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***Horse Race LiveWire*** GOP Debate Tonight!

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Welcome to Breitbart News’s daily live updates of the 2016 horse race. 

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Kasich tells CNN he doesn’t need a “breakout moment” in the debates. When told that the math is not on his side and what happens next, he says that half of the delegates still have not been selected and he will have enough to get the nomination. Kasich says “I’m going to win Ohio” when asked if he will consider dropping out if he loses his  home state. Kasich says he is finally starting to get some time on the debate stage and “it’s working out great.” Kasich says he and Jeb! talked about golf and his family and “that’s all I’m going to tell you.” Kasich says he is going to be the nominee when told there will be vice presidential speculation if he loses Ohio. He says he will win Ohio and “it will be a whole new ball game.”

Rubio credits CNN for asking policy questions and preventing candidates from engaging personal attacks. Rubio says we have not had a substantive debate like that in some time and todays’ debate benefited voters. Rubio again says he regrets the personal attacks. Rubio says he doesn’t think Trump realizes his position is anti-Israel but it is his sincere belief that if we pressure Israel to negotiate, it weakens them in the region and emboldens their enemies. Rubio says he is the only person who can beat Trump in Florida. He asks anti-Trump voters to vote strategically because a vote for Kasich/Cruz in Florida is a vote for Trump. Rubio says the winner of the Florida primary will be the GOP nominee and he intends to be the GOP nominee. He says his intention is to win Florida and then says “we will win Florida.”

Cruz, when asked about derogatorily referring to Trump’s voters as “low-information” voters,” says, “maybe I should have used a different term.” [You think?]

Cruz says voters will go to his side when they discover he has taken on Washington while Trump never has. Cruz says Republicans who don’t want to see Trump as the nominee are coming over this his side because nominating Trump would ensure that Clinton wins the presidency.

Cruz, speaking to Wolf Blitzer, says tonight’s debate was great because there weren’t any personal attacks. He says voters want to see real contrasts between the candidates. He thinks voters got the contrasts tonight. Cruz says Trump is “big business” while his focus is on small businesses and people who are getting “hammered” right now. Cruz says it was interesting that Trump talked about supporting liberal Democrats, bringing in foreign workers because it helped him.

When asked if he was trying to get Carson’s endorsement, Cruz congratulates Trump for getting Carson’s support. He says he was glad to get the support of Fiorina, Mike Lee, Mark Levin. He says it is a two-man race and “you’re going to see people dividing it up” and it’s up to the voters to decide.

Cruz says “we should do whatever is needed to destroy ISIS” when asked if he is in favor of sending 20,000 troops to destroy ISIS. He says boots on the ground should be the last resort. Cruz says if the military says we need to send in troops, he will do so but we have to use overwhelming force, kill the enemy, and get the heck out.

In his post-debate interview, Trump says that this was an “elegant evening.” Trump says the debates have been “harsh” but this evening was different. Trump insists there is a great hatred in Islam and we have to get to the bottom of it. Trump says the country will go so low if Clinton becomes president that “we will never recover.” Trump says he thinks we’ve had enough of the debates but he says he is “pretty much okay” with two more.  Trump says Florida is his second home and predicts he will do well on Tuesday.

Trump says the Republican Party has a great chance to embrace millions of people that it’s never known before. “They’re coming by the millions. We should seize that opportunity. These are good people. These are fantastic people. These are people that love our country. These are people that want to see America be great again.”

Trump says these people will help win elections and will ensure Supreme Court Justices who will do a “fabulous job.” He says if Republicans lose the election, it will take the country a century to recover if Democrats appoint four Supreme Court Justices.

Cruz says it is an incredible nation that a son of a bartender, a son of a dishwasher, a son of a mailman, and a businessman can run for president. Cruz says he cannot wait to stand on the stage with Clinton and tell Americans that she is asking for a third term of a failed administration. “We can do better,” Cruz says. “We can instead repeal Obamacare, abolish the IRS, unleash millions of jobs, defend the Bill of Rights, defend the Second Amendment, religious liberty, stand with our cops and our firefighters and our soldiers, and we can put America safe… that’s the choice I will put to her this fall.”

Rubio says it is hard to believe that his father was bartender working in Miami two decades ago and now his son is running for the highest office in the land. Rubio says the moment has arrived for this generation to leave a better country to the next generation. He says we will do whatever it takes that our children inherit from us what we inherited for our parents–the single, greatest nation in the history of mankind.

In closing, Kasich says he has run an unwavering positive campaign for president to highlights his record/vision. He wanted to raise the bar in presidential politics. He says being positive may not be interesting but it is to his family and many across America. He wants to give power/influence back to American people. He will take care of the federal issues and citizens can take back their cities/neighborhoods.

10:57: Kasich, when asked about flexibility, says he is not talking about theory. He has reformed the Pentagon to give control to commanders in the field. He notes that he was the chief architect when we balanced the budget. He was there for welfare reform. He also went to Ohio and instituted many bipartisan reforms when the state was a “basket case.” He says conservative principles will work but “show respect to the other side.”

10:56: Trump is asked what other issues besides the height of the wall that he will be flexible on as president.

“It depends on what comes up,” Trump says. “You never know.”

Trump says we need to have people come together and make good deals. He blasts Obama for signing executive orders.

10:54: Rubio says you can be flexible about ideas but you can’t be flexible on principles when asked how he will lead the country if he can’t be flexible (Rubio mocked Trump for wanting to be flexible at the last debate). Rubio touts his bipartisan accomplishments but he says when it comes to repealing/replacing Obamacare, reducing the tax burden that is not going to be bipartisan. Rubio says he will fight anyone who will raise taxes, expand government, or weaken our military.

