Fox Business News had another great debate last night, the first of 2016. The undercard debate featured businesswoman Carly Fiorina, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee. Sen. Rand Paul was not there. He and Fiorina should probably replace Gov. John Kasich, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Gov. Chris Christie for the next main stage debate as they add far more than the sum of their parts to the discussions, and their absence was not to the GOP’s benefit. But the main stage debate was also interesting. Here are some of the takeaways from the debate that also featured Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush.
Cruz Comes On Strong
One of the things that made the debate enjoyable is that, unlike some previous debates, the first 14 questions were not about Donald Trump. Cruz, who seemed to take the most fire from his opponents, was given two tough questions early on. One was aboutThe New York Times‘ hit on him for failing to disclose a loan he took out for his Senate race. He handled it deftly. First he made some effective jabs against the Times‘ overt dislike of him, including “You know the nice thing about the mainstream media, they don’t hide their views.” He joked about some of the hysterical language they’ve used to describe him. And then he explained his loan fully:
We took a loan against our assets to invest it in that campaign to defend ourselves against those attacks. And the entire New York Times attack — is that I disclosed that loan on one filing with the United States Senate, that was a public filing. But it was not on a second filing with FDIC and yes, I made a paperwork error disclosing it on one piece of paper instead of the other. But if that’s the best The New York Times has got, they better go back to the well.
Then came an even tougher question, on whether he’s even eligible to run for president, on account that his American mother gave birth to him in Canada. Many people have acted outraged that the question could even be asked. But Cruz had a good balance between mocking Trump for his turn to birtherism and substantively answering the concerns. Here are some excerpts from his answer, which was punctuated with audience laughter and applause:
CRUZ: Well, Neil, I’m glad we’re focusing on the important topics of the evening.
You know, back in September, my friend Donald said that he had had his lawyers look at this from every which way, and there was no issue there. There was nothing to this birther issue.
Now, since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed.
But the poll numbers have.
Oh no, he di-int! It was effective. He explained his take on longstanding U.S. law that children of U.S. citizens born abroad are natural-born citizens, including George Romney and John McCain, two other men who ran for president.
He also noted that under some birther theories, which require both parents be born on U.S. soil, Donald Trump would be disqualified.
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