“Top Ten” Debate #3: Republicans vs. Each Other… and the Media

The third Republican debate was hosted by CNN and held at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado on October 28, 2015.  Moderators were John Harwood, Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla.  Jim Cramer, Rick Santelli and Sharon Epperson joined the questioning later.

The candidates, from left to right on the televised screen:  Gov. John Kasich (Ohio since 2011), Gov. Mike Huckabee (Arkansas 1996-2007), Gov. Jeb Bush (Florida 1999-2007), Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida since 2011), Donald Trump (real estate developer), Dr. Ben Carson ( Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital 1984-2013), Carly Fiorina (CEO of Hewlett-Packard 1999-2005), Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas since 2013), Gov. Chris Christie (New Jersey since 2009) and Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky since 2011).

The format will be in the sequence of the way the questions were posed.  The last section will summarize the candidates’ qualifications for President and suggestions for fulfilling other federal positions.

Quintanilla:  “What’s  Your  Biggest  Weakness?”

Note: This may be a job interview for President as Quintanilla said, but why not ask about strengths instead of embarrassing everyone right off the bat?

Kasich:  Is more concerned about electing someone not qualified for the job.  Anyone who suggests we dismantle Medicare and Medicaid doesn’t care about seniors.  Wanting to deport eleven million illegal immigrants which will split families or proposing “tax schemes that don’t add up” are sign of a candidate’s incompetence.

Huckabee:  He exposed the absurdity of the question with “Well, John, I don’t really have any weaknesses that I can think of.  (laughter)  But my wife is down here in the front and I’m sure if you’d like to talk to her later she can give you more than you’ll ever be able to take care of.  If I have a weakness is that I try to live by the rules.  I try to live by the rules no matter what they are and I was brought up  that way as a kid… And I’ll tell you what a weakness is in this country .  There a lot of people who are sick and tired because Washington does not play by the same rules that the American people have to play by.”

Bush:  He says he’s impatient and that “this endeavor doesn’t reward that.”  He can’t fake anger.  Many express this in tearing down this country, for which they are unfairly rewarded.  “I just don’t believe that this country’s days are going to be deeply, you know, going down.  I believe we are on the verge of the greatest time and I want to fix the things to let people rise up.”

Rubio:    It’s not a weakness that he “shares an optimism for America’s future that today is eroding from too many of our people.”  It does not have to be true that our best days are behind us.  “If we’re willing to do what it takes now, the 21st century is going to be the new American century.”

Trump:  His greatest weakness is that he trusts people too much.  But if he’s let down by them, he finds it “very, very hard to forgive people that deceived me.”

Carson:   He had trouble seeing himself as President until “hundreds of thousands of people” told him he needed to run.  He also believes in Reagan’s “Eleventh Commandment” about not criticizing fellow Republicans.  This election is so important “because we’re talking about America for the people versus America for the government.”

Fiorina:   “Well, gee, after the last debate I was told I didn’t smile enough.  (laughter as she gave her classic and truly fantastic smile – editorial comments permitted!)  But I also think that these are very serious times.  Seventy-five per cent of the American people think the government is corrupt, I agree with them.  And this big, powerful corrupt bureaucracy works now only for the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected.  Mean time, wages have stagnated for forty years.  We have more Americans out of work, or just more Americans who quit looking for work for forty years.  Ours was intended to be a citizen government… We need a leader who will take our government back.”

Cruz:  “I’m too agreeable, easy going.”  (laughter)  He said he has been passionate his entire life about the Constitution.  “For six and a half years, we’ve had a gigantic party.  If you want someone to grab a beer with, I may not be that guy.  But if you want someone to drive you home, I will get the job done and I will get you home”

Christie:  He said he didn’t see much weakness on this stage, but he sees it with the three on the Democratic stage.  “You know, I see a socialist, and isolationist and a pessimist.  And, for the sake of me, I can’t figure out which one is which.  (laughter)

But I will tell you this:  the socialist says they’re going to pay for everything and give you everything for free, except they don’t say they’re going to raise your taxes to 90% to do it.  The isolationist is the one who wants to continue to follow a foreign policy that has fewer democracies today than when Barack Obama came into office around the world.  But I know who the pessimist is: it’s Hillary Clinton.  And you put me on that stage against her next September and she won’t get within ten miles of the White House.  Take it to the bank.”

Paul:  He left his medical practice to do something about our federal government which borrows $1 million per minute.  Now we have both parties putting a bill on the floor of the Congress which will “explode the deficit… It will allow President to borrow unlimited amounts of money.  I will stand firm.  I will spend every ounce of energy to stop it.  I will begin tomorrow to filibuster it and I ask everyone in America to call Congress tomorrow and say, ‘enough’s enough, no more debt.’”

[Harwood to Trump:  He quoted several of Trump’s promises that have made him popular so far, and that it will make Americans better off because his “greatness will replace the stupidity and incompetence of others.  Let’s be honest, is this a comic book version of a presidential campaign?”]

Note: —  such a dignified question designed to enlighten the voters

Trump:  “No, it’s not a comic book and it’s not a very nicely asked question the way you say it.”  Larry Kudlow like his tax plan which lowers the rate to 15%, bring back the $2.5 trillion which is outside of the U.S., etc.  “As far as the wall is concerned, we’re going to build the wall.  We’re going to create a border.  We’re going to let people in, but they’re going to come in legally… And I get questioned about that.  They built the Great Wall of China that 13,000 miles.  Here we actually need 1,000 because we have natural barriers… We’re going to have people come in, but they’re coming in legally.”

He said Mexico will pay for the wall.  A politician can’t get them to do it (because their leaders are smarter than ours), but he could.  Harwood tried to end Trump’s time, but the candidate was able to insert that the price for such a wall is “peanuts” compared to the $50 billion trade imbalance advantage hey have over us.


Taxes  and  the  Deficit

[Harwood claimed that Trump’s tax plan of cutting $10 trillion would not jump start economy according to economic advisors from previous president of both parties.  Harwood

continued the earlier indignities by saying, “They said you have as much chance of cutting taxes that much without increasing the deficit as you would of flying away from that podium by flapping your arms.”]

Trump:  Then you have to get rid of Larry Kudlow, who sits on your panel, who’s a great guy, who came out the other day and said, ‘I love Trump’s tax plan.’

Bush:  “Did you look at all of our plans?  And Trump’s creates, even with the dynamic effect, $8 trillion in debt.”

[Becky Quick to Carson:  She has reviewed his 10% tax plan.  While it has significant appeal among voters, she is “having trouble with the math.”  Income in is still “leaving us with a $2 trillion hole. What analysis got you to the point where you think it will work?”]

Carson:  The rate is not 10%, he was just using the tithing analogy.  It will be closer to 15% which Quick said would still leave a $1.3 trillion dollar deficit.  His plan also eliminates all of the deductions and loopholes.  Also, strategic cutting is called for because we have 645 federal agencies and sub-agencies. “Anybody who tells me we need every penny in every one of those is in a fantasy world.  An invigorated economy not bogged down by regulations is key as well.  (Quick commented that a 40% reduction in government is needed to erase the deficit caused by his plan.)  “It’s not true.”  (Quick:  “It is true.  I looked at the numbers.”)  “When we put all of the facts down, you’ll be able to see that it’s not true, it works out very well.”

[Harwood to Kasich:  Kasich has had some criticisms of Trump and Carson for their plans.  His response?]

Kasich:  He reiterated that he’s the only one on the stage who has real experience balancing a federal budget.  “These plans would put us trillions and trillions of dollars in debt.”  His plan would create jobs, cut taxes and balance the budget.  He said his plans are realistic.  “Why don’t we just give a chicken in every pot while we’re coming up with these fantasy tax schemes… You have to deal with entitlements.  You have to be in a position to control discretionary spending… I went into Ohio where we had an eight billion dollar hole, now we have a two billion dollar surplus.  We’re up 347,000 jobs.  When I was in Washington I fought to get the budget balanced… We cut taxes and we had a $5 trillion projected surplus… This stuff is fantasy just like getting rid of Medicare and Medicaid.”

[Harwood:  Would Kasich be specific about whose “crazy” proposals he was talking about, which led to a lively Kasich-Trump exchange.]

Kasich:  He alluded to Carson’s plan and dismissed it as attempting to “tithe” for the federal budget.  (Note: Kasich must not have heard Carson’s correction of Quick’s same characterization of his plan.)  He also mentioned those plans which claim to fix everything by elimination of “waste, fraud and abuse.”  Or we’ll simply be “great… or we’re going to ship ten million people out of this country leaving their children here in this country and dividing families.  Folks, we gotta wake up.  We cannot elect somebody who doesn’t know how to do the job.”

