***Horse Race LiveWire*** GOP Candidates Debate in Houston

Rubio Trump Carson Cruz Kasich

Welcome to Breitbart News’s daily live updates of the 2016 horse race. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Ben Carson debate in Houston tonight in the the last debate before Super Tuesday. 

In a post-debate interview, Trump tells CNN’s Chris Cuomo that Rubio and Cruz are doing very badly in the polls and that is why they attacked him. He said the debate was “exciting” and “great.” Trump says he has dealt with “much tougher” people than Rubio/Cruz and he says voters will see that he is the type of guy who can “handle people” and it “shows what you’re made of.” Trump says he has enjoyed all of the debates and the process. He says the problem with Rubio is that he is a “choke artist.” Trump says “we can’t have a choke artist.” He says he has learned from sports that “when you’re a choker,  you’re always a choker” and we can’t risk having a “choke artist” in the Oval Office. Trump thinks the race will be over “fairly quickly” and there will not be a contested convention. Trump says Rubio is a “meltdown guy” who is always “pouring down sweat.” “We have to have somebody who doesn’t sweat,” Trump says. Trump says the race is “not over until it’s over” as Yogi Berra would. Trump says the debate was “unfair” to Kasich/Carson because they were not asked that many questions. He says Carson was particularly treated unfairly. “He had a right to be upset,” Trump says. Trump says Romney was a “horrible candidate” who lost a race that should have been won easily. He says Romney is “just trying to remain relevant” because nobody is talking to him anymore. He says the IRS may be auditing him because he is a “strong Christian” and “maybe there is a bias.” Trump says his tax returns all relate to each other and nobody would ever put out their returns that are under audit…

Trump says he knew Cruz/Rubio would attack him but thinks neither were very effective. He says the debate was a “really good test.”

Caution: Remember that all of the pundits jabbering about tonight’s debate have gotten everything wrong about this election cycle. 

Joel Pollak’s take:

Cruz says in a post-debate interview that the debate provided a lot of clarity that Trump is not a good candidate to face Hillary Clinton. Cruz says it was striking that he ran away form his previous position of supporting socialized medicine. Cruz says Trump just calls people “liars” when they bring up his past policy statements. He says Trump’s positions would fit well in the Democratic party but Hillary will win if he is the GOP nominee. When asked if he is worried that Trump’s “branding power” is tripping him up, Cruz says he will have a strong super Tuesday and Trump is attacking him because he is the only candidate who can beat Trump and is the only candidate who has beaten him. Cruz says Trump goes “nasty” because he can’t respond with substance. He says Rubio is not even winning his home state and says that is troubling. Cruz says Trump needs to release his tax returns even more so because he is being audited. He attacks Trump for having donated to the Clinton Foundation and says Trump can’t raise that issue with Clinton.

Cruz mockingly says he is “shocked” that the pundits think Rubio had a good debate performance. Cruz says Rubio had a good debate performance because he finally took on Trump. Cruz says Marco is his friend and not his enemy. Cruz says Trump is a “charming guy” who can “turn on your in an instant.” He says Trump has a hard time dealing with dipping poll numbers. Cruz says he was glad to see Rubio attacking Trump. Cruz says Jeb was the only other person other than himself who has shown the backbone to take on Trump and he says the other candidates should have taken on Trump earlier. Cruz says Super Tuesday is the best opportunity to stop Trump and asks voters to vote for him because he is the only person who can defeat Trump for the nomination and defeat Clinton, Sanders or “whatever Socialist” they nominate.

Closing statements:

Trump says nobody knows politicians better than he does. Trump says he will get all the things he is talking about–fairer trade, building up the military, taking care of vets, ending common core, knocking out Obamacare–done while the politicians will never be able to.

Cruz: He says Washington deals are bankrupting the country. He says there are several deal makers on stage but he is the only one who has stood up consistently to the deals. He will rescind every illegal executive action while instructing the Department of Justice to prosecute Planned Parenthood. He will repeal Obamacare, abolish the IRS, secure the border, bring back jobs and tear to shreds the Iranian deal.

Rubio says the campaign has come a long way and “the time for games is over.” He wants to bring an end to the “silliness” and the “looniness”once again embrace everything that made the Republican Party the bearer of the conservative movement in this country.

Kasich says he fares best against Clinton and executive experience in government matters. He says he has the foreign policy experience to also be the country’s chief executive. He vows to hit the ground running and “get America moving again.”

Carson: He first asks people to think about what kind of leader you want and what kind of person do you want your kids to emulate. He speaks about the “These Hands” movie  and says “these hands, by the grace of God,” has saved many lives and healed many families. He asks voters to “join hands with me” to  “heal, inspire and revive America. “If not us, who. If not now, when…”

10:42: Rubio is asked about Puerto Rico and why he opposes granting Puerto Rico bankruptcy protection unless it is a “last resort.” Rubio says bankruptcy doesn’t work unless you change the way you operate or you will be bankrupt again. He says it is too expensive to do business there and the tax rate is too high but Puerto Ricans did not cut their government spending. He says if the economy doesn’t grow in Puerto Rico, they won’t be able to pay down their debt and all of its unfunded liabilities. He says bankruptcy should not be a first resort for them. Rubio praises Puerto Rico’s previous governor Fortuno for doing a tremendous job.

10:41: Telemundo questioner asks Trump why he won’t build a wall along the Canadian border even tough it may be more vulnerable re: ISIS. She asks isn’t that like closing the front door and living the back door open….Trump says Canada’s border is four times longer than Mexico’s and “it is not our biggest problem.” Trump says there is a tremendous amount of drugs coming across the Mexican border and not across Canada’s. Questioner then moves on after Trump talks about the drugs flowing across the border.

