The last GOP presidential debate of 2015 tonight is the first since the Paris and San Bernardino terror attacks. The CNN debate in Las Vegas, which will focus on national security, also takes place after a Des Moines Register Iowa poll found Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) with a 10-point lead over Donald Trump, who still leads by double digits in national polling.
Expect CNN to highlight Trump’s temporary ban on Muslims and ask plenty of loaded questions that attempt to delegitimize Republicans in order to help Hillary Clinton in a general election. But mainstream media networks have never faced a GOP presidential candidate like Trump, who may well get the best of them yet again and resonate with the so-called “silent majority” if he calls out the media, which think Americans outside of their elite circles are rubes, for putting political correctness above national security.
Former New York Governor George Pataki, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will be in the undercard debate at 6PM EST.
The Main Event at 8:30 PM EST will feature Ohio Governor John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Dr. Ben Carson, Trump, Cruz, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer will moderate the debate along with CNN political correspondent Dana Bash and Republican talk radio host Hugh Hewitt. Blitzer, the North Star of conventional wisdom, is as vanilla as you can get and probably the least likely in the CNN stable to moderate a “cage match.” Bash and Hewitt love to have establishment Republicans and their operatives in the permanent political class whisper in their ears, and you can bet they will be more favorable toward candidates like Bush and Rubio (have to keep their establishment sources in the permanent political class happy!).
It goes without saying that the stakes are high for all in tonight’s debate. Messrs. Graham, Pataki, Huckabee, Santorum, and Paul need to take their campaigns off of life support. Meanwhile, Fiorina, Christie, Bush and Kasich may be speaking to voters in New Hampshire instead of the conservative primary electorate tonight since winning New Hampshire may be the only way for each of them to keep their campaigns alive. For Carson, he needs to show signs of life and toughness. It would serve the soft-spoken retired neurosurgeon well if he picked a fight with one of the candidates or moderators. Rubio, who, like Fiorina, is often robotic and answers questions with canned responses that seem like they were prepared by D.C. consultants, must clearly differentiate himself tonight from candidates on the establishment and conservative wings. The D.C. media and its pipsqueak allies in the establishment chattering class always anoint Rubio as the winner of various debates, but there is a reason why his performances have barely improved his standings in the polls.
Trump must use this debate to not only close the deal with supporters so they will vote for him in the early voting contests but display that he has some strategy to actually win the nomination. He must be careful in how he attacks Cruz—if he decides to attack his fellow anti-establishment candidate. Too often Trump lives off the political land without thinking about the longterm implications, and that can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. For instance, Trump made a tactical mistake by attacking Carson and questioning his skills as neurosurgeon. Is it any surprise then that many of Carson’s supporters in Iowa have gone to Cruz instead of Trump? If Trump really wants to win the nomination with everything that’s in him, he can use this debate—by being crisp on policy and his plans while strategically attacking his rivals in ways that do not alienate potential crossover voters—to start closing the deal.
For the first time in this election cycle, the klieg lights will be on Cruz tonight and he will finally get the time to showcase his deep-rooted conservatism, fluency on the issues, and his proven track record of taking on the GOP establishment and living up to his campaign promises. His challenge, though, is twofold. He must prove to voters that he can be an strong executive in a time of insecurity. In addition, Cruz would do well if he doesn’t sound like a Senator or debate champion with a mastery in scoring technical and oratorical points and more like regular guy next door who will, in his words, “get the job done” and “get you home.”
Though Trump and Cruz are the frontrunners in the polls, bookmakers (chalk hardly wins, though) still have Rubio as the frontrunner. Since the debate is taking place in Las Vegas, here are the GOP 2016 odds at William Hill at the time of publication:
Marco Rubio: 11/8
Donald Trump: 9/4
Ted Cruz: 11/4
Jeb Bush : 8:1
Chris Christie: 16:1
Mitt Romney: 50:1
Ben Carson 50:1
Mike Huckabee: 100:1
John Kasich: 100:1
Carly Fiorina: 100:1
Rick Santorum: 100:1
Rand Paul: 100:1
George Pataki: 250:1
Lindsey Graham: 250:1
Condi Rice: 250:1
Sarah Palin: 250:1
This debate is the last chance for candidates to influence voters before the race freezes in place for a few weeks while Americans enjoy time with their families during Christmas/New Years and watch plenty of bowl games (while asking themselves things like: “why did Stanford agree to a 10AM PST start time against Northwestern? Why did Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly go for two against Clemson early in the fourth quarter (take the damn points)? Why didn’t Ohio State run the ball more with Ezekiel Elliott against Michigan State? If only Iowa didn’t get intercepted at the goal line against Michigan State…)
Rubio strikes me as the football team without an identity that is neither great nor bad in all aspects of the game—like the stereotypical Big Ten team before the Urban Meyer era that SEC teams routinely demolished. Trump is the top-ranked football team with a run-and-shoot (or air raid) offense, a stifling Buddy Ryan defense but with an unreliable field goal kicker and a Mike Leach-like coach (swing your sword!) that forces fans to cling to—and guzzle—their Maalox. Cruz seems like the proverbial team that stumbled early in the season but is peaking at the right time (think Ohio State last year and Oklahoma this year). Carson is like the mid-major team—like Boise State—that people root love to root for. Bush and Christie are the default legacy teams that always get ranked in the top-10 in pre-season polls before inevitably fizzling away.
Breitbart News has reporters on the ground in Las Vegas and will be providing live updates throughout the evening below.
Trump: “Our country doesn’t win anymore. We don’t win on trade. We don’t win on the military. We can’t defeat ISIS. We’re not taking care of our great people–the veterans–we’re not taking care of them. We have to change our whole way. Our healthcare system is a disaster. It’s going to implode in 2017… Nothing works in our country. If I’m elected President, we will win again. We will win a lot. And we’re going to have a great, great country–greater than ever before. Thank you.”
Carson: “I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to 58 different countries. And I thank God every day that I was born in this country, the most exceptional country that the world has ever known. And I want to make sure that we preserve that exceptionalism for the next generation. My mother told me if I work hard and believed in American principles and believed in God, then anything is possible. I believe that is true and that’s why I’m not anxious to give away American values and principles for the sake of political correctness.”