10:51: Trump says he has not decided whether he will take contributions in the general elections. He says he decided to self-fund his campaign through the primary and he insists that he is “self-funding” his campaign. He says he doesn’t want anyone to control him except for the people and he will do the right thing.

Cruz says big donors have influence and blasts the “Washington Cartel.” Cruz says Trump has been sitting at that table using his money to buy influence to support Democrats and supporting the GOP establishment’s efforts to crush the Tea Party. Cruz says Trump has not pointed to a single special interest that he will take on… Cruz says Trump didn’t take on Wall Street or the ethanol industry.

Trump blasts Cruz for having super PACs and you have to look at people who are giving to the super PACs. Trump says he knows the system far better than anybody else. He knows the system is broken and that is why he is the person to fix it.

10:48: Rubio says he didn’t do well on Tuesday and was disappointed. He says his wife told him a story about a gentleman in Florida who just got out of surgery but holds a Rubio sign every morning. He says for him Rubio symbolizes all the sacrifices that his generation made so their children can have a better life for themselves. He says that gentleman hasn’t give up on him and “I’m not going to give up on him.” He says he will work tirelessly every single day because this election is too important. He says this nation will make the right choice at the end of the process.

10:44: Trump is asked if he would support the GOP’s nominee at a contested convention if it were not him. Trump says he will have the delegates. He says whoever gets the most delegates should win. Trump favors plurality over a majority.

“Make me president,” Trump responds when Hewitt asks what Cruz would do to ensure Trump’s supporters don’t leave if the nomination is taken from him at the convention. Cruz says Trump can be president of the Smithsonian.

Cruz says he has beaten Cruz all over the country and says the media want Trump to be the nominee so Hillary wins. Cruz asks anti-Trump Republicans to join his campaign and “stand together” to beat Hillary Clinton.

Trump says he beats Clinton in polls and he gets better each week and he hasn’t even started on Hillary yet.

10:43: Hewitt asks Kasich about a contested convention. He asks Kasich why the person with the most delegates at the convention shouldn’t be the nominee. Kasich says you just have to win enough delegates to get the nomination but doesn’t want to get ahead of ourselves because we have more than half of the delegates that still need to be awarded.

10:41: Rubio chimes in and says law enforcement officers deserve our respect. Rubio says leadership is about  using anger to motivate us to take action. Rubio says Americans can do anything if he embrace all of the principles that have made us great and come together.

10:40: Kasich, asked the same question, shifts and talks about people worrying about jobs, trade deals, etc. He says seniors are worried they may lose their social security. Kasich says you can prey on their fears or fix their problems. He says “they want to help solve the problems right there they live and I want to give them the tools to do so.”

10:37: Cruz is asked if these types of scenes hurt the GOP’s image. Cruz says we need to remember who it is we are working for. Cruz says we have seen for seven years a president who thinks he is above the law and acts like an emperor. Cruz asks “how man of y’all feel disrespected by Washington?” Cruz says Washington isn’t listening to the people and that is the frustration that is boiling over. Cruz says we need to nominate a candidate who remembers that he works for the people.

Cruz attacks Trump’s pledge… he says “we are here pledging our support to you. Not the other way around.” He says the only hand-raising he is interested in doing is pledging to the American people to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

Trump says the controversy over the pledge shows who dishonest the pledge was. He says they were just having a good time and he gets bigger crowds than Cruz because people have fun at his rallies. Trump says reporters have told him that “what they did on the Today show was a disgrace” by comparing Trump to Hitler.

10:34: Tapper asks about the man who was arrested for sucker-punching a Trump protester. Tapper asks if Trump has done anything to encourage the violence. “I hope not,” Trump says. He says his supporters come with a lot of passion and they love this country. They don’t like seeing bad trade deals, higher taxes, etc. He says there is also great love for this country and he certainly does not condone that.

Tapper says that Trump has said he wanted to punch a protester in the face and told supporters to “knock the hell” out of a protester and he’d pay the legal fees.

Trump says he has had some protesters who have been “bad dudes. They have done some bad things. They are swinging. They are really dangerous.” Trump says big powerful guys were doing damage to people and now shifts and says we should pay respect to the police because they are doing a tremendous job while taking tremendous abuse.

10:26: Tapper says Republicans have been concerned that Trump has praised Putin, the Chinese government’s reaction in Tiananmen Square. Trump says he was not endorsing the Chinese government and was just pointing out that it was a “strong government.” He says Putin has been stronger for Russia than Obama has been for the U.S. but that doesn’t mean he is endorsing Putin.

Kasich says the Chinese government “butchered those kids” and we ought to build a statue of the young man who faced down the Chinese government tank. He says China should not be considered an enemy but they need to realize they don’t own the South China Sea, must put pressure on North Korea, and understand that we have the capabilities to take on their systems. Kasich says China won’t be allowed to manipulate their currency and will take immediate action to protect American workers if they are caught doing so.

10:24: Tapper asks Cruz if it matters what the rest of the world things of the United States. “Of course it does,” Cruz says. He says Obama has made America the laughingstock of the world. He sent back Churchill’s bust and went on an apology tour, Cruz says. He says Obama sent a signal that our allies could not trust us. He says that was a “disgrace” and we have seen a weak Democratic president who has undermined our military/respect in the world with Jimmy Carter. Cruz says this can change overnight and points out that Iran released the hostages the day Reagan was sworn in. He says America needs a president who will stand with our allies and stands up/demonstrates strength to our enemies. He says that is why on day one, he will rip to shreds Iran’s nuclear deal.