10:38: When asked about Apple CEO Cook’s remarks that forcing Apple to comply with the court order would be “bad for America,” Carson says letting terrorist get away with crimes is “bad for America.” Kasich blasts the Obama administration for litigating the issue on the front pages of the New York Times.

10:36: Rubio says Apple should comply with the government to help unlock the San Bernardino terrorist’s phone and the government was not asking Apple to create a backdoor on its phones/devices. Rubio points out that the San Bernardino’s terrorist’s phone didn’t even belong to him and Apple’s brand is not more important than the country’s national security. Cruz points out that Rubio had been on both sides of the fence and is glad he has come to Cruz’s side. Cruz says the court order did not ask Apple to create a backdoor for all phones and Apple doesn’t have a right to defy a valid court order to help the feds to unlock a specific phone.

10:32: Cruz says Trump is like a Washington lawmaker who calls people liars. Cruz points out that Jimmy Carter said he would favor Trump over Cruz because Trump is more malleable. Cruz says “falsely accusing someone of lying is itself a lie” and it is something Trump does daily. Cruz says it was “disgraceful” what Cruz did to Carson in Iowa. Cruz says Trump knows politicians much better than Cruz because he has been funding liberal Democrats for 40 years. Trump points out he has funded Cruz. Rubio says he Trump has never funded Rubio.

Kasich begs Blitzer to take control as Cruz, Rubio, Trump just keep talking over each other.

10:31: Kasich says the Obama administration has created a “cesspool” in Libya and we have ISIS in Syria/Iraq because of Obama’s disastrous and incoherent foreign policy. Kasich says we have to “assert ourselves as Americans” and armed the Ukrainians.

10:24: Romney keeps attacking Trump:

10:23: Trump says the Syrian cease fire is “meaningless” because all parties are not adhering to it. Cruz is hopeful that the violence will cease but there are reasons to be skeptical. Cruz says John Kerry has been the most anti-Israel Secretary of State and blasts Rubio for voting to confirm him while slamming Trump for donating to him.

Rubio says that every day John Kerry wasn’t confirmed was another day Hillary Clinton would have been Secretary of State.

Trump says he is “no fan” of Kerry because the Iran Deal is one of the worst deals every negotiated. Cruz says Trump will apologize for having supported toppling Qaddafi in Libya. He also accuses Trump for supporting anti-Israel politicians for four decades. Trump says there is nobody on stage that has done more for Israel than he has. He says politicians are “all talk and no action.”

Trump says Rubio is a “choke artist” and Cruz is a “liar.”

10:20: Carson says he was never audited until he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast. Carson says the IRS is “not honest” and “we need to get rid of ’em.”  Carson says we can always be fair to other people while never rejecting Israel. Carson says America has to project strength to North Korea because that is what they understand. Carson says North Korea’s Un needs to know if they shoot a missile at is “it’ll be the last thing he ever does.”

10:16: Trump: Nations America defends around the world need to “Reimburse” USA

Kasich says we must arm South Korea/Japan with ballistic missile technology to counter North Korea. Kasich also says the Chinese give us the best chance to calm North Korea down. He says  you have put pressure on the Chinese and find any means you can to settle the situation. When asked if he would risk war for regime change, Kasich says it would depend on what the situation is. But he says we are going to face this sooner or later and we can’t keep kicking the can down the road. He would love to see regime change and says perhaps the Chinese can accomplish that. Kasich says we have unite Asian nations to stand firmly against North Korea.

Trump blasts the omnibus budget and says we can’t keep continuing countries all over the world and says we have to be get “reimbursed” for defending countries all over the world.

Kasich speaks passionately about Pentagon reforms as well.

10:14: Rubio accuses Trump of taking an “anti-Israel” position because the Palestinians are not honest brokers. He says a peace deal is not possible with the current makeup of the Palestinians. He says he will be on Israel’s side every single day because they are the only pro-American, free-enterprise democracy in the entire Middle East.

Trump says Rubio is not a negotiator and has melted down. Rubio says Trump thinks Palestinians = real estate deal. He tells Trump that “this is not a real estate deal” because Palestinians are terrorists. Trump says the peace deal is probably the toughest deal of any kind.

10:12: Kasich says he hasn’t given as much to Israel as Trump but he has always supported Israel.

10:11: Cruz says the notion of neutrality is based on moral equivalency that mainstream media peddle… he says America will stand with Israel and says he has always stood with Israel. Trump says he has been a “big contributor” to Israel and it bringing peace would be one of his greatest achievements as president.

10:10: Trump says Obama has treated Israel terribly. He says he was the Grand Marshall for the Israeli Day parade. He says nobody is more pro-Israel than he is but he can’t demean the Palestinians from the outset if he wants to negotiate peace.

10:00: Trump says he is beating Clinton even though he hasn’t even started on her.

[Trump has arguably damaged Clinton more than any other Republican by forcing them to retreat from their “war on women” rhetoric.]

Cruz says the mainstream media will go crazy if Trump is forced to testify in a fraud trial while he is the GOP nominee. Cruz says we can’t win the election with a candidate like Trump who agree with Hillary Clinton and can’t take it to her on the debate stage.

[Tony Lee: Cruz and Rubio are predictable politicians. Hillary’s team and her allies can game plan for them easily. They can’t prepare for someone like Trump and his asymmetric political warfare, and that is why a Trump candidacy would be more problematic for Clinton’s team]

9:58: Rubio says he is not being audited and will release his returns this weekend. He says we should not leave the stage until every candidate gives a serious answer about how to reduce the debt.