Cruz: “Judgment, strength, clarity, and trust. Barack Obama has said he doesn’t believe in American leadership or America winning. He is wrong.” Cruz says “American can win again and we will win again.” He says Reagan reignited the American economy, rebuilt the military, bankrupted the Soviet Union, and defeated Soviet Communism. I will do the same thing. Cutting taxes. Cutting regulation. Unleashing small business. And rebuilding the military to defeat radical Islamic terrorism. Our strategy is simple–we win, they lose. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.”
Rubio: He says America has been a special country for 200 years where anybody from anywhere could achieve anything but now millions feel like they are being left behind–“insecure in their future and in the face of terrorism.” He says this election is about electing a president that will restore our economic vibrancy so the American Dream can expand to reach more people and change more lives than every before and rebuild our military and intelligence programs so American can be stronger than ever before. His closing is much better and more polished than Bush’s.
Bush: Jeb says, “ask yourself: which candidate will keep you and our country safer, stronger, and freer?” He says his proven records and detailed plans make him that person. He says he doesn’t make false promises and delivers real results. He is fumbling his closing, though, and does not inspire confidence or strength.
Fiorina: She says she remembers putting security measures in place all throughout her company that did business across the world on September 11. She says we must beat Hillary Clinton to keep our country safe. She says we need to unify our party, be better than our government, be better than our politics, and have a real conservative in the White House.
Christie: He says on September 10, 2001, he was chief prosecutor in New Jersey and on September 11, 2001 his wife went to her office blocks away from the Trade Centers and he lost touch with them for six hours. He says radical Islamic jihadism is not theoretical to him and he has spent his life “protecting our country against another one of those attacks.” He says he will protect America from the wars that are being brought to our doorsteps.
Kasich: He says no Republican has been elected President without winning Ohio. He says reform, hope, opportunity, and security win Ohio. He says our message has to connect with people’s heads and hearts.
Paul: He says the greatest threat to our national security is our debt and it is both parties’ fault. He says their is an unholy alliance between those on the right who want unlimited military spending and those on the left who want unlimited domestic spending. He says he is the only fiscal conservative on stage because he is willing to hold the line on spending.
10:55: Hewitt asks Trump if he will run as a Republican. Trump says he will reassure voters that he will run as a Republican.
Video of Hewitt clapping after Trump’s response:
He says he has great respect for people he has met during the process and he is “totally committed” to the Republican Party and he is “very honored” to be the frontrunner. He says he will do everything in his power to defeat Hillary Clinton.
Carson is asked the same question and he says that the statement he made about potentially leaving the GOP was contingent upon whether the party acts like they have in the past with a lot of subterfuge and dishonesty or like how they will act and not thwart the will of the people.
10: 54: Bash asks Trump whether Cruz is fit to be president. Trump says Cruz is “just fine” and has a good temperament.
Cruz is asked by Bash why he has not attacked Trump in public (Trump says he better not attack him) but in private. Cruz says that he said in private what he will say here. He says voters will judge who has the experience, vision, judgment to be Commander-in-Chief. He says we need a Commander-in-Chief who did what Reagan did with Communism. Cruz says regarding whether Trump has the temperament to be president, Cruz says that is a judgment every voter needs to make and everyone on the stage would be better than Obama/Clinton.
10:53: Hewitt immediately goes to, out of all people, Rubio to explain the nuclear triad (airplanes, silos, subs to use our nuclear arsenal). Rubio speaks of “serious modernization” of all three.
10:50: Hewitt asks Trump about America’s nuclear triad and what his priority among the nuclear triad.
Trump says we need a person we can trust and is proud that in 2003-2004, he was totally against going into Iraq because it would destabilize the Middle East. He hasn’t answered the question yet and says we have to be extremely “vigilant” and “careful” when it comes to nuclear because it “changes the whole ballgame.” He says the biggest problem this world faces is not global warming but nuclear proliferation and having some maniac go out and get a nuclear weapon. Trump says nuclear power/devastation is “very important to me.”
10:45: Fiorina is asked what she would do about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his claims about a hydrogen bomb. She says we must continue to isolate him and we need China, a rising adversary, as part of that strategy. She says we have to push back on China and points out they recognize strength as well. She says we have to retaliate against their cyberattacks and their desire to control the trade route through the South China Sea.
Carson says Kim Jong Un is “unstable” and China has a lot more influence with him than we do.
CNN picks a Facebook questioner that attempts to make Republicans seem heartless. She asks the candidates if the Bible states we need to embrace those in need, how can we justify not accepting refugees?
Christie says that the first job of the President of the United States is to protect your safety.
10: 44: Regarding refugees, Rubio says this is an issue America has to be 100% right on because we’ve got “a serious problem” if we get one person wrong and there is not a single person who can guarantee a 100% success rate.
10: 43: Paul is asked if he would send Syrian refugees back. He says there was an opportunity for Rubio to support an amendment to strengthen border security re: students and refugees and Rubio was again more sympathetic to Obama/Schumer than to conservative principles and Rubio must explain why he is a national security conservative if he hasn’t stepped up to support border security. Paul says he has not taken a position on sending anyone back home but he points out that charity is giving away your own money and not giving away other people’s money by using taxpayer funds to take care of the world’s refugees. He points out that the Middle Eastern nations are not doing anything to help the refugees and “they need to step up.”
10:42: Blitzer asks Carson about his trip to a refugee camp in Jordan. Carson said he asks Syrians what they wanted and Syrians wanted to be settled back into their country and they wanted Americans to support the efforts of those that want to provide them security.
10:40: Bash asks if this is the tone that can win Hispanics and Bush accepts the premise of the question (why we lose) and answers “no it isn’t.” He then talks about securing the border, the rule of law, public health issues, an epidemic of heroin overdoses. Bush says we need more fencing and border control. Bush says this is a serious challenge and the GOP can start winning votes “if we get this right.” He accuses Obama/Clinton of wanting to maintain immigration as a “wedge issue.”
10: 38: Bash asks Trump who he sides with. He says he has a hardline position–we either have a country or we don’t have a country.
Trump says walls work (ask Israel) and “we either have a border or we don’t.” He says people can come into the country but they have to come into the country legally.
10:35: Cruz says he understands that Rubio is trying to confuse people but “it is not accurate” what Rubio said because “I led the fight against his legalization and amnesty bill.” He said there was one commentator that said for Rubio to suggest that their records are the same is like suggesting that the fireman and the arsonist are the same because they are both at the scene of the fire.
“He was fighting to grant amnesty and not to secure the border,” Cruz said. “I was fighting to secure the border.”
He says this also goes to trust. He says Rubio campaigned in Florida promising to lead the fight against amnesty and broke that promise.