Trump:  “First of all, John got lucky with a thing called ‘fracking.’  Okay?  He hit oil.  He got lucky with fracking.  Believe me, that’s why Ohio is doing well.  And that’s important for you to know.  Number two, this is the man that was a managing general partner  at Lehman Brothers1 when it went down the tubes and almost took every one of us with us [sic] including Ben and myself because I was there and I watched happened.  And Lehman Brothers started it all.  He was on the board and he was a managing general partner.  And just thirdly, he was not so nice, he was such a nice guy.  And he said ‘Oh, I’m never going to attack.’  But his polls numbers tanked.  That’s why he’s on the end.  And he got nasty, he got nasty.  So, you know what, you can have him.

Kasich:  “Let me respond.  First of all, Ohio does have an energy industry, but we’re diversified.  We’re one of the fastest growing states in the country.  We came back from the dead.  And you know what?  It works very, very well.  And secondly, when you talk about me being on the board of Lehman Brothers—I wasn’t on the board of Lehman Brothers.  I was a banker and I was proud of that and I travelled the country and learned how people make jobs.  We ought to have politicians who not only have government experience, but know how the CEO’s and job creators work.  My state is doing great across the board.  And guess what?  In 2011, (whereupon Trump talked over him so that neither could be understood)…”

Carson:  “Since I was attacked, too, let me just say.  If you talk about an $18 trillion economy and you’re talking about a 15% tax on your gross domestic product, you’re talking about 2.7 trillion.  We have a budget closer to 3.5 trillion.  But if you also apply that same 15% to several other things including corporate taxes, ah, and including, ah, the capital gains taxes you make up that amount pretty quickly.  So, that’s not by any stretch pie-in-the-sky.”

Cruz:  On his tax plan which is available online, a family of four pays no tax on the first $36,000 and, after that, 10% the rest of the way.  “On top of that, there’s a business flat tax of 16%.  It applies universally to giant corporations, that would lobby us now and are not paying taxes, and the small businesses.  And you wanted to know the numbers:  the Tax Foundation which has scored every one of our plans, shows that this plan will allow the economy to generate 4.9 million jobs, to raise wages over 12% and to generate 14% growth and it costs with dynamic scoring2 less than a trillion dollars.  Those are the hard numbers and every single income decile sees a double-digit increase in after-tax income.  (and as Quick tried to interrupt.) Growth is the answer and as Reagan demonstrated, if we cut taxes, we can bring back growth.”        

Fiorina:  Despite the talk about tax reform for decades, “we now have a 73,000 page tax code.  There have been more than 4,000 changes to the tax plan since 2001 alone.”  And despite all of the terrific ideas from various conservative think tanks, “we never get it done… And politicians say it’s so complicated, nobody but a politician can figure it out… The big problem is:  we need a leader in Washington who understands how to get something done. (said over attempts to interrupt by Quintanilla, who eventually said: “You want to bring the 70,000 pages to three?”) That’s right.  You know why three?  (“is that using really small type?”)  No, you know why three?  Only when it’s about three pages are you leveling the playing field between the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected who can hire the army of lawyers and accountants and, yes lobbyists, to help them navigate their way through 73,000 pages.  Three pages, is about the maximum the business owner, or a farmer or a couple can understand without hiring somebody.  Almost 60% of the American people now need to hire an expert to understand their taxes.”


Rubio’s  Work  Ethic  in  the  Senate

[Quintanilla to Rubio: While being in such a hurry and missing some bills in the Senate, “why not slow down, get some things done first or at least finish what you start.]

Rubio:  He said Quintanilla sounds like the rest of the Republican establishment who wants him “to wait in line.”  He countered that this country can’t wait any longer.  Everyday Americans are struggling more than ever and “for the first time in 35 years, we have more small businesses closing than starting.  We have a world that is out of control and has grown dangerous and a President that is weakening our military, and our foreign policy unstable and unreliable in the eyes of our allies.  And our adversaries continue to grow stronger.  They say there’s no bi-partisanship in Washington?  We have a $19 trillion bipartisan debt  and it continues to grow as we borrow from countries that do not like us to pay for government we cannot afford.  The time to act is now.  The time to turn the page is now.  If we don’t act now, we will be the first generation in American history that leaves our children worse off  than ourselves.”

[Quintanilla:  How does he respond to the Sun Sentinel’s suggestion that he resign while running for President so that “he doesn’t rip us off”?]

Rubio:  It’s amusing to him that this paper would comment on his attendance when the same paper endorsed John Kerry and Barack Obama when they missed over half of their Senate votes when they ran for President.  He said this was “another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and conservative movement.”  (applause)

[now for Bush’s ill-advised attempt at a personality transformation at the expense of a fellow Floridian]

Bush:  “… because I’m a constituent of the senator, and I helped him, and I expected he would do constituents’ service which means he shows up to work.  He got endorsed by the Sun Sentinel because he was the most talented guy in the field.  He’s a gifted politician.”

“But Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work.  I mean, literally, the Senate, what is it, like a French work week? [the governor extended his troubles internationally, too3]  You get like three days you have to show up?  You can campaign.  Or just resign and let someone else take the job.  There are a lot of people living paycheck-to-paycheck in Florida as well.  [a jab at Rubio’s theme of those he wants to defend]  They’re looking for a senator who will fight for them each and every day.”

Rubio:  “I get to respond, right? [“You have thirty seconds.”]  Well, it’s interesting over the last few weeks I’ve listened to Jeb as he walked around the country and said you’re modeling your campaign after John McCain.  That you’re going to launch a furious comeback the way he did by fighting hard in New Hampshire and places like that, carrying your own bag at the airport.  You know how many votes John McCain missed while he was carrying out that furious comeback that you’re modeling after? [Bush: “He wasn’t my senator.”]  Jeb, I don’t remember, well, let me tell you, I don’t remember you ever complaining about John McCain’s vote record.  The only reason why you’re doing it now is because we’re running for the same position and someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you.  Here’s the bottom line, (applause) I’m not, my campaign is about the future of America , it’s not going to be about attacking anyone else on this stage.  I will continue to have tremendous respect and admiration for Gov. Bush.  I’m not running against Gov. Bush.  I’m not running against anyone on this stage.  I’m running for President because there is no way we can elect Hillary Clinton to continue the policies of Barack Obama.  (applause and a little confusion which the moderators tried to corral, with little success at first)


Why  Has  Bush  Fallen  in  the  Polls?

[Harwood:  Gov. Bush’s place at the fifth spot signifies his drop in the polls despite much financial support.   After cutting payroll, he said he “had better things to do than be demonized—“]

Bush:  No, he said that, if elected President, he would not maintain the current dysfunctional situation in Washington.  He has a proven record as governor that he makes changes where necessary.

[Harwood continued:  Former Fed. Reserve chairman, appointed by Bush’s brother, said he no longer could consider himself a Republican because the party has fallen to a “know nothingism” philosophy.  Is this is what’s hurting Jeb Bush’s campaign?]

Bush:  The American people “believe in a hopeful future” that is not exemplified by building a wall, etc.  However, these aspirations have a lid as shown by the numbers of part-time workers and our current worker participation percentages lower than what we had in 1977, also “six million more people living in poverty than the day when Barack Obama got elected President.  And  the Left just wants more of the same.  We have to offer a compelling alternative that is based on hope and optimism and grounded in serious policy which I’ve laid out.  And you can go get it at jeb2016.com.”


Why  Should  America  Hire  Fiorina  with  Her  Record  at Hewlett-Packard?

[momentary confusion again until Quick to Fiorina:  The stock market is usually a good indication of a CEO’s performance.  Investors lost half of their stock value during her years leading Hewlett-Packard.  While it was a tough time for technology companies, still, Fiorina’s board fired her.  “I just wondered why you think we should hire you now.”]

Fiorina:  The NASDAQ lost 80% and took fifteen years to recover.  She was hired to help a company with a bureaucracy which “cost too much and delivered too little to shareholders.”  H-P had  missed expectations for nine consecutive quarters.  She cut the excess, “reintroduced accountability, focused on service, on innovation, on leading in every market and every segment… We saved 80,000 jobs and grew to 160,000” while many competitors, like Gateway, failed costing many jobs.  She was able to make difficult decisions in a difficult time and “people are looking for that in Washington.”  She was fired over a disagreement in the board room, which are not immune to politics.  “And yet, the man who led my firing, Tom Perkins an icon of Silicon Valley, has come out publicly and said, ‘You know what?  We were wrong, she was right.  She was a great CEO.  She’d make a great President of the United States because the leadership she brought to H-P is exactly the leadership we need in Washington, D.C.’”

[Quick:  But Perkins “has said questionable things like ‘wealthy people should get more votes.’  Is this the type of person you want to defend you?”]

Fiorina:  “Well, this is one of the reasons Tom Perkins and I had disagreements in the board room, Becky.” (laughter)   People don’t realize the level of accountability which besets CEO’s.  She “had to answer every single question about every single result and every single projection, in public, until there were no more questions.  And if I misrepresented those projections or those results in any way, I was held criminally liable.  Imagine, imagine, if a politician were held to that standard of account.  I will run on my record all day long.  And I believe people need a leader who is prepared to make tough calls in tough times and stand up and be held accountable.”  (applause)      


Cruz  Defends  the  Group  on  Stage  at  the  Expense  of  Answering  His  Question

[Quintanilla to Cruz:  Congress is on the verge of an agreement which will raise the debt ceiling, but prevent a government shutdown and jittery markets.  Does Cruz’s opposition to this indicate that he is not a problem solver?]

