GOP Undercard Candidates Find Hillary Clinton a More Convenient Foe Than Each …

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Early GOP debate takeaways: No breakout undercard performers.

The 14 candidates vying for the Republican presidential nomination are set to take the debate stage again Wednesday, each seeking to distinguish themselves in a race that has much of the field clawing for a sense of relevance.The four Republican presidential candidates who aren’t in the top 10 in an average of national polls took the stage Wednesday ahead of the third prime-time GOP debate of the 2016 campaign.

Following a now templated format, the lowest-polling hopefuls will scrap in the so-called kids’ table or undercard debate in Boulder, Colo., airing at 6 p.m. Graham earned big cheers for his criticism of Democrats, declared President Obama “incompetent,” and generally seemed to be the only candidate in control, either talking over or joking with the moderators, and tossing out seemingly candid one-liners. But Graham didn’t just deliver lighthearted one-liners; he also seized every opportunity to offer hawkish talk about the military and terrorist threats – a notably heavy-handed approach given the night’s economic theme.

As Republicans debate, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton is wooing supporters in New Hampshire by describing the match-up as “a little scary” and saying she “feels sorry” for her would-be challengers. Graham’s second most searched moment was during his closing statement, when he repeated Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America great again” but said in response: “America is great.” Despite an hour of debating, the four candidates who poll in the low single-digits struggled to emerge from the crowd, rendering it unlikely any will be boosted by their performances as Carly Fiorina was in August.

Grahams also quipped that that only reason he has an iPhone is because he gave his number to fellow GOP contender Donald Trump, who in a spat gave out Graham’s number. Former technology executive Carly Fiorina performed so well in the undercard event at the first GOP debate that she rose enough in subsequent national polls to earn a place on the main stage at the next event.

When asked about inheriting a nearly $1 billion surplus and currently having a projected $1.6 billion deficit, Jindal pushed back against moderators, saying they were using an “old number.” He stressed that his budget was balanced and taxes had been cut, though Republicans in his state say otherwise. George Pataki, who reminded Jindal that he, too, had cut government. “You need a conservative who can deliver and that’s what I’ve done,” he said early in the debate.

After being swatted away by moderators on other questions, Pataki blurted at one point, “Let me try to get a word in edgewise.” Another time, Jindal said, “Y’all can clap,” as he tried in vain to entice the audience to respond to his tax plan. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was the star of the second-tier GOP debate Wednesday night, making jokes about how he’s not very smart and will do anything to win votes.

Asked why he is likely to support a Congressional budget deal, he answered, seemingly as a non-sequitur, “Let me tell you what is real: The threat to our homeland.” He said he would vote for the recently agreed-to budget deal between the White House and congressional GOP leaders, which staunch conservatives largely reject, solely because it increases funding to the Defense Department. Later, asked whether corporations that shelter profits overseas to avoid U.S. taxes “owe” anything to America, Graham again returned to national security: “The ones I’m most worried about are those in uniform — they need a commander in chief who knows what the hell they’re doing.” The moderators from the CNBC cable network asked Graham if his positions on climate change and immigration meant he should be on the Democratic debate stage. In terms of spending relative to the economy, government outlays have been hovering around 20 percent for the past 30 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In what may be a reminder of the candidates’ standing in the race, the question that generated the best lines of the night wasn’t about policy, but a “lighting round” ask about their top three smartphone apps. At the debate on Wednesday, Graham repeatedly bragged about his poor record. “I’m not a scientist and I’ve got the grades to prove it, but I’ve talked to the climatologists of the world and 90 percent of them are telling me that the greenhouse gas effect is real,” he said.

He also made a crack about his grasp of the English language. “Those who stay will have to learn our language to stay,” he said. “Because I don’t speak it well but look how far I’ve come.” Don’t look for that to bring Graham a surge in popularity or polling numbers, though. When the candidates in the JV debate were asked which apps they use the most, Graham brought up that time Donald Trump gave out the senator’s personal cell phone number.

Graham said Sanders “went to the Soviet Union on his honeymoon and never came back.” But Sanders didn’t choose the Soviet Union because he thought it’d be a romantic getaway. Jindal says during the early Republican presidential debate that Republicans should be willing to say they want to cut taxes in order to grow the economy.

Jindal’s jab comes as Santorum says he wants to reduce the size of government and the deficit, and adding a trillion dollars in tax cuts isn’t the way to do it. The flag pin first gained popularity with Richard Nixon, who wore it to show his opposition to Vietnam War protesters, and it became associated with his “silent majority,” Time magazine reports: It was during the culture wars of the late ’60s and early ’70s that the flag lapel pin truly took off and became the simultaneously uniting and divisive symbol that it is today.

Rick Santorum is defending his support for reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank, an unpopular position with some fiscal hardliners, such as the influential anti-tax group Club for Growth. That’s why we need to have a level playing field to compete with the rest of the world.” He argues that the immigration policy backed by his rival, South Carolina Sen. Santorum says workers need to be trained in the skills that are needed, adding “we don’t have the right match.” He advocates for more job training and better education. If you’re looking forward to finding out who “won” the GOP debate just minutes or hours after it ends on Wednesday night, you’d probably be better off waiting a few days instead.

Jindal says, “The government can’t wave a magic wand and make that happen.” He adds that government regulations already hurt job growth in many ways. A focus group led by GOP pollster Frank Luntz after the first Republican debate in August suggested that voters had soured on Donald Trump — a prediction not borne out in the business mogul’s poll numbers, which continued to rise sharply. Days later, though, scientific surveys showed a more quotidian outcome: While both candidates made a good impression, the debate, if anything, strengthened Clinton’s lead.

Pataki says it’s essential to end the “corrupt connection” between Washington and Wall Street, and says his record passing tax cuts through a Democratic legislature shows he can get it done. It’s possible for both of those reactions to be true, to some extent: Media coverage, which was largely favorable to Clinton, is at least as important as the candidate’s actual performance in guiding opinion. Respondents’ opinions on later polls are likely influenced by the media’s dominant narrative, especially if the poll includes people who didn’t watch the entire debate. Lindsey Graham piled on, saying President Barack Obama’s foreign policy needs to be completely replaced and Clinton should be the last person to do that.

Speaking near the debate site at the University of Colorado-Boulder, the Democratic presidential candidate joined family members of victims of mass shootings, including those impacted by the nearby Aurora and Columbine tragedies, and pressed his case. “In these beautiful mountains of Colorado, I am in search of a very elusive being. Asked if he’d rather see the government shut down, Jindal says that’s a “false choice.” He says the deal includes the promise of budget cuts down the road, but “tomorrow never seems to happen.” The bipartisan deal calls for approximately $112 billion in additional spending over two years, with about $80 billion offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. Immediately upon entering Walnut Brewery in downtown Boulder, where CNN hosted a pre-debate party for GOP officials and the media, Graham turned his sights on the bar.

Along with CNN host Dana Bash, Graham proceeded to pour glasses of liquor and beer to excited customers who rushed forward at the chance to be served by a presidential candidate. He and Carson wrote a joint letter to CNBC threatening to boycott the debate unless the network limited it to two hours and allowed candidates to make opening and closing statements.

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