Column: GOP holds second debate

On September 16, 2015, the second of 11 Republican debates took place at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California. It was hosted by CNN and moderated by Jake Tapper, Hugh Hewitt, and Dana Bash. It followed the criteria of the first debate: a secondary debate for bottom-ranking candidates, then a prime-time debate. Each candidate had a minute to answer questions and thirty seconds for follow-ups.

The candidates in the smaller-scale debate were Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum. I thought that Lindsey Graham did a much better job than in the first debate. He did a good job answering questions, but he seemed to turn every question into the subject of radical Islamic terrorism. In my opinion, George Pataki didn’t really stand out. He answered questions well, but didn’t really connect with voters. Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal were both extremely confident and gave great, descriptive answers, even if some of their answers were contrary to each other.

It seems that the first ten minutes of the debate were a battle between Donald Trump and the GOP. Eventually, Ohio governor John Kasich told everyone how ridiculous the argument was. He said they should be talking about important issues. There were many great topics for debate including the Iran nuclear deal, illegal immigration, and birthright citizenship. Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, and Carly Fiorina described the dangers of the Iran Nuclear Non-Proliferation Deal and why it should be terminated on their first day in office. Rand Paul argued that this is a terrible deal, but we shouldn’t take negotiations off the table. On illegal immigration, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, and Carly Fiorina all agreed a wall should be built. Later, Donald Trump and Rand Paul criticized birthright citizenship, and Carly Fiorina defended it.

In this debate, there were several fights between specific candidates. When asked about nuclear weapons, Trump completely changed the subject to why Rand Paul shouldn’t have been on the main stage. There was an ongoing conflict between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush that covered everything from women’s health care to illegal immigration to speaking Spanish in America. A highlight of the debate was when Donald Trump attacked his brother, George W., for giving us Barack Obama, Jeb Bush responded, “When it comes to my brother, there’s one thing I know for sure. He kept us safe.” Trump criticized Jeb Bush because he said that he would cut some of the budget for women’s health care. Jeb Bush apologized and admitted that’s not what he meant, but Donald Trump continued to say he understood what Bush said and was shocked. Later, when Carly Fiorina was asked about Trump insulting her face and calling her ugly, she answered, “Mr. Trump says he understood clearly what Governor Bush said. I think women everywhere understood what Trump said about me.”

Donald Trump supporters would probably say he had a good night, but his critics would say otherwise. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, also known as “the outsiders,” did very well. Ben Carson gave good answers; Fiorina had a fiery temperance. You knew she meant business. Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul all got their points across well. Mike Huckabee did a great job commenting on the issues and explaining his positions. Jeb Bush did much better than in the first debate. Last night, he seemed confident, did a great job answering questions, and was well-prepared. Chris Christie seemed ready and knew his track record well. John Kasich made good points, but seemed unsure of himself. All in all, it was a good debate.

--Pierson Castor, Political Columnist

Edited: BP

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