10:22: Kasich believes we contribute to climate change. He says we want all sources of energy. Coal, natural gas, solar, wind, renewables. He says we don’t know how much humans actually contribute to climate change but we can have strong environmental policies with economic growth. He says they are not inconsistent.

10:19: Debate now turns to climate change. Candidates are asked about Miami mayor’s request to deal with climate change. Rubio says the climate is changing because the climate is always changing but he says the flooding in Miami is caused because South Florida was build on swamplands. But he says there is no law that you can pass to change the weather. But he says the climate change laws will have no impact on the economy while American workers foot the bill. He says he is in favor of a clean environment but “these laws” will do nothing for the environment while hurting and devastating our economy. Tapper points out that the Republican Mayor of Miami believes in the “scientific consensus” on climate change and if he tells the mayor who endorsed him if he is wrong when they meet. Rubio says the mayor will hear from South Floridians who are barely getting by when their electricity bills go up 30% .

10:17: Bash focuses the debate back on Cuba. She asks Kasich about the Americans who got the first contract to build a factory in Cuba. Kasich says he would not encourage more to pursue contracts in Cuba. He blasts Obama’s foreign policy for not backing the freedom fighters in Ukraine, walking away from the red line in Syria, undercutting Egypt, turning our back to Netanyahu. Kasich says we will arm the Ukrainians, destroy ISIS, and make sure China faces consequences for hacking, and Putin understands not to cross us. Kasich says the world is begging for a stronger America and says “we’re coming back” if he is president.

10:08: Debate turns to Cuba. Tapper notes that two candidates have parents who were born in Cuba. Bash mentions that Trump agrees with Obama to reengage relations with Cuba. Rubio says hundreds of millions of dollars will go to the Castro regime and “nothing will change” for the Cuban people after the “opening.” He says the only thing that will change is that the Cuban government will have more sources of revenue to carry our their repression. Rubio points out that Burma had to make some democratic changes while Obama asked for nothing in return from an anti-American Communist regime who is also harboring American fugitives.

Trump says he would want to make a “good deal” because everything is in Cuba’s favor. Trump says he would have the embassy in Cuba closed until a good deal was made/struck.

Rubio says we don’t have to close the embassy but he says he doesn’t know where Cuba is going to sue us but if they sue is in a  court of Miami, they will lose. Rubio says Cuba should have free elections, stop putting people in jail for speaking out, has freedom of the press, stops helping North Korea evade sanctions, etc.

Cruz says this exchange on Cuba highlights a choice for GOP voters. He wants voters to ask if they want to continue Obama’s foreign policy. Cruz says the Cuban/Iran deals were negotiated by Clinton/Kerry and Trump supported them. Cruz says we shouldn’t send millions to nations that hate us so they can try to murder us. Cruz continues to blast Trump for supporting Clinton/Kerry. And he says when it comes to Iran, Trump has said he would leave the deal in place and that reflects that Trump doesn’t understand the racial Ayatollah wants to murder us. He says we need a president who understands that we can’t give funds to terrorists who want to kill us.

10:07: Kasich says when a veteran comes home, vets must have access to healthcare wherever they want. He says the Pentagon needs to share more information with the states so veterans can be linked with jobs in the states. He says no veteran ought to be without healthcare, homeless, and unemployed in the United States of America.

10:06: Rubio says those involved in the VA scandal need to be held to account. He even praises Sanders for working with him on a bipartisan accountability act. Rubio says if he is president, those at the VA who are  not doing a good job will be fired.

10:03: Cruz says we need to do whatever it takes to defeat ISIS, that includes arming the Kurds. Cruz blasts Obama’s rules of engagement for tying the arms of our soldiers behind their backs. He says it is “wrong and immoral.” And he gives his word that “that will end in January of 2017.” Hewitt asks Kasich if he will follow the Pentagon’s advice if they need 20,000 troops on the ground to defeat ISIS. Kasich says there has be “shock and awe” and once we wipe out the terrorists, we have to let the regional powers redraw the maps.

Trump says “there’s no choice” because we have to knock out ISIS. He says he will listen to the general but has head 20,000 to 30,ooo troops will be needed to knock out ISIS. Trump says “we don’t fight like we used to fight. We used to fight to win.” Trump says “we have to knock ’em out. We have to knock ’em fast..” and then rebuild America.

9:59: Rubio accuses Trump of having an “anti-Isreal” foreign policy because Israel’s enemies want to get rid of Israel. Trump says if he becomes president, protecting Israel will be an “absolute priority” but he would love to give a peace deal a shot. Trump insists he is the most pro-Israel person running. Trump every single Israeli he knows wants peace in the region.

9:56: Trump says nobody is more pro-Israel than he is. He has made massive contributions. He has a Jewish son-in-law and daughter and two grandchildren. He was also the Grand Marshall of the Israeli Day Parade. Trump wants the other side, though, to think he may be neutral in order to get a deal done. Trump says the Iran Deal is the worst deal he has ever seen and he “will be so tough” on them and that deal will be broken unless they behave.

Cruz says we need a president who understands the country’s national security. He blasts Trump for wanting to treat Palestinian terrorists “neutrally” while they pay the families of terrorists who murder people. He accuses Trump of having the same moral relativism as Obama.

9:52: Trump is asked about how he would take out the family of terrorists while abiding by the law. Trump says people are chanting “death to the USA” in mosques across the Middle East. He says that doesn’t sound friendly to him. Trump says ISIS chops off heads while America is “working on a different set of parameters.” Trump says we have to obey the laws but “we have to expand the laws” to fight on somewhat of an equal footing or we will never knock out ISIS. He says we are “suckers” and ISIS is laughing at us.