Cruz says he will release two more years of tax returns tomorrow. Cruz says Trump should release his tax returns because he is being audited–to ensure voters that he hasn’t done anything shady.

Cruz says that Trump can’t prosecute the case against the Clintons because he has donated to the Clinton foundation.

9:57: Trump says “very few people” listen to Hugh Hewitt’s radio show after Hewitt says that Trump promised to release his tax returns on his radio show. Trump again says he will not release his tax returns until the audit is complete.

9:54: Blitzer asks Trump about his tax returns. He asks Trump if any of Romney’s accusations are true. Trump says he was the first one to file his financial disclosure form. Trump says you don’t learn anything about someone’s wealth based on tax returns. Trump says that Romney looked like a fool when he “delayed, delayed” by not filing his returns.

Trump says he has been audited for 12 years but he is being audited for 2-3 years and he can’t release them until the audit is finished.

9:52: Kasich says in order to get the economy moving, you have to restrain spending while stimulating the economy. He points out he led the effort to balance the budget while he was in Congress under Bill Clinton’s administration. He says he inherited an $8 billion hole in Ohio and you have to cut in addition to innovate. He says he has a $2 billion surplus and the state’s credit is strong along with its pension. He will cut welfare and make states the laboratories of innovation. Kasich says he has balanced the budget in Washington and Ohio and he will do it again as president. Trump says Kasich’s Ohio “struck oil” and that has helped a lot.

9:49: Blitzer asks Trump about his tax plan/cuts. Trump says the country will become a dynamic economy and that is why he will be able to cut taxes without increasing the country’s debt. He says we already have the highest taxes in the world and it is shutting off our economy. “We will have a dynamic economy again,” he says. Trump says he will make cuts to many of the agencies and will get rid of the “waste, fraud, and abuse.” “We will cut so much your head will spin.”

9:45: Kasich says healthcare is not a right but the responsibility of the country. He talks up his health empowerment accounts. He says family members will be allowed to shift money around so a father could transfer money to his son’s fund. He says it will give people incentives to keep their family members healthy and reduce the cost of healthcare across the board. Carson says nobody will want Obamacare after his healthcare reforms.

Cruz wonders why everyone got to address Obamacare except for him. Kasich asks how Cruz gets that extra time. Cruz says he and Donald have sharp disagreements on Obamacare like with Planned Parenthood. Cruz says he wants to end Obamacare because it goes too far while Trump wants to end it because it doesn’t go nearly far enough. He says Trump has advocated for socialized medicine in the past.

“I do not want socialized medicine,” Trump says. Trump says Obamacare will be a “disaster” for the economy.

Cruz now litigates Trump and asks if he has said he is a liberal on health care. Trump says his plan is very simple. “We’re going to have private healthcare” and he will not allow people to die on the streets and sidewalks if he is president.

9:42: Kasich says “we don’t want to throw million of people out into the cold” because they have pre-existing conditions. Kasich touts reforms in Ohio and says that primary care physicians will get rewards for keeping people healthy. Kasich has also said that he would reward hospitals

9:36: Rubio claims he led the fight against the bailout funds and blasts Trump for not following and blasts Trump for not following the healthcare debate closely. Rubio keeps asking Trump “what is your plan?” Trump says he would get rid of the lines around the states and that would bring more competition. Rubio says “now he’s repeating himself” re: Trump.

9:33: Dana Bash asks Rubio if he trusts Trump to repeal Obamacare. Rubio says Obamacare should be replaced with a system that puts Americans in charge of their healthcare. Trump says he would get rid of Obamacare but he says people should not be turned away by insurance companies because of pre-existing conditions.

Trump says insurance companies are wrong to require a “mandate” that everyone purchase insurance. Trump says lawmakers like Cruz/Rubio are part of the problem. He says he is self-funding his campaign and he won’t be beholden to insurance companies. Trump says allowing people to purchase healthcare across state lines will solve a lot of the health insurance problems.

9:31: Carson also praises Justice Scalia. “Tremendous wit and intellect,” he says.

9:28: Rubio says in the history of the republic, there has been nobody better than Scalia who has understood that the Constitution is not a living, breathing document. Rubio says Trump has not been on our side on issue after issue and conservatives may not feel at peace that Trump may be on our side on the issues that are important to conservatives. Rubio doubts whether Trump will replace Scalia with someone like Scalia.

Trump says he is pro-life and against abortion. He says he would defund Planned Parenthood because he is pro-life but millions of women are helped by Planned Parenthood because of cancer screenings, etc.

9:24: Hewitt asks Trump if he will commit that religious liberty will be a litmus test to anyone he appoints to the court. Trump says it will be. Trump points out that Justice Roberts gave us Obamacare (“might as well be called Robertscare”) and he points out that Cruz back Roberts. He says Roberts has been “a disaster”  and again says “Ted very strongly pushed” Justice Roberts.

Cruz says he would have nominated J. Michael Luttig instead of Roberts but says he supported him after Bush nominated him. Cruz says Trump has given money to Democrats and he will “cut a deal” on Supreme Court Justices.

Cruz says he will not apologize for defending the Constitution when Trump suggests he should apologize for criticizing his sister, who is a federal Judge. Cruz says it’s amazing that Trump is insisting that deals need to be cut in Washington. Trump asks if Cruz is talking about himself when he is talking about a “crazy zealot.”

9:22: Hewitt asks Cruz if he trusts Trump to nominate conservative Supreme Court Justices.