Cruz:  “The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.  (applause)  This is not a cage match.  And you look at the questions, Donald Trump are you a comic book villain?, Ben Carson can you do math?, John Kasich will you insult two people over here?, Marco Rubio why don’t you resign?, Jeb Bush why have your numbers fallen?  How about the substantive issues people care about?  (raucous applause)  Carl, I’m not finished yet.  The contrast with the Democratic debate where every fawning question from the media was, ‘Which of you is more handsome and wise.’  And let me be clear (Quintanilla:  “You have thirty seconds left to answer should you choose to do so.”)  Let me be clear.  The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense than every participant in the Democratic debate.  That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.”4  (applause)

“And nobody watching at home believes that any of the moderators has any intention of voting in a Republican primary.  The questions that are being asked shouldn’t be trying to get people to tear into each other.  It should be substantive solutions to (unintelligible amid moderator speaking over each other).”  Repeated “you don’t want to hear the answer” from Cruz as Harwood attempted to move on to the next question and candidate and “you used your time on something else” from Harwood followed by “You’re not interested in an answer” by Cruz.


Budget  Cuts  in  Some  Areas,  But  the  Debt  Rises

[Harwood to Paul:  The recent budget bill crafted by Speaker Boehner and passed makes cuts in some social programs.  Does Paul believes the cuts weren’t sufficient?}

Paul:  He’s opposed because it’s taking from entitlements “and spending t immediately on other items.”  Money taken from Social Security will, instead, go to the military and social spending. The sequester was passed four years ago in an attempt to slow government spending.  Instead, the Washington establishment raised both (money from entitlements went to military and domestic spending.) and “the deficit will explode under this… Right and Left are spending us into oblivion.  We should use the debt ceiling as precisely designed to force upon them budgetary reform.”

[Harwood:  So why did both Boehner and Ryan (the latter known for fiscal discipline) do this?]

Paul:  There appears to be little change in the House despite new leadership.  Paul is more concerned about bankrupting the country than keeping the government open.


Social  Security

[Quick to Christie:   Huckabee and others say his proposals to change Social Security amount to stealing the benefits seniors have earned.  “When is it acceptable to break a social compact?”]

Christie:  The government has lied when it said Social Security money is in a trust fund.  Only IOU’s are there now.  The money was spent elsewhere and now, Social Security will be insolvent in 7-8 years.  “Seventy-one per cent of what is spent today is on entitlements and debt service.”5  He is the only one who has made a proposal dealing with entitlements and it will save $1 trillion over ten years.

Hillary Clinton’s solution is to raise Social Security taxes.  To which he responds, “If somebody’s already stolen money from you, are going to give him more?”  (laughter)  Or are you going to deal with the problem by saying I’m going to give people who have done well in this country less benefits on the back end.  We need to get realistic about this.  We’re not.”

[Quintanilla to Huckabee:  60 seconds on this]

Huckabee:  It’s true that we’ve lied and stolen from people regarding Social Security.  “But there’s one thing we haven’t told them:  it’s their money… it’s not entitlement, it’s not welfare!  This  is money that people had confiscated out of their paychecks… Now, we’re going to blame the people.  Today, Congress took another $150 billion away from Social Security so they can borrow more money!..  And they always say they’re going to fix this one day.  No they’re not.  It’s like a 400-pound man saying ‘I’m going to go on a diet, but I’m going to eat a sack of Krispy Kremes before I do… Let’s quit blaming the people on Social Security.  Let’s quit making it a problem for them.  It’s like them getting mugged, and then us saying we’re going to mug you some more, to get over it, get used to it.  No, sir.  We need to honor our promises . (moderator attempted to end his answer)  – Let me finish, it’s the only time I’ve had a chance.  Let me finish.  This a matter, not of math.  This is a matter of morality.  If this country does not keep its promise to seniors, then what promise can this country hope to be trusted to keep? ”

Christie:  The only moral thing we can do is tell them the truth.  “It isn’t their money any more, Mike, it’s stolen.  It got stolen from them.  It’s not theirs anymore.  The government stole it and spent it a long time ago.  (Huckabee:  “But, Chris –“)  So let’s stop fooling around about this.  Let’s tell people the truth.  For once let’s do that and stop trying to give them some kind of fantasy that’s never going to come true.”  (writer’s question:  Does that mean if a person steals from someone and spend it before prosecution, then no judge may require reparation?)

Cruz:  This recent bill passage illustrates the dysfunction in Washington.  Republicans joined with “every single Democrat to add $80 trillion to our debt.”  Yet, no problems were solved.  Regarding Social Security, he believes both Huckabee and Christie are right.  We must honor our commitments.

But for Cruz, who’s 44-years old, finds few of his generation who believe Social Security will be there for them.  The right thing to do: make no changes for current seniors and slowly change the retirement age for younger workers, “changing the rate of growth so that it matches inflation and critically allowing younger workers to keep a portion of our tax payments in a personal account that we own, we control and we can pass on to our kids.  We can do both.

Huckabee:  For one-third of those on Social Security, it represents 90% of their income.  The government has no business stealing more” through “means-testing.”  People paid into it and should receive it.  “… then tell what’s different between Bernie Madoff6 who sits in prison today for doing less than what the government has done to people on Social Security and Medicare in this country.”  (applause)    


Trump’s  Company  Bankruptcies

[Quick to Trump:  Although he has done well in Atlantic City, four bankruptcies have occurred under his lead hurting many.  Since a bankruptcy is a broken promise, why should Americans believe his on the campaign?”]

Trump:  All of the biggest people in businesses have used the chapter laws to their benefit.  Atlantic City “has gone bad” with virtually all hotels and even Caesar’s are in bankruptcy.  This “is disgraceful.”  He, however, has never filed it personally.  Of the hundreds of companies he has opened, three perhaps four have gone bankrupt.  Things came out great and he can do the same for the U.S. “We owe $19 trillion.  Boy, am I good at solving debt problems.  Nobody can solve it like me.  But I will tell you this: Atlantic City, you’re using that, hundreds of companies I’ve opened have thrived.  I built a net worth of way over $10 billion and I’ve done it four times out of hundreds.  Am I’m glad I did it.  I used the laws of the country to my benefit.  I’m sorry.”


Some  Pharmaceuticals  Have  Had  Excessive  Price  Increases

[Cramer to Carson:  Should the government be involved with some of the huge price increases brought on by pharmaceutical companies?]

Carson:  It’s true that some have realized excessive profits.  As a starting point, what can government do for the average American?  The problems begin with small manufacturers of anything, not just pharmaceuticals.  For companies with fewer than fifty employees, the cost of regulations is about $34,000 per employee.  “Instead of picking on this group or this group, we’re going to have to have a major reduction in the regulatory influence going on.  The government is not supposed to be in every part of our lives and that’s what’s causing the problem.”


GM’s  Faulty  Ignition  Switch:  Because  Many  died,  Should  There  Have  Been  Jail  Time?

[Cramer to Christie:   Some have suggested that some bank executives should have gone to jail for the 2008 financial crisis.  Meanwhile, General Motors paid $1+ billion in fines and settlements for their faulty ignition switches for which 124 people died.  No one went to jail.  Since Christie was a former prosecutor, does he believe some should have gone including those involved in the cover-up?]

Christie:  “You bet they do.  And if I were the prosecutor that’s exactly where they’d be.”  Our current justice department is a political one which “wants to choose who the winners and losers are.  They like General Motors, so they give them a pass.  They don’t like somebody else, like David Petraeus, they prosecute and send the decorated general to disgrace.7”  (applause)

In his seven years as U.S. attorney, they “went after pharmaceutical company, we went after companies that were ripping off shareholders, we went after companies that were doing things against the law.  And to expand on Mr. Carson’s – Dr. Carson’s question, let’s face it, we have laws already.  We don’t need more laws.  We don’t need Hillary Clinton’s price controls.  For again – does anybody out there think that giving Washington D.C. the opportunity to run the pharmaceutical industry is a good idea.”  (laughter)      


Accept  Tax  Increase  If  Spending  Was  Cut  Ten  Times  More?

[Harwood to Bush:  Four years ago, every Republican candidate promised to oppose any tax increase even if accompanied by larger spending cuts.  “A few months later, you told Congress ‘put me in coach’ you’d take that deal.  Still feel that way?]

Bush:  Obama got his massive spending deal with no cuts.  With more regulations, now we have to accept 2% annual growth.  Since Obama took over, middle class Americans have $2,300 less than they did before he took office.  With Hillary Clinton, we’ll get a third term of the same.  He cut taxes $19 billion in Florida and created 1.3 million jobs and they were one of two states to have a AAA bond rating.