Rubio says we don’t have to attack families of terrorist to defeat them. He says the best intelligence agencies in the world and the best military in the world will find the terrorists if he becomes president after he unties the intelligence agents and rebuild the military. Rubio says captured terrorists are going to go to Guantanamo and we’re going to find out everything they know.

Cruz also says he will not target the families of suspected terrorists. He says he understand that people are scared because we have faced terrorist attacks and Obama lecture on intolerance. He says the solution is not to yell “China bad, Islam bad.” Cruz says one concern he has with Trump is he doesn’t want to rip up the Iran Deal. He blasts Trump for wanting to be neutral between Israel/Palestine.

9:50: Kasich doesn’t think Islam hates us but there is a sect that poses a great threat to us today. He says that is why the world has to work together so we don’t have a proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

9:47: Rubio says Trump says what people wish they could say but Presidents can’t say whatever they want because it has consequences here and abroad. Rubio says he met a couple who were missionaries in Bangladesh. He says they are operating in a hostile environment because of all of the reports that leading GOP presidential candidates hate Muslims. Rubio says nobody on stage has worn a uniform and everyone who has died for the country loves America after talking about Muslims soldiers who have died.

Trump says Rubio can be “politically correct” and we “have a serious, serious problem of hate” and he wants to solve problem. Trump says a large portion of Islam hates us. He says Muslims also treat women “horribly.” Trump says it would be easier for him to be politically correct but “we better solve the problem before it’s too late.”

Rubio says he’s not interested in being “politically correct.” He is interested in being “correct.” He says Islam has a problem with radicalization but it is also true that we have to work with Muslims who are not radical to solve the problem of radical Islam. He names Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

9:46: Trump is asked when he said “Islam hates us” if he meant all of the 1.5 billion Muslims.

“I mean a lot of ’em,” Trump says. He says he will stick by what he said to CNN last night.

9:38: Cruz says Trump is right about the problems on trade but his solutions–like a 45% tariff–don’t work. Cruz says Trump’s tariffs will make the prices of goods go up 45% and the countries we trade with will impose their own tariff. Cruz says his tax plan–which will tax imports and not tax exports–is a better plan. “Fix the problem,” Cruz says.

Trump responds and says the 45% tax is a “threat” and “not a tax.” He says it will be a tax if they don’t behave. He calls our trade deals with China “stupid trade.” Trump says “we can’t get into China.” Trump says the 45% tax is a threat and if they don’t behave, we will tax you something (doesn’t have to be 45%) because “our jobs are going to hell.”

Cruz says that the American workers are going to be paying the 45% tax that Trump may impose. He asks workers how that will help workers when a 45% tax is levied on cars, diapers, clothing etc. Cruz says we have to get beyond the rhetoric of “China bad.”

Trump says it’s just the opposite. He says if they don’t behave, we will put on a tax and we will build factories here and not abroad and people will buy products made here and not in China. “We’ll make our own products,” Trump says. “And that’s the way it should be done.”

9:36: Trump is asked about his views that are at “direct odds” with the GOP’s tradition. He is asked what the Republican Party should stand for. He says he holds views that are similar to many of the people. Trump says his candidacy is “inclusive.” Trump says he is different on trade. He says we have had horrible negotiators and the jobs in this country, especially the good jobs, are disappearing. Trump says certain products from countries that take advantage of the U.S. must be taxed or we will continue to lose business/jobs. Trump says that is the reason why there has been an outpouring of support for his campaign.

9:35: Kasich says he actually took on Washington and won when he was in Congress by forcing the government to balance its budget. Kasich says there are young people who think they have a better chance of seeing a UFO than receiving social security checks.

9:34: Trump can’t believe “how civil it has been up here.”

9:29: Cruz says that social security is “careening towards insolvency.” Cruz says for anyone at or near retirement, there will be no changes. But for younger workers, we need to gradually raise the retirement rate and change the rate of growth so it matches inflation. He says a portion of Social Security funds should also be put in private accounts that workers can pass along to their grandchildren. Cruz says  you can’t waive a magic wand and want the problem to go away. He says you need solutions. Cruz compares Trump to Clinton on Social Security and says he will get rid of bureaucrats that are enabling all of the waste, fraud, abuse.

Cruz says if you are fed  up with Washington, the question to ask is who is going to take on Washington. Cruz says Trump has funded liberal Democrats and funded the liberal establishment while he stood up to lead the fight against Obamacare to honor his commitment to the hard-working men and women of the country who are losing their jobs because of Obamacare. He says he also stood against amnesty and implies Cruz has never stood up to lobbyists.

Trump says Cruz was “in favor of amnesty” and says Arpaio and Sessions have endorsed him as proof that he is the strongest on immigration. He says “we are all in this together” and “we are going to find the answer to things.”

9:21: Dana Bash asks Rubio about Social Security. She asks what the new retirement age should be and how much benefits should be cut. He says anyone who tells you that we don’t have to do anything on Social Security is lying. He says people who are 30 years away from retirement must accept that social security will work differently. He says people who made a lot of money will not see their social security funds grow as fast. He says these are not unreasonable changes to ask for people like himself to ensure that the program doesn’t bankrupt the country.

Bash asks Rubio about specifics. Rubio wants to raise the retirement age to 68 and it will increase gradually until it hits 7o for those who are 30-40 years away from retirement. But the system won’t change for people who are close to retirement.

Trump says he’s watched Democrats even though they are boring. He blasts them for not doing anything on social security. Trump says he will get rid of “waste, fraud, and abuse.” He says it is his absolute intention to leave  Social Security the way it is and not raise the retirement age.