Cruz says the court his hanging in the balance with Scalia’s passing. He says in the past, Republican presidents always promise to nominate strict constructionists but the reality is that Democrats bat about .1000 but Republicans have batted worse than .500. He says he has spend his whole life defending the Bill of Rights/Constitution. And he gives voters his word that every Justice he nominates will vigorously defend the Bill of Rights for his children and yours.

[No questions about the crimes illegal immigrants commit and Americans impacted by it. With better questioners, there could be a better debate on immigration instead of this one-sided circus]

9:18: Maria Celeste Arraras asks Trump if he would be “unelectable” because of poll that found 80% of Hispanics have an unfavorable view of  him. Trump says he employs thousands of Hispanics and he doesn’t believe what Telemundo says (think he means Univision–not Telemundo). Trump says he is bringing new people into the political process and the good news is he has something to do with the record-setting numbers.

[Tony Lee: Better answer would have been that he had terrible favorability ratings with GOP primary voters when he first entered the race and those numbers flipped after a few months of campaigning]

Biased questioner tries to diminish Trump’s win among Hispanics in Nevada.

[Tony Lee: Had that “small sample” found that Trump lost the Hispanic vote in Nevada, do you think people like Maria Celeste Arraras would try to downplay it? Hell no.]

9:17: Carson says that he addressed NALEO last year and he was the only GOP candidate who went there. He says his message is the same to every group–this is America and we need to have policies that give liberty/justice to all people. He says that is the way the Republican Party generally thinks. We don’t pick winners and losers and he points out that real compassion is providing ladders of opportunity and that is a message that attracts everyone.

9:16: Kasich says the Hispanic community likes him and he wants Hispanics to have the same opportunities his family has had.

9:12: Maria Celeste Arraras wonders if Cruz is missing a huge opportunity to expand the GOP base with his conservative immigration positions. Cruz says he would not that a lot of people in the media think “you can only be Hispanic if you’re liberal.” Cruz says he won 40% of the Hispanic vote in Texas in his 2012 Senate race while Romney was being clobbered.

9:09: Rubio says Obama’s executive orders are unconstitutional. He says he would “cancel” DACA on the first day in office. Rubio, though, said on a Spanish-language network that he would keep Obama’s executive amnesty in place.

9:07: Rubio accuses Trump of starting a fake university and brings up four of his companies bankruptcies. Trump brings up Rubio’s mortgage/financial problems. He says Rubio sold his house to a lobbyist and then “legislation is passed.” Trump says Rubio lied.

Rubio fighting like his political life is depending on it. But it seems like he is trying to throw everything he can against the wall (may overload some viewers) and he may come off as a petty sore loser if he keeps this up.

9:05: Rubio says if he builds the wall like he built Trump Tower, he would be using illegal immigrant labor. Trump says it’s just a “cute soundbite.” Trump says his ties were made in Mexico and China. “Why don’t you make ’em in America,” Rubio says. “Make ’em in America.”

9:03: Blitzer asks Trump about his vow to make Mexico pay for his wall. Trump says “I will” and the “wall just got ten feet taller.” Cruz says he saw Vicente Fox make the statement and should be ashamed of himself for using a “filthy, disgusting word” on tv.

Trump says we have a massive trade deficit with Mexico and it would cost $10-12 billion (he says it would cost $200 billion if other politicians build it by wasting money). He says Mexico will pay for it because they are not doing us any favors.

Trump says he doesn’t mind trade wars because we are losing billions with Mexico and China. He points out Mexico just took Carrier, Ford, Nabisco.

9:01: Kasich is for completing the border, a practical guest-worker program, and for granting a path to legalization (not citizenship) for illegal immigrants who have not committed a crime. He says we should not tear families apart and grab people in neighborhoods.

Carson says we need to secure all of the borders and illegal immigrants should not be living underground. He says they will be allowed to stay but they will not be allowed to vote or become American citizens. He wants America to improve the economies of Mexico/South America so people don’t feel compelled to come here illegally.

8:59: Cruz tells Trump that “it is not a good attribute” if you want to be liked in Washington as president. Trump slams Cruz for not disclosing his Goldman Sachs loans.

8:58: Blitzer asks Cruz what would happen to the children who are U.S.-born citizens whose parents would be different. Cruz says U.S. citizens can come back while illegal immigrants cannot. Cruz says it is remarkable that Trump thinks he is the one who discovered illegal immigration. Cruz says he promised to lead the fight against

Cruz says Trump was firing Dennis Rodman on “Celebrity Apprentice” and was funding lawmakers who supported the Gang of Eight while Cruz was leading the fight against amnesty. Cruz says when you fund open-borders politicians, you should’t be surprised if they support open borders. Cruz says Rubio is right that Trump was fined for hiring illegal immigrants. Cruz also points out that, unlike him, Rubio broke his campaign promise by spearheading the Gang of Eight amnesty.

Trump fires back at the special interests in the audience who are supporting Cruz/Rubio. Trump says as a businessman, he got along with everybody and tells Cruz, “you get along with nobody. You don’t have one Republican Senator… backing  you…. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Cruz says Trump is right that he will cut deals if elected and anyone who cares about illegal immigration would not be hiring illegal immigrants and funding Harry Reid/Nancy Pelosi.

8:55: Rubio goes after Trump for criticizing Romney’s self-deporation comments. Rubio says Trump is the only person on stage who has been fined for hiring people illegally. Trump says “wrong. Totally wrong.”

Trump says he is the only person on stage who has hired people.

Trump says the laws were different 30 years ago.

8:52: Right off the back, Blitzer asks Trump about immigration. Blitzer says Trump would allow the “good ones” to come back and Cruz calls that “touchback” proposal “amnesty.” Trump says Blitzer would not even be asking the question had he not brought the issue to the fore. Trump says he will deport illegal immigrants and some–the very best ones–will come back. They are going to come back “through a process.”