Cruz says he never has supported legalization and never intends to support legalization.
Fiorina tries to jump in and says the nation is fed up with the political class.
10: 32: Rubio says that a “refugee” up until the Syrian refugee crisis means someone fleeing Communism/oppression without noting that many exploited the program to enter the United States long before the Syrian refugee/border crisis. Rubio says he is “puzzled” by Cruz’s attack on him and accuses Cruz of supporting legalizing people living in the country illegally. Rubio points out that Cruz supported a 500% increase in the number of H-1B visas and doubling the number of green cards. Rubio vows to bring illegal immigration under control.
10: 28: Cruz laughs when asked if Rubio’s immigration plan is not that much different from his. Cruz says though Rubio is trying to muddy the waters, there was a “time for choosing” in the battle over amnesty and Rubio chose to stand with Obama/Schumer and support a “massive amnesty plan” while others chose to stand with Jeff Session and Steve King and the American people to secure the border.
He says the immigration issue “is directly connected to what we’ve been talking about” because the front line with ISIS isn’t just in Iraq/Syria, it’s also in Kennedy Airport and the Rio Grande.” Cruz says “border security is national security” and “one of the most troubling aspect of the Rubio-Schemer Gang of Eight bill” is that it gave Obama a blank check to admit Syrian refugees without mandating any background checks whatsoever. He says that puts American citizens at risk.
Cruz says if he is president, he’ll build a wall and “get Donald Trump to pay for it.”
10: 25: Rubio still open to path to citizenship for illegals. Bash asks Rubio if he still supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. It’a “yes” or “no” question but Rubio says he learned in 2013 that Americans don’t trust the federal government to enforce immigration laws and won’t support immigration reform until it can. He says America must control illegal immigration and modernize legal immigration. He says after the country has done that, Americans will be “reasonable” regarding illegal immigrants. He says they have to undergo background checks and start paying taxes and they will be given work permits for 10 years.
Bash says he has not answered the question. Rubio says he is personally “open” to allowing people to apply for a Green Card but “that’s down the road” but that can’t happen until you prove to people that the government can prove to people that illegal immigration is under control.
My goodness that is a roundabout, poll-tested answer that evades, evades, evades.
10:23: When Carson is asked about how being a neurosurgeon has prepared him for being president, he says he has had a lot of experience building and organizing things. He says he does a lot of doing instead of a lot of talking. He says people may think he is weak because he is not loud, boisterous, and rude and asks voters to “look and see what I’ve done and that speaks volumes about my strength.”
10:22: Trump calls out CNN. He says “it’s very sad” that CNN leads Bush down a road by starting off virtually all the questions with “Mr. Trump this and Mr. Trump that.” He says he watched the first debate and it is unfair and unprofessional that the entire first part of the debate was about Trump in order to get ratings.
Trump mocks Jeb by saying “you’re a tough guy, Jeb” when Bush implies that Trump is not tough enough to deal with Putin because he doesn’t like debate moderators focusing on his past statements.
10:20: Hewitt asks Bush why he is better qualified to President and deal with Putin than Trump. Bush says he is better qualified because “I know what I don’t know” and he would seek out the best advice that exists and won’t get his advice “from the shows” like Trump. Bush says he would be a “Commander-in-Chief” and not an “Agitator-in-Chief” or a “Divider-in-Chief.”
10: 17: Paul says that “if you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate” in Christie. Paul says the no-fly zone over Syria is a “recipe for disaster” and would lead to World War III. He says Christie lacks the judgement to be president and says Christie is the type of person who would shut down a bridge out of spite if he wants to shoot down Russian planes and risk starting World War III.
10:15: Christie says he would shoot down a Russian plane in a no-fly zone and risk war with Russia because a no-fly zone is a no-fly zone. He said he would talk to Putin a lot and tell him that he would shoot down a Russian plane if their pilots think that he was the same feckless weakling as this president in the Oval Office right now.
10: 14: Fiorina is asked if it is feasible to not be communication with world leaders like Putin, and she says that there is a time and a place for talk and action. She says Putin respects strength and lied to Obama’s face and “we need to speak to him from a position of strength” and she would not speak to him as president until we’ve set up a no-fly zone and told the president of Iran “new deal.” She says she will not speak to him until we’ve rebuilt the Sixth Fleet and rebuilt the Missile Defense Program in Poland. Fiorina says it’s Hillary Clinton and “not these people up here” that is responsible for ISIS’s rise.
10:12: Hewitt (is he even paying attention to the debate?) asks Paul if he agrees that Assad needs to go.
Paul predictably says “it’s a huge mistake” like he has said thousands of times before. He says the great irony is that we will be fighting against our own weapons if we topple Assad. He calls for a realistic instead of a Utopian foreign policy.
10:07: Hewitt asks Trump about Assad. He says is Assad stays in power, Iran is winning. He says if “they’re winning, how can we be winning?”
Trump says Assad is a “bad guy” but we are backing rebels when “we have no idea who they are.”
Trump says “we have to get rid of ISIS first” and we can’t be fighting everybody at one time.
Hewitt asks Christie if Trump is right, and Christie says we have to focus on what the priorities are and blasts Obama’s deal with Iran for enriching Iran and allowing ISIS to become emboldened.
“We need to focus our attention on Iran,” Christie says. “Because if you miss Iran, you’re not going to get ISIS. The two are inextricably connected because one causes the other.”
10:04: Blitzer asks Bush if getting rid of Saddam Hussein is still a “pretty good deal” as he said. Bush says that Obama does not believe that America’s leadership is a force for good and the focus should be on the fact that Hillary Clinton wants to double down on a failed foreign policy.
Paul is asked whether getting rid of Saddam Hussein was a pretty good deal. He says just because he thinks regime change is a bad idea doesn’t necessarily mean that Hussein was a good idea. He says the neoconservatives want regime change in places like Syria and “it has not worked.”
“Out of regime change you get chaos. From the chaos you’ve seen repeatedly the rise of radical Islam,” Paul says.
Paul says those like the neoconservatives “are the problem” because their policies have seen terrorism rise from the chaos.
10:03: Trump says that he has been talking about taking the oil and distributing the profits to Wounded Warriors, etc.
Carson says nobody is better off with dictators and he points out that on airplanes, you are asked in case of an emergency to put your oxygen mask on first before helping your neighbors. He says America needs oxygen now and it is foolish to think we can fix all of the Middle East’s problems with a couple of bombs.
