The 2016 primaries are in full momentum following months of build-up, officially kicking off on Thursday night in prime-time as the ten leading Republican candidates squared off for the first time.
The 10 highest-polling candidates in the Republican 2016 presidential field took the stage tonight at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, for the first debate of the election.The candidates participating in the forum were: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, businessman Donald Trump and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
The candidates addressed a number of policy issues such as the Iran deal, illegal immigration and the economy, which remains one of the most important issues among American voters.
Here’s what the 10 GOP presidential candidates had to say on the issues:
Paul: “ISIS rides around in a billion dollars worth of U.S. Humvees … We didn’t create ISIS—ISIS created themselves, but we will stop them, and one of the ways we stop them is by not funding them, and not arming them.”
Cruz: “We need a commander-in-chief that speaks the truth. We will not defeat radical Islamic terrorism so long as we have a president unwilling the utter the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ … If you join ISIS, if you wage jihad on America, then you are signing your death warrant.”
Kasich: “I had an opportunity to bring resources [from Medicaid] back to Ohio to do what? To treat the mentally ill. Ten thousand of them sit in our prisons. It costs $22,500 a year to keep them in prison. I’d rather get them their medication so they can lead a decent life. Secondly, we are rehabbing the drug addicted. Eighty percent of the people in our prisons have addictions or problems. We now treat them in the prisons, release them in the community and the recidivism rate is 10 percent and everybody across this country knows that the tsunami of drugs is threatening their very families.”
Bush: “I believe the people coming here illegally have no other option. They want to provide for their family, but we need to control our border. … There’s much to do, and I think rather than talking about this as a wedge issue … the next president will fix this once and for all so we can turn this into a driver for high-sustained economic growth. … There should be a path to earned legal status for those who are here, not amnesty.”
Trump: “We need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly. And I don’t mind having a big, beautiful door in that wall so that people to come into this country legally.”
Rubio: “This is the most generous country in the world when it comes to immigration. There are a million people a year who legally immigrate to the United States, and people feel like we’re being taken advantage of. … Let me tell you who never gets talked about in these debates—the people that call my office who have been waiting for 15 years to come to the United States, and they’ve paid their fees, and they’ve hired a lawyer and they can’t get in. They’re wondering if they should come illegally.”