropriate” and “wonderful” for women to volunteer for the Armed Services, but he says drafting women risks putting women in unfair situations. Cruz says our daughters should not be forced to be in combat with 200-lb Jihadists and studies have shown it decreases military effectiveness. He says the job of the military is to defeat enemies and not be a social experiment.
9:13: Questioner gets in talking point that Fox News must approve re: Trump loving everyone except for Texans. She then says she respects Marco Rubio for at least trying to get something done with the Gang of Eight amnesty bill. She wonders if Cruz is too devoted to his conservative principles to get things done. Cruz says he is not willing to compromise on core principles, fundamental beliefs, and the promises he made to his constituents. Cruz says he would even compromise with Martians if they are moving in the right direction like reducing spending/protecting the debt. He says the problem with Washington is that the deals always go backwards. This would be a good time for Cruz to point out that Rubio did not keep his promise to Florida’s voters that he would oppose amnesty, but, so far, he chooses not to do so. He slams the GOP establishment’s insistence on “show votes” in D.C. re: budget compromises. He says it would be “unfaithful” and “dishonest” to add trillions in debt without no spending reforms.
9:08: Kelly asks Cruz about reports that the White House is vetting pro-choice Republican Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (Cruz surrogates said that Sandoval’s endorsement would be toxic)… Questioner asks Cruz about the courts. He notes that he was at Scalia’s funeral in D.C. and says Scalia was brilliant, principled, and ferociously devoted to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Cruz says we are one liberal justice away from losing our fundamental rights. He talks up his role in Heller and says the next election is about two branches of government and says he has spent his lifetime defending the Constitution. And every Justice he appoints will “ferociously defend the Bill of Rights.”
9:07: Kelly asks Cruz whether he will change “tactics” re: attacking Rubio. Cruz talks about his policy proposals like passing a flat tax and abolishing the IRS.
9:05: Cruz says people are “ticked off” and Trump’s support is a manifestation of that when Kelly asked Cruz how he lost South Carolina, a state that should have been in Cruz’s “sweet spot.” Cruz says Trump has a “fairly low” ceiling (35-40%) and says he’d beat him in a one-on-one matchup. Cruz says if Trump wins the nomination, “who the heck knows what he’ll do as president…. We need a president we can trust.”
9:03: Cruz is up first. Kelly says Nevada didn’t work out the way Cruz hoped. In interviewing Cruz, Kelly gets in that no GOP candidate who has won New Hampshire/South Carolina like Trump has lost the nomination. She also repeats what Cruz said last night–that a GOP candidate who has not won one of first three contests has never won the nomination.
Cruz says “there has never been a candidate like Donald Trump.”
9:01: Megyn Kelly tells viewers that Ronald Reagan lost two of the first four contests and won the nomination while Bill Clinton lost all four of the first four contests and won his party’s nomination. Kelly conveniently ignores–just like mainstream media members who reveal their biases based on what they omit–that no GOP candidate has ever won the nomination without having won one of the first four nominating contests. Rubio has zero victories after the first four contests.