10:02: Trump says America would have been a lot better off and did a tremendous disservice to humanity/Middle East by spending $4 trillion trying to topple various people instead of using that money to fix America’s roads, bridges, and airports. He says the Middle East is a “total and complete mess” and wishes we had the $4 trillion to spend on our roads, schools, hospitals.
Fiorina says that is exactly what President Barack Obama has said and is amazed to hear that from a Republican. She says that Hillary Clinton is the one who got it wrong with her “reset” strategy on Russia and on Assad.
9:58: Rubio is asked if he has any regrets supporting Obama’s intervention in Libya. He says that the Libyan people started the uprising against Qaddafi. Rubio says that Qaddafi killed those over Lockerbie and bombed the Berlin cafe that killed U.S. Marines. He says Qaddafi started cooperating on the nuclear program because we got rid of Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi thought he would be next. Rubio says that he would not shed a tear if anti-American dictators like Assad go.
Cruz says it’s more than not shedding a tear and blasts Obama/Clinton/Washington Republicans for searching for mythical “moderate” rebels that are like Purple Unicorns that do not exist and end up being jihadists.
Cruz says we need to focus on American–NOT global–interests.
9:55: Cruz says he’s for an “America First foreign policy” when asked if it would be his policy to preserve some dictatorships rather than promote democracy in the Middle East. He says Libya is now a terrorist region run by jihadists. He says the Muslim Brotherhood came into Egypt after Mubarak was toppled. Cruz says if we topple Assad, ISIS will take over Syria and it will worsen U.S. national security interests in the region. He says instead of being a “Woodrow Wilson democracy promoter,” America should hunt down ISIS and kill them.
9:50: Bash presses Paul about his comments about GOP hawks enabling ISIS’s rise. Paul says the biggest debate we should be having tonight is whether regime change is a good idea.
9:48: Paul says GOP hawks have made a safe space for ISIS to grow. Paul says Donald Trump is not a serious candidate for wanting to close the Internet and wanting to kill the families of terrorists. He says the former would violate the Constitution and the latter would violate the Geneva Convention. Trump asks, “so they can kill us but we can’t kill them?”
Trump says, regarding the Internet, he says he is talking about parts of Syria/Iraq where ISIS is and not “closing” the Internet. He says he wants to get our smartest to infiltrate their Internet. He says he just cannot imagine being booed re: infiltrating their conversations.
9:45: Carson is asked by Hewitt if he could order a strike against ISIS that could result in children being killed? Carson says you have to be able to look at the big picture and it is merciful if you go ahead and finish the job. Carson says the job of the president of the United States is to protect the people of the United States and to do what is necessary to do get that done.
9:43: Trump is asked by a Facebook user about wanting to kill the families of ISIS terrorists and how it would set the U.S. apart from ISIS. Trump responds that he would be very very firm with families and that would make them think because they care about their families’s lives.
Jeb says Trump’s answer is “troubling” and reflects his “lack of seriousness.” He says Trump’s suggestion is “crazy” and “makes no sense.” He points out that Trump said two months ago that ISIS was not our fight and says “we need someone who thinks this true and leads our country to safety and security.”
Trump says “we need toughness” and implies Jeb is not tough for saying illegal immigrants coming across the border come as an “act of love.”
Trump says we “don’t have that level of respect that we need” and “we need strength. We don’t have it.” He says Jeb is weak on radical Islam like he is with illegal immigration.
Jeb says that Trump “will not insult his way to the presidency.”
“Leadership is not about attacking people and disparaging people,” Bush says. He says leadership is about proposing serious solutions to deal with problems.
“With Jeb’s attitude, we will never be great again,” Trump says.
9:40: Rubio says we have to understand that ISIS is a radical Sunni group when asked Cruz’s rhetoric does not match his voting record. Rubio says because of the budget cuts, America’s Air Force will not be the smallest it has ever had. He says we need to win the information war against ISIS as well.
Again, he doesn’t answer the question and Blitzer does a good job pressing him.
Rubio says Cruz voted against the Defense Authorization Act three times and supported a budget that is called a “containment budget” that would reduce the amount America spends on its military.
Cruz says he voted against the National Defense Authorization Act because he promised Texas on the campaign trail that he would oppose the federal government’s ability to detain U.S. citizens without due process and has done everything to take it out of the bill.
Cruz says Rubio has supported Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama undermining governments in the Middle East that have empowered terrorists.
Rubio says an American who joins ISIS will be treated as an enemy combatant and not be read their Miranda Rights. He insists that the cuts that Cruz supported will lead to a smaller Air Force. He says that Obama/Clinton are leading from behind but accuses Cruz of not wanting to lead.
9:38: Blitzer asks Cruz if he would level ISIS’s capital in Syria where there are hundreds of thousands of civilians. Cruz it means using overwhelming air power to “utterly and completely destroy ISIS.” Cruz blasts Obama’s “photo-op foreign policy” and says “we need to be fighting and killing ISIS where they are.” Cruz says it is not a lack of competence but political correctness that is stopping the Obama administration from combating terrorists.
He says the Obama administration’s political correctness is killing people.
When Blitzer asks Cruz to answer the question about whether he would carpet bomb Raqqa, Syria, he doesn’t answer the question and says he would bomb where ISIS is. He says the object isn’t to level a city but to kill ISIS terrorists to let people around the world that they are not winning and that joining ISIS is a death sentence.
9:37: Kasich says shutting down even parts of the Internet is not a good idea. And the candidate who barely registers in the polls then uses his time to talk about solving the metadata/encryption problem. The bell rings for Kasich to stop talking. He keeps talking and talking.
9:35: Blitzer asks Trump about “closing the Internet up” and wants him to clarify. Trump says “this is so easy to answer” because ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet. He says he wanted to get our brilliant people from Silicon Valley to prevent ISIS from doing what they are doing. He says he doesn’t want ISIS using our Internet and recruiting our youth. He says we should be using our most brilliant minds to figure a way to prevent ISIS from using the Internet from recruiting terrorists. He says we should also penetrate the Internet to find out where ISIS is. He says he would be open to closing areas in the Internet where we are at war with somebody. “Yes sir, I am.”
9:33: Blitzer asks Fiorina whether Silicon Valley companies should be forced to help the FBI unravel encrypted communications by ISIS. She asks why we missed the Tsarnaev Brothers and the San Bernardino couple… she says we were using the wrong algorithms and government is woefully behind the technology curve. Like Rubio, she never answers the question.
