The importance of tonight’s sixth Republican debate, the first of 2016, couldn’t be stressed more. The once absurdly large field of candidates running for president has shrunk to seven with Donald Trump still leading followed by Ted Cruz who will need a strong performance to challenge Trump. Absent for the debate are Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul who didn’t qualify based on national polls. As we head into the Iowa caucus, which basically helps determine what candidates are in it come November, tonight’s debate is one to watch.
The candidates aren’t shy to attack Barack Obama after his final State of the Union address on Tuesday. Gov. Christie described it as “story time” saying the POTUS made everything seem “amazing” earning a laugh from the audience.
Jeb Bush took a dig at Obama saying he underestimates ISIS making the comparison…“ISIS being the JV team”
Ben Carson, the candidate polling third, jokes about not getting a question earlier. “I was going to ask you to wake me up” Carson says, almost putting himself back to sleep.
Ted Cruz addresses being compared to the “evil demonic spirit from It Follows” by a New York Times piece about him that said “Anyone but Cruz.” Aside from being an “evil spirit” Cruz responded to being a “natural born citizen” and qualifying to be president despite being born in Canada. Cruz who joked about the debate focusing on the “real issues” took on Trump who questioned whether he qualified. “The constitution hasn’t changed, but the poll numbers have,” Cruz told Trump telling him his numbers have fallen. Cruz turned the table's on Trump saying, “Donald’s mother was born in Scotland, she was naturalized." Trump said he didn’t bring this up earlier because Cruz didn’t have a chance before.
Fed up with the bickering Marco Rubio drops the mic—surely interrupting Trump before he asked for Cruz's birth certificate—saying, “I hate to interrupt this episode of Court TV.”
Rubio piles on the critique on Hillary Clinton and also Bernie Sanders saying all of the candidates on stage are better qualified: “Nobody here is a socialist. Nobody here is under investigation of the FBI.” The “socialist” referencing Sanders who has called himself a “democratic socialist” and the latter referencing Clinton.
Trump says if there guns “on the other side” during the San Bernardino shooting and even the Paris attacks there would be less casualties. Trump agrees with Bush’s sentiment that mental health needs to be taken into account when dealing with the issue of guns.
“ISIS and terrorists don’t get their guns from a gun show” Rubio says when explaining why Obama’s wrong to jump to “gun control” after mass shootings.
Christie goes off on Obama—who he hopes is watching—saying, “We’re going to kick your rear end out of the White House come November.”
Cruz calls out Trump for having “New York values” which he described as being liberal, supporting abortion and “gay marriage.” A serious Trump fires back describing some of those New York’s values, such as the resilience New York showed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, adding that Cruz’s remark was very offensive.
Trump's asked if he’s changed his mind about banning Muslims from the U.S. and he says “No.” “We have to stop with political correctness,” Trump said while explaining the plan was temporary to avoid things like what he reportedly saw in India:
“We can’t be the stupid country anymore. We are laughed at all over the world,” Trump said.
While wondering why neighbors weren’t “vigilant” when it came to the San Bernardino shooters and why they didn’t report seeing pipe bombs to police Trump goes on a tangent to say: “Police are the most mistreated people in this country.” The crowd applauds.
Trump attacks Bush: “We don’t need a weak person” to be president. Adds that that’s what Obama has been.
Christie calls out Obama for not supporting police: “[He] gives the doubt to the criminal, not the police officer." Christie continues to say, “[Obama] believes that law enforcement is the bad guys."
Rand Paul protesters yell "We want Rand!" as a moderator asks a question.
Cruz uses his closing statement to take one of the final shots at Clinton criticizing her for apologizing about saying “All lives matter.”