[Tony Lee: Trump should point out that he may not want to raise the retirement age because it may not be fair to blue-collar workers who do back-breaking work.]

Trump shifts to bringing “wealth back to our country” to save Social Security. Rubio says Trump’s plan won’t work because “the numbers don’t add up.” He says getting rid of fraud is not enough. Rubio says we can’t tiptoe our way around this but Trump’s numbers “still don’t add up,” even on getting rid of foreign aid. Rubio says we will have a debt crisis if we do not reform social security and he points out that many thought his Senate campaign would end when he called for reforming Social Security when he challenged Crist.

When asked if his numbers don’t add up, Trump says “we don’t bid things out” and all of the industries have fantastic lobbies that control lawmakers. Trump says “we’re going to save a fortune” by allowing bidding and he will do so because he is self-funding his campaign.

9:16: Debate turns to education. Trump is asked what his “specific objections” are to Common Core. He says he wants local education and is against education from Washington, D.C. Trump says he was with Carson today. He mentions that Carson is endorsing him tomorrow morning and they talked for an hour about education. Great move by Trump to announce the Carson endorsement in primetime.

Tapper presses Trump on the Common Core standards. He says the Common Core standards have been taken over by the federal government and the bureaucrats in Washington and they are not interested in what is happening in Miami and other parts of Florida. He says they are more interested in paychecks than educating kids.

Kasich says he is for Common Core because he is for high standards.

Cruz says Common Core will end when he becomes president. He accuses the Obama administration of blackmailing states to adopt Common Core by abusing executive power. He says the one silver lining in Obama’s abuse of executive power is everything can also be undone with executive power. He talks about expanding vouchers, supporting home-schooling, expanding charter schools so every child can get a good education.

9:14: Cruz says we need to redefine the legal immigration system so it meets the needs of the American economy. He says we are bringing in too many low-skilled workers and illegal immigrants and that brings down the wages of American workers. He wants to build a wall, triple the number of border patrol agents, end sanctuary cities, end welfare benefits for anyone here illegally. Cruz says Democrats want illegal immigrants for votes while Republicans are doing the bidding of Wall Street.

Rubio wants more merit-based immigration.

9:13: Trump is asked how long his immigration pause will be. Trump says the H-1b program is very very bad for workers. He says it is “unfair for our workers” and “we should end it.” He says for we have to take a year or two to take a “strong, good hard look” to come up with plans that work. He says a minimum of one year, maybe two years re: immigration pause.

9:11: Kasich on Trump’s proposed immigration “pause,” Kasich says eh wants a guest-worker program and all of the illegal immigrants here should get a path to legalization but not citizenship.

9:09: Rubio is asked about Disney’s abuse if the H-1b program. Rubio says if a company is caught abusing the program, it should not be allowed to use the program. Rubio blasts the insourcing and outsourcing companies and he says no consulting business should hoard all of the visas. Rubio says it is illegal now to use the program to replace Americans [but rarely enforced].

When asked why he won’t call for an H-1b pause, he says he will be open to it but says he doesn’t think it takes a “pause” to enforce the program. He keeps saying that companies are violating the law when replacing American workers without telling viewers all of the ways companies can “technically” avoid violating the law.

9:07: Cruz is asked why voters should trust him on trade. Cruz says he has opposed TPP and says when it comes to trade, free trade helps Americans but “we’re getting killed in international trade right now” because we have an administration that doesn’t look out for American workers (he’s sounding like Trump). He says the steel industry is losing out and the service industry will also lose out as well. He wants to negotiate trade deals that protect Americans workers instead of corporate boardrooms. He wants to lift regulations and a tax plan that will not tax exports but will tax imports.

9:06: Rubio says there are good trade deals and bad trade deals. The trade deal with Columbia, he says, is good but some deals with Mexico are bad. He says if it is a “free and fair” trade deal, we can compete with anyone in the world.

9:04: Tapper asks why Trump would run the country differently than his businesses. Trump says nobody knows the rules better than he does. He says because of the monetary devaluations, it’s very hard for our companies to compete. He says he will take advantage of it as a businessman but as president he will change the laws.

9:03: Kasich is asked about trade. He wants “free” but “fair trade.” Kasich says that it is critical that when countries break agreements, the process does not get turned over to international bureaucrats. He wants an expedited process when countries cheat and he will “blow the whistle” on them and stand up for American workers. But Kasich says we don’t want to leave the world because prices will go up and workers will be out of work. But he reiterates that he will not allow countries to dump products in the U.S. He says his family worked in the steel industry.

9:02: Trump says “one of the biggest political events anywhere in the world is happening right now with the Republican party.” He says millions are voting out of enthusiasm, out of love. He says some have never voted before. Trump says he is taking people from Democrats, independence, and “the whole world is talking about it.” He says the GOP establishment should embrace what is happening.

[Tony Lee: BUT WHY ARE THEY VOTING FOR YOU? Perhaps because of trade deals that the elite have supported and he, because he is self-funding his campaign and is beholden to  nobody, can oppose? He never said why. This is where he has to get better as a candidate for the general election.]

9:02: Cruz says Florida welcomed his father 59 years ago. He says this election is about the freedom America has always had and is there for the next generation.

9:01: Rubio says this is the most important election in a generation because “our identity as a nation and a people” are at stake. He says the 21st century will be a new American century if voters make the right choice.

9:00: Kasich’s opening statement focuses on hope. He says he can take conservative policies to the White House and Washington and transfer power, money, and influence “to where you live.” He wants to form a new partnership to strengthen America.