When Blitzer asks her to answer the question, she finally answers that they should be “asked” and not “forced.”
9:32: Wolf asks Bush about his brother saying “Islam is peace” after 9/11. Blitzed asks, “Are President Bush’s words still relevant in today’s Republican Party?” Jeb says they are if we are serious about destroying ISIS. Jeb says the FBI/NSA should get all of the resources to keep us safe but the main thing we need to focus on is a strategy to defeat ISIS. He talks about his plan to defeat ISIS that he put forth at the Reagan Library.
9:30: Carson is asked what he considers to be anti-American. He says that we need to make sure that any place — a mosque, a school, a supermarket, a theater — where a lot of people are engaging in potential radicalized activities must come under suspicion. He says America must avoid “all the PC stuff” because we are at war. Carson points out that the Muslim Brotherhood has admitted that they will take advantage of America’s politically correct culture.
9:28: Christie is asked to chime in. He blasts Senators for endless debate and frames himself as an executive who has actually had to make decisions. He says nobody in America cares bout Senators who debate about a bill in a subcommittee. Strong answer from Christie–would have been stronger if the conservative base considered him “one of them.”
9:25: Rand Calls Out Rubio for Being Weak on National Security by Supporting Open Borders:
Paul says Rubio is getting it wrong because we are less safe with all the metadata because the government has so much metadata that it cannot hone in on data that is important.
Paul (he says stricter border control laws may have stopped the San Bernardino terrorists) blasts Rubio for having steadfastly opposed at every point any new border security requirements for refugees and students and championing amnesty legislation. He says Rubio can’t “have it both ways” on the issue.
“He’s the weakest of all the candidates on immigration,” Paul says. “He is the one for an open border that is leaving us defenseless. If you want to defend our country, we have to defend against those who are coming in. And Marco has more of an allegiance to Chuck Schumer, to the liberals than he does to conservative policy.”
Paul insists that Rubio still misunderstands the immigration issue, especially since every terror attack since 9/11 has been due to legal immigration.
9:24: Rubio says there is nothing that we are allowed to do under the Freedom Act that we could not do before but it took away a “valuable tool” to access phone records. He says the next time there is a terrorist attack, people will want to know why we didn’t know about it and the answer better not be “because we didn’t have records or information that would have allowed us to identify” the killers. He gets cheers from the crowd.
9:22: Rubio says Cruz is wrong for having voted for the Freedom Act. He says the tool that we lost is a valuable tool that we do not have at our disposal. He also speaks about terrorists wanting to exploit loopholes in immigration law to do harm on America (ironic given Rubio was the face of the “Gang of Eight” comprehensive amnesty bill.”
Cruz says that Mark Levin has pointed out that Rubio’s super PAC is making Alinsky-like attacks on Cruz about the metadata program.
9:20: Bash asks whether Cruz’s vote to reform surveillance laws was a mistake. Cruz says the Freedom Act ended the bulk collection of metadata but it also strengthened the tools of national security/law enforcement to go after terrorists. Great job by Cruz of not accepting the premise of the question and falling into MSM traps. This is why he is a great candidate.
9:17: Kasich is asked how he would find radicalized Americans not on any watch lists. He says there needs to be people on the ground in a coalition similar to the one that existed in the first Gulf War. Kasich says the Saudis have organized 34 countries in the battle of terrorism and we need to destroy ISIS with our friends in Europe and the Arab World. He says world leaders should have met about how to destroy ISIS instead of discussing climate change. He calls for more intelligence sharing and tools for intelligence officials to identify radicalized Americans and disrupt terrorist attacks before they occur.
9:15: Christie says if a center for the developmentally disabled is targeted, every place is a target now. He says surveillance tools that have been taken away by Obama must be restored.
9:13: Hewitt asks Fiorina if she wants to the party to stand for keeping people out (this is the type of question that the mainstream media loves, especially when asked by a “Republican.” That’s why he’s handpicked moderator for CNN). Florina says the country doesn’t want lawyers arguing over laws or entertainers throwing out soundbites. She says here at home we need to recognize that technology has moved on and iPads, iPhones, etc. were invented after the Patriot Act passed in 2002. She says government is not innovating and the private sector needs to be asked to help the government innovate.
9:10: Hewitt, who says he doesn’t want a “cage match” (though the establishment does) asks Cruz where he disagrees with Trump on Islamic terrorism and asks Cruz to describe where he disagrees (in 75 seconds, no less) “with the kind of specificity” in his nine Supreme Court arguments (gimme a break!). Cruz blasts Obama/Clinton for wanting to bring thousands of Syrian refugees. He says he understands why Trump proposed a temporary Muslim ban but says his proposal is more specific (narrowly focused because it would suspend all refugees for three years form countries where ISIS/al-Qaeda control substantial territory) in accomplishing the goal. Hewitt continues to press Cruz on why he disagrees with Trump (Blitzer never pressed Rubio on why GOP primary voters are wrong) and Cruz says there are Muslims from countries like India that are peaceful and this is a war not on a faith but a theocratic ideology that seeks to destroy us.
9:07: Rubio, who said that a temporary ban on Muslims is unconstitutional, is asked why the majority of GOP primary voters are wrong for believing that there should be a temporary ban on Muslims. Like he always does, Rubio doesn’t answer the question and says we spent the time after the San Bernardino terror attacks talking about Trump’s proposal that is “not going to happen.” Rubio says Obama has “left us unsafe” and wishes Obama had not spoken at all because “what we’re doing at all is not working.” But why are a majority of GOP primary voters wrong for believing there should be a temporary ban on Muslims? Rubio doesn’t answer.
9:06: Trump says Jeb doesn’t believe he’s unhinged and he only said it because his campaign is floundering. Trump says he just wants to make America Great Again. Jeb insists that banning Muslims will make it tougher for America to destroy ISIS but does not say Trump is unhinged.
9:04: Blitzer asks Jeb why Trump is “unhinged” for wanting a temporary ban on Muslims. Bush says the Islamic World will not join a coalition to defeat ISIS if America bans Muslims and push the Arab World away from us.
“Donald is great at the one-liners, but he’s a chaos candidate,” Bush says. “He’d be a chaos president.”
9:02: Blitzer asks Trump about his temporary ban on Muslim immigration/Syrian refugees and deporting illegal immigrants. Blitzer asks if isolating America from the rest of the world is the best way to make America great again.