Cruz points out the WSJ article that once illegal immigrants left the state, the wages for workers went up. But the dollars Arizona is spending on welfare/prisons have gone down. Cruz says we have always welcomed legal immigrants but it is a mistake to forgive those who break the laws and he says that is why he has led the fight against granting citizenship to those who are here illegally.

Trump says the toughest man on borders is Sheriff Joe Arpaio and he has endorsed him.

Rubio again repeats his talking point that he will secure the border as president before the country does anything on immigration. “And then we’ll see what the American people are willing to support.”

Rubio says Trump has been flip-flopping on immigration. And Rubio points out that Trump has hired foreigners instead of hiring Americans at his Florida result.

8:50: Trump says his theme is “make America great again.” He says we don’t win on trade or anything else. He says our borders are like “Swiss cheese.” Trump says we’re going to start winning again and “believe me, it’s going to be a big difference.”

8:49: “Welcome to Texas,” Cruz says. He says Texas provided his family with hope. Here, his mother became the first in his family to go to college. His father fled to Texas from Cuba. Cruz said he promised to fight for Texans when he ran for the Senate and he says even Democrats tell him that though they didn’t vote for him, he is doing what he promised. “As president, I will do the same.”

8:48: Rubio says we have to decide our identity as a country and a movement. Rubio doesn’t want Republicans to be a party that appeals on people’s fears/anger.

8:47: Kasich says that his father carried mail on his back and his father was a coal minder. He says his mother’s mother was an immigrant who could barely speak English and he is standing on this stage. Kasich says he wants people to know you can do anything you want in America. He tells young people to “shoot for the stars. America is great and you can do it.”

8:45: Carson says you would have listened in disbelief if someone had described today’s America 30 years ago. Carson says  we will not solve any of the problems by destroying each other. “It’s not about us. It’s about the American people.”

8:41: CNN wants to make some money. The debate will start after a commercial break.

8:40: The candidates now take the stage.

8:35: Blitzer points out that Texas is the biggest prize on “Super Tuesday.” He welcomes former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush.

8:30: The debate starts. Wolf Blitzer will moderate. Telemundo gets a seat at the table. Conservatives like Mark Levin do not. Your RNC at work for you….

8:05: Just 25 minutes until the GOP’s “H-Town takeover.”

8:02: Debate audience gives George H.W. Bush a standing ovation.

8:00: CNN anchors, reporters using “violent rhetoric” while previewing debate:

When Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was nearly assassinated 5 years ago, CNN was arguably the most egregious in jumping the gun and trying to blame Sarah Palin for the assassination attempt without a shred of evidence whatsoever. And mainstream media members still wonder why so many Americans are livid at the media….

Yet today, after a New York Times columnist suggested that Trump’s campaign would end with someone assassinating him, CNN anchors and reporters have been talking about how Rubio and Cruz need to “kill” each other. How Trump will have to wear “body armor” tonight. How Rubio wants to “kill off” Ted Cruz tonight to consolidate the anti-Trump vote.


On the night Giffords was shot on January 8, 2011, CNN, without any evidence whatsoever in a segment the network would later come to regret, implied Palin’s 2010 map played a role in inciting the violence. They discussed how Palin’s use of the phrase, “don’t retreat, reload,” may have also created an environment that made the shooting possible.

As Palin noted, “CNN, among others, implied that using a ‘crossfire’ icon (which was a tactic first employed by Democrats to illustrate political maps of districts they ‘targeted’ to win) was inciting violence.”

CNN, along with other mainstream media networks, refused to acknowledge all the examples of Democrats having used “crossfire” icons to “target” districts while rushing to link Palin to the attempted murder of Giffords and the murder of six others.

Anchor Wolf Blitzer, along with television personalities Gloria Borger and Jessica Yellin, noted there was no evidence that the shooter, Jared Loughner, was motivated by opposition to Obamacare or misinterpreted Palin’s Facebook post in support of conservative candidates who would fight against Obamacare in 2010.

That did not stop CNN from essentially linking Palin to the attempted murder in one of the most irresponsible segments in recent memory.

Jared Loughner, who shot 18 people, killing six, while attempting to murder Giffords, was proven not to have any political leanings, and actually spoke to Giffords at a town hall event years before he attempted to kill her. Evidence would later reveal that Loughner, contrary to CNN’s initial implications, was in no way influenced by Tea Partiers, conservative media, or Palin.

7:37: CNN’s Erin Burnett says Cruz will be combative and aggressively fight back against Trump tonight. Cruz reportedly won’t take it on the chin anymore.

7:35: Breitbart’s Jordan Schachtel on Rubio’s idealism vs. Kasich’s realism in foreign policy.

7:25: Sanders visits Flints… audience “overwhelmingly white”

7:19: Breitbart’s Jarrett Stepman on “The Jacksonian Temptation: Trump vs. Cruz”

7:15: Establishment figures want Rubio to attack Trump tonight:

7:12: Nolte:


7:10: Joel Pollak:

6:45: In Super Tuesday states, Trump beats both Rubio and Cruz in head-to-head contests in the Bloomberg poll:

6:35: Kasich Super PAC goes after Rubio in new ad:

6:30: Rubio running new “Revolution” ad ahead of Super Tuesday:

6:20: Hillary tells supporters Trump Not a Joke:

6:15: Rubio supporter Jason Chaffetz believes that a brokered convention is a “distinct possibility” during a CNN interview.

6:01: Anti-Trump National Review: ‘Tonight’s debate has to be the beginning of Trump’s downfall.’

