Recapping Republican Debate #4: “Elite Eight” and the Economy

The fourth Republican debate’s “main event” was held on November 10, 2015 at the Milwaukee Theater in Milwaukee, WI and was hosted by Fox Business and The Wall Street Journal. Moderators were Neil Cavuto, Maria Bartiromo, and Gerard Baker. The winnowing process continued as Gov. Chris Christie (NJ) and former Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR) were moved to the earlier session, which had dropped former Gov. George Pataki (NY) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) from its group. The standings were from data of four more recent national polls.

From left to right on the television screen, we had Gov. John Kasich (Ohio since 2011), 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), Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas since 2013), Carly Fiorina (CEO of Hewlett-Packard 1999-2005), and Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky since 2011).

Debate questions will be listed in the order they were given with a commentary and analysis at the end of this article.


[Cavuto to Trump: Many protestors are asking for $15/ hour minimum wage. New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo is the first to propose it to his state workers. As Trump’s tax plan exempts couples making up to $50,000 from federal taxation, are you sympathetic to the call for a $15 minimum wage?]

Trump: He is not. Recalling his belief that the U.S. doesn’t win anymore, too high wages is part of the problem causing our inability to compete globally. “I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out. They have to work really hard and they have to get into that upper stratum. But we cannot do this (increase in the min. wage) if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can’t do it.”

[Cavuto to Carson: He was asked to comment on the difference between his position that one minimum wage doesn’t fit all and that, perhaps, there should be a lower starter wage vs. the protestors who want nothing less than $15/ hour.]

Carson: “People need to be educated on the minimum wage. Every time we raise the minimum wage, the number of jobless people increases. It’s particularly a problem in the black community. Only 19.8% of black teenagers have a job… If you lower those wages, that comes down.”

He recalled is first job working as a lab assistant and others, he would not have been hired if he was required to be paid “a large amount of money.”   However, it gave him the various experiences to “become a responsible individual.” All of this allowed him “to ascend the ladder of opportunity in this country. That’s what we need to be thinking about… rather than how do we give them everything and keep them dependent.” (loud applause)


[Cavuto to Rubio: Since the senator called the Democratic debate a “night of giveaways”, what does he feel should be taken back?]

Rubio: He began that despite the fact that his parents were not rich (his father was a bartender and his mother was a maid), they were successful. They were able to buy a home in a stable neighborhood and ensured their children were better off than they were. They also retired with dignity. This is the “American dream,” but it’s really a universal dream held throughout the world.

“It is a reminder—that every country in the world has rich people. What makes America special, is that we have millions and millions of people who are not rich, but through hard work and perseverance are able to be successful. The problem is that today people are not successful working as hard as ever because the economy is not providing jobs that pay enough. If I thought that raising the minimum wage was the best way to help people to increase their pay, I would be all for it, but it isn’t. In the 21st century, it’s a disaster. If you raise the minimum wage, you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine. And that means all this automation that’s replacing jobs and people right now, is only going to be accelerated.”

“Here ‘s the best way to raise wages: make America the best place in the world to start a business or to expand an existing business. Tax reform and regulatory reform, bringing our debt under control, fully utilizing our energy sources so we can reinvigorate manufacturing. Repeal and replace Obamacare and make higher education faster and easier to access, especially vocational training. And for the life of me, I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational education. Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers. (cheering) And if we do that (cheering) and if we do this, if we do this, we will be able to increase wages for millions of Americans and we will be able to leave everyone better off without making anyone worse off.”


[Bartiromo: A Facebook question concerning what the candidates will do to address our nearly $20 trillion in federal debt. To Kasich: Since he helped balance the federal budget under President Clinton, what steps does he offer now (especially in view of others’ tax plans which would raise the deficit) with the deficit’s interest payments schedule to triple over the next few years and Social Security heading toward insolvency?]

Kasich: First of all, in his state of Ohio, the minimum wage has increased slightly. Secondly, he understands difficult times. His father was a mailman and his grandfather was a coal miner who died from black lung disease. It took very little for his town to turn toward desperate financial times. His tax plan would cut taxes without adding to our children’s’ debt. It would also lower taxes for businesses so that they would be more likely to stay here. And only his budget would get to a balanced budget by the end of a second term.

“We hear a lot of promises in this debate, a lot of promises about these tax cuts, or tax schemes that sometimes I call them. Hillary and the Democrats promise everything on the spending side, we’ve got to be responsible about what we propose on the tax side. Yes, lower taxes, lower spending. My web site: will show exactly how we balance the budget. I balanced the budget in Washington as the chief architect and I balanced in Ohio for one reason: when you balance the budget and cut taxes, people get work. And our most important moral purpose, as leaders in the political system is to make sure we create an environment for job creation so people can live their dreams and realize their God-given potential. That’s why it’s so important. And for those at the bottom, we’ve got to do what we can to train them so they can move up. But to just the other way is not acceptable.”

[Bartiromo to Kasich: “Did you want to name any specific steps, sir?]

Kasich: Reduce growth of Medicare from 7% to a 5% growth and he has several ways to do that. In Ohio, the Medicaid growth went from 10% to 2.5% without cutting benefits or dropping anyone. He’s an innovator and doesn’t care about what special interest groups or lobbyists want. In addition, “we freeze non-defense discretionary spending for eight years. We also put an increase in defense spending. Our tax cuts balance out and at the end of the day we get to a balanced budget.”


[Bartiromo to Cruz: The International Monetary Fund1,2 has lowered its expectations for growth in the U.S. and a likely recession again next year. What other elements are needed besides his 10% income tax and 16% business tax to actually create jobs?]

Cruz: “Economic growth is foundational to every to every other challenge we have.” In the last seven years. Our economy has averaged only 1.2% growth annually, “and the IMF is telling us that this is the normal. But it doesn’t have to be.”

There are three ways the government can assist the economy. The first is tax reform and he has a “bold and simple flat tax, 10% for every American that would produce booming growth and 4.9 million new jobs within a decade. The second is regulatory reform… and the third element is sound money. Every time we’ve pursued all three of those, whether in the 1920’s with Calvin Coolidge or the 1960’s with JFK or the 1980’s with Ronald Reagan, the result has been incredible economic growth. We have done it before, and with leadership, we can do it again.”

(Bartiromo: “Thank you, sir.”)
“Excuse me.”
(Bartiromo: “Governor Bush”)
Bush: “Yeah.”
Kasich: “I’d like to make a comment.”
Bush: “You’ve already made two comments, John. It’s my turn.”
(Bartiromo: “We have more questions for you Gov. Kasich coming up.”)
Bush: “I got about four minutes in last debate and I’m going to get my questions now.”
Kasich: “I appreciate that, Jeb, and I’m all for ya. But at some point I want to talk about a value added tax and an eleven twelve trillion dollar tax cuts that will put our kids way deeper in the hole than they’ve been…”

[Bartiromo, regains order with this question to Bush: According to the participation rates3, 40% of Americans are without a job or have given up looking for one. He has promised a return to 4% growth which we haven’t seen since 2000. What specific regulations would he change and how they lead us to the 4%?]

Bush: Lack of growth makes more reliant on government which adds to the deficit. Tax reform is needed and he claimed The Wall Street Journal called his the most pro-growth tax proposal of all the candidates. He would eliminate a lot of deduction and cut the corporate rate to 20% and “allow full expensing of investing, which would create higher wage jobs.”

“On the regulatory side, I think we need to repeal every rule that Barack Obama has in terms of work-in-progress. Every one of them! (cheering) And start over. For those that are already in existence, the regulation of the internet, we have to start over, but we ought to do that. Clean Power Act, we ought to repeal that, and start over on that. The Waters of the United States Act, which is going to be devastating to agriculture and many industries, we should repeal that.” Why? Because the “economic costs far exceed the social benefit.”Small businesses are closing faster than are being started. Hillary Clinton hives Obama’s economic policies an “A” — astounding in the light of the fact that 10% of people either aren’t working or have given up. “One in seven are living in poverty, that’s not an ‘A.’ On e in five children are on food stamps. That’s not an ‘A’. It may be the best that Hillary Clinton can do, but it’s not the best America can do.” (applause)

[Baker to Fiorina: How will she respond to the claim that Democratic presidents are better at creating jobs than Republicans, based on the fact that monthly job creation for the Obama years has been around 110,000; 240,000 for the Clinton years and only 13,000 during George W. Bush’s years?]

Fiorina: She met a fortyish woman recently who expressed fear for her children’s future. While it’s true that problems from our government have increased under the Democrats, “but the truth is this government has been growing bigger and bigger, more corrupt, less effective, crushing the engine of economic growth for a very long time. This isn’t just about replacing a Democrat with a Republican now. It’s about actually challenging the status quo of big government. Big government has created a big business called politics. And there are lots of people invested in that big business called politics. Specifically, we need to actually do five things to really get this economy going again.

  • We need to go to zero-based budgetting4 so that we know where every dollar is being spent. We can challenge any dollar, cut any dollar, move any dollar. (applause)
  • We need to actually reform the tax code. Go to a three-page tax code. Yes, there are plans which will reform our tax code to three pages.
  • In addition to rolling back what President Obama has done, we need to do a top-to-bottom review of every single regulation on the books. That hasn’t been done in fifty years.
  • We need to pass the REIGNS Act5 so Congress is in charge of regulation, not nameless faces bureaucrats accountable to no one. We’ve become a nation of rules, not a nation of laws.
  • And finally, we actually, yes, have to hold government officials accountable for their performance.

All of this has to be done and the citizens of this nation must help a President Fiorina, get it done. We must take our government back.” (to increasing applause)


[Baker to Paul: Fifty years ago, the average CEO salary was twenty times that of the average worker. Now, it’s about three hundred times. Does this gap matter?]

Paul: “Absolutely…It seems to be worse in cities run by Democrats. Governors – . (applause) States run by Democrats and the country is currently run by Democrats. So, the thing is, let’s look for root causes.”

But the Federal Reserve is also responsible by artificially keeping interest rates below market rates, which has made it more difficult for average Americans to earn interest. It’s almost to the point of negative interest. Created money has first gone to the large banks in New York, but has not filtered into the economy. Income inequality is couple with a devaluation of the currency which hurts the poor the most. Do we really want the Federal Reserve to have such control over interest rates and we also need root causes determined for events like the housing crisis. “But the bottom line is if you want les income inequality, move to a city with a Republican mayor or a state with a Republican governor.” (applause)


[Cavuto to Carson: As his campaign is being scrutinized more than Sen. Barack Obama’s in 2008, does he feel his campaign is being hurt by it, especially since his brand is one of trust?]

Carson: “Well, first of all, thank you for not asking me what I said in the tenth grade, I appreciate that. (laughter) But uh, (Cavuto: (I’ll just forget that follow-up!”) The fact of the matter is, you know, we should vet all candidates. I have no problem with being vetted. What I do have a problem with, is being lied about. And then ,putting that out there (applause) the truth. And, I don’t even mind that so much if they do it about everybody like people on the other side. But, when I look at somebody like Hillary Clinton, who, who sits there and tells her daughter and a government official that, no, this was a terrorist attack and tells everybody else that it was video. Where I came from, they call that a lie. And, uh – (cheering applause) I, I think that’s very different from, you know, someone misinterpreting when I said I was offered a scholarship to West Point, that’s the words that they used. But, I’ve had many people come and they’ve said the same thing to me. That’s what people do in those situations. We have to start treating people the same and find out what they really think and what they’re made of. People who know me, know that I’m an honest person.”


[Bartiromo to Trump: The Obama Administration is appealing to the Supreme Court, a recent court decision striking down his plan to prevent deportation of five million immigrants living here illegally. These immigrants have a great impact on our economy. What would he do about it?]

Trump: He was thrilled with that decision “and we don’t have enough of those decisions” against Obama’s tendency to write executive orders at will. Illegal immigration is hurting us economically and from many standpoints. Drug problems in the inner city are related to this. “The courts have not been ruling in our favor. And it was a 2-1 decision and it was a terrific thing… We are a country of laws. We need borders. We will have a wall. The wall will be built. The wall will be successful. And if you think walls don’t work, all you have to is ask Israel. The wall works, believe me, properly done. Believe me.” (applause)

[Bartiromo to Trump: “Can you just send five million people back with no affect on the economy?”] — then Trump vs. Kasich

Trump: “You have to bring people, you have to send people out. Look, we are, Maria, we are a country of laws. We either have a country or we don’t have a country. We are a country of laws. Going to have to go out, and they’ll come back, but they’ll have to go out, and hopefully, they get back. We have no choice if we’re going to run our country properly and if we’re going to be a country.”

Kasich: “Maria, can we comment on that?… Can we comment on that?” (Baker: “Yes, one quick comment, yes sir.”) He recounted that 1986, President Reagan said law-abiding immigrants could stay, but we didn’t build the wall effectively. “We need to control our border just like people have to control who goes in and out of their house. But, if people think we are going to ship eleven million people, who are law-abiding, who are in this country and somehow pick them up at their house and ship them out of Mexico, to Mexico? Think about the families. Think about the children. So, you know what the answer really is: if they’ve been law-abiding, they pay a penalty, they get to stay. We protect the wall. Anybody else comes over, they go back. But for the eleven million people – come on folks, you know we can’t pick them up and ship them across, back across the border. It’s a silly argument. (applause) It’s not an adult argument. It makes no sense.”

Trump: “All I can say is, you’re lucky in Ohio that you struck oil, that’s for one thing. Let me just tell you that Dwight Eisenhower, good President, great President, people liked him. “I Like Ike,” right? The expression: “I Like Ike,” moved a million and a half illegal immigrants out of this country, moved them just beyond the border, they came back. Moved them again beyond the border, they came back. Didn’t like it. Moved them waaay south, they never came back. (laughter) Dwight Eisenhower. You don’t get nicer. You don’t get friendlier. They moved a million and a half people out. We have no choice. We have no choice. (followed by a little chaos)

Kasich: “He mentioned my name …(more chaos)… You’re not going to have my back. I’m going to have my back. I want to say a couple things here. First of all—“
Trump: “You should let Jeb speak.”
Kasich: “We have grown—we have grown in the state of Ohio (more undecipherable Trump comments evoking laughter) Hold on, in the state of Ohio, in the state of Ohio, we have grown 347,000 jobs. Our unemployment is half of what it was. Our fracking industry, energy industry, MAY have contributed 20,000, but if Mr. Trump understood the real jobs come in the downstream not in the upstream, but in the downstream. And that’s where we’re going to get our jobs. But Ohio is diversified and little false little things, sir, they really don’t work when they come o the truth. So, the fact is that I’m suggesting, we can’t ship eleven million people out of this country. Children would be terrified and it will not work… And someone’s …. (talked over)”

(talking over Kasich after the governor’s buzzer) “…built an unbelievable company worth billions and billions of dollars. I don’t have to hear from this man. Believe me, I don’t have to hear from him.” (laughter, then boos)

[Baker: “Mr. Trump, you yourself said let Gov. Bush speak.”]

Bush: “Thank you, Donald, for letting me speak at the debate. That’s really nice of you. (laughter) What a generous man you are.” The governor said it’s impractical and against our American values to attempt to deport twelve million immigrants at a rate of 500,000 per month.

“It would tear communities apart. (cheering) And It would send a signal that we’re not the kind of country that I know America is. And even having this conversation sends a powerful signal. They’re doing high fives in the Clinton campaign right now when they hear this. (quiet) That’s the problem with this. We have to win the presidency. And the way you win the presidency is to have practical plans.” He said that we need to provide for a plan to earn legal status: they must pay a fine, work, not commit crimes, learn English and do all of this in an extended period of time. (cheering and applause)

As Baker tried to ask Rubio— Trump: “We have millions of people online, right now, trying to come into this country. Very, very unfair to the people who want to come into our country legally. They’ve gone through the process. They’re online. They’re waiting. Very, very unfair to them. That I can tell you. (scattered cheering)


[Baker to Rubio: The transformation of economy creates anxiety. Many fear that innovators and investors will reap most of the rewards. With more machines on the job and more purchasing online, “many traditional jobs are just going away. How do you reassure American workers that their jobs are not being steadily taken by machines?]

Rubio: We’re not experiencing just an economic downturn, “but a massive transformation.” The difference is seen even just over the last five years, not to mention 15-20. “It took the telephone seventy-five years to reach a hundred million users. It took Candy Crush one year to reach 100 million users.6 (laughter)  The world is changing faster than ever and it is disruptive.” We are in competition with dozens of developed economies and we’re losing “because we have the highest business tax rate in the industrialized world, because we have regulations that grow by the billions every single week. Because we have a crazy health care law that discourages companies from hiring people, but because we’re not fully using our energy resources, because if we did, it would bring back all kinds of growth, especially in manufacturing. And because we have an outdated higher education system. Our higher education system is completely outdated. (gradual applause from stark silence) It’s too expensive. Too hard to access and it doesn’t teach 21st century skills.”

“If we do what needs to be done: tax reform, regulatory reform, fully utilize our energy resources, repeal and replace Obamacare and modernize higher education, then we can grasp the potential and the promise of this new economy. And we just won’t save the American dream, we will expand it to reach more people and change and change more lives than ever before. And truly, this new century will be a new American century.” (cheering and applause)


[Baker to Cruz: He has proposed delaying the retirement age and lowering Social Security benefits. How is this different from the Paul Ryan plan to move to federally funded private plans, and the infamous “pushing Granny over the cliff” commercials of the Left?]

Cruz: “Well, my mom is here, so I don’t think we should be pushing any grannies off cliffs.” His plan has been misstated. For seniors, he proposes no changes now. It’s for the younger workers that he’s proposing a gradual raise in the retirement age and slower increases in benefits and allow them to keep some of their money in a personal retirement account, which can later be given to their children, instead of sending it to the federal government.

Going back to the previous discussion, “the Democrats are laughing. Because if the Republicans join the Democrats as the party of amnesty, we will lose. (applause) And, you know, I understand that when the mainstream media covers immigration, it doesn’t often see it as an economic issue, but I can tell you for millions of Americans at home watching this, it is a very personal economic issue. And I say the politics of it would be very, very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the Rio Grande. Or if a bunch of people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving sown the wages in the press! (laughter and applause) Then, we would see stories about the economic calamity that is befalling our nation! And I would say that for those of us who say that people ought to come to this country legally and we should enforce the law, we’re tired of being told that it is anti-immigrant. It’s offensive. I am the son of an immigrant who came legally from Cuba to seek the American dream. And we can embrace legal immigration while believing in the rule of law. And I would note, try going illegally to another country. Try going to China, or Japan. Try going to Mexico. See what they do! Every sovereign nation secures its borders and it’s not compassionate to say we’re not going to enforce the laws and we’re going to drive down the wages for millions of hard-working men and women. That is abandoning the working people.” (applause and cheering)


[Bartiromo: Going to a Facebook question from Dewayne Wesley Cato, “How do we get rid of the regulations that are choking our businesses?” Some companies are more willing to pay the fines than to offer Obamacare, others are lowering working hours to avoid being required to do so. To Fiorina: “What specific ways will you alleviate the pressure on small businesses?”]

Fiorina: Obamacare must be repealed because it’s failing those it was supposed to help and “it’s crony capitalism at its worst.” It was the drug, insurance and pharmaceutical companies which helped to write this bill and they are the ones benefitting from it. Because big government has been growing for the last fifty years, and under the leadership of both parties, companies have to bulk up to deal with this. Only the large companies who have all of the lawyers and accountants can figure out this massive bill. Then the states have o deal with this “high risk pool.”

“Health insurance has always been a cozy little game between regulators and health insurance companies. We need to try the free market. The free market, (applause) where people actually have to compete. And, we ought to have the government insure that you must, and I don’t use that term often ‘the government ought to do something,’ that every health care provider ought to publish its costs, its prices, its outcomes because as patients we don’t know what we’re buying.” Our key to success is our innovation and willingness to be entrepreneurs which is why need to cut down the size of our government. Our strengths are being crushed by a 73,000 page tax code, by a “regulatory thicket,” and by politicians who aren’t accountable for the poor jobs they do. And, “we need to get to a 3-page tax code and, yes, that plan exists.”

[Bartiromo: If Obamacare is repealed, what is the alternative?]

Fiorina: “The alternative is to allow the states to manage the high risk pools for those who really need help. Look, I am a cancer survivor.   Okay? I understand that you cannot who’s battled cancer just become known as a pre-existing condition. I understand that you cannot allow families to go bankrupt if they truly need help, but I also understand that Obamacare isn’t helping anyone. We’re throwing more and more people into Medicaid. Fewer doctors are taking those payments. The point is, Obamacare is crushing small businesses. It is not helping the families it was intended to help.” So we need to try something different: the free market.


[Cavuto: Carson is in favor of a system similar to tithing, up to 15% while Trump says wealthier people should pay a higher rate. “So, whose plan would God endorse, doctor?” to Carson]

Carson: His use of tithing refers to proportionality. Regardless of the amount paid everyone still receives the same benefits. However, deductions and loopholes must go, too. He disagrees to those who say not having the deduction for mortgage payments would discourage home ownership. [note: but he likened it to pre-1913 when there was no such deduction— but there was no income tax either!] He did have a point in that pre-1913 people were generous to charitable organizations, and that with more income through lower taxation, they will be more generous. (applause) His plan also has a rebate for people at the poverty level. As his system helps to get the economy moving, “there will be a lot more opportunities for poor people not to be poor people.”

[Cavuto to Paul: Doesn’t his 14.5% flat tax cause a “near term budget crisis?”]

Paul: Money is best spent in the private sector, so he wants to shrink the federal so “that’s it’s so small you can barely see it.” (strong applause) His tax plan is the only one that is part of a balanced budget plan. He has three separate plans, each of whom would reach a balanced budget within five years. The key is cuts – which no one wants to discuss. He would also eliminate the payroll tax. While especially Democrats would complain that it would therefore give wealthier people more back, it is the proportionality concept which Carson has explained. In this way, everyone gets a tax break. The same 14.5% tax for individuals and businesses and the business tax would pay for Social Security. Deductions for home mortgage and charity would remain in place.

[Bartiromo to Cruz: While everyone would like tax cuts, how can he cut them so much without running up the deficit?]

Cruz: For a family of four, no taxes on the first $36,000, including payroll. Above that, a 10% on everyone so that billionaire hedge fund executives would not pay less than their secretaries do. His business tax of 16% for all companies would mean that big corporations would no longer pay little to no tax. His site gives the details. His plan eliminates the payroll tax, the death tax, the corporate income tax and abolishes the IRS. (applause) “Incredible economic growth” results, impacting all income levels. Exports would not be subject to the tax, but imports would be. It would allow the U.S. to compete on a level playing field.

[Bartiromo:  How is this paid for?]

Cruz: According to the Tax Foundation, the static cost of the plan is $3.6 trillion over ten years, but when factoring in the growth, it is around $768 billion, far less than the other proposals. It produces more growth and abolishes the IRS. His $500 billion in cuts include elimination of the IRS, the Dept. of Commerce, the Dept. of Energy and HUD. His web site lists the twenty-five specific programs to be cut.

[Bartiromo to Bush: Tax reform is important to Republican primary voters. Would he guarantee it in the first year of his term?]

Bush: He wants to shift power away from Washington and simplify the tax code to spur economic activity. It must be the highest priority “or we’re stuck with the new normal of 2% growth… which means declining income for the middle class. It means more than six million people are stuck in poverty than the day Barack Obama was inaugurated. It means, it means more demands on government… In this economy, the disposable income of the great middle is down twenty-three hundred bucks… Jobs are being created, but they’re lower income jobs than the ones that were lost.” He recalled some supporters who, if they had that $2,300, would got to South Carolina to start a business.

“Hillary Clinton’s approach to this is more top-down, more regulation, more taxes, more government and it will destroy our economy.”

[Baker to Rubio: His plan has large child tax credits for low income families. A similar plan he proposed in the Senate would have cost $170 billion per year. Doesn’t this add another burden to the federal budget?]… then Paul vs. Rubio

Rubio: The most important job which any of us will ever have is being a parent, not president, because the most important unit in society is the family. “If the family breaks down, society breaks down.. and no one is born with values. They have to be taught to you in strong families.” That’s why a pro-family tax code is so important. “Families that are raising children are raising future tax payers… In thirty-five out of fifty states, child care costs more than college… and if that can’t make that payment (child-care) every month, they can’ work… I am proud that I have a pro-family tax code.”

Paul: “Neil, there’s a point I’d like to make here. Neil, a point that I’d like to make about the tax credits. We have to decide what is conservative and what isn’t conservative. Is it conservative to have a trillion dollar expenditure? We’re not talking about giving people back their tax money. He’s talking about giving people money they didn’t pay. It’s a welfare transfer payment. So, here is what we have: is it conservative to have a trillion dollars in transfer payments, a new welfare program that’s a refundable tax credit. Add that to Marco’s plan for a trillion dollars in new military spending, you get something that looks to me not very conservative.”

Rubio: “No, I get my sixty seconds to respond. He was talking about my tax plan. So, let me begin with this: I actually believe, first of all, this is their money. They do pay it. It is refundable, not just against the taxes they paid to the government, but also on their federal income tax, it’s refundable against the payroll tax. Everyone pays payroll tax. This is their money, it is not our money. And here’s what I don’t understand. If you invest that money in a piece of equipment, if you invest that money in a business, you get to write it off your taxes. But if you invest it in your children, in the future of America, and strengthening your family, we’re not going to recognize that in our tax code. The family is the most important institution in society [talked over by Paul: “It’s important, but nevertheless, it’s not very conservative, Marco, how is it conservative?”] And, yes, I do want to rebuild the military. I know that Rand is a committed isolationist, I’m not. I believe that the world is [as Paul laughs] stringer and a better place when the United States (enthusiastic applause) is the strongest military power in the world.”                         

Paul: “Marco, Marco, how is it conservative, how is it conservative to add a trillion expenditure for the federal government that you’re not paying for? How is it conservative [Rubio: “Are you talking about the military, Rand?”] to add a trillion dollars in military expenditures. You cannot be a conservative if you’re going to keep promoting programs that you’re not going to pay for.” (applause)

Rubio: “We can’t even have an economy if we’re not safe. There are radical jihadists beheading people and crucifying Christians. A radical Shia cleric in Iran trying to get a nuclear weapon. (growing applause) The Chinese taking over the South China Sea. Yes, I believe the world is a safer – no, no, I don’t believe, I know that the world is a safer and better place when America is the strongest military power on the– in the world! (near standing ovation)

Paul: “No, I don’t think we’re any safer. I do not think we are any safer from bankruptcy court. As we go further and further into debt, we become less and less safe. This is the most important thing we’re going to talk about tonight. Can you be a conservative and a liberal about military spending? Can you be for unlimited military spending and say, ‘Oh, I’m going to make the country safe/’ No, we need a safe country. But, you know we spend more on our military than the next ten countries combined? I want a strong national defense, but I don’t want us to be bankrupt.”

(Fiorina and Cruz attempted to speak next, Cruz prevails)

Cruz: “This is the middle ground that brings both of these together. (both talking) This exactly right. We have to defend this nation. You think defending this nation is expensive, try not defending it. (applause) That’s a lot more expensive, BUT you can do that and pay for it. You can do that and also be fiscally responsible. You know I mentioned the twenty-five programs I put out today that I would eliminate them. Among them are corporate welfare like sugar subsidies, let’s take that as an example. Sugar subsidies. Sugar farmers farm on roughly 0.2% of the farmland in America. And yet, they give 40% of the lobbying money. That sort of corporate welfare is why we’re bankrupting our kids and grandkids. I would end those subsidies to pay for defending this nation.”

Fiorina: “Gentlemen, this why, this is why we must combine, actually, zero-based budgeting with tax reform. Because unless we can examine and cut and move every single dollar of discretionary spending in the federal government, we cannot reform taxes and reduce spending at the same time. Ask yourself this question: How is it possible that the federal government gets more money each and every year which the federal government has been doing, receiving more money every year for fifty years under Republicans and Democrats alike and yet, never has enough money to do the important things? The answer: all the money is always spoken for, all the money is spoken for. So we have to go to zero-based budgeting which is a simple idea. By the way, there’s been a bill for zer0-based budgeting. It exists. It can be voted on. Every dollar must be examined. Any dollar can be cut. Any dollar can be moved. We have to go to a three-page tax code. You lower every rate, you close every loophole. Why? Because the government uses the tax code to decide winners and losers. You have to strip the corruption out of the tax code t pay for it. You have to know where every single dollar is being spent. You can cut where you need to. You can invest where you need to. The two go hand-in-hand.” (applause)

Before Baker could ask Trump—Trump: “We have to make our military bigger, better, stronger than ever before so that nobody messes with us. And in the long run, it’s going to save us. I agree with Marco, I agree with Ted, we have no choice. And I can tell you this, with certainty, we all have a different tax plan, some I don’t totally agree with. But one thing we understand, each one of those tax plans is better than the mess that we have right now.” (applause)

[Baker to Trump, then Kasich broke in]

Kasich: “…I think you were coming to me. I hate to crash the party, Mr. Baker, but you know it’s fair.” (but to no avail)


[Baker to Trump: You have said that you would rather have no deal than the one just signed involving eleven countries. Economists says that trade brings growth and several presidents, including the last three Republican presidents have been for international trade. Why are you against this?]

Trump: The recent decent is one “that is going to lead to nothing but trouble.” It gives China a terrific advantage. It’s so complicated, “5,600 pages long,” that nobody has read it much like Obamacare. This trade deal is such a bad deal as it gives all these other countries a huge edge. He prefers individual deals with each separate country because we lose so much on international trade. He mentioned the great trade imbalances we have with China, Japan and Mexico. “I’m a free-trader 100%, but we need smart people making the deals and we don’t have smart people making the deals.”

[Baker: Tariffs only cover 20% of our trade. Which parts would he change?]    

Trump: Currency manipulation is the most popular means by which India, and especially China, take advantage of the U.S., yet it was not even mentioned in the trade agreement. “So I say it’s a very bad deal, should not be approved. If it is approved, it’ll just be more bad trade deals, more loss of jobs for our country. We are losing jobs like nobody has ever lost jobs before. I want to bring jobs back into this country.”

Paul: “Hey, Gerard, we might want to point out China is not part of this deal.” (laughter)

[Baker: The point is that if this deal is not approved, it would give China another opportunity to grow its trade leadership by replacing the U.S.]

Paul: True, China doesn’t like the deal since it involves its competitors. But the point, and he agrees with Trump, “we should negotiate from a position of strength, and we should also negotiate using the full force and the constitutional power that was given to us. I think it’s a mistake that we give up power to the presidency on these trade deals. We give up the power to filibuster, and I’m kind of fond of that power, (laughter) we give up the power to amend. And I think one of the big problems we have in our country over the last century really, so much power has gravitated to the executive branch. Really Congress is sort of a bystander. We don’t write the rules, we don’t make the laws. The executive branch does. So, even in trade, and I am for trade, I think we should be careful about giving so much power to the presidency.” (applause)


[Bartiromo: Last year, terrorist attacks rose 61% according to the Institute for Economics and Peace. Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria had the majority of the deaths. To Carson: You were against having troops in Iraq and a large presence in Afghanistan, “do you support the President’s decision to now put fifty special ops forces in Syria and leave 10,000 troops in Afghanistan?]

Carson: Having the special ops there is better than nothing. This Putin’s base for spreading his influence and e must oppose him. It’s a complex situation, even China is there. We have been ineffectual, but cannot “give up ground there.” We need a global perspective. Jihadists want to destroy our way of life. We have to make them look like losers because their perceived success is helping their recruiting. We must destroy their caliphate. Iraq’s oil fields would be a good place to start. However, containing them won’t be enough. “Our goal is not to contain them, but to destroy them before they destroy us.”

HOMELAND SECURITY (and a little Trump vs. Bush and Fiorina)

[Bartiromo to Bush: Homeland security is the biggest area of concern on Facebook during this debate. “What is the biggest threat facing America today?]

Bush: Islamic terrorism. We have also found that when we pull back from an area, something bad fills the void. Because Obama doesn’t believe in American leadership, we have a caliphate the size of Indiana in the Middle East. In addition, they are recruiting here in America. “We should have a no-fly zone in Syria” and create safe zones there for the four million Syrians fleeing instead of having them go to Europe. Lack of American leadership has resulted in Iraq speaking to Russia where, not long ago, Russia had no influence. Obama and Hillary Clinton do not believe we have a role to play over there and, in addition to the physical threats, it will negatively impact our economy.

[Bartiromo to Trump: In a 2012 debate, Obama called Mitt Romney a “Cold War dinosaur” for saying that Russia is our biggest threat. Events since then show that Romney had a valid point. Trump has said he would have a good relationship with Putin to fix things. “So what does President Trump do I response to Russia’s aggression?]

Trump: The problem is not only Russia. North Korea already has nuclear weapons. We are also having to face the Iran deal, one of the worst deals of any type anywhere, “and it’s a disgrace.” China is also a major problem which doesn’t get the attention it deserves. He knows Putin from their time together on an episode of “60 Minutes.” “But, if Putin wants to go in and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%. And I can’t understand how anybody would be against it. (Bush said, “They’re not doing it.”) Hold it! They blew up – wait a minute, he blew up a Russian airplane. He cannot be in love with these people. He’s going in and we can go in (as Bush shakes his head on the split screen) and everybody should go in. And as far as the Ukraine is concerned, we have a group of people and a group of countries, including Germany- tremendous economic behemoth. Why are we always doing all the work? We are – I’m all for protecting Ukraine and working, but we have countries that are surrounding the Ukraine that aren’t doing anything. They say ‘keep going, keep going you dummies, keep going protecting us.’ And we have to get smart, we can’t continue to be the policeman of the world. We owe 19 trillion dollars. We have a country that’s going to hell. We have an infrastructure that’s falling apart, our roads, our bridges, our schools, our airports. And we have to start investing money in our country.” (some applause)

Bush: “Donald, Donald is wrong on this. He’s absolutely wrong on this. We’re not going to be the world’s policeman, but we should sure as heck better be the world’s leader. That’s, there’s a huge difference. Without us leading (rising applause), voids are filled. And the idea, that it’s a good idea for Putin to be in Syria, let ISIS take out Assad and then Putin will take out ISIS. And that’s a board game. That’s like playing Monopoly or something. That’s not how the real world works. We have to lead. We have to be involved. We should have a no-fly zone in Syria. They are barrel bombing the innocents in that country. If you’re a Christian increasingly in Lebanon or Iraq or Syria, you’re going to be beheaded. And if you’re a moderate Islamic, you’re not going to be able to survive either. We have to play a role in this to be able to bring the rest of the world to this, to this issue before it’s too late.

Trump: “Assad is a bad guy. But we have no idea who the so-called rebels, I read about the rebels, nobody even knows who they are. I spoke to a general two weeks ago, he said, he was very up on exactly what we’re talking about. He said, ‘You know, Mr. Trump, we’re giving hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment to these people. We have no idea who they are.’ So, I don’t like Assad. Who’s going to like Assad? But we have no idea who these people and what they’re going to be and what they’re going to represent. They may be far worse than Assad. Look at Libya! Look at Iraq! Look at the mess we have after spending two trillion dollars, thousands of lives, wounded warriors all over the place who I love. Okay? All over. We have nothing! And I said keep the oil. And we should have kept the oil, believe me. We should have kept the oil. And you know what?! We should have given the oil, we should have given big chunks to the people that lost their arms, their legs and their families, their sons and daughters, because right now, do you know who has a lot of that oil? Iran and ISIS!

Fiorina: “You know, Mr. Trump fancies himself a very good negotiator. And I accept that he’s done a lot of good deals. So, Mr. Trump ought to know we should not speak to people from a position of weakness. Senator Paul should know that as well. One of the reasons that I’ve said that I would not be talking to Vladimir Putin right now, although I have met him as well, not in a green room for a show, but in a private meeting. (scattered laughter then cheering) One of the reasons I’ve said I wouldn’t be talking to Vladimir Putin right now is because we are speaking to him from a position of weakness, brought on by this Administration. So I wouldn’t talk to him for a while, but I would do this: I would start rebuilding the sixth fleet right under his nose, rebuilding the military, ah, missile defense program in Poland – right under his nose. I would conduct very aggressive military exercises in the Baltic states so that he understood we would protect our NATO allies and (unintelligible—time bell) allies. And I might also put in a few thousand troops into Germany, not to start a war, but to make sure Putin understands that the United States of America will stand our allies.”

“That is why Governor Bush is correct. We must have a no-fly zone in Syria, because Russia cannot tell the United States of America where and when to fly our planes. (as Bush smiles and nods on the split screen) We also have a set of allies (amidst rousing cheers) we have a set of allies in the Arab Middle East who know that ISIS is their fight. They have asked us specifically over and over again to support them. King Abdullah of Jordan, a man whom I’ve known for a very long time, has asked us for bombs and materiel and we have not provided it. The Egyptians are asking us to share intelligence, we are not, I will. The Kurds have asked us to arm them for three years, we are not, I would. The Egyptians, the Saudis, the Bahrainis, the Kuwaitis, the Emiratis, the Kurds, all of these, people I know by the way, understand ISIS is their fight, but they must see leadership, support and resolve from the United States of America. And we must have the strongest military on the face of the planet and everyone has to know it.” (rising cheers)


[Cavuto to Paul (as the audience continued to cheer for Fiorina): You have said that it would be a mistake to exclude Putin from discussions. Do you believe that the Iranians should be included in any talks about Syria?]

Paul: It would be “naïve and foolish” not to talk to Russia. Hillary Clinton as well as some Republican candidates support a no-fly zone over Syria, “where Russia already flies.” They are there at the invitation of Iraq. While he doesn’t suggest that this is a good thing, “you need to know what you’re getting into.” A no-fly zone means that “you are going to shoot down Russian planes. If you are ready for that, be ready to send your sons and daughters to another war in Iraq. I don’t want to see that happen… You can be strong without being involved in every civil war around the world.” As he brought up that Ronald Reagan was strong but (Fiorina interrupted with “Ronald Reagan walked away from Reykjavik” Paul: “Could I finish with my time?” and Trump chided her for doing so “Why does she keep interrupting everybody, terrible.”) “I’d like to finish, I’d like to finish my response basically—“ (Rubio: “If I may respond.”) This is an incredibly important question and the question goes to be: Who do we want to be our Commander-in-Chief? Do we want a Commander-in-Chief who says something we never did throughout our entire Cold War? To discontinue having conversations with the Russians. I’m not happy about them flying over there. But I’m not naive enough to say ‘Well, Iraq has them flying over their air space,’ we’re just going to announce that we’re shooting them down. That is naïve to the point that it’s something you might hear in junior high.”

[Cavuto to Paul: Without a no-fly zone, what would his strategy be?]

Paul: He would not arm our enemies or ISIS (some cheering). Many who want the no-fly zone were also in favor of arming Al-Qaeda which became ISIS. “… the dumbest and most foolhardy notion. Most of the people up here supported it… some of them still do. That’s how ISIS grew. We pushed back Assad and ISIS was allowed to grow in the vacuum. So the first thing to do is don’t arm your enemies.”

Rubio: “I’ve never met Vladimir Putin, but I know enough about him to know he’s a gangster.” Despite his $3 trillion economy is a disaster, he’s building up his military “in a rapid way.” He understands strength. Everywhere he has attacked, it’s because he’s testing a weakness. He sees that Obama has no strategy and our allies don’t trust us. There is just one country in the Middle East which is pro-American free enterprise democracy – Israel. “And we have a President that treats the prime minister of Israel with less respect than what he gives the ayatollah in Iran. And so our allies in the region don’t trust us.” (cheering) Putin is edging us out of our influence there and we do have a vested interest in the Middle East. ISIS is everywhere in that region. They are recruiting our own people. “And they don’t hate us simply because we support Israel, they hate us because of our values. They hate us because our girls go to school. They win or we win. We had better take this seriously. It’s not going away on its own.” (applause and cheering)


[Baker to Kasich: Hundreds of U.S. companies have been cyber-attacked by the Chinese military while Chinese investments grow here. The WSJ reports that China is planning to take over a major hotel chain in the U.S. Would you stop them?]

Kasich: We have the ability to destroy the mechanisms of these foreign cyber-attacks. We should arm the Ukrainians. Ensure that Eastern Europe and the Baltics know that “if the Russians move, we move.” There should no-fly zones in both the northern and southern Syrian borders. A first fly-in might be allowed, but not a second time. “Saudi Arabia, cut off the funding for the radical clerics, the ones that preach against us. But they’re fundamentally our friends. Jordan, we want the king to reign for a thousand years. Egypt, they’ve been our ally and a moderating force in the Middle East throughout their history.” The Cleveland Clinic is opening an operation in the Gulf states, indicating a peaceful relationship. Regarding Israel, “we have no better ally in the world.” We should not criticize them in public. Kasich gave the President credit for moving a naval force into the South China Sea to remind them that they don’t own it. He supports the TPP7 because it not only represents economic ties which help many of our citizens, but opens the possibility for strategic alliances against the Chinese. “They’re not our enemy. But they’re certainly not our friend.” To beat Hillary Clinton, we need to be sure that our economic and military programs are solid. He has the governmental CEO abilities, proven in D.C. and in Ohio, to ensure that our “number add up” and the proposals we make to voters are solid.


[Baker to Bush: Hillary Clinton said she would not bail out the banks if we had another financial crisis like the one in 2008. Would you?]

Bush: We shouldn’t have a repeat if we would raise the capital requirements for the banks, and it would also lessen the load on community banks. The result of Dodd-Frank8 is that banks have a higher concentration of risk. The problem with this Act is exemplified in an Iowa bank. It has four branches and $125 million in assets. Its compliance costs went from $100,000 to $600,000 in a two-year period even though it did not have one loan go bad during that crisis. The real economy has been hurt by the vast overreach of the Obama Administration. Hillary Clinton is opposed “to all of the things that would sustain economic growth” because she is captive to the Left as evidenced by her change from approval to disapproval of the TPP and the Keystone Pipeline.

[Baker to Bush: You can’t seriously guarantee that there won’t be another financial crisis, can you?]

Bush: No, he can’t, but it could be prevented. The large banks have even more control of assets now “and that is the wrong approach to take.”

[Baker to Carson: Despite the efforts of legislators, the big banks are bigger than ever. J.P.Morgan Chase has had its assets increase by 40% to $2,3 trillion. Should banks like Chase be broken up?]

Carson: We need policies which don’t make it easier for the big banks to become bigger. Overall, big corporations gain advantage with current laws and policies such as low interest rates which promote stock buy-backs, thus increasing stock prices artificially. Our regulatory situation creates these issues of concern.

It took less than one hundred years for our new nation to become the number one economic power in the world. We did that because of an atmosphere which encouraged entrepreneurs and investment. Our “creep of regulations has turned into a stampede which is involved in every aspect of our lives… and it hurts the poor and middle class much more than it does the rich… Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton won’t tell you that that’s the thing that’s really hurting the middle class and the poor. They’ll say it’s the rich. Take their money, but that won’t help. You can take all of the rich’s money and it won’t make a dent in the problem that we’re having. We have to return to the principles that made America great. ” (applause)

[Baker to Carson: “Just to be clear, just to be clear, you wouldn’t, you wouldn’t favor breaking up the big banks. Do you think they’re big enough, they’re OK as they are?”]

Carson: He doesn’t want to tear any companies down, but we need to fix the real problems and “not tinker around the edges.”

Rubio: “He’s right on point there. Do you know why these banks are so big? The government made them big. The government made them big by adding thousands and thousands of pages of regulations. So, the big banks, they have an army of lawyers, an army of compliance officers. They can deal with all of these things.” The small banks, however, can’t hire the staff necessary to handle these requirements. Thus, the big banks get bigger and the small banks struggle and sometimes don’t survive. Dodd-Frank has actually codified the “too big to fail” institutions, what it was supposed to prevent. And the big banks seem to know that they are indispensible. “This is an outrage. We need to repeal Dodd-Frank as soon as possible.”

Kasich: He said that Bush was trying to say that it should be that he people invested in the banks are at risk, not the taxpayers. Regarding Wall Street, greed is the problem. While the free enterprise system has produced the greatest wealth for the world, its good points are shot down when good, solids values are absent. Wall Street needs a good lesson in ethics.

[after a little confusion, Cavuto to Cruz: Facebook indicates that almost one million people had listed Wall Street as their concern and that not enough people have been punished. “Would you go after the crooks that Bernie Sanders said have gotten away with a financial murder?]

Cruz: Absolutely. And with regard to the question which the others avoided, he would “absolutely not” bail out the banks if the same crisis hit again. (applause) “The biggest lie in all of Washington and in all of politics is that the Republican Party is the party of the rich. The truth is the rich do great with big government.” The net result of the big banks getting bigger is that small businesses can’t get loans. Six of the ten wealthiest counties in the U.S. surround Washington D.C. That says a lot about who benefits from big government.

A recent case showed the unfairness of regulations when a Chicago woman, Sabina Loving, testified before a Senate hearing that Cruz held. She started a small tax preparing firm in the South Side. The IRS used an old statute known as “The Dead Horse Act” to promulgate new rules for tax preparers. The regulations exempted those with fantastic means, but she, as a small business, would have had to pay $1000 per employee – and go out of business. She sued the IRS and won. The IRS which was “picking the big guys over the little guys” lost in this case, but not all can win justice in these matters.

[Cavuto to Cruz: So, are you saying you would let a big bank fail?] and Kasich vs. Cruz

Cruz: Yes, he would, but the Federal Reserve has a role to play, too. Those in charge seem to be guessing which way the economy is going. Loose money led to a great rise in real estate and commodity prices. “In the third quarter of 2008, the Fed tightened the money and crashed those asset prices which caused a cascading collapse. That’s why I am supporting getting back to rules-based monetary system, not with a bunch of philosophers kings deciding but tied ideally –” (Cavuto: For whatever reason, you would let a Bank of America fail.”) He would not bail them out. The Fed should tie our currency to a stable level of gold and be the lender of last resort. “It’s not a bail-out, but a loan at higher interest rates, that’s how central banks have worked.” We had a gold system and a good system for 170 years. “We need to get back to sound money which helps in particular, working men and women.” Those with power and influence are the winners in this government.

Kasich: “When a bank is ready to go under and depositors are getting ready to lose their life’s savings, you say we believe in philosophical concerns. You know what an executive has to decide… when there’s a financial crisis or a crisis with Ebola, go there and try to fix it. Philosophy doesn’t work when you run something.” On-the-job training for the presidency doesn’t work. The last eight years prove that. He may not be pleased with what the Fed is doing, but turning it over to the Congress “so they can print the money. That would be a very bad approach.”

Cruz: “Why would you then bail out rich Wall Street banks (Kasich: “I wouldn’t.”), but not mom-and-pop, not Sabina Loving (Kasich: “No, I didn’t say that.”) Well you just said an executive knows when to step in and bail out a bank.”

Kasich: “They were talking about what you would do with depositors, would you let these banks shut down. My argument is going forward, the banks have to reserve the capital so that the capital, the people who own the capital start pressuring the banks to not take these risky approaches, Ted. But at the end of the day – (Cruz: “So you said you’d abandon the philosophy, abandon the principle, but what would you do if the bank was failing?) If during, if during (as Cruz talked over) Because if during, I’ll tell you what, I would not let the people who put their money in there all go down. (Cruz: “So you would bail them out.”) As an executive I would figure out how to separate those people who can afford it versus those people, the hard-working folks, who put their money in those institutions (some boos). No, no, let me say another thing. Here’s what I mean by that. Here’s what I mean by hat. When you are faced, when you are faced in the last financial crisis with banks going under, with banks going under and people, people who put their life’s savings in there, you gotta deal with it. You can’t turn a blinds [sic] eye to it. Now going forward, that’s one thing. If you had another financial crisis perhaps there would be (talked over).”

Fiorina: “Could I just say as a chief executive who’s had to make tough calls to save jobs and to grow jobs. I think what’s interesting about Dodd-Frank, is that it’s a great example of how socialism starts. Socialism starts when government creates a problem and then government steps in to solve the problem. Government created the problem. (applause) Government created the problem of a real estate boom. How did we create it? Republicans and Democrats alike, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, everybody gathered together. Republicans and Democrats said home ownership is part of the American dream. Let’s create a bubble, then government stepped in, by the way under President George W. Bush, banks were told, encouraged, told really to buy other banks, to take money. And now what do we have with Dodd-Frank: the classic of crony capitalism. The bigger have gotten bigger. Fifteen hundred and ninety community banks have gone out of business. And on top of all that, we’ve created something called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a vast bureaucracy with no Congressional oversight that’s digging through hundreds of millions of your credit records to “detect” fraud. This is how socialism starts, ladies and gentlemen. We must take our government back.” (applause and cheering)

[Bartiromo to Rubio: If Hillary Clinton does become the Democratic candidate, you will be facing someone with an impressive resume. (laughter) Why should people vote for you instead of someone “who has been much closer to the office?”]

Rubio: (stifling his laugh and amidst the laughter of the crowd) “This election is about the future, about what kind of country this nation is going to be in the 21st century. This election is actually a generational choice… For over 2-1/2 centuries, America has been a special country. The one place on earth where anyone from anywhere can achieve anything. A nation that’s been a force for good on this planet. But now, a growing number of Americans feel out of place in their own country. We have a society that stigmatizes those who hold cultural values that are traditional. We have a society where people, millions of people, are living paycheck to paycheck… because the economy has changed underneath their feet. We have young Americans who owe thousands of dollars of student loans for a degree that doesn’t lead to a job. For the first time in thirty-five years, we have more businesses dying than starting. And around the world, every day brings a new humiliation for America. Many, the direct consequence of decisions made when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of the United– State.” [note: I get choked up, too, when I think about what she and the President have done to our country and the world.]

“This election is about the future and the Democratic Party and the political Left have no ideas about the future. All of their ideas are about the same, tired ideas of the past: more government, more spending for every issue before America their answer is a new tax on someone and a new government program. This nation is going to turn the page and that’s what this election should be about. And as I said on the first debate, if I am our nominee, they will be the party of the past. We will be the party of the 21st century.” (cheering applause)

Cruz: “And, Maria, I will note, she’s got a lot of experience, but her policies have proven disastrous. If you look at foreign policy, every region on the world has gotten worse. Under her leadership, we abandoned the nation of Israel. Under her leadership, radical Islamic terrorism has been on the rise. Under her leadership and Obama’s leadership, Iran is getting $100 billion and on the verge of getting a nuclear weapon… Hillary Clinton embodies the cronyism of Washington.” (cheering applause) If elected, he’ll veto any law which exempts Congress. “The law should apply evenly to every American.” (applause)

[Cavuto to Trump: As one of the most successful capitalists, he has disapproved of some who have given it a bad name by sending money overseas to avoid taxes. His plan gives what might amount to a one-time bounty to bring some of that money back, “so they still keep the loot and only pay a small price to bring it back.”]

Trump: Except for Carly Fiorina, no one on the stage talks about a “corporate inversion.” Companies instead of moving to other states are moving to other countries. Getting that money back into the U.S. is about the only thing Republicans and Democrats agree on. After 3-1/2 years, nothing has been accomplished. It’s probably about $2.5 trillion, but he believes it’s much more than that. That money could be used to rebuild and invest in our nation. His plan of a 10% tax rate would accomplished this and a lot of people think it’s a great idea. He would get rid of some “bureaucratic problems and roadblocks.” It would rebuild the country and jobs. (some cheers)

[Bartiromo to Paul: He was one of fifteen Republicans to vote for an amendment that “human activity contributed to climate change.” The President has announced aggressive plans to cut carbon emissions. Is it possible to continue our path toward energy self-sufficiency and still pursue “a meaningful climate change program?”]

Paul: He would first repeal the Obama regulations on our energy. (cheering) “including the Clean Power Act” Man has a role in the climate, but so does Nature. “The planet s 4-1/2 billion years old.” The various geologic ages have produced hotter and colder times than we have now. There have been higher levels of carbon in the air than we have today. “We need to look before we leap. The President’s often fond of saying he wants a balanced solution.” We have to balance cleaner air with the economy. “He’s devastated my state. I say the President’s not only destroying Kentucky, he’s destroying the Democrat party down there because nobody wants to associate with him.” We need all forms of energy: solar, wind, hydro, but will still have coal and natural gas. Shutting down all of the coal plants will either make some of our cities very cold or very hot. We need an “all of the above” policy.

Bush: Our nation’s reduction of carbon emissions is not because of Solyndra.9, 10 It’s not because of the Washington bureaucrats, but because two existing technologies coupled with innovation has made natural gas an American success story as well as an environmental one. Fifty per cent of the economic activity during the Obama years has been because of the energy sector and Hilary Clinton wants to suppress it. In Florida, they were to make land purchases and clean-ups because they had a growing economy, 4.4%.

CLOSING STATEMENTS (applause and cheering assumed)

Paul: “We’re the richest, freest, most humanitarian nation in the history of mankind. But we also borrow a million dollars a minute. And the question I have for all Americans is: think about it. Can you be a fiscal conservative if you don’t conserve all of the money? If you’re a profligate spender, you spend money in an unlimited fashion for the military, is that a conservative notion? We have to be conservative with all spending, domestic spending and welfare spending. I’m the only fiscal conservative on the stage.

Kasich: “Well, ladies and gentlemen, if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders were to win this election my 16-year old, I, I worry about what their life is going to be like. You know the conservative movement is all about opportunity. It is about lower taxes. It’s about balanced budgets. It’s about less regulation. And it’s about sending power, money and influence back to where we live, so we can run America from the bottom up. In addition to that, once we have the power, the money and the influence with programs we shift out, each of us have a responsibility to reach out and rebuild our families, to make them stronger and connect our neighborhoods. All of that together: wealth, connection, family, America’s greatest days are ahead. We must win this election.

Fiorina: “Imagine a Clinton presidency. Our military will continue to deteriorate, our veterans will not be cared for, and no, Mrs. Clinton, that situation is not exaggerated. The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer. The middle class will continue to get crushed. As bad as that picture is, what’s even worse is that a Clinton presidency will corrode the character of this nation. Why? Because of the Clinton Way: say whatever you have to, lie as long as you can get away with it. We must beat Hillary Clinton. Carly Fiorina can beat Hillary Clinton. I will beat Hillary Clinton and under a President Fiorina, we will restore the character of this nation, the security of this nation, the prosperity of this nation, because as citizens we will take our government back.”

Bush: “Jane Horton is sitting with my wife today. Her husband, Chris, was killed in action in Afghanistan. And Jane spends her time defending and fighting for military families. They’re both heroes. I don’t think we need an agitator-in-chief or a divider-in-chief. We need a commander-in-chief who will rebuild our military and restore respect to our veterans by revamping and fixing a broken Veterans Administration. That’s my pledge to you. I ask for your support. Thank you.

Cruz: “Fifty-eight years ago, my father fled Cuba. As he stood on the deck of the ferry boat with the wind and salt air blowing, he looked back at the oppression and torture he was escaping. And yet, he looked forward to the promise of America. His story is our story. What ties Americans together is we are all the children who risked everything for freedom. America is in crisis now. I believe in America and if we get back to the free market principles and constitutional liberties that built this country, we can turn this country around. I believe that 2016 will be an election like 1980, that we will win by following Reagan’s admonition to paint in bold colors, not pale pastels. We’re building a grass-roots army. I ask you to join us at and we the people can turn this nation around.”

Rubio: “Ours is, the story of America is an extraordinary story. It is the story of a nation that for over two centuries each generation has left the next generation better off than themselves. But now, because Washington is out of touch, through the fault of both political parties, for the first time in our history, that is in doubt. And that is what this election must be about, because if the next four years are anything like the last eight years, our children will be the first Americans ever left worse off by their parents. This election is about making a different choice: about applying our principles of limited government and free enterprise to the unique issues of our time. And if we do, will not just save the American dream, we will expand it to reach more people and change more lives than ever before. And the 21st century can be a new American century. So tonight, I ask you for your vote. And I ask you to join us at my web site,”

Carson: “In the two hours of this debate, five people have died from drug related deaths. A hundred million dollars has been added to our national debt. Two hundred babies have been killed by abortionists. And two veterans have taken their lives out of despair. This is a narrative that we can change, not we the Democrats, not we the Republicans, but we the people of America because there is something special about this nation. And we must embrace it and be proud of it and never give it away for the sake of political correctness.”

Trump: “Thank you. Over the years, I’ve created tens of thousands of jobs and a great company. It’s a company I’m very proud of, some of the mist iconic assets anywhere in the world. And I will tell you and I don’t have to give you a web site because I’m self-funding my campaign. I’m putting up my own money. I want to do something really special. I want to make our country greater than it’s ever been. I think we have that potential. We cannot lose this election. We can-not let Hillary Clinton, who is the worst Secretary of State in the history of our country, win this election. We will fight. We will win. And we truly will make this even more special. We have to make it better than ever before and, I will tell you, the United States can actually be better than ever before. Thank you.”


All of us interested in this election process have our favorites. Even though no candidate is perfect, it is reassuring to know that every Republican candidate is superior to whatever the other side will offer next year. What needs to be done is to choose the most electable candidate.

If it were merely about issues and integrity, a Republican win would be a certainty. Unfortunately, we live in a world where many on the Left feel compelled to vote for someone simply because that candidate has two “X” chromosomes – even when that individual is not viewed as trustworthy! The Republicans have a woman candidate of their own; unlike Secretary Clinton, she does not lack competency, honesty, and integrity. Carly Fiorina has travelled just as extensively as Hillary Clinton. Unlike the former Secretary of State, Fiorina has working relationships with key foreign leaders and has a track record of accomplishments. Also, as Charles Krauthammer pointed out, “She can say things about Hillary Clinton that no man can. And she knows it.”11

Speaking about those who can go toe-to-toe with Mrs. Clinton in a debate, Chris Christie (who was just announced as a member of the Dec. 15 “main event”) has the street smarts. While he is a little too much to the middle or even a shade to the left of center for some Republicans, there is no doubt he could deal with the innuendos and downright false attacks which the Democrats served up to Mitt Romney and will likely volley again. (see footnote #12 on Harry Reid)     

Dr. Ben Carson’s presence on the ticket would bring the Left’s veiled racist attacks to full bloom. Already, we’re seeing frivolous questions concerning the accuracy of his statements about his youth. His integrity is impeccable, so the Democrats need to do something/ anything to take the heat off lengthy list of Hillary Clinton’s misdeeds both on her own in the federal government as well as when she was pulling strings during Bill Clinton’s administration.

Dr. Carson is also attractive for being an “outsider” who does not allow politically correctness to cloud his decision-making process. He is not an expert in all areas facing a President—no one has or will ever be.   He will bring a surgeon’s leadership to the White House, one that can make decisions without micromanaging or having to carry out every part of the procedure by himself. He also should win the confidence of those voters who are looking for someone they can trust to handle those myriads of issues that spring up post-inauguration for which no one could have predicted during the campaign.

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz neutralize the Democrats’ attempt to own the minority card as each are first generation sons of immigrants. They prove that rising from humble non-American beginnings is not an exclusively Democratic trait. It is very annoying to the Clinton Party that these two Hispanics along with a woman and an African American are running for the Republic nomination. Rubio and Cruz have the intelligence and compassion to be virtuous leaders.

Rubio also specializes in pro-family issues which are essential if we are to rebuild the society the United States used to represent. Cruz is strong on the Constitution. We would never see Obama-like executive orders in his presidency. For many aging generations, the Democratic Party has billed itself as the party of youth. Those days are over and these two gentlemen are poised to grab the baton from them.

John Kasich has accomplished more in state and federal government than Hillary Clinton could in three lifetimes. Kasich’s electability problem stems as much from his lecturing and “self-righteous”11 style as it from his occasional tendency to answer the question he wants to and avoid the issue presented to him. Just like all of the other Republicans in the hunt, he would do a better job than H.Clinton/Sanders, but would not likely catch the fancy of those voters who go for style and pizzazz over what is truly necessary: substance.

Jeb Bush has a similar predicament as Kasich does, and it’s aggravated by the fact that his father and father and brother have already lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. While he has far more accomplishments than Mrs. Clinton, some fear a “Bush dynasty” more than a “Clinton dynasty.” Besides, since the election of Obama checked off the need for a minority as Commander-in-Chief, the next box to fill is that of a woman in the White house, so this Bush is running at the wrong time. (Remember, Carly Fiorina is disqualified because a “real” woman would not align with the Republican Party.)                         

Rand Paul passionately wants to defend the Constitution as President. His willingness to fight the good fight despite the odds is both rare and admirable. Unfortunately, he believes that being a “true” conservative is the ultimate goal. He is correct in that recent Republicans have squandered the opportunity to fix some major problems by caving in instead of pushing their weight around a little. His fellow Kentucky senator, Mitch McConnell has saddled himself with that label. But stubbornness can be a vice, too. Paul’s hero, President Reagan, proved progress can be made even in the most contentious of situations if you “take what the defense will give you” as they say in football. His desire for a balanced budget amendment exemplifies his inability to discern between outcomes desired most of the time and those that are truly non-negotiable, such as inalienable rights.

Then we have Donald Trump. His success in business has few equals in our history – imagine what he could have accomplished in the less-restrictive era of John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, etc. He promotes himself well and is asking us to believe that he would do the same for the United States. Perhaps, yes, or perhaps so long as he gains much, too.

Part of his following is due to his willingness to say what bothers him and it resonates with many who are fed up with Washington nonsense. Often, however, he also says things that encourage women and minorities to look for someone else. In some ways, he appears to be the Republican version of what the Democrats have been throwing at an unsuspecting public and getting away with: speak loud and don’t worry if what you are saying has any merit or is even accurate.

Couple these traits with his friendship with the Clintons and others on the Left and he could just be a plant by the Democrats to derail the Republicans. It would be the perfect storm. While Democratic supporters often fall for that stuff, the Left knows that enough voters on the other side would see through it, not pick Trump, tempting him to break as a third party, thus assuring the presidency doesn’t change hands.

The Republican Party has way too much talent this time. It would be a shame if its message is not conveyed sufficiently bring us back to an Age of Faith, or at least Reason, instead of our accelerating Age of Feeling.13


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 and

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


1 – “The IMF, also known as the Fund, was conceived at a UN conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, in July 1944. The 44 countries at that conference sought to build a framework for economic cooperation to avoid a repetition of the competitive devaluations that had contributed to the Great Depression of the 1930s.”

The IMF’s responsibilities: The IMF’s primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries (and their citizens) to transact with each other. The Fund’s mandate was updated in 2012 to include all macroeconomic and financial sector issues that bear on global stability.”

2 – “The IMF advises its 188 member countries, encouraging policies that foster economic stability, reduce vulnerability to economic and financial crises, and raise living standards. It provides regular assessment of global prospects in its World Economic Outlook, of financial markets in its Global Financial Stability Report, and of public finance developments in its Fiscal Monitor, and publishes a series of regional economic outlooks.”

3 – “ The country’s labor force participation rate – which measures the share of Americans at least 16 years old who are either employed or actively looking for work – dipped last month to a 38-year low, clocking in at an underwhelming 62.6 percent.”

4 – “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

5 – “Last Tuesday, by a vote of 243 to 165, the House passed H.R. 427, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015, known as the REINS Act. Introduced in the House by Rep. Todd Young (R-Ind.), the bill “would require any executive branch rule or regulation with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more — designated by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as a ‘major rule’ — to come before Congress for an up-or-down vote before being enacted.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has introduced the companion legislation, S. 226, in the Senate.”

“The Judiciary Committee’s report on the bill explains that back in 1996, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) was implemented as an attempt to get control over the large number of regulations coming from the federal government. But only one regulation has been undone using CRA, while 60,000 regulations have come into being.” From “The REINS Act will keep regulations and their costs in check,” by Neil Siefring,, 8/4/2015

6 – “Candy Crush Saga is a match-three puzzle video game released by King on April 12, 2012 for Facebook, on November 14, 2012 for iOS, on December 14, 2012 for Android, on December 11, 2014 for Fire OS, on September 6, 2012 for Windows Phone, and July 29, 2015, for Windows 10 and Tizen. It is a variation on their browser game Candy Crush.”

7 – Trans-Pacific Partnership,

8The five best aspects of this Act according to “consumer and reform advocates” and the five worst aspects in the opinion of “financial firms and their allies” are described in “The 5 Best and 5 Worst Regulations in Dodd-Frank,” by Katherine Reynolds Lewis, The Fiscal Times, 7/19/2011, Five best: 1) Mortgage market reform 2) Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 3) Oversight of derivatives 4) Power to address systemic threats 5) Investor protections. Five worst: 1) New capital standards and derivative rules 2) Interchange fees 3) The Volcker rule 4) Overlapping rules of the road 5) No housing reform.

9 – “Solyndra misled government to get $535M solar project loan: report,” by Kellan Howell and Stephen Dinan,, 8/26/2015.

10 – “Hillary Clinton’s billionaire fundraiser got sweet deal in Solyndra collapse,” by Ben Wolfgang,, 12/10/2015.

11 – “Kasich fading at stage left, Paul drifting off stage right,” by Charles Krauthammer,, Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/15/2015

12 – “Harry Reid is proud he lied about Mitt Romney’s taxes,” by Ashe Schow,, 3/31/2015.

13—A paraphrase of Bishop Sheen’s “The reason why chastity is on the decline is that we live in a sensate culture. In the Middle Ages, here was an Age of Faith, then came the Age of Reason in the eighteenth century; now we are living in the Age of Feeling.” From The Quotable Fulton Sheen, edited by George J. Marlin, Richard P. Rabatin and John L. Swan, an image book by Doubleday, New York, 1989, taken from Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen, Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1980.