“We’re not talking talking about isolation, we’re talking about security, Trump says, not accepting the premise of the question. “We’re not talking about religion. We’re talking about security.”
“Our country is out of control,” he says. “People are pouring across the Southern border.”
He says if Obama has admitted refugees with ISIS symbols on their cell phones, they will be gone under a Trump presidency.
8:58: Trump says when he started on his presidential journey six months, his total focus was building up our military, strength, borders was for making sure China/Japan/Mexico no longer takes advantage of America. He said he would not have made the “horrible,” “disgusting,” “absolutely incompetent” deal with Iran. Trump says he is leading because people respect what he is saying on radical Islamic terrorism and “we’ve opened up a very big discussion that needed to be opened up.”
8:57: Carson asks for a moment of silence for the victims of the San Bernardino attacks. Carson says our very existence is dependent on defeating radical Islamic terrorism. He says America is a patient that will not be cured by political correctness and timidity. He is asking Congress to declare war on ISIS to “we can begin to the process of excising that cancer” and begin the healing process to bring peace, prosperity, and safety back to America.
8:56: Cruz says America is at war and its enemy is “radical Islamic terrorism” and “we have a president who is unwilling to utter its name.”
He says everybody on stage will better keep Americans safe than Obama/Clinton. He says he will hunt down and kill terrorists, destroy ISIS, and not be beholden to political correctness.
“Border security is national security and we will not be admitting jihadis as refugees,” Cruz says. “We will keep America safe.”
8: 54: Rubio says it’s amazing to be back in Las Vegas (Nevada may offer Rubio the best chance at winning an early-voting state). Rubio says there are millions of Americans who feel left out and out of place in their own country and called bigots because they hold onto traditional values while America’s influence has declined abroad.
8: 53: Jeb says “serious times require strong leadership. That’s what’s at stake right now.” He calls for restoring defense cuts and destroying ISIS before it destroys us.
8:52: Fiorina says she’s angry and wants to take the country back, but bombast and rhetoric won’t take the country back. She says she has been tested, beaten breast cancer, buried a child, and made it to the top of corporate America while being called every “B word.” She says it is time to take the country back from the political class and the media.
8: 51: Christie says America has been betrayed by Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s leadership. Christie says L.A.U.S.D. students and parents will be deeply impacted by Tuesday’s school closure. He says he fought terrorists and won as a former prosector and America will be safe if he becomes president.
8:50: Kasich says his daughter said she doesn’t like politics because there is too much fighting. Like Pataki, he often seems like he is running to win the No Labels or Morning Joe primary. He speaks out against division and Republicans and Democrats just fighting with each other. He is probably speaking to the independent/moderate voters who turn out in the New Hampshire primary, though.
8:48: Paul starts off the debate by asking “how do we keep Americans safe from terrorism?” He says that Trump is wrong for wanting to close the Internet (like they do in China and North Korea) and Rubio is wrong for wanting to collect all of our data (the Constitution says otherwise). He says the terrorists will have won if we ban religions and censor the Internet.
“Regime change hasn’t won,” says, pointing out that toppling secular dictators has only given rise to radical Islam. He says we need to stop arming terrorist and the boots on the ground must be Arab boots. He says in defending America, we cannot lose what America stands for.
The Main Event is about to get started as GOP primary voters wonder if they will ever get a substantive debate with four or five top-tier candidates. Having nine candidates in a 90-minute debate, though, only helps Trump better run out the clock
Jake Tapper said he has “never heard on a presidential debate stage a relgion as criticized as I heard tonight.” S.E. Cup then said she shared Graham’s frustration and emotion about Islam not being the enemy. Cupp adds, regarding criticism of Islam, “I don’t like this new trend coming out of Donald Trump and Ben Carson. It doesn’t represent conservative values.”
In his monotone, Blitzer says the debate night is “just getting started” after an undercard debate that many think should not exist anymore.
8:10: Closing statements:
Graham: He says the next president will be a war-time president whether they like it or not and he’s ready for the job. He blast the “isolationism” led by Cruz/Paul that was “white hot in our party.” He says that is now in retreat because events have proven Graham right and proven them wrong.
Pataki: He says he is proud to have been New York’s governor on September 11 and he vowed then that if he had a chance to lead this country he would do everything to keep America safe.
Huckabee: He says terrorists win if they make us change what we do in our daily lives and alter our daily routines. He says it is high time that we recognize that we have to “take them out–not a little bit, but totally.” Huckabee says he wants his grandkids to “grow up not in fear but in faith and freedom,” and he vows to fight for “your grandkids as much as I would for mine.”
Santorum: He says Obama has not kept America safe and Hillary Clinton will not keep this country safe. Santorum says he put sanctions on Iran ten years ago and gave speech after speech “to identify the enemy and call these radical Islamists who they are.” He says ISIS put a fatwa on disabled children and killed dozens of them… he says he has known the face of evil and would defeat it as president.
8:08: Hewitt asks Santorum if he would support amnesty for DREAMers if it were passed by Congress. Santorum says illegal immigrant children are coming across the border because America “has created a magnet.” He said the world hears America’s “amnesty” policy and people know they will be allowed to stay if they cross our borders.
8:05: Hewitt, who said all of the illegal immigrant children who crossed the border in 2014 should be allowed to stay in America, points out that Huckabee said that DREAMers should not be punished and asks whether he would continue Obama’s executive amnesty program.
Huckabee says he would not because Obama did it by executive order and did not persuade Congress/American people and just shoved it up the nostrils of Congress and the American people because Obama thinks he has a superior intellect and a superior will and a superior theology than everybody else.
“Our system is not a system of tyranny,” Huckabee says. “We don’t elect kings, we elect servants.”
8:04: Santorum says there are four times as many acts of violence against Jews as against Muslims “and I never hear the president talk about that.”
8:03: Graham says he would have a “time out” on Syrian refugees. Graham says the King of Jordan could fall if the Syrian war goes on for another year.
7:59: Huckabee: Send Refugees to Chappaqua, Martha’s Vineyard, Upper East Side of Manhattan, White House
Bash asks Huckabee about the visa-waiver program. Huckabee says there needs to be a “real pause” regarding all of the people who are coming here. He says American just can’t take the risk. Huckabee says if it is such a great idea to bring over refugees, let’s send the first wave of refugees to Chappaqua, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the South Lawn of the White House.
“We have the most fundamental right above everything else,” Huckabee says. “It is not to protect the reputation of Islam. It is to protect Americans first and foremost. That is our job.”