5:56: CNN reporters/commentators think Vicente Fox’s comments will help Donald Trump just like Pope Francis’s did because it again will put get him on message re: immigration.

5:55: Lindsey Graham again compares Trump to the Titanic.

5:50: Cruz’s campaign shenanigans hurt his image:

5:22: Hillary Hiding from Press:

5:17: New York Times: ‘Mrs. Clinton, Show Voters Those Transcripts’

5:10: Report: Rubio preparing for brokered convention.

5:05: More good Super Tuesday poll  numbers for Trump:

4:59: Report: Mainstream Media Not Disclosing prominent pundits on their networks have financial ties to Hillary’s campaign.

4:57: After TN Gov. Bill Haslem endorsed Rubio, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist endorses him as well. Frist says: “Marco also understands that it takes more than angry rhetoric to be an effective candidate for president. If the Republican party wants to win back the White House, we need a candidate like Marco Rubio that can appeal to all types of voters.”

4:50: Carson speaking to reporters in Houston:

4:45: Virginia:

4:35: Trump up big in Georgia and Nevada:

4:30: Sanders holding town  hall in Flint:

4:25: Ben Carson media scrum:

4:16: Washington Post on the GOP establishment’s efforts to force Kasich out of the race:

This poll also gives the lie to the newly popular idea that if John Kasich were to drop out, Rubio’s path to the nomination would be cleared. If Kasich had dropped out before Nevada, and Rubio had gained all that support, Donald Trump would have won by 18 points instead of 22. If Kasich dropped out before Florida and every single one of his votes went to Rubio, Rubio would lose Florida by 9 points. If Ted Cruz and Ben Carson also dropped out, Rubio would need to pick up nearly two-thirds of those votes to beat Trump — in his home state.

The reason we are talking about Kasich having to drop out is that Kasich doesn’t have much support. So re-allocating even all of that “establishment” vote to Marco Rubio doesn’t add much value to his candidacy.

Allocating all of Kasich’s vote is faulty in its own right. NBC’s most recent national poll with SurveyMonkey explored the second choices of supporters of each remaining Republican. A quarter of Bush supporters didn’t know where they’d go. Eleven percent went to Trump, 19 to Rubio. A quarter of Kasich supporters said they’d go to Rubio — but 16 percent said they’d back Trump. A fifth of Carson backers would go to Trump, as would a quarter of Cruz supporters. These numbers vary by state, and so on, but the point is obvious: Voters are not moving between candidates as a bloc.

That’s hugely advantageous to the guy who’s already in the lead. He doesn’t need to add as many supporters from his opponents as they do. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver noted on Twitter on Thursday night that Trump’s base of support is very, very solid — unlike many of his competitors — and that he likely had room to grow.

4:12: Hillary features Rep. Clyburn in new South Carolina ad:

4:05: In Mexico, Biden slams “dangerous” GOP campaign rhetoric (Media ignore instances of “dangerous” rhetoric from the left).

“Some of the rhetoric coming from some of the presidential candidates on the other team are I think dangerous, damaging and incredibly ill-advised,” Biden said. “But here’s what I’m here to tell you: They do not, they do not, they do not represent the view of the vast majority of the American people.”


3:56: On CNN, Dr. Ben Carson says he still thinks he can win the GOP nomination. When asked which candidate has the most to lose at tonight’s debate, he says Cruz has to do very well because it’s in his home state.

3:55: Washington Post’s resident dunce/useful idiot goes on CNN to call Trump a ‘bigot’ and ‘ignoramus’:

The Washington Post’s residence dunce Jennifer Rubin, who doubted that Trump would reach 5% in the polls, calls Trump a “bigot,” “misogynist and an “ignoramus” during a CNN appearance.

Rubin is the token “Republican” the Post/mainstream media use as their useful idiot/tool to bash conservatives.

Why are idiots like this given airtime on television: (Again, television bookers should read Coulter’s column on talking heads like Rubin who got Trump laughingly wrong and those who got it right)

Networks like CNN lose credibility by putting people like Rubin on television. Get a clue, CNN.

3:42: Black Lives Matter activist who confronted Clinton last night finds Clinton’s apology to be phony. She adds, “I fear that we don’t know which Hillary we are voting for.”

In an appearance on CNN, Ashley Williams says “what I didn’t’ hear in that apology is an apology for mass incarceration.” She says she also didn’t hear “her taking responsibility for the ways in which those words and her backing certain policies have affected black communities and communities of color.” Williams says Hillary has been “inconsistent” and “I fear that we don’t know which Hillary we are voting for”–Hillary from ’94, Hillary from 2008, or “this refined Hillary that allegedly shows up for racial justice.”

“I’m just not convinced,” she says, saying she is “unsure” how committed Clinton is to issues of racial/social justice while adding that she wants Hillary to be held accountable for h er past statements.

3:4o: Mike Huckabee’s daughter, Sarah Huckabee, joins the Trump campaign as a senior adviser.

3:39: Trump fires back at Fox (Vicente):

3:38: Hillary apologizes to Black Lives Matter activist:

3:35: Fox News, the Republican establishment want Kasich out. But he has as good of an argument as Rubio for staying in:

3:27: Carson cancels Sunday appearance at Memphis’s Highpoint Church:

3:19: Another Florida poll has Trump on top:

3:10: Black Lives Matter activist who confronted Clinton last night in South Carolina tells the Washington Post that she wanted Hillary to be “confronted with that very racist thing she said”:

Ashley Williams, a 23-year-old activist from Charlotte, interrupted Clinton during a private fundraiser in Charleston on Wednesday night. Williams stood and demanded an apology from Clinton for the high incarceration rate for black Americans, and confronted her with the words of a speech Clinton delivered 20 years ago voicing support for the now-debunked theory of “super-predators.”