 

8:55: CNN’s Jake Tapper welcomes the candidates to the stage. And the debate is about to begin. He asks for a moment of silence to remember Nancy Reagan.

This may be the last debate of the primary season for Trump:

8:45: RNC Chair Reince Priebus addresses the debate audience and he says the GOP will support the nominee 100% “whoever it is.”

8:35: GOP donors reportedly trying to get Condi Rice, who has repeatedly said she doesn’t want to run for president and may not even peel off enough conservatives from a potential Trump candidacy, to make an independent run that may damage her sterling brand:

A group of Republican donors and strategists has been working to persuade former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to make an independent bid for president, according to a memo outlining the plan obtained by POLITICO Florida.

7:35: Sanders issues statement re: Trump rallies: ‘No one in America should ever fear for their safety at a political rally.’

6:35: Report: Dr. Ben Carson plans to endorse Trump:

Conservative favorite Ben Carson, who recently suspended his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, plans to endorse Donald Trump on Friday morning, according to two people familiar with his thinking.

The endorsement, perhaps the most high-profile nod for Trump since New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie backed him, was finalized Thursday morning when Carson met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, the luxury club owned by the Republican front-runner, the people said. The sources requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Friday’s announcement will also take place at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., where the onetime rivals will appear alongside one another at a news conference.

6:25: Cruz for President staffer found white powder in letter. Determined to be non-toxic.

6:10: Kasich may get attacked more fiercely tonight than he has at other debates.

5:30: Report: Cruz super PAC so confident Rubio is going to lose Florida, it isn’t spending any money against Rubio:

5:22: Even though the the enthusiasm is with Trump/GOP and Trump is bringing in a massive number of new voters, Hillary Clinton thinks Trump has a “narrow base” of support.

5:20: Nearly 30% say they would vote for Jeb! in Florida if he were still running:

5:10: Jeb!’s failed strategist has some advice for the anti-Trump groups:

4:45: Sanders getting plenty of money to make life miserable for Clinton:

4:35: Man charged with punching a protester at Trump’s rally:

4:25: In an interview that will air on Rachel Maddow’s show tonight, Hillary Clinton says Trump has upset him. She says she is “appalled” and “distraught” by what is being said/she is seeing at his rallies re: protesters. She says Trump should not be urging people on and this is “deeply distressing.” She says more and more Americans will be “disturbed” by Trump’s campaign going forward.

4:17: Urban Meyer endorses Kasich (One of Kasich’s campaign videos had a “Harbaugh 2016” sign). Left not happy with the endorsement.

4:1o: Sanders supporters yelling “Tax the rich!”

4:00: At a press conference, CAIR director Nilad Awad demands that Trump should apologize to American muslims who have served in the armed forces and and law enforcement. He wants Trump to apologize to “Muslims worldwide” who are fighting ISIS. He also invites Trump to meet with Muslim leaders so “he can know who we are.” He calls on the media to keep pressuring Trump about his comments re: Islam and Muslims. Other leaders are hoping that will apologize at tonight’s GOP debate!

3:50: Breitbart News CEO & President Responds to Trump Campaign’s Attack on Breitbart News Reporter Michelle Fields:

3:27: Anti-Trump group will try to influence Ohio’s primary:

3:21: Lee predicts more Senators will endorse Cruz and says he is the only person who can beat Trump and Clinton.

3:15: Lee now encourages Rubio to drop out, says he’s sending a signal:

3:12: Lee says Americans can trust Cruz on appointing Scalia’s replacement with a conservative justice.

3:10: Mike Lee endorses Cruz sand says he is a friend of the American people and the people of Texas. Lee says when Cruz ran in 2012, he made promises to voters in Texas and has kept every promise he has made to the people of Texas. Lee says Cruz can unite the GOP with the trust that he has earned. Lee says there is a big difference between “confusion” and confidence” and “platitudes” and “plans” and “slogans and substance.” He says Ted is that difference and he won’t settle.

3:00: CAIR will bring together Muslims leaders at a 4 p.m. EST news conference to demand an apology from Trump. CAIR will reportedly blame Trump for the rise in “anti-Muslim” violence. No word if CAIR will mention that FBI statistics have shown there have been more acts of anti-Jewish violence. 

2:46: Clinton on GOP field: ‘I’ll take any one of them.’

2:45: Even the Wall Street Journal realizes that Trump may beat Clinton after Clinton’s loss in Michigan:

Progressive journalists and other sophisticates are gloating about the turmoil Donald Trump has fomented within the Republican Party, and they’d better enjoy the feeling while it lasts. Hillary Clinton’s thunderclap defeat in the Michigan primary shows the Democrats are saddled with a weak candidate who has a sack load of political liabilities as heavy as Mr. Trump’s.

2:32: Interestingly, MSNBC interviewed a black union worker in Ohio about the devastating job losses that have hit the state. Though he supports Clinton, the MSNBC reporter said when he pushed him further, he said he would be open to Trump as well because of his message on trade/jobs. More evidence that Trump’s message on trade/jobs has huge cross-over appeal.

2:30: Trump’s “secret weapon” in Ohio may be blue-collar workers (this is why Trump should speak to them more instead of nonsensically talking about process):

Sitting in a steel workers’ meeting at their Canton union hall, Curtis Green, the chapter’s vice president, described Trump’s support among a growing number of members as their “dirty little secret.”

“I view him as a radical and a racist and I don’t want to be affiliated with that,” Green said. “But if you say what you mean, a lot of guys see that in Trump and they respect that. He doesn’t dance around the issues, he takes them head on. There are a fair amount of our members who do support Donald Trump.”