7:57: Pataki wants a no-fly zone in Syria for refugees. Pataki says it is impossible to vet the 10,000 Syrian refugees that the Obama administration wants to resettle across America over the next year. Pataki warns that ISIS will use the program to send terrorists, so America should not accept any refugees from Syria.
7:56: On vetting Syrian refugees, Santorum says you cannot do a background check on refugees from areas controlled by ISIS. He says it is impossible to vet refugees from war-torn countries. Santorum says the refugees should not be relocated to the United States because they will not go back to the area and the only people, according to the clerical leaders of religious minorities who don’t want refugees to be relocated, who stay will be those who cooperated with ISIS. He says the last thing we need is to relocate moderate Muslims and Christians.
7:53: Huckabee says it is not good policy to allow families of American hostages to pay ransom (because we would invite more terrorists to kidnap Americans) and points out that if his children were hostages, he would give his last drop of blood to get them back. He blasts the Obama administration because families think they have to pay ransom because the federal government is not fighting to get them back. He says America should never have negotiated with Iran so long as they were holding Americans hostage.
7:51: Graham says Trump does not need to speak about everything and Bergdahl would get a fair trial. He again attacks Trump and says Trump should “up his game” and suggest he would deny people due process.
7:48: Pataki is asked about Bergdahl. Pataki says he should not be executed like Trump suggested and he is innocent until proven guilty. He blasts the Obama administration for treating radical Islamists as Americans who should be tried in civil court instead of as enemy aliens engaged in terror against America/
7:45: Pataki disagrees with Santorum as CNN tries to help Democrats with their “war on women” theme. Santorum said many studies begged Obama not to go forward with the changes because people were going to get killed. Pataki says “we’re not radical Islam.”
7:42: Bash asks Santorum about the Pentagon opening all combat positions to women. He says he would use the studies that were ignored by the military–that there are certain positions that are not suitable to women. He says the Obama administration pushed a political agenda above what was in the best interest of our soldiers. He says he would change the policy in the best interest of people who are fighting and blasts “social promotion.”
7:39: Bash asks Graham about whether he would reinstate the draft. He says it is not necessary because if “you don’t want to be there, I don’t want you to be there.”
“We don’t need a draft, we need a Commander-in-Chief who knows what the hell they are doing,” he says.
Huckabee says no to the draft but points out that it is noteworthy that we are fighting all of the battles with less than 1% of the American population–the lowest ever. He says to reinstate the GI Bill–if you give something to the country, the country gives something back to you. He says young people need to step up, though, and buy their own freedom. He says America is much less safe because we’re fighting all of the wars with other people’s kids.
7: 36: Hewitt asks Santorum if he would shoot down a Russian plane bombing American-allied fighters. Santorum says he would establish a no-fly zone. When asked what happens if they fly into the no-fly zone, he says the plane would suffer “consequences” and it would not lead to war with Russia, as Hewitt suggested.
7:35: Graham says it is not appropriate to sanction Islamic countries like Indonesia and Malaysia and insists most people in Islam are not buying what the Islamic religious Nazis are suggesting. Graham says Cruz should be asked about why he wants to keep Assad in power. Graham says getting in bed with Iran and Russia to save Assad is “inconceivable.” He says Princess Buttercup would not like this (referencing Cruz’s favorite movie–the Princess Bride)
7:34: Hewitt asks Huckabee about wanting to sanction countries that don’t aggressively join then fight against ISIS. Huckabee says America has put more pressure on Israel to stop building bedrooms than on Iran to stop building a nuclear bomb. Huckabee says he would put economic pressure on countries like Indonesia and Malaysia for not joining in the fight against ISIS. He says their hands will not be in our pockets anymore until they engage in the fight with us. “You either get in with us or be on your own,” he says.
7: 32: A Facebook questioner asks whether U.S. should align with U.S.-designated state sponsors of terror to fight ISIS. Pataki says absolutely not.
7:30: When Santorum is asked if he would let Russia take the lead in fighting ISIS in Syria, he says he doesn’t want Russia taking the lead anywhere, particularly working with Assad. He says the relationship between Iran and Damascus is one of the reasons why ISIS is in power and American cannot seem like it has abandoned the region and make it look to ISIS and its allies that America is lining up with the Shiite world against the Sunni world.
“We’re picking the wrong horse here,” he says, saying that America is empowering ISIS by aligning with the Shiites.
7:28: Graham says it is “imperative” for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to go.
7:25: When asked if they would join forces with Putin to keep Syria’s Assad in power, Huckabee says he doesn’t trust Putin or Assad, who is a tyrant who killed lots of people. But Huckabee points out Assad wasn’t killing Americans. He blasts Obama for always picking the wrong side and points out the destabilization in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, etc. He points out that the Obama administration picked Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, for instance.
7:20: Santorum says America must understand that the enemy is a theocracy and their lure is their doctrine. He says “we need someone who understands and has knowledge and experience” in this area instead of a political outsider without as much knowledge.
7:18: Huckabee says he wants ISIS to think we can defeat them in 10 days but we can’t do so with our current military strength.
“If we try to win this war on the cheap… we’re making a huge mistake,” Huckabee says, pointing out that bullies pick on the weak.
7:17: Graham insists on the ground component and also insists that that Arab World will pay for the next war unlike the last one. He again takes a shot at Cruz/Paul.
7:16: Huckabee says the biggest mistake we’ve made military is letting Obama cut our forces by 25% and leaving us at the least prepared position we’ve been in since World War II. Huckabee says the military needs to be built from the ground up–he says America should give young people nothing except the opportunity to serve in the military.
7:15: Pataki says we have to work with countries like Saudi Arabia to destroy ISIS.
7:10: Graham and Santorum debate about ground troops in Syria. The debate could be taking place on the Senate floor. Graham says “there must be American boots on the ground in Syrian and if you don’t understand that then you are not ready to be Commander-in-Chief.” Santorum says he would not be comfortable with Americans on the front lines in Syria (training is okay)–he says ISIS wants to draw America into Syria and it is consistent with their theology. And if we don’t take seriously what they believe and how they attract people then we’re going to make mistakes–like invading Syria with a ground force and bringing them into the battle that they so deeply desire.” Graham insists on sending ground troops to Syria because there’s nobody left to train. Graham keeps saying “if I’m president…” But everybody knows that’s not going to happen.
Joel points out the media are “not exactly excited about the undercard.”