“I thought that quote was important not only because it was her own words, but because that was her pathologizing black youth as these criminal, animal people,” Williams told The Washington Post. “And we know that’s not right and we know that’s really racist.”

“I wanted her to be confronted with that very racist thing she said,” Williams said.

3:05: On CNN, Tony Perkins thinks the Rubio camp may have planted the story about how conservative leaders may urge Cruz to drop out if he doesn’t do well on Super Tuesday

3:03: Trump blasts Cruz again:

3:01: Ridiculous Public Policy Polling asks people if they think Cruz is the Zodiac Killer:

2:57: Trump making cuts in all Super Tuesday states

2:45: Kinky Friedman to the New York Times:

Kinky Friedman, a singer and humorist who ran for governor in 2006 — winning more than 12 percent of the vote as an independent — said that he admired Mr. Cruz, but was likewise drawn to Mr. Trump’s unconventional message.

Besides, Mr. Friedman predicted, the Texas primary will not matter much, anyway.

“Trump is obviously going to be the nominee,” he said. “Long may he wave.”

2:42: Breitbart’s Joel Pollak:

2:40: What does this say about how little the GOP operatives know about primary voters and the issues/candidates that resonate with them?

2:35: Flashback: This is why the people who hate Trump the most are D.C. establishment consultants who have a lot to lose when the gravy train ends (no more $14 million paychecks for incompetently failing one campaign after another):

2:30: Paul Ryan refuses to criticize Trump. In fact, he has been sounding like Trump as of late re: China:

2:25: Sanders in Flint:

2:20: He should be banned from being on TV (read Coulter’s column on this) after reportedly pocketing at least $14 million and wasting millions more while running Jeb!’s Super PAC:


2:15: CA billionarie Steve Poizner for Kasich:


2:05: The GOP establishment and the mainstream media have been using a poll (conducted by anti-Trump Univision) that found 80% of Hispanics have an unfavorable view of Trump to say that he can’t win over Hispanics and win the general election.

Not so fast.

First, the New York Times and the Washington Post have published studies that have shown that Republicans can win the White House in 2016 without the Hispanic vote.

Second, Clinton is underperforming among Hispanic voters and Trump would not even need to come close to winning a majority of Hispanics to win the White House. And campaigns can change the minds of voters. What else are they for? That’s exactly what happened with Republican primary voters, who also viewed Trump extremely unfavorably when he first announced.

Here’s what the Washington Post‘s Chris Cillizza, echoing what mainstream media members and the GOP consultant class were saying, wrote shortly after Trump’s announcement:

You cannot and do not win anything when your numbers look like Trump’s. I can’t say it any more clearly than that. There’s nothing you can say or do — not that Trump would ever even consider going on an image rehabilitation tour — to change how people feel about you. Republicans know Trump. And they really, really don’t like him.

A couple months later, he wrote:

In case your detective work is at “True Detective” season 2 levels — for non-show watchers, that means not so good — I am the person who wrote that piece dismissing The Donald as even a semi-serious candidate for the presidency. My reasoning was pretty straightforward: Trump was regarded incredibly negatively by Republican voters. Twenty-three percent of GOP voters had a favorable opinion of Trump in a May Washington Post-ABC News poll, while 65 percent viewed him negatively. Eleven percent of Republicans felt strongly favorably toward Trump; 43 percent felt strongly negatively.


And then, opinions about Trump among Republicans totally flipped.

That same Post-ABC poll that showed Trump at 23/65 in his favorable/unfavorable ratings among Republicans in May suddenly revealed an absolutely unprecedented change in Trump’s favor in July. In that latter (and later) poll, 57 percent of Republicans viewed Trump favorably, while 40 percent regarded him unfavorably.

1:35 pm – They so mad.

Flagship conservative journals were just boosting readership and garnering attention when they spewed out the same anti-immigration drivel as talk-radio hosts and included propaganda straight from anti-immigrant groups with dubious backgrounds. They were just intensifying the ardor of “true believers” by excommunicating insufficiently stringent Republicans.

Groups such as Heritage Action and gatherings such as CPAC who seethed hatred for the “establishment,” cheered the shutdown, convinced Republicans they sold out and eliminated all but the most strident from the “real Republican” club were just raising money and building membership.

1:23 pm – Fort Worth Star-Telegram endorses Rubio.

12:59 pm – Flashback, via Charlie Spiering:

12:58 pm – Press is running with Sandoval SCOTUS murmurs, asking candidates for reactions:

12:57 pm – Romney doubles down on Trump tax returns: “what is he hiding.” Bonus: Shakespeare reference!

12:54 pm – Apparently donors are scared to take on Trump–and Rick Wilson, who’s working to push Rubio over the finish line, is mad:

12:49 pm – Still taking shots at Romney.

12:43 pm – Trump’s latest tweet doesn’t use his signature hashtag–looks like the autocomplete goes to “Make YouTube Great Again” first.


12:40 pm – Rubio’s comms director Alex Conant also attacking headlines about the latest Florida polls:

12:30 pm – Analysis from Mike Flynn: “Colorado has a caucus on Super Tuesday but the party establishment scrapped its presidential contest (they are just voting to send unaffiliated delegates to the convention). They axed the vote because they were worried about an outsider/conservative doing well. What they’ve done is deny Colorado Republicans a say in this year’s nomination fight.”

12:28 pm – Poll shows Trump leading in Pennsylvania.

12:17 pm – Kasich ad says “lobbyists” are “rushing to crown” Rubio.