[Harwood:  If you were President, would you accept a bi-partisan deal with a 10:1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases?]

Bush:  We couldn’t find a Republican that would do that, much less a Democrat.  (Harwood:  So you don’t want the coach to put you in anymore?]  “Look, the deal was already done, the biggest tax increase has come under the watch of Barack Obama and spending has gone up.  You find a Democrat that’s for cutting taxes or spending ten dollars and I’ll give them a warm kiss.”  (laughter)


Should  Internet  Businesses  Be  Taxed?

[Quintanilla to Fiorina:  In 2010, when running for the Senate, she said a tax on the internet would be a bad deal, something traditional stores disagreed with.  Now that the internet has matured, is there a fair plan to even that playing field?]

Fiorina:  Crony capitalism, which is where only the big and powerful can handle it, is alive and well in D.C.  So why have pharmaceutical companies and banks consolidating?  Because as government gets bigger, companies feel they must do the same to cope.  Meanwhile 1590 community banks went under.  “You see, folks, this is how socialism starts.  Government causes a problem.  Then, government steps in to solve the problem.  This why we fundamentally take our government back.  The student loan problem has been created by government.  Government trying to level the playing field between internet and brick and mortar creates a problem.  The FCC jumping in now and say we’re going to put four hundred pages of regulation over the internet is going to create massive problems.  Guess who pushed for that regulation?  The big internet companies.  This is what’s going on.  Big and powerful use big and powerful government to their advantage.  It’s why you see Walgreen’s buying Rite-Aid… It’s why you see the banks consolidating.  And meanwhile, small businesses are getting crushed, community based businesses and farms are getting crushed, community banks are going out of business.  Big government favors the big, the powerful, the wealthy, the well-connected and crushes the small and the powerless.”


Rubio’s  Finances

[Quick to Rubio:  Due to self-admitted lack of bookkeeping skills, he inadvertently mingled campaign money with personal, faced foreclosure on a second home8 and liquidated a $68,000 retirement fund costing him thousands in taxes and penalties.  “It raises the question, do you have the maturity and wisdom to lead this $17 trillion dollar economy.  What do you say?]

Rubio:  He wasn’t going to give sixty seconds to charges aimed to discredit him.  First of all, he didn’t inherit any money.  He had to work his way through school as well as borrow money.  He had to explain early in his marriage “why someone named Sallie Mae was taking a thousand dollars every month out of (their) bank account?”  (laughter)

“I know what it’s like to owe that money and we worked hard.  We worked hard.  We’ve worked hard all our life to provide a better life for our family.  We own a home four blocks away from the place I grew up in.  Our four children have been able to receive a good Christian education and I’ve been able to save for them to go to college so they never have to have the loans that I did.”  But he’s more worried about the finances of others who are struggling in an economy that doesn’t produce enough good paying jobs.    

[Quick:  She understands as she had loans, too.  But he had a “windfall” of $1 million from the sale of his book, and after the fact, lost $24,000 in that liquidation of a retirement fund.]

Rubio:  That’s why his tax plan increases the per child tax credit.  He knows firsthand how expensive it is to raise a family, and he makes more than the average family.  If we elect Hillary Clinton, it will be more of the same slow growth.


Export  Import  Bank  vs.  Business  Incentives

[Harwood to Kasich:  How does he reconcile his opposition To the ExIm Bank, he described as “corporate welfare,” while at the same time offering incentive to companies as part of his Jobs Ohio program?  In other words, why is it OK for Ohio companies, but not for those who compete overseas?]

Kasich:  We’re reforming welfare for poor people, the same should go for rich.  Ohio has gone from losing 350,000 jobs to a gain of 347,000.  The state’s wages are rising faster than the national average and he has cut taxes significantly including “no taxes on small businesses and killing the death tax.” The recent spending bill is typical of what has happened since he left Washington.  “You spend the money today and you hope you save the money tomorrow.”  He has a plan to get the nation back to a balanced budget.  To do this, we need to cut expenses and grow the economy. Regarding business incentives: “Our incentives are tight and we make sure that we gain more from the creation of jobs than we lose.”  He’s also in favor of a Constitutional amendment for a balanced budget.


Gender  Wage  Inequality

[Quick to Cruz:   Working women still make only 77% of what men make.  He’s criticized Democratic ideas as “political showboat.”  What would he do as President?]

Cruz:  The Democratic solution is more government control of wages and more empowering trial lawyers to fight lawsuits.  His family has several single moms, so he’s aware of the problems.  The Democrats seem to overlook that 3.7 million women have entered poverty during the Obama years.  His big government has lowered women’s median wages by $733.  “Big government benefits the wealthy, the lobbyist, the giant corporations.  And the people getting hammered are small businesses, single moms and Hispanics.  That is whom I’m fighting for, the people that Washington leaves behind.”

Fiorina:  “Becky, it is the height of hypocrisy for Mrs. Clinton to talk about being the first woman President when every single policy she espouses, and every single policy of Obama has been demonstrably bad for women.  Ninety-two per cent (applause)  Ninety-two per cent of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women.  Senator Cruz is precisely right.  Three million women have fallen into poverty under this Administration.  The number of women living in extreme poverty is the highest level on record.  I am a conservative because I know our values, our principles and policies work better to lift everyone up – men and women.”


Carson  and  His  Involvement  With  the  Corporate  World

[Quintanilla to Carson:   Concerning his involvement on corporate boards:  Costco was recently called the most gay-friendly brand in a recent marketing survey partly because its domestic partner benefits.  Why would he serve on a company whose policies seem to be contrary to his views on homosexuality?]

Carson:  Apparently, his views on homosexuality are misunderstood.  The Constitution protects everybody.  “I also believe that marriage is between one man and one woman.  And there is no reason that you can’t be perfectly fair to the gay community.  They shouldn’t automatically assume that because you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman that you are a homophobe.  And this one of the myths that the Left perpetrates on our society.  And this is how they frighten people and get people to shut up.  You know that is what the PC culture is all about and it’s destroying our nation.  The fact of the matter is, we the American people are not each other’s enemies.  It’s those people who are trying to divide us who are the enemies and we need to make that very clear to everybody.”  (applause)

[Quintanilla to Carson:  Mannatech makes nutritional supplements and he had a ten-year relationship with them.  “They paid $7 million to settle a deceptive lawsuit.” Why did he continue his involvement with them?]

Carson:  Easy answer, he did not have any involvement with them.9  “That’s total propaganda.”  He made some paid speeches for them, but “it is absolutely absurd to say that I had any kind of relationship with them.  Do I take the product?  Yes.  I think it’s a good product.”

[Quintanilla:  To be fair, his photo with their logo behind them was on their home page.]

Carson:  “If somebody put me on their home page, they did it without my permission.”

[Quintanilla:  “Does that not speak to your vetting process or judgment in any way?]

Carson:  “No, it speaks to the fact that I didn’t know what was going on.”  (as crowd boos the moderator)  “See, they know.”  (laughter and cheering)


Immigration  and  Segue  to  Super  PAC’s

[Harwood to Rubio:  He has been a promoter of the “H1B” immigration visas (for workers with special skills) which are helping the tech industry.  Sen. Jeff Sessions (AL) said these are being used to undercut wages of qualified workers already here.  “Why is he wrong?”]

Rubio:  If a company is caught doing that, they should never be able to use it again.  We need new laws, e.g. before hiring foreigners, the job should be advertised for 180 days.  Should also have to prove that these workers will receive more, thus, removing the “undercutting” suspicion.  The best solution is to train our own people for 21st century jobs.  He can’t understand why we stopped vocational training… There abuses and companies need to be barred from the program and we also need strict standards to ensure it is not abused.

[Quick to Trump:  You have been critical of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who wants an increase in these visas –]

Trump:  “I was not at all critical of him, not at all.  In fact, frankly, he’s complaining about the fact that we are losing some of the most talented people.”  They come from all countries to our best universities and when they graduate, they are sent out.

[Quick:  “Where did I read this or come up with this?”]

Trump:  “Probably, I don’t know, you people write this stuff.”  (laughter)  “And I’d like to say just one thing.  I am the only one in either campaign that’s self-funding… So far, I’ve put up less than anybody and have the best results… Super PAC’s are a disaster.  They’re a scam.  They cause dishonesty and you’d better get rid of them because they are causing a lot of bad decisions to be made by some very good people.  And I’m not blaming these folks, but, I guess I could… And if anything come from this whole thing with some of these nasty and ridiculous questions, I tell you, you’d better get rid of the super PAC’s.”

[Quick to Trump:  You called Rubio “Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator” because he was in favor of the H1B.]

Trump:  “I’ve never said this.”  Followed by repeated quizzical comments from Quick and Trump denying the report including “somebody really doing some bad fact-checking”.