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) December 15, 2015
7: 07: Graham says we need to knock ISIS offline–anyone who pledges allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi can’t get married in America. Graham says the “isolationists in the party” are “no better than Obama.” Updates from Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large Joel Pollak:
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) December 15, 2015
7: 05 Candidates are asked how by a questioner on Facebook how they would defeat ISIS ideologically. Huckabee we must remind people that their intent is to kill us and it is our intent to use every means possible to get to them before they get to us. He blasts Obama for calling ISIS a “JV team” and saying we have contained ISIS. He says we have to make it so untenable for people to join ISIS.
7: 03: Pataki would pass a law requiring Silicon Valley to establish a backdoor for law enforcement to access communication between people with a court order.
7: 01: Graham: Islam Is Not The Enemy
Graham says there are at least 3,500 American Muslims serving in the armed forces. He says “thank you for your service. You are not the enemy. Your religion is not the enemy.”
“Leave the faith alone,” he says. “Go after the radicals that kill us all.”
6:59: Santorum: “Islam is different. Islam is not just a religion, it’s also a political governing structure. The fact of the matter is Islam is a religion, but it is also Sharia law, it is also a civil government, it is also a form of government. So the idea that that is protected under the First Amendment is wrong. And in fact, that political structure is what is the big problem–the imposition of Sharia law and the adherence to fundamental Islam practiced in the 7th century and there has to be a line drawn.”
6:57: Hewitt says we “as Gov. Pataki noted earlier, we have a history of religious intoleration in this country about the American Muslims who would be subject to this kind of surveillance” and asks Huckabee if surveillance on Muslims violates their first amendment rights. Huckabee says it does not.
Huckabee says it does not violate the First Amendment rights because mosques are “public places and folks are invited to come.”
“If Islam is as wonderful and peaceful as its adherents say, shouldn’t they be begging us to all come in and listen to these peaceful sermons. Shouldn’t they be begging us all to come and listen and bring the FBI so we’d all want to covert to Islam.”
6:56: Pataki says it is important to prevent the radicalization of Americans here, like in mosques and on social medial. Pataki speaks about the NYPD’s intelligence program that stopped dozens of attacks in New York that Mayor Bill de Blasio shut down. He says “jihad” speech is like yelling fire in a crowded theater and it “should be shut down.”
6:55: Santorum says it is “common sense” to look at the social media posts of those seeking to enter the United States and blasts the political correctness that has prevented intelligence officials from hunting down jihadists.
6:53: Huckabee says why should we have more attention toward some college kid posting photos on Facebook instead of terrorists who want to come into America to wage jihad. He says the Obama administration is putting America’s “last.”
6:51: On the metadata question, Graham, doing the bidding of the establishment, takes the time to call Sens. Cruz/Paul “isolationists” for opposing metadata collection. He says he would reinstitute the program because terrorists are trying to kill us instead of stealing our cars.
“If you’re worried about somebody having your phone number in the government, don’t be,” Graham says. “The only thing you need to be worried about is if you’re talking to a terrorist.”
6:50: Santorum says we should have “all tools available” to combat terrorism when asked about metadata collection. He says it is “fundamental” that “we have this type of data to not impinge on people’s privacy.”
6:48: Hucakbee says Trump would do a whole lot more to protect Americans as president than Obama has and Hillary Clinton will. Huckabee says Trump has “touched a nerve because people are angry and afraid that we are facing an enemy that this administration refuses to acknowledge, refuses to fight.” Huckabee says the answer is to destroy radical Islamists wherever they are so they don’t terrorize Americans here.
6:46: Santorum: ‘All Jihadists Are Muslims’
He says Trump was not against Muslims but against this administration that does not have a policy to properly vet Muslims coming into this country. He says Trump brings up a “legitimate issue.” Santorum says not all Muslims are jihadists but “all jihadists are Muslims.” He says we can’t worry “offending some people and start defending all Americans. Because we’re not right now.” Santorum says Trump’s proposal isn’t the right one but he nonetheless brings up an important issue.
It is worth noting that moderator Wolf Blitzer never mentioned that Trump’s proposed ban is a TEMPORARY one and not a permanent one.
6:45: Pataki calls Trump’s temporary Muslim ban “absurd” and “un-American” and “unconstitutional” (scholars would disagree with him). Stealing Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s talking points, Pataki says Trump is the know-nothing candidate. (Pataki and O’Malley may be rivals for the least inspiring candidate of the election cycle).
6:43: Graham says Republicans may think Trump’s temporary Muslim ban “makes us safe but it doesn’t.” Graham says “this is a religious war between radical Islam and the rest of the world.” Graham says “Donald Trump has done the one single thing you cannot do — declare war on Islam itself. ISIL will be dancing in the street–they just don’t believe in dancing. This is a coup for them.” He says Trump offends those in the Muslim world like the King of Jordan and apologizes for him and says he is not representative of America.
Graham says he may “sleep late that day” if Trump is the nominee and will support the Republican nominee when asked about his comments that he would rather lose the election than have Trump become president. Graham says Trump is not worthy of the sacrifice of those fighting the war on Terror.
6:41: Huckabee says that Americans are angry at their government and scared that the federal government cannot even properly screen the San Bernardino terrorist who posted about jihad on social media.
“We’ve lost confidence in our government,” Huckabee says. He says “we’re in danger because we have an enemy that is out to kill us and we have a government that we don’t trust anymore.”
“This election is about going back to a government we can trust with leaders who have the courage and conviction to actually lead and not follow,” he says.
6:40: Santorum: World War III Has Begun
“World War III has begun, and we have a leader who refuses to identify it and be truthful to the American people to the stakes that are involved,” Santorum says, nothing that Obama’s Iran policy “lit the fuse” to a nuclear Iran.
6:37 PM EST: The undercard debate begins with Lindsey Graham’s opening statement. Graham talks up national security and says he returned from Iraq two weeks ago and has gone on 36 trips to Iraq and Afghanistan. Graham speaks about a Sergeant who told him that “sir, I will do my best to stay safe, but I came here to win.” Graham says he will do everything in his power to make sure that he will win. Pataki says he wants to speak not as a Republican or a presidential candidate but as an American. He says that radical Islam poses a threat to every community and blasts Obama for not calling radical Islam for what it is. He blasts Clinton for lying to the American people and not calling ISIS by its name. “No Labels” Pataki then blasts Trump for dividing Americans. Time for Pataki to exit the stage soon. Santorum says it’s an important time in our country’s history.