12:16 pm – Former Texas state legislators endorse Rubio:

A half dozen people who once represented the Dallas area in the Texas Legislature, including former Sens. Florence Shapiro, John Carona and Bob Deuell, have endorsed Marco Rubio’s White House bid, the Rubio campaign is expected to announce Thursday.

Hours before a crucial GOP debate in Houston and five days before the Texas primary, Rubio dropped his fourth list of new supporters in the state in the past several weeks.

12:09 pm – GOP Congressman calls on either Cruz or Rubio to drop so they can join forces against Trump:

“We really have a mathematical issue here, rather than a political one,” Mr. Franks said Thursday on CNN. “And I pray that both of these candidates will consider the alternative and the fact that the window’s closing.”

11:57 am – Rubio attacks Trump on his “neutral” Israel comments.

“The front-runner in this race, Donald Trump, has said he’s not going to take sides on Israel versus the Palestinians because he wants to be an honest broker,” the Florida senator said during a rally in Houston. “Well, there is no such thing as an honest broker in that. Because the Palestinian Authority, which has strong links to terror, they teach little kids that it’s a glorious thing to kill Jews.”

11:46 am – Savage.

11:43 am – Senior Rubio adviser says “take it to the bank” — Marco will win Florida, no matter the polls.

11:38 am – Amazing clip, via Jordan Schachtel. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox talking to Jorge Ramos last night–breaks into English to say “I am not going to pay for this f***ing wall.”

11:36 am – New Monmouth poll has Cruz up FIFTEEN in Texas:

11:24 am – Tax returns bit seems stuck in Trump’s craw:

11:21 am – Investors Business Daily/TIPP national poll shows Rubio has pulled even with Cruz and Sanders has pulled even with Clinton.

11:12 am – Crazy analysis from Mashable. “Trump would now make history if he DIDN’T win.”

11:06 am – Trump pulls Rubio into the Mitt Romney mockery:

10:44 am – Panicked GOP Establishment begins to blame all their problems on their own donors.

10:28 am – Trump talks running mates

“I would want somebody that could help me with government, so most likely that would be a political person,” the billionaire said Wednesday during an appearance in Virginia, a state voting on next week’s so-called Super Tuesday. “You want somebody that can help you with legislation, getting it through.”

Trump didn’t mention any names from the 2016 Republican field, but did say that “some of the people I’ve dealt with I do have a lot of respect for and I like.”

10:17 am –  Douthat gets nervous: What Is Marco Rubio Waiting For?

To those of us who invested early and consistently in the notion that Trump would eventually be halted in his path toward the Republican nomination, the situation is rather extraordinary. Trump is winning everywhere, he is winning easily — and very, very little is being done to stop him. Donors are skittish about spending money on anti-Trump ad campaigns — because, Politico reports, they fear his insults and rumor-mongering.

10:02 am – Why We Lose: Where Was Dirty Trickster Mitt Romney When America Needed Him In 2012?

Oh, but look at Romney now — diving in the gutter and proving that Mr. Squeaky Clean is in fact quite capable of doing what it takes to win … against his own.

For America, Romney couldn’t do it, even as Team Obama accused him of murder.

To protect the Establishment Trough, though, suddenly he’s a Man willing to get his hands dirty.

9:19 am – Without Jeb, Trump shellacks Rubio in his home state of Florida by 16 points. This poll is a narrative Myth Buster. All that talk about Trump’s 35% ceiling — gone. All that talk about all the Jeb votes going to Rubio — gone.

8:42 am – Trump begins to score Congressional endorsements.

8:31 am – NYT: Donald Trump Taps Foreign Work Force for His Florida Club

Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach describes itself as “one of the most highly regarded private clubs in the world,” and it is not just the very-well-to-do who want to get in.

Since 2010, nearly 300 United States residents have applied or been referred for jobs as waiters, waitresses, cooks and housekeepers there. But according to federal records, only 17 have been hired.

In all but a handful of cases, Mar-a-Lago sought to fill the jobs with hundreds of foreign guest workers from Romania and other countries.

8:12 am – Rubio leads by double digits with Republican Hispanics

8:01 am – Sally Kohn rips Democrat Party of “undemocratic super delegates”

You might think, from their title, that superdelegates are better than regular delegates.

Actually, they’re worse.

The process for presidential elections in the United States is governed by the Constitution. Primary elections, however, are not. They are controlled by the political parties themselves. In fact, until the 1820s, members of Congress chose the presidential nominee for each party. That elitist system started to buckle with the advent of national conventions, though delegates were still selected through state and local convention processes controlled by the parties.

7:45 am – Former RNC Chair Haley Barbour tells Morning Joe he will support Trump if he is the nominee.

7:42 am – Four new polls out of Texas range from Cruz +12 to a tie with Trump. Texas, Cruz’s home state, votes Tuesday and is do or die for Cruz.

7:38 am – Rove admits time is running out to stop Trump.

“Donald Trump scored a very impressive win in Nevada, taking 45.9% and 14 of the state’s 30 delegates to the GOP convention. But the Republican nomination is far from settled,” Rove wrote. “After four contests, only 133 of the convention’s 2,472 delegates have been selected.”

“There is still time for the non-Trump GOP majority to coalesce around a single candidate, but not much,” Rove continued.

The party has until about mid-March to coalesce behind one person, Rove said. “If not, the hopes of the party’s non-Trump majority will suffer the same fate as Caesar.”

7:33 am – Trump in deep trouble with Hispanic voter per Washington Post.

7:27 am – Mark Halperin reports on “Morning Joe” that Donald Trump is not spending any money on any ads in any Super Tuesday states.


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