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Berney writes: "While Bush is trying to jump about five places in line by going directly after Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz know they have the best shots at knocking the frontrunner off his perch. But first each has to beat the other."

Republican U.S. presidential candidates businessman Donald Trump (L) and former Governor Jeb Bush (R) are seen debating on video monitors in the debate press room during the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, December 15, 2015. (photo: David Becker/Reuters)
Republican U.S. presidential candidates businessman Donald Trump (L) and former Governor Jeb Bush (R) are seen debating on video monitors in the debate press room during the Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, December 15, 2015. (photo: David Becker/Reuters)


The 10 Greatest Moments From the Fifth GOP Debate

By Jesse Berney, Rolling Stone

16 December 15

 

1. Jeb Bush and Donald Trump Fight to the Death

Bush: "So Donald, you know, is great at — at the one-liners, but he's a chaos candidate. And he'd be a chaos president."

Jeb Bush's campaign is flailing, and he believes attacking frontrunner Donald Trump is his only shot at clawing his way back to the top. He is utterly disgusted with Trump's rise — and who can blame him?

On Tuesday night Bush said Trump lacked seriousness, and his approach to beating ISIS was "just crazy." And Trump's response — as always — was that he's beating Bush in the polls. "He said that very simply because he has failed in this campaign," Trump pointed out, correctly. "It's been a total disaster."

And for that, Jeb doesn't have a comeback.

2. John Kasich Wanted to Change the Paris Talks' Agenda

Kasich: "And when I see they have a climate conference over in Paris, they should have been talking about destroying ISIS because they are involved in virtually every country, you know, across this world." 

Nearly 200 nations just signed a historic accord to fight climate change, a global challenge that has the power to devastate every country on the planet. On a stage full of global warming deniers, John Kasich, who likes to present himself as the serious candidate, said we should have canceled the Paris talks — years in the planning and execution — and replaced it with a conference to discuss ISIS.

It was an idea so crazy it could have come from Donald Trump.

3. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio Go at Each Other's Throats

Cruz: "...they are knowingly false and they are, in fact, Alinsky-like attacks like Barack Obama."

While Bush is trying to jump about five places in line by going directly after Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz know they have the best shots at knocking the frontrunner off his perch. But first each has to beat the other.

They hit each other multiple times tonight, but the defining moment was an early sparring over surveillance: Cruz voted for the renewal of the Patriot Act that eliminated the metadata collection program; Rubio voted for it. What mattered wasn't their positions — they're both in favor of surveilling the American people to an uncomfortable degree — but Cruz's assertion that Rubio was lying about both the bill and Cruz's position. He would do that throughout the night. 

4. Yes, Donald Trump Really Wants to Shut Down Parts of the Internet

Trump: "What I wanted to do is I wanted to get our brilliant people from Silicon Valley and other places and figure out a way that ISIS cannot do what they're doing."

Trump literally wants to shut down parts of the Internet to defeat ISIS. Let's ignore the part where that actually makes it tougher to track what terrorists want to do. Let's ignore the gross violation of the First Amendment. 

Let's instead talk about how Donald Trump thinks the Internet is a magic room full of on/off switches, some of which are labeled THE PART THAT ISIS IS USING. Speaking of magic plans to defeat ISIS…

5. Ted Cruz Wants to Use Magic Bombs to Kill ISIS Dead

Cruz: "You would carpet bomb where ISIS is, not a city, but the location of the troops."

CNN's Wolf Blitzer pushed Cruz to answer whether he would "carpet bomb" the ISIS capital of Raqqa, which is still home to hundreds of thousands of civilians (in case you were wondering where refugees come from), and Cruz insisted he would only carpet bomb ISIS troops, not the city....

...the same city full of ISIS troops. Maybe he'll use magic carpet bombs that somehow distinguish between good guys and bad guys.

6. Donald Trump Will Murder Terrorists' Families

Trump: "I would be very, very firm with families."

It takes a special sort of commitment to medieval justice to go after the families of criminals for their sins, but that's exactly what Donald Trump is promising to do as president. He has promised to kill the families of terrorists, and when faced with a question tonight calling him on this extremely insane plan, he confirmed that he would go after innocents just for being related to terrorists. 

The audience applauded him for it.

7. Ben Carson Will Bomb Kids to Death Because They Didn't Like Getting Brain Surgery

Carson: "They're not happy about it, believe me. And they don't like me very much at that point. But later on, they love me."

Right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt, who for some reason CNN has allowed to ask questions at two presidential debates, asked Carson if being a nice guy who has cured children he could as commander and chief order bombings that could kill children by the thousands. (He didn't ask if it would be a good idea to order such bombings. It would not.)

Carson said kids didn't like it when he said he'd have to open up their skulls to pick out pieces of their tiny brains, but later they loved him. I'm not sure how that was relevant, because I don't think the children he rained fire down from the sky upon would love him for that.

8. Donald Trump Is a Filthy Liberal

Trump: "We could've spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we've had, we would've been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now."

Donald Trump thinks we should have spent the money on the Iraq War on our infrastructure instead. He also said we would have been better off using that money on our schools and hospitals.

He's … exactly right?

9. Ben Carson Uses All His Foreign Policy Flashcards in One Answer

Carson: "I think we can use that in order to keep Putin contained, because he is a one-horse show. Energy. And we have an abundance of energy, but we have archaic energy exportation rules. We need to get rid of those, allow ourselves to really make Europe dependent on us and other parts of the world dependent on us for energy. Put him back in his little box where he belongs.

The question was about North Korea.

10. Donald Trump Is the Scariest Person on the Planet

Trump: "Well, first of all, I think we need somebody absolutely that we can trust, who is totally responsible; who really knows what he or she is doing. That is so powerful and so important. And one of the things that I'm frankly most proud of is that in 2003, 2004, I was totally against going into Iraq because you're going to destabilize the Middle East. I called it. I called it very strongly. And it was very important."

Donald Trump was asked what his top priority would be in maintaining our nuclear triad, the three tools we have to deliver nuclear weapons (air-, land-, and sea-based systems, essentially).

Trump had no idea what the triad was or even what a basic priority for a president should be when it comes to our nuclear arsenal. Trump is famous for skipping the specifics, but he reached a new terrifying level of vagueness on this question. We should trust him with our nuclear arsenal because he opposed the Iraq War? 

His answer was rambling, incoherent, and honestly terrifying. It should remind people that putting the most powerful nuclear arsenal in the hands of a man who can't muster a more intelligent statement than "I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me" is perhaps an ill-advised idea.

That answer should have been the end of his campaign. But one thing we've learned is that nothing Donald Trump says has any consequences for Donald Trump's quest for the presidency.

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+8 # MsAnnaNOLA 2015-12-16 10:41
I would have thought war crimes on the part of our last two presidents would have disqualified them for re-election as well. I would have thought that the revelation of warrentless wiretapping would have led to some charges against someone somewhere. But here we are with the possibility that Trump is the only candidate in the R party who has not been wholly bought by the oligarch/corpor ate class. Good luck beating this guy folks, particularly with DINO Clinton as the Democratic nominee. Look for some shenanigans on the part of the Republican establishment to keep him off the ticket.
 
 
+21 # dickbd 2015-12-16 15:43
I agree with you, and I don't know why you are getting red marks. It must be a reflex because you criticized the Democratic presumptive nominee--althou gh I am still hoping, forlornly, for Bernie.

What you say is true, though, and none of our presidents have taken us off the path of a ruthless empire. I want to like Obama, and I do in a lot of ways--but his foreign policy and belligerance toward whistleblowers has been nothing short of appalling!
 
 
+40 # MillValleyMaven 2015-12-16 10:52
'magic carpet bombs"....good one!
 
 
+3 # Texas Aggie 2015-12-17 11:40
Aren't magic carpets how the Iraqis were going to invade the US and drop all those imaginary nuclear warheads on us?
 
 
+29 # reiverpacific 2015-12-16 11:24
I just had to check for a moment that this wasn't a Borowitz piece but no; they're for real.
On what passes for TV News as shown in my local pub yesterday evening, this pile of human and political out-of-touch rubble were given several minutes of cover on the regional owner media PRE-Debate, Clinton a short clip and Sanders: -nada, zippo invisible.
Whoever calls these selective, commercial-driv en jokesters a "Liberal" media needs to have their bumps felt, then get out and travel a bit!
As for the "candidates", they'd make a good old-style fairground shooting-galler y -their thumbnail photos as shown on the foregoing TV News of course, -not advocating shooting them in person; that mentality belongs to their "Foreheads Villainous Low" followers!
 
 
+8 # PABLO DIABLO 2015-12-16 12:01
HUMP the TRUMP and get the USA over with now instead of bleeding us to death with undeclared wars over the next thirty years.
 
 
+28 # oakes721 2015-12-16 12:08
.
Tag-Team Wrestling Extravaganza at its best! Featuring Jeb and Marco, the Florida Flappers, going up against the Towering Trumpet of Queens(Bury the Rules) with none other than the Canadian Cruzer the Bruiser teaming up with Detroit's own Carson the Crusher.
.
For those who thought for years that pro wrestling is faked and rehearsed, you've just witnessed the proof from the roof, the goofs on the loose.
 
 
+8 # Old4Poor 2015-12-16 13:48
After five hours of this stuff, plus two more of commentary, I am in brain freeze.

I am still in shock that Trump said something so reasonable and right as using war money on infrastructure instead and that no one else on the stage took issue with him on it.

Even worse than this debate was the under card where the four also-rans were fear mongering and bellicose to then N th degree.
 
 
+4 # reiverpacific 2015-12-17 19:17
Quoting Old4Poor:
After five hours of this stuff, plus two more of commentary, I am in brain freeze.

I am still in shock that Trump said something so reasonable and right as using war money on infrastructure instead and that no one else on the stage took issue with him on it.

Even worse than this debate was the under card where the four also-rans were fear mongering and bellicose to then N th degree.


I admire y'r forbearance and fortitude for bearing up through it all.
They'd have to chain me to a steel chair in a torture chamber with a big-screen TV to make me do that -and I'd probably confess to anything before an hour was up!
 
 
+8 # Robbee 2015-12-16 14:34
rubio's lobbying FCC to kill municipal broadband - that's going to hurt him with young and internet user vote - his association with telecom will be a big drag on his quest for the prez

cnn rolled out a dramatic show with fight game hype clips and commentary - set a standard for all future debates - excellent format and followup

regime change is no longer hyped by all repubs - mistake to kill husain and kadafi - interesting phenomena

recall how zombies hoped bush 2 would bring democracy to iraq? - well no candidate proposes any such as the remotest possibility in war-torn ME areas -
some regret overthrow of mubarak -
say we pinned our hopes on the muslim brotherhood - now want us to forget about doing assad

the earlier debate of 4 got asked their solution for syraq - could we fix the ideology there? - all 4 stated that the only solution was to kill isis, then see what comes next - there is no hope - change without hope? new repub slogan? -
at least repubs have shed any dreams of war for democracy - we war on isis, defeat isis, kill every last one; otherwise we're "not winners" f/k/a "losers" - it's easy to argue but difficult policy to take away, and feel good next day - if all zombies lost last nite's debate, this is how!

everybody criticized obama for not bombing enough - it's like they believe isis will mass troop - total nonsense, hard sell - almost look like they believe it! - i doubt their sales job has legs, even with repubs - go bernie!
 
 
+11 # bdeja 2015-12-16 14:40
Quite frankly, all of these republican candidates are scary. Trump is the most openly fascist of the bunch. The "liberal' media loves promoting them all.
 
 
+11 # newell 2015-12-16 17:50
i have a bernie bumper sticker on my car but i'm going to replace it with a trump sticker. i don't want the dem. candidate, hopefully bernie, to run against rubio. he sounds sane, even tho his ideas are waco. trump on the other hand would bring out dems that have never voted. the turnout against trump would be "huge"; the coattails would get back both congressional houses. so quit with the trump dissing--get a trump bumper sticker and VOTE BERNIE!!!
 
 
+3 # Saberoff 2015-12-17 09:38
good luck while driving down the street!
 
 
+11 # seakat 2015-12-16 19:33
They. Are. All. An. Embarrassment. To. Our. Nation.
 

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