2:2o: Sanders wearing new Florida Gators (Florida leading Arkansas at halftime) cap on the stump:

2:08 – High demand for supersized Trump-style hats.

2:01 – Of all the GOP candidates, Kasich’s Twitter gif game is strongest.

1:59 – Trump campaign denies any wrongdoing in the Michelle Fields incident:

1:53 – Lefty columnist throws some water on the Kasich-Ohio State coach lovefest:

1:35 – Trump ratings chart:

1:01 – LOL — schools don’t want to do mock presidential debates because one kid will have to be Trump.

12:51 – NYPost’s Page Six claims that someone overheard Kanye West on a plane saying he likes Trump even though he’s donated to Hillary.

12:47 – Cruz gets his Senate endorsement.

12:36 – Man in cowboy hat with what looks like a ponytail punches a protester getting escorted from a Trump rally:

12:33 – Kasich gets one of the most important endorsements in his home state: Ohio State’s football coach!

12:29 – Pennsylvania paper reports that almost 46,000 Democrats may have switched party affiliations to vote for Trump in the state’s Republican primary.

12:15 – AP: “Anti-Trump Republicans come to terms with Cruz nomination”

MIAMI (AP) — As high-stakes elections loom in Florida and Ohio, anxious Republican officials are coming to terms with the idea that their second-least-favorite GOP presidential candidate —Texas conservative Ted Cruz — may be the party’s last best chance to stop Donald Trump.

Trump, in turn, is renewing his vigorous criticism of the Texas senator, casting the rival he calls “Lying Ted” as too polarizing to break the Washington gridlock or win a general election.

“The problem with Ted is that he’ll never get anything done,” Trump told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday. “And the bigger problem is that it’s impossible for him to get elected.”

Some of Cruz’s would-be backers have those same fears. But they fear the prospect of a Trump candidacy more.

12:00 – Marlon Wayans suggests to an interviewer that he’d leave the country if Trump gets elected… but appreciates that he’s unfiltered:

At least Trump speaks his mind, he says. Even if he doesn’t like what the man has to say, he respects him for expressing it honestly. “No matter how stupid he may sound, he says what he feels. People don’t say what they feel any more, people say what’s politically correct. If he would lick his hair and shut the fuck up, he could look like a president. But he opens his mouth and you just go: ‘God!’”

11:40 – Trump again says he’d prosecute Hillary.

If the Obama administration does not pursue a criminal indictment of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump’s White House would.

At the end of a friendly town hall interview aired on Wednesday night, Fox News personality Sean Hannity asked Trump whether, as president, he would pursue a criminal indictment of Clinton should Attorney General Loretta Lynch “cover” for Clinton and avoid indicting her.

“You have to,” Trump responded, to uproarious cheering.

11:37 – PPP poll does some good trolling of the GOP frontrunners on a potential Supreme Court nomination. They posed head-to-heads between Trump and Tom Hanks,  Peyton Manning, Taylor Swift, and Mickey Mouse.

11:23 – Rubio: “Anger is not a plan.”

10:53 – Report: Kasich failed to gather enought signatures to appear on Pennsylvania ballot

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s own lawyer agrees the presidential campaign submitted fewer valid signatures than are required for the candidate to appear on Pennsylvania’s primary ballot. But he argued in court Wednesday that it doesn’t matter because an objection to Mr. Kasich’s nominating petitions was filed 13 minutes too late.

At issue is whether challenges to Pennsylvania nominating petitions are due by 5 p.m. or 11:59 p.m. on the last day to file.

Attorneys for Mr. Kasich and the objector have stipulated that the campaign filed no more than 2,184 signatures with the state, and that 192 of those signatures were not valid. Republican and Democratic candidates for president must submit 2,000 signatures to appear on the ballot.

 

10:35 – WaPo: ‘Morning Joe’ abruptly ends interview with Florida governor for avoiding questions about Trump and Muslims

 

10:19 – NY Mag: How RedState and WaPo’s Jennifer Rubin urged Marco Rubio to light himself on fire

Brutal:

Even after his Super Tuesday debacle, McLaughlin was touting hopeful signs for Rubio. (“The good news for Rubio is that yet again, he proved the breadth of his appeal across the map. He continues to be the only candidate besides Trump who is running a 50-state campaign.”) And now, like Rubin, McLaughlin is advising Rubio to drop out and support Cruz — the candidate who declined to follow his advice to focus on disqualifying Trump.

There’s no sign here of introspection from Rubio’s former cheerleaders, no confession that the strategy they advocated, and insisted was working in the face of mounting evidence, had failed. It’s just the remorseless pity of Otter in Animal House: “You f[**]ed up — you trusted us.”

 

9:41 – Poll: Rubio gaining on Trump in FL

Donald Trump is in a tight contest with Marco Rubio in the Florida senator’s home-state Republican presidential primary, according to a new Washington Post-Univision News poll.

Trump edges out Rubio slightly: 38 percent to 31 percent among likely Republican voters in the Sunshine State. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) places third with 19 percent, followed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 4 percent.

 

9:26 – Politico Fail: MSNBC, CNN, NBC, and even Meet The Press are making the Hitler comparisons. But Politico focuses on two left-wing comedians:

Quit Comparing Trump to Hitler!

It’s difficult to say when the Hitler analogies got out of control. Maybe it was when Donald Trump started asking people at his rallies to raise their hands in a loyalty oath, and the photos made it look like they were zealots delivering a “Sieg Heil.” “This Donald Trump Rally Looks like a Scene from Nazi Germany,” screamed a headline from The Huffington Post. Or maybe it was when, over the past several weeks as Trump has edged closer to the nomination, everyone from comedians Bill Maher and Louis C.K. to no fewer than three Mexican presidents began to say flatly that we are living in Weimar America, with Trump as the potential new Fuhrer. “Please stop it with voting for Trump. It was funny for a little while,” Louis C.K. wrote in an email to his fans this week. “But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s.”