Rubio:  “The Democrats have the ultimate super PAC.  It’s called the mainstream media.  (Vocal laughter)  ”And I’ll tell you why.  Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee.  She admitted she had sent emails to her family saying, ‘Hey, this attack at Benghazi was caused by Al-Qaeda like elements.  She went over a week telling the families of those victims, and the American people, because it was over a video.  And yet, the mainstream media’s going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  It was the week she got exposed as a liar.  (cheering) But she has her super PAC helping her out.”


What  Should  be  Done  with  the  Federal  Reserve?

[Rick Santelli to Cruz:  With your criticism of the Federal Reserve Bank, should Congress be involved in monetary policy, or even downsize it completely?]

Cruz:  First, there should be an audit of the Fed.  And he was an original sponsor of Ron (Rand) Paul’s audit the Fed legislation.  Secondly, we need a bi-partisan commission to return to rules-based monetary policy.  The “quantitative easing” experiment needs to be eliminated.10   The Fed is doing great on Wall Street, rising stock prices have given the top 1% the highest percentage of worth since 1928.  But, for the average person, rising prices are harmful.  Too much loose money caused by the “fed trying to juice our economy” is the culprit.  The Fed should be focused on sound money and monetary stability, preferably tied to gold.

[Santelli posed the same question to Paul}

Paul:   Former Fed chairman Bernanke’s labeling the Republicans as “know nothings” is precisely why the Fed needs auditing.  It’s a problem when something as powerful as the Fed lobbies against being audited.  The Fed has caused income inequality.  And let’s “ask them how they caused the housing boom and the crisis.  Need to free up interest rates, which are the price of money, because “we shouldn’t have price controls on the price of money.”


Oil  Subsidies  Used  for  Ethanol  Processing

[Santelli to Carson:  Carson is opposed to government subsidies “because they interfere with the free market.  Yet, he supports oil subsidies be applied to ethanol processing.  “Isn’t that just swapping one subsidy for another, Doctor?]

Carson:  Since that statement, he realizes he was wrong.  He has studied the issue and now believes that “the best policy is to get rid of all subsidies and get the government out of lives and let the people rise and fall based on how good they are.  And, you know, all this ‘too big to fail’ stuff and picking and choosing winners and losers, this is a bunch of crap. And it is really causing (laughter) a great deal of problems for our society right now… The reason I hate them (regulations) so much is because every single regulation costs in terms of goods and services.  That cost gets passed on to the people. ”  It only hurts the poor and middle class.  While Bernie Sanders says it’s all because of the rich, however, we take everything from the top 1% rich and it wouldn’t make a dent in our deficit.


Income  Inequality  and  Focus  on  Treating  Diseases

[Quick to Huckabee:  He has been a proponent hat those responsible for the housing crash should have gone to jail.  Besides his tax plan, does he have other ways to address income inequality?]

Huckabee:  “I don’t think it’s so much when the government orders a corporation to do something.  In fact, that’s part of the problem.  If you saw that blimp that cut loose from Maryland today, it’s a perfect example of government.  What we had was something the government made, basically a bag of gas, that cut loose, destroyed everything in its path, left thousands of people powerless.  But they couldn’t get rid of it because we had too much money invested in it, so we had to keep it.11  That is our government today.  We saw it in the blimp.  (laughter)

Corporations must act responsibly.  Current CEO pay is often excessive.  “The bottom 90% of the economy has had stagnant wages for forty years.  Somebody is taking it in the teeth…  I’m not anti-Wall Street, but I don’t believe the government ought to wear a team jersey and pick winners and losers.  The government ought to wear a striped shirt and make sure the game is played fairly.” (He then pursued and received extra time as others have.)  “We ought to be focused on what fixes this country… Why aren’t we talking about, instead of cutting benefits for old people, cutting benefits for sick people, why don’t’ we say ‘let’s cure the four cost-driving diseases: diabetes, heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.  If you do that, you just don’t change the economy, you transform the lives of millions of hurting Americans.”      



[Harwood to Bush:  Why does his tax plan tax labor (income at 28%) higher than investment (20%)?]

Bush:  His plan gives middle America the biggest break.  A family of four pays no tax at $40,000 income.  We must simplify the code as well lower rates.  Regulatory weight in cost is why small businesses are failing.  We need radical changes in the various fiscal policies.  The current Democratic philosophy has been tried and it just doesn’t work.

[Harwood to Rubio:  The Tax Foundation concluded that his tax plan gave twice as much to the top earners vs. the middle income people.  Since he is the champion of the “paycheck-to-paycheck” isn’t his plan “backward”?]

Rubio:  No, the larger after-tax gain goes to the lower brackets.  (A Harwood-Rubio debate ensued.  Harwood said the top 1% would receive 27.9% while the middle gets 15%.)  Rubio said the greatest percentage gains would be at the lower incomes.  He would increase the per child tax credit for working families and lower taxes on small businesses.  No business would pay more than a 25% flat rate on business income.  It also doesn’t tax investments at all making it a pro-growth plan “because the more you tax something, the less of it you get.”

[Sen. Paul was denied a chance to follow-up so he asked what the rules were.  Quick: “at the moderator’s discretion.”  Light laughter in support of the senator.  Eventually, he was given time.]

Paul:  Not helping middle Americans is the chief argument against many of the flat tax proposals.  His tax plan is unique in that it eliminates the payroll tax, by shifting it to the business.  Cutting personal income tax isn’t enough.  By spreading the tax over all economic levels, it’s more likely to be supported.

Cruz:  Paul’s plan is a good one and Cruz’s 10% plan also eliminates: the payroll tax, the death tax and the business income tax.  It’s also the lowest personal rate of any candidate.  Taxes could be filed on a postcard, thus eliminating the IRS.


Marijuana… Then  Income  Inequality  Again

[Quintanilla to Kasich:  The Colorado governor had not been in favor of legalizing it in his state, but he has come to say that, since legalization, those who were smoking still smoke but are now contributing to the state’s revenue.  Is that attractive for Ohio?]

Kasich:  Firstly, Ohio has a $2 billion surplus.  “Sending mixed signals to kids about drugs is a disaster.  Drugs is one of the greatest scourge (sic) in this country.  I’ve spent five in my administration working with my team to do a whole sort of things to try and rein in the problem of overdoses.”

Regarding income inequality, “my program would move the 104 programs of the federal Department of Education into four block grants and send them back to the states because income inequality is driven by a lack of skills.  When kids don’t get what they to be able to compete and win in this country.”  To get the U.S. growing again, he would freeze regulations, except for public safety, cut taxes, balance the budget and “we need to send power, money and influence… out of Washington and back to the states… not a one-size-fits-all mentality that they have.”


Returning  to  Rubio,  Zuckerberg  and  H1B  Visas

[Quick to Trump:  Regarding the issue of H1B visas, she found on his web site where it says that Rubio is Zuckerberg’s personal senator because his bill would triple these visas and “that would decimate women and minorities.”  Are you in favor of H1B’s?]

Trump:  He is in favor of legal immigration.  “You can have it any way you want.”  Visas, work permits, whatever the name.  He has created tens of thousands of jobs and he will make that millions if elected.

Rubio:  In addition, our current process for permanent residents is based on having a relative here.  That’s how his parents came here in 1956.  “But in 2015, we have a very different economy.”  Now, we need to have a system based on merit and whether the person wants to become a citizen.  “Not just live in America, but be an American.”


Guns  in  the  Workplace

[Quintanilla to Trump:  Based on his statements that schools with adults carrying guns would be safer than gun-free zones, would he be comfortable with his employees carrying them to work?]       

Trump:   He would be comfortable, after all, he carries one, but not all of the time.  It helps to be unpredictable.  (laughter)  Unfortunately, we as a nation are predictable to our enemies, which is dangerous “because they know exactly what we’re doing.”

“Gun-free zones… that’s target practice for the sicko’s and the mentally ill.. They look around for gun-free zones.”  He recalled the killings on a military base where even decorated soldiers weren’t allow to carry guns.


Does  Leading  Candidate  Trump  Have  the  Moral  Authority  to  Lead?  Plus  Hucakabee  vs.  Clinton  Machine

[Harwood to Huckabee, question asked with consideration of Huckabee’s religious background]

Huckabee:  (crowd displeasure)  “You know, as few questions I’ve got, the last one I need is to give him some more time.  I love Donald Trump.  (laughter)  He’s a good man.  I’m wearing a Trump tie.  (Trump grins)  Get over that one, okay?  After fellow candidates asked if it was made in China or Mexico, Trump said, “Such a nasty question, but thank you, governor.”  

Huckabee:  “You’re welcome.  Donald Trump would be a better President every day of the week and twice on Sunday rather than Hilary.  I’ve spent a lifetime in politics fighting the Clinton machine.  You want to talk about what we’re going to be up against next year?  I’m the only guy on this stage… the only guy that has consistently fought the Clinton machine every election I was ever in for the past twenty-six years.  And not only did I fight them, I beat them… And not only did I fight them and win, but I lived to tell about it.  (crowd approval)  … And I think that ought to be worth something.”

