Latinos Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio Show They’re Contenders In GOP Race

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

18 million viewers tuned into latest GOP 2016 debate, making it third-most watched debate in history: ratings data.

“We have to be much tougher, we have to be much stronger than we have been. The five Republican debates this year have all garnered strong ratings, including two — on Fox News on Aug. 6 and CNN on Sept. 16 — that set records. An hour and a half into the fifth debate of the 2016 Republican presidential primary, America — or at least that very small sliver of America that really cares about policy differences between presidential candidates — got the fight it had been anticipating for months: Ted Cruz taking on Marco Rubio on immigration.

Longshot presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Wednesday took a victory lap just hours after the latest GOP 2016 presidential debate, in which he frequently and furiously tangled with front-runner Donald Trump. “I did think the debate was great. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio clashed sharply over national security and immigration in Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate, thrusting their evolving feud to the forefront of the GOP race. We got to talk about substantive issues,” the former Florida governor said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It was a commander-in-chief debate.” “I don’t know if the front-runner candidate fared that well in that kind of context,” Bush, who has polled nationally in the low single-digits said, again leveling an attack he used frequently Tuesday night. “His policies, what he’s advocated, just won’t do it.

Thirteen Republican presidential candidates are participating in the fifth set of Republican presidential debates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Atlanta-based CNN drew 18 million viewers Tuesday night for the latest Republican debate, the second best ratings ever for CNN behind only the Republican debate in September (23.1 million.) Cruz and Rubio are arguably the two most serious candidates in the field — which is to say, of the candidates who actually have policy arguments during presidential debates, they’re the two doing best in the polls. And while they agree with each other on many issues, and the distinctions between them on others (like intervention in Syria) are nuanced, immigration is the issue where Rubio’s record distinguishes him from Cruz and from a lot of Republican primary voters. Nevertheless, Bush repeatedly went after Trump’s proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S., tangling with the mogul on several occasions and offering viewers an exciting reprieve from the mostly dull debate. “I won’t get my information from the shows. He appeared more comfortable than in previous debates in taking on Trump, though it’s unclear whether his stronger showing will change the trajectory of his sluggish campaign.

Rubio’s immigration record is a legitimate weak spot for him with conservatives, and simply by picking the fight and staying focused, unlike other candidates who’ve tried similar attacks, Cruz “won” the exchange. Cruz said that “nearly 100 percent” of phone numbers can be checked for terror ties under the new program, compared with “20 percent to 30 percent” under earlier Patriot Act provisions. They knew exactly what was going on. “When you had the World Trade Center go, people were put into planes that were friends, family, girlfriends they were put on planes primarily to Saudi Arabia, and they knew what was going on.

The prime-time debate was the first for Republicans since the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, which heightened fears of terrorism in the United States. But underneath the argument about Marco Rubio and his support for “amnesty” — the one most viewers saw and will remember — was an argument about Ted Cruz’s immigration position and whether he also supports some kind of legalization. Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina said that any time specific numbers are discussed a question emerges as to whether it’s classified or open source. In August, Trump had said he received his military and foreign policy advice by watching Sunday morning political talk shows. “Jeb Bush had a tough night at the debate. The attacks have ignited a political debate about President Barack Obama’s campaign to defeat the Islamic State in the Middle East and the nation’s security posture in preventing attacks in the U.S.

Frankly, that will make people think because they may not care much about their lives but they do care, believe it or not, about their families lives,” he added. But it’s going to continue to be relevant to many establishment Republicans and business types — especially if Cruz ends up winning the nomination and gets the chance to run to the center. We’ve got to search all sorts of media outlets to see if anyone had reported that number independently.” Burr said he’d be “a lot more worried” if Cruz were actually a member of the Intelligence Committee, which Rubio is.

Senator Rand Paul said that killing families of Isis members would require withdrawing from the Geneva Conventions and that closing the internet would end the First Amendment. If he should lose the nomination, some fear he would make such a move, possibly preventing the nominee from defeating the Democratic challenger. “I am totally committed to the Republican Party,” Trump said.

Paul is they don’t realize we’re already in World War III,” Christie said Wednesday on CBS’ “This Morning.” “The fact is that this is a new world war and one that won’t look like the last two. And this is one where radical Islamic jihadists every day are trying to kill Americans and disrupt and destroy our way of life.” On Tuesday night, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul attacked Christie for his aggressive rhetoric, saying that, “I think if you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate.” “The rules of engagement would be very clear,” he said. “If they go into our no-fly zone after we have warned them to stay out, then they would be shot down. Marco Rubio was one of the eight original co-sponsors of the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill passed by the Senate, also known as the Gang of Eight.

Rubio was a co-author of comprehensive Senate legislation in 2013 that would have created that pathway, but he has since said the nation’s immigration crisis must be addressed in piecemeal fashion, with legalