AP Photo/Chris Carlson
AP Photo/Chris Carlson
Donald Trump vs. Them 2.0 has begun!
The second of 11 scheduled Republican primary debates is underway, this time on CNN and with anchor Jake Tapper the only moderator on hand to keep 11 2016 presidential hopefuls in order, and--if at debate No. 1 Trump was regarded as a curiosity--this time the real estate mogul is a force to be reckoned with thanks to the polling numbers that have placed him at the top of the heat.
Let's see, what has happened since round 1...
Rick Perry became the first to drop out of the race, shrinking the field to 15 (Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, George Pataki and Bobby Jindal duked it out during happy hour); Megyn Kelly had to take a vacation; and Kanye West announced his intent to run for president in 2020.
It's a whole different political landscape out there.
Anyway, hopes weren't high heading into the evening's main event at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif. (with no less than Reagan's retired Air Force One serving as the backdrop)...
If Jake Tapper can't handle these four candidates talking over each other, tonight will be a disaster. #GOPDebate— Hemant Mehta (@hemantmehta) September 16, 2015
...but you can bet that millions of people are watching and CNN is so thrilled that millions of people are watching.
"I will attempt to guide the discussion," Tapper admitted/announced in his opening remarks before the games got underway.
"I think we are in fact the A team…We even have our own Mr. T who doesn't mind saying about others, 'You're a fool,'" Mike Huckabee introduced both himself and Trump, apparently wanting to get on the frontrunner's good side before any punches were thrown.
Trump went for the 22-point word right off the bat: "I wrote The Art of the Deal and I say, not in a braggadocios way, I've made billions and billions of dollars doing business around the world and i want to put whatever that talent is to work for this country."
Donald Trump drops SAT word "braggadocious" in his opening statement at the #GOPDebate.— New Republic (@NewRepublic) September 17, 2015
Trump becomes first candidate in history to describe himself as "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" #GOPDebate— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) September 17, 2015
Nice recitation of all the candidates' immigrant roots before we get on to the business of how and when to kick them out #GOPDebate— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) September 17, 2015
Then after Carly Fiorina said it was up to the voters whether they felt comfortable with Trump's hand on the nuclear codes, Trump kicked off with, "First of all, Rand Paul shouldn't even be on this stage, he's No. 11, he's got 1 percent in the polls and how he even got up here...There's too many people up here anyway."
Calling Trump's comment a bit of a "non sequitur," Paul said, "I am worried about having him in charge of the nuclear weapons because I think his response, his visceral response, to attack people on their appearance –short, bald, fat, ugly—my goodness, that happened in junior high Are we not above that?"
"I have never attacked him on his looks," Trump corrected Paul, "believe me, there's plenty of subject matter there."
Still not over Trump insinuating that Rand Paul is ugly. To his face. During a professional debate. This party is something else #GOPDebate— Calvin (@aurosan) September 17, 2015
I'm still on season 1 of #GOPDebate so please don't tweet any spoilers— Kaleb Nation (@KalebNation) September 17, 2015
On not being a Washington insider:
I agree with Carson: experience isn't important. Anyone should be able to perform brain surgery tomorrow, trained or not. #GOPDebate— Harold Itzkowitz (@HaroldItz) September 17, 2015
A fish swims in water and doesn't know it's water- wait, does everyone not eat donuts all day? #GOPDebate— Jaime Primak (@JaimePrimak) September 17, 2015
Chris Christie on holding down the fort:
When are they gonna ask these guys about DraftKings vs. FanDuel already #GOPDebate— Matt Goldich (@MattGoldich) September 17, 2015
Every morning Chris Christie gets up, vetoes four hundred bills. Then he puts on his pants, like the rest of us. Veto. Then pants.#GOPDebate— Jennifer Weiner (@jenniferweiner) September 17, 2015
Christie calls his home state legislature "a crazy liberal legislature"... #GOPDebate— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) September 17, 2015
The candidates on Iran...
I will rip the Iran deal to shreds, feed the shreds to a stray cat, put the stray cat in a bag, and throw the bag in a river.— Josh Greenman (@joshgreenman) September 17, 2015
Please, Huckabee, do NOT say "oven door." #GOPDebate— Jonathan Capehart (@CapehartJ) September 17, 2015
You don't even want to know what Khamenei thinks of Texas.— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) September 17, 2015
On all the sweating, or lack thereof:
Put a coaster under Ted Cruz or he'll leave a ring. #GOPDebate— Alex Baze (@bazecraze) September 17, 2015
"You've got more energy tonight, I like that," Trump jabbed Jeb Bush.
On Trump vs. Bush:
Whatever the substance, standing next to Trump no favor for Bush. Looks like the sitcom straight man frustrated by his annoying neighbor.— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) September 17, 2015
General debate malaise:
Bloodthirsty, factfree belligerence: Yayyy! Rand Paul's reasoned restraint: polite smattering.— Bill Maher (@billmaher) September 17, 2015
I see answering the question is not an option tonight. #GOPDebate— LZ Granderson (@Locs_n_Laughs) September 17, 2015
How about asking the one woman on the stage about Planned Parenthood— Bill Maher (@billmaher) September 17, 2015
Please talk about education. C'mon please elevate us #GOPDebate— Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) September 17, 2015
not one of these candidates will say what they would do on day 2 in the oval office #GOPDebate— andy levy (@andylevy) September 17, 2015
On what this debate needs:
I need Hillary to Kool-Aid Man this stage right now and lose her mind, this is insane. #GOPDebate— Michelle Collins (@michcoll) September 17, 2015