This is absurd. Granted, Trump’s combination of outsider populism, thinly-veiled appeals to ethnic and racial resentment and tough-guy talk are far more likely to invite comparisons to populist tyrants like Hitler (or Mussolini, another popular Trump analogue) than to, say, Mahatma Gandhi.

 

9:09 – WaPo: Four reasons Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic debate

But the most disingenuous attack of the night came when Clinton interjected: “I just think it’s worth pointing out that the leaders of the fossil fuel industry, the Koch brothers, have just paid to put up an ad praising Senator Sanders.”

She was referring to a web video released by Freedom Partners, part of the Koch political network, which highlighted Sanders’s opposition to the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. Just as Obama did (until he became president), the Vermont senator sees federal government-backed loans to General Electric and Boeing as corporate welfare.

 

9:06 – NBC: Trump has highest unfavorable rating of any frontrunner ever.

Almost a year since the first Democrats and Republicans announced their presidential bid and another eight months until the general election, it’s striking how unpopular the remaining candidates are, especially compared with past presidential field. Just look at the positive-negative ratings (among all registered voters) for some of the top political figures in the latest NBC/WSJ poll[.] …

Trump’s -39 score — the lowest in the history of the NBC/WSJ poll for a major presidential candidate — is a drop of eight points from a month ago; Rubio declined from -3 in February to -11 now (maybe that’s why he admitted that his family was “embarrassed” by his personal attacks on Trump); and Clinton’s numbers have been stuck in the mud since last summer[.]

 

8:30 – “Bernie: Because F**k This Sh*t”

8:18 – Camille Paglia: I was wrong about Donald Trump

Well, Trump may still be a carnival barker, but he’s looking more and more like a president!  Along with most media pundits in the Northeast, I found it improbable if not impossible that Trump could survive his klutz-o-rama cascade of foot-in-mouth flubs, from carelessly categorizing Mexican immigrants as rapists to hallucinating about “thousands’ of Muslims cheering the fall of the twin towers from the mean streets of New Jersey.  Surely he would soon implode and pouf into fairy dust!

But only a few weeks after that interview of mine in Salon, I suddenly realized that Trump’s candidacy had a broad support that few had expected or discerned.  The agent of my revelation was a hilariously scathing, viral Web blog video posted by Diamond and Silk–Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, two African-American sisters and former Democrats in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  They were reacting with indignant outrage to the first GOP debate, broadcast by Fox News from Cleveland on August 6 and hosted by Megyn Kelly, whose loaded questions had impugned Trump as a sexist. …

This fiery endorsement blew me away because it demonstrated how Trump was directly engaging with a diverse coalition in ways that the mainstream media had completely missed.  I felt, and still do, that Trump is far too impetuous and thin-skinned in his amusingly rambling, improvisational style.  The American president, who can spook markets or spark a war with a rash phrase, must be more coolly circumspect.  And aspirants to the presidency shouldn’t care what small fry like bobble-head TV hosts say or do.  A leader must have the long view and show an instinctive capacity to focus and prioritize.

 

8:02 – “Ted Cruz Says Donald Trump’s Voters Have “relatively low information” And Are “not that engaged”

Listen, Donald does well with voters who have relatively low information, who are not that engaged and who are angry and they see him as an angry voice. Where we are beating him is when voters’ get more engaged and they get more informed. Where we are beating him is when voters’ get more engaged and they get more informed. When they inform themselves, they realize his record. He’s what they’re angry at. He is the corruption, and if you want someone to stand up to Washington, the only one who has been doing so in this race is me.”

 

7:57 –  #WhichHillary: Twitter shuts down hashtag critical of Clinton

So why this sudden reversal? Why would Twitter shut down a grassroots hashtag that was leading a discussion regarding a Democratic primary? The answer lies in that old saying, “follow the money.”

Three days after Omid Kordestani, the executive chairman of Twitter, hosted a maxed-out fundraiser for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, a Black Lives Matter activist’s notable protest at another fundraiser inspired #WhichHillary — to open debate about Clinton’s often conflicting record on issues. #WhichHillary exploded within hours of the protest and rose to the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter. Clinton, who canceled several financial industry fundraisers recently(most likely to prevent a Wall Street optics dilemma) has lately been relying on donations from the liberal-leaning tech community.

All this occurred within days of the South Carolina primary. As South Carolina voters were making up their minds, this massive campaign challenging Clinton’s history with the African-American community became the No. 1 most discussed topic on Twitter. Yet it came to a sudden halt and was pushed off the trending topics list as its momentum kept building. (And the hashtag’s creator’s account was even suspended.)

 

7:52 – Ohio’s ‘dirty little secret’: blue-collar Democrats for Trump

If Donald Trump wins the Republican Party nomination, his path to the White House will run through this working-class city with a knack for picking presidents.

No Republican has ever won the White House without Ohio. And nowhere better reflects the challenges and opportunities Trump faces in his 2016 presidential quest than Canton, a once-booming industrial city that, like Ohio and the rest of America’s rust belt, is going through profound economic and demographic change.

Canton, a gritty northeastern Ohio city where the once-dominant steel industry has been in decline for 20 years, is the heart of Stark County, a political bellwether that, save twice, has picked every winning presidential candidate since 1964.

 

7:46 – Tonight on CNN, Jake Tapper moderates what will hopefully be the final Republican debate.


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