The debate began with moderator Bret Baier asking the candidates to raise their hands if they could not pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee and not run as an independent against the nominee.
Also, under questioning from moderator Megyn Kelly about past disparaging comments he made about women, Trump interrupted to say, “Only Rosie O’Donnell”.
While Trump was characteristically bombastic, most of the contenders standing alongside him clamored for their piece of the spotlight without engaging him directly.
Kasich went on to say he would love his daughters “no matter what they do”.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz accused President Barack Obama of being weak against “radical Islamic terrorism”.
Meanwhile, one-time front-runner former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush found himself on defense several times and largely avoided tangling with Trump on the Fox News/Facebook stage.
“Mr. Trump’s language is divisive”, Bush said. “We’re going to win when we unite people with a hopeful and optimistic message”. He just missed making the main event, denying him the chance to show a primetime audience how far he has come since his disappointing 2012 campaign.
“The great majority of people coming here have no other option”, Bush said. He said Thursday that he had been told that by border patrol agents, and he took credit for immigration being an issue in the campaign. I hate to recommend that you abandon me here, but, honestly, go to YouTube for the best takedowns of this weird spectacle.
Then the immigration questions went to Trump, who defended his comments about Mexican immigrants being rapists and criminals once again.
Donald Trump may have grabbed the most headlines from the night, but the prime-time debate didn’t yield a clear victor.
Kasich insisted that Trump is “hitting a nerve in this country”.
A raucous crowd cheered the candidates on throughout the debate in Cleveland, the same city where Republicans will nominate their general election candidate next summer. I don’t know about Chris Christie, but his dust-up with Paul was nasty on both sides.
But the most meaningful and perhaps lasting action of the first Republican debate was occurring around him. Rand Paul representing a segment of GOP voters frustrated with military action overseas and what they see as infringements on personal liberties. Subjects such as Obamacare, Planned Parenthood/pro-life perspectives (which was strongly touched on quite early by a couple of candidates, including Mike Huckabee who referred to baby tissue being sold like parts of a Buick) and Medicare/Medicaid being were some points of discussion. He said he wanted to collect more information from terrorists, not law-abiding Americans. He added, “Most of the people on this stage, I’ve given to – just so you understand – a lot of money”. He called the U.S. health system corrupted by insurance companies, and said he now favours breaking barriers between state exchanges to allow nationwide competition.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson, Ph.D.
He also said, in one way to interpret the idea of privilege, “the bar might be higher” for him than other candidates.
They handed former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina a decisive victory in the 5 p.m. debate, giving her 16 votes.
Fiorina, the only woman in the GOP field, said that Trump had tapped into Americans’ anger with Washington, but she challenged the businessman as lacking policy positions.
Walker was asked if he really would let a woman die instead of getting an abortion if her life was in danger.
Or to put it another way, modern Republican politicians can’t be serious – not if they want to win primaries and have any future within the party.
Meanwhile, Clinton said in Los Angeles she’s often left in a “state of disbelief” by what she hears from some of her 2016 rivals.
On Thursday, the Democratic Party announced it would hold its first debate in Nevada in October, hosted by CNN.