Christie:  “John, you want to talk about moral authority, let’s talk about what happened this week in the news.  You know, the FBI director, the President’s appointed FBI director has said this week, that because of a lack of support for politicians like the President of the United States, the police are afraid to get out of their cars.  They’re afraid to enforce the law.  He says, the President’s appointee, that crime is going up because of this.  When the President of the united States gets out to speak about it, does he support police officers.  Does he stand up for law enforcement?  No, he doesn’t.  I’ll tell you this:  the number one job of the President of the United States is to protect the safety and security of the American people.”  If he’s President, the police will know that they have his support.  “That’s real moral authority that we need in the Oval Office.”  (vocal applause)


Federal  Government  and 401(K)’s

[Sharon Epperson to Fiorina:  Her former company offered a 401(K) for her employees, but half of all workers don’t have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans.  Should the federal government be more involved with this?}

Fiorina:  “No, the federal government should play a larger role.”  The more government becomes involves, the problems increase, then the government steps in to fix it and we are closer to Hillary Clinton’s progressive vision.  Companies should offer benefits if they wish to attract the best employees.  Trouble is, “if you’re a small businesses owner today, you are being crushed.  We have 400,000 small businesses forming every year in this country.  How great is that?… The bad news is that we have 470,000 going out of business every year.  Why?  They cite Obamacare.  (Epperson:  “You wouldn’t agree with a starter 401(K) for businesses like that?)  It’s great that companies choose to set up a 401(K), but there’s no Constitutional basis for the federal government setting up retirement plans or minimum wages.

[Epperson to Kasich:  The nation has $100 billion in student loan defaults.  What would he do about is so that the effects don’t impact future generations?]

Kasich:  Changes in Ohio: no payments to the university unless a student graduates or complete a course.  High school students have the opportunity to complete nearly a full first year of college before leaving high school.  Schools often have non-academic assets.  For example, Ohio Sate sold its parking lot and garage because school should not be in that business.  Also, “they shouldn’t be in the dining business, they shouldn’t be in the dorm business.”  On-line education helps with student costs, too.  Legitimate public service could be used as a way of paying off education loans.

Bush:  “We don’t need the federal government to get involved with at all.”  Florida has the lowest in-state tuition because of accountability as Kasich was saying.  The states can improve graduation rates and lower costs, thus preventing future generations from being burdened.  (Kasich mentioned Bush’s father’s “1,000 points of life.”12


Should  Fantasy  Sports  Be  Regulated?  …  And  Watch  Christie Question  the  Obvious  Lack  of  Priorities

[Quintanilla to Bush:  Fantasy sports have the elements of gambling.  Therefore, should the federal government treat it as such?]

Bush:  “Well, first of all, I’m 7-0 in my fantasy football league.  (laughter)  Grankowski is still going strong.  I have Ryan Tannehill, Marco, as my quarterback and he was 18 for 19 last week, so I’m doing great.  But we’re not gambling and I think this has become something that needs to be looked at in terms of regulation.  Effectively, it’s day trading without any regulation at all.  And when you have insider information which apparently has been the case, where people use that information…  If they can’t regulate themselves, then the NFL needs to look at moving away from them a little bit and there should be some regulation.”  But the federal government?  Probably not the best way.

Christie:  “Carl, are we really talking about getting the government involved  in fantasy football?  We have—wait a second, we have $19 trillion in debt, we have people out of work, we have ISIS and Al-Qaeda attacking us and we’re fantasy football?  Can we stop?  (raucous cheering)  Can we just stop?  I mean, seriously.  No, how about this?  How about we get the government to do what they’re supposed to be doing:  secure our borders, protect our people and support American values and American families.  Enough of fantasy football.   Let people play!  WHO CARES.”


Climate  Change

[Fiorina was unable to break in, so Harwood to Christie:  He is at odds with many in his party that climate change is real and human activity contributes to it.  What should be done?]

Christie:  First, we don’t follow the wishes of the Democrats which is to put more taxes on it, thus sending more money to Washington because “there’s no evidence that they can fix anything in Washington, D.C. (Harwood:  “What should we do?”)  What we should do is be investing in all types of energy, John.  All types of energy.  (Harwood:  “You mean government?)  No, John, you want me to answer or do you want to answer? … Because I got tell you the truth, even in New Jersey is what you’re doing called rude. (crowd approval)  A good question to ask in a gathering is what are the top three states in producing solar energy.  “California and Arizona are easy.  But number three is New Jersey.  Why?  Because we work with the private sector to make solar energy affordable and available to businesses and individuals in our state.”  Natural gas and oil are still important.  Wind power has become important in Iowa.  But, “not through government intervention, not through government taxes and for God’s sake, don’t send Washington another dime until they stop wasting the money they are already sending there.”  (applause)


Medicare:  Good  or  Bad?

[Quick to Paul:  Reagan opposed Medicare in its formation in the 1960’s because he said it would lead to socialism.  Was he correct?]

Paul:  The question of whether the private sector or the government does better in all things usually comes to the conclusion that the government does an inferior job.  Medicare’s problem is the average person has contributed $100,000 but eventually receives $350,000 (Note: that’s not an apples to apples comparison as early money contributed is worth more in today’s dollars and Paul is disregarding earnings on those contributions.)  Changes in demographics have had us go from sixteen workers to retired recipient to three.  His plans will fix Medicare and Social Security but no solution works unless people are willing to gradually raise the retirement age.

Huckabee:  Because 85% of Medicare costs are from chronic diseases, “we need to declare war on the four big cost drivers because 80% of all medical costs in this country are chronic disease.  We don’t have a health care crisis in America, we have a health crisis.  And until we deal with the health of Americans and do what we did with polio when I was a little kid, we eradicated it… focus on the diseases which are costing us trillions of dollars: Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, cancer.”

Bush:  Major reductions in benefits in Medicare and Social Security are inevitable if we do nothing.  His plan includes health savings accounts to encourage saving and a minimum of Social Security benefits at 125% of the poverty level, appropriate for a generous country.

[Harwood to Trump:  You have said that you will grow this economy so much that Medicare and Social Security won’t even be touched.}

Trump:  He will bring jobs and manufacturing back from Japan, China, Mexico, etc.  “We’re going to cut costs.  We’re going to save Social Security and we’re going to save Medicare.

Bush:  Social Security has to be reformed so that “the wealthiest don’t receive the same benefits as lower income.”  Private savings need to be encouraged through a simplification of what it takes for a small employer to set up a 401(K).  “But the idea, you can’t grow your way out of this.”

Kasich:   Ohio took a 10% growth rate in Medicare to 2.5% “without taking one person off the rolls or cutting one single benefit.  In so much of what we did to force competition, to use technology, to stand down the special interest groups… But I agree with Jeb, you can’t just do this by growing the economy… why don’t we start giving people incentives to keep people healthy.”

Paul:  We can’t do nothing.  “The age will have to rise… You will also to means test the benefits and declare there’s not enough money.  It isn’t ‘Oh, I put money in, I’m getting it back.  There is no money… There’s only a promise to pay by the next generation and the next generation’s not big enough to pay it.”

[Harwood to Carson:  His proposal to replace Medicare with family savings accounts is controversial.  How would it work?]

Carson:  Plan gives the option of opting out, it is not required.  The Medicare budget averages $12,500 for each person on it.  There many private sector which will give more than that same amount spent by the government.  “It was never intended that the government should be in every aspect of our lives.  This is a country that is for and by the people.”

Christie:  Ben Carson is right and Hillary Clinton is wrong.  Hillary wants more money sent to Washington and will solve the problem.  We’re living longer which is a blessing “and we need to increase the retirement age to reflect that blessing.”

[Harwood:  So, Dr. Carson is right about replacing Medicare with individual savings accounts?”]

Christie:   No, he said Carson’s ideas are good ideas, but they are not his.  While he doesn’t agree with all of Carson’s ideas, what we are seeing the Republican debate was not present in the Democrats’:  Ideas being exchanged in an attempt to help the voters.  “Let me tell you everybody.  When they (Democratic candidates) tell you they want to give you everything for free, keep your hands on your wallet because they’re coming to you pay for it.  And that’s why I think these ideas are great and that’s why we should have more discussions like this and less ‘gotcha’.”

Rubio:  “The Republican party is blessed to have ten good candidates.  The Democrats can’t even come up with one… We’re all talking about reform for future generations, nothing has to change for current beneficiaries.  My mother is on Medicare and Social Security. I’m against anything that’s bad for my mother.  (laughter)  So, we’re talking about reforms for people like me, and people like Senator Cruz, as he talked about earlier, who are years away from retirement that have a way to plan for these changes in a way that’s very reasonable.  And it’s not too much to ask of our generation after everything our parents and our grandparents did for us.”

Fiorina:  “John, a lot of people have jumped in. I’d like to jump in. A lot of people have jumped in.  I understand, but… (Harwood: “You wanted us to limit, but all right, go ahead.”)   She agrees that a lot of great ideas are present.  We’ve talked about Medicare and Social Security in every election, but nothing ever happens.  “Let us actually go to zero-based budgeting, so we know where the money is being spent.  It’s kind of basic.  There’s a bill sitting in the House that would actually pass and have us go to zero-based budgeting13 so we know where every dime of your money is being spent instead of only talking about how much more we’re going to spend year after year… We need to tackle the basics in order to cut this government down to size.”


Closing  Statements  (in  the  actual  order  they  spoke)

Paul:  “Liberty thrives when government is small.  I want a government so small I can barely see it.  I want a government so small the individual has a chance to thrive and prosper.  I think the government is too big now.  What you’re going to see in Washington this week is establishment Republicans have made an agreement with the President to raise the debt ceiling in an unlimited fashion.  No limit to the debt ceiling raise.  This is extraordinary.  It’s extraordinarily wrong and you’ll see me on the floor of the Senate tomorrow filibustering this and saying ‘enough is enough, no more debt.’’

Christie:  “I want to talk to the folks at home.  I want to ask you: are fed up with how Washington taxes you?  Are you fed up with how Washington wastes your money?  Are you concerned like I am that the debt and deficits of Washington D.C. are endangering America’s future?  I’ve got one more question for you then:  Are you serious about this election?  Because if you are, you need to elect someone who’s deadly serious about changing thisculture.  I am deadly serious about changing this culture.  I changed it in New Jersey.  I’m deadly serious about doing this job the right way.  I’m prepared, I’m tested, I’m ready and I want to make this our government.  For the people who say we can’t do it, I say ‘hell no.’  We can do it together.”

Cruz:  “You know everyone here talks about the need to take on Washington.  The next natural question is:  Who actually has done so?  Who has stood up, not just to Democrats, but to leaders in our own party.  When millions of Americans rose up against Obamacare, I was proud to lead that fight.  When millions of Americans rose up against amnesty, I was proud to lead that fight.  When millions of Americans rose up against Planned Parenthood, I was proud to lead that fight.  If people are promising they’re going to take on Washington cronyism, you need to look to who’s doing it.  In my family, my dad fled oppression in Cuba to come to America.  Freedom is personal for me and I will always keep my word and fight for freedom.”

Fiorina:  “You know every election we hear a lot of talk, we hear a lot of good plans, we hear actually a lot of good intentions, but somehow, for decades, nothing has really changed.  What we need now is a proven leader who has produced results.  That’s how you go from secretary to CEO, you lead and produce results.  I will cut this government down to size and will hold it accountable, simplify the tax code, roll back the regulations that have been spewing out of Washington D.C. for fifty years.  I may not be your dream candidate just yet, but I can assure you I’m Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare.  And in your heart of hearts, you cannot wait to see the debate between Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina.  (laughter)  I will tell you this: I will beat Hillary Clinton and with your vote and your support and your prayers, I will lead with the citizens of this great nation the resurgence of this great nation.”

Carson:  “I just want to thank all my colleagues here for being civil, not falling for the traps.  And I just want to thank the audience for being attentive and noticing the questions and noticing the answers.  This is what I’m finding throughout America.  People are waking up because it is going to be us who will determine the direction of our country.  And, it was made for ‘we the people’ we are the ones who decide who we are.  We should never give away the values and principles That made America into a great nation for the sake of political correctness.”  

Trump:  “Our country doesn’t win anymore.  We used to win, we don’t win anymore.  We lose on trade, we lose on ISIS, we lose with one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen negotiated of any kind.  That’s our recent catastrophe with Iran.  We don’t win.  Let me give you one quick example.  These folks, CNBC, they had it down at three, three and a half hours.  I just read today in the New York Times $250,000 for a 30-second ad.  I went out and said it’s ridiculous.  Nobody, I could stand up here all night, nobody wants to watch 3-1/2 or three hours.  It was a big sacrifice and I have to hand it to Ben.  We called Ben , he was with me 100%.  We called in, that’s it’s, we’re not doing it.  They lost a lot of money.  Everybody said it couldn’t be done.  Everybody said it was going to be three hours, 3-1/2, including them.  And in about two minutes I renegotiated it down to two hours so we can get the hell outta here. Not bad.  Not bad. (raucous applause)  And I’ll do that with the country.  We will make, we will make America great again.  And thank you everybody.”  [Harwood: “Just for the record.  Just for the record, the debate was always two hours.”]  Trump:  “That’s not right.  That’s absolutely not right.”  (crowd disapproval)  “You know that that is not right.”   Note:  Even the media seems unsure about this.14,15

Rubio:  Thank you.  America doesn’t owe me anything.  I have a debt to America I’ll never repay.  This isn’t just a country I was born in.  This is a country which literally changed the history of my family.  My parents in this country were able to give me the chance to do all the things they never did.  We call that the American Dream, although it’s built on the universal dream of a better life.  The fact that it’s happened here for so many people throughout our history, that’s what makes us special.  But now for millions of Americans it’s slipping away.  And we have a government and leaders in government that are completely out of touch, and that’s why I’m running for President.  Because we can’t just save the American dream, we can expand it to reach more people and to change more lives than ever before.  And that’s why tonight I’m asking you for your vote.”       

Bush:  “America is at a crossroads.  The D.C. politicians continue to make things worse.  I have a proven record of success, thirty-two years in business and eight years as governor of the state of Florida.  I will change the culture in Washington just as I changed the culture in Tallahassee.  And I will do so in a way that will bring people together.  We need a unifier, not a cynical divider-in-chief, and that’s exactly what I will do.  Imagine a country where people are lifted out of poverty again.  Imagine where the middle class can get rising income again.  I know we can do this because we’re still the most extraordinary country on the face of the earth.  Thank you.”

Huckabee:  You know to a lot of people in the media this is just a great big game and we’re the players, and we come out here and do our thing.  And sometimes we’re held up in contempt by people who write columns, but I guarantee you every person on this stage, there’s something deep inside of us that would cause us to give up our livelihoods and step out on this stage and fight for the people of America.  I’ve got five grandkids.  I do not want to walk my five grandkids through the charred remains of a once great country called America and say, ‘Here you do.  Twenty trillion dollars of debt.  Good luck making something out of this mess.’  And for those of us who are serious enough to run for President, think long and hard why we’re here and hopefully you’ll know:  we’re not here for ourselves.  We, honest to God, are here to get this country back on track.  I know this, I certainly am.  Thank you.”           

Kasich:  “I was on Morning Joe at a town hall and a young student stood up and said, ‘Can I still be idealistic?’, I said ‘Absolutely, you can still change the world.’  And the old inscription: ‘If you save one life, you’ve changed the world.’  Folks, we have a problem with the leadership in Washington, but I’ll tell you another problem.  We need to rebuild our families.  We

need to have stronger families.  We need to know who our neighbors are.  We need to come together as a country because we have to realize that America is great, not from the top down.  Oh, yeah, we want to elect a good President.  America is great from the bottom up, and the ‘bottom up’ is us.  In our families, in our communities, in our neighborhoods, we will renew America if we work together.  And I am totally confident that we will.  And God bless America.”


Evaluation  (from left to right on the television screen)

Kasich:  His understanding that we can’t “grow our way out of demographics” is supported by his good work to balance the federal budget before he was governor of Ohio.  Some would be wise to acquire his realistic approach.  Also, he appreciates the problems which will arise with a legalization of marijuana from his work as governor dealing with drug addiction in his state.  

Despite his success in dropping Ohio’s Medicare increase from 10% to 2.5%, there remains that lingering concern that beneath the smart moves to increase competition and cut costs, he would lean to the federal government for solutions regardless of the strings attached.  He would be an adequate President if he could fix his “preaching” demeanor, somewhat out of the 1950’s,when he wants to make a valid point.

Alternatives:  Secretary of Commerce,  Director of OMB (Office of Management and Budget), head of EPA

Huckabee:  There is no candidate with more integrity than the governor.  It was exemplified by his relentless contention that lawmakers can’t simply write off the pain to seniors cause by them and their predecessors over decades to essentially defund Social Security.  Christie and Paul let the reality of “the money is gone” override their sense of justice which Huckabee maintains.  His wisdom extends to getting at the root cause of the Medicare budget (“We don’t have a health care crisis, we have a health crisis.”)  Addressing the four main diseases he mentioned would cause less to be spent on treating diseases.  He would be a good President, but would not win enough appeal in this post-Christian and essentially pagan U.S.

Alternatives:  Secretary of Defense or State, Attorney General, head of Social Security Administration or the VA, Supreme Court justice (the Court needs more of his respect for the dignity of human beings), Director of FBI or CIA (he admits to being loyal to “following the rules”)

Bush:  He has done a great job in Florida with Medicare and education (even  though he wants it back to the states, there’s this sympathy for Common Core he must still shed).  A good, sincere man attempting to win in a way no longer effective (see: https://cartaremi.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/final-straw-for-the-jeb-bush-campaign/).  His attempt at reinventing himself has backfired.  He seems to have “just blended into the second tier of the Republican pack.”16

Alternatives:  Vice-President (not his heart’s desire, but he could step in quickly), Director of OMB, Secretary of Commerce or State

Rubio:  Intelligent, articulate, confident without being arrogant and the ability to not be intimidated.  A 21st century version of John F. Kennedy?  He has a sincere love for country over personal gain.  He will not allow his pragmatic solutions to trample on the Constitution.

Alternatives:   Secretary of Homeland Security, head the VA, Medicare or Social Security Administration, Head of USCIS (United States Citizens and Immigration Services)

Trump:  He’s trying to tone himself down to be more palatable across all demographics.  His confidence is admirable.  In the unlikely event that he could salvage enough support from women and some minorities to win the election, insurance rate for china closets would skyrocket.

Alternatives:   Lead a super PAC or the Border Patrol, Secretary of Commerce, head a project to fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure

Carson:  He’s one of our best chances to unify the nation by destroying political correctness and just perhaps, scale back our growing acceptance of entitlements (the bad type).  Could replace the disaster called “Obamacare” and bring common sense to fiscal spending.

Alternatives:  Vice-President, Secretary of HHS, Education, State, Interior (because he most likely believes in out stewardship of God-given natural resources) or Defense, lead the FBI or IRS

Fiorina:  A Hillary Clinton-Carly Fiorina presidential debate would make millions on pay per view.  Fiorina can neutralize all of Hillary’s perceived strengths with her direct approach, knowledge of foreign leaders, her non-self serving approach, respect for facts plus the scarce qualities of honesty and integrity.  Her introduction of zero-based budgeting would expose the absurdities of the Left’s “give’em everything” policies.

Alternatives:  a strong Vice-President, Secretary of State, HHS or Commerce, head of EPA or “energy czar”

Cruz:  A second great member of this “40-something” class.  His willingness to stand and be counted despite the odds creates a strong leadership charisma.  Terriifc knowledge of the Constitution and economics.  That he hasn’t forgotten his roots makes him a potential unifier.

Alternatives:  Secretary of Homeland Security or Interior, Supreme Court justice, Director of OMB, Head of BATFE (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) and any other federal job requiring a personality that can’t be intimidated

Christie:  This writer is changing his view.  While his attitude of just tell the truth about Social Security and expect current beneficiaries to get over it is till troubling, he seems to be wanting to eliminate those aspects of his strategy which remind us of his buddy-buddy post-Sandy scene with Obama.  It would be good if he would be more concerned about citizen’s privacy rather than his love of meta-data to protect us at all costs.

Still, it is true that if he went head-to-head with Hillary Clinton in a debate, he would confidently expose the huge holes in her political philosophy.  He would not be on the defensive regardless of her half-truths and his personality could convince enough swing voters to win the election.

Alternatives:  Attorney General (he could step in tomorrow), Secretary of Defense or Transportation and bring sanity to EPA

Paul:  A strong man of integrity who, for some reason, isn’t receiving the attention he deserves.  As President, he would not stand for the rationalizations of the past or present.  His fidelity to the Constitution would have made our Founding Fathers proud of him.  His striving for truth and fairness should be desired in all eras.  We just happen to be living in a messed up time.

Alternative:  Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Director of OMB


Oscar A. (Tony) Rubio is a writer who merges the lessons of history with current events to suggest a better path. He resides in Cincinnati, Ohio and believes that our national mood would be improved if we listened to more Big Band and Jazz as we look forward to the White House changing occupants on January 20, 2017. Tony blogs at www.cartaremi.wordpress.com and www.sportuoso.wordpress.com.

All opinions expressed belong solely to their authors and may not be construed as the opinions of other writers or of OCR staff.


2 – “Dynamic scoring is a tool to give members of Congress the information they need to evaluate the tradeoffs in tax policy changes.

Dynamic scoring provides an estimate of the effect of tax changes on jobs, wages, investment, federal revenue, and the overall size of the economy.

Using dynamic scoring, policymakers can differentiate between policies that look similar using conventional scoring methods, but have vastly different effects on economic growth under dynamic scoring.”  For the complete article, see “Dynamic Scoring Made Simple,” by Scott A. Hodge, http://taxfoundation.org/article/dynamic-scoring-made-simple, 2/11/2015.

3 – “France isn’t happy with Jeb Bush – and the White House just got caught in the middle,” by Greg Jaffe, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/10/29/the-french-arent-happy-with-jeb-bush-and-the-white-house-just-got-caught-in-the-middle/, 10/29/2015.

4 – “It became clear that the party was split between two groups, the Bolsheviks (‘majority’) and the Mensheviks (‘minority’).”

“The Bolsheviks claimed the name after getting their way in a wrangle over the editorial board of the Party newspaper Iskra (‘the Spark’ – which was to ‘start a big blaze’). The Mensheviks unwisely accepted the appellation, though they were actually more often in the majority. Both groups were enthusiasts for the destruction of capitalism and the overthrow of the Tsarist regime, but the Mensheviks, led by Martov, favoured a large, loosely organised democratic party whose members could agree to differ on many points. They were prepared to work with the liberals in Russia and they had scruples about the use of violence. The Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, were hardline revolutionaries who would not have known a scruple if it bought them a drink.” From “The Bolshevik-Menshevik Split,” by Richard Cavendish, http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/bolshevik-menshevik-split, November 2003.

5 —  But what is really an “entitlement”?  See “Entitlements” vs. “Unearned Outlays” and Their Impact on the Federal Budget,” http://ohioconservativereview.com/2014/02/17/entitlements-vs-unearned-outlays-and-their-impact-on-the-federal-budget/, 2/17/2014

6 – “5 Years Ago Bernie Madoff Was Sentenced to 150 Years In Prison – Here’s How His Scheme Worked,” by Stephanie Yang, http://www.businessinsider.com/how-bernie-madoffs-ponzi-scheme-worked-2014-7, 7/1/2014… Ironically, this same issue of Business Insider had an article entitled “End of Social Security”  with the sub-heading “Leaked Evidence Stumps Obama and Stuns Retirees”

7 – “Petraeus sentenced: 2 years probation; $100K fine,” by Theodore Schleifer, http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/23/politics/david-petraeus-sentencing/, 4/23/2015.

8 – “For Rubio, real estate deals marred personal finances,” by http://www.cbsnews.com/news/for-rubio-real-estate-deals-marred-personal-finances/, 6/8/2015.

9 – “We have not found evidence that the company had a direct financial or contractual relationship with Carson, or that he was paid for the promotional videos. One speech earned a fee, and three resulted in contributions to a Carson charity.”

“Carson has minimized his role with Mannatech since the National Review began raising questions in January. That has contributed to the confusion over the details of his history with Mannatech. Initially, he said he gave a speech 10-plus years ago. During the debate, he said that he “did a couple of speeches” for the company. Eventually, after the debate, he acknowledged he also shot unpaid videos,” from “Ben Carson’s claim he did not have ‘an involvement’ or ‘formal relations’ with Mannatech,” by Michelle Ye Hee Lee, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/11/04/ben-carsons-claim-he-did-not-have-an-involvement-or-formal-relations-with-mannatech/, 11/4/2015.

10 – “What is quantitative easing,” http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/03/economist-explains-5, 3/9/2015.

11 – “Blimp on the loose: What does it do?”,  by Lolita C. Baldor, http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2015/10/29/blimp-on-the-loose-what-does-it-do, 10/29/2015.

12 – “The phrase “a thousand points of light” was popularized by US president George H. W. Bush, and later formed the name of a private, non-profit organization launched by Bush to support volunteerism.[1]  citation fromThe Los Angeles Times (January 9, 1995). “Bush’s Points of Light found a little dim”. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 15, 2012, and posted on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thousand_points_of_light

13 – “A method of budgeting in which all expenses must be justified for each new period. Zero-based budgeting starts from a “zero base” and every function within an organization is analyzed for its needs and costs. Budgets are then built around what is needed for the upcoming period, regardless of whether the budget is higher or lower than the previous one.

ZBB allows top-level strategic goals to be implemented into the budgeting process by tying them to specific functional areas of the organization, where costs can be first grouped, then measured against previous results and current expectations.” from http://www.investopedia.com/terms/z/zbb.asp.

14 – “Donald Trump, Ben Carson Warn Boycott If CNBC Debate Lasts More Than Two Hours, by  Charlie Spiering, http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/10/15/donald-trump-ben-carson-warn-boycott-if-cnbc-debate-lasts-more-than-two-hours/, 10/15/2015.

15 – “Donald Trump vs. John Harwood on length of CNBC debate,” by Lauren Carroll, http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/nov/02/donald-trump/donald-trump-v-john-harwood-length-cnbc-debate/, 11/2/2015.
16 – “Bush Struggles to Galvanize a Familiar Donor Base,” by Rebecca Balhaus and Christopher S. Stewart, The Wall Street Journal, 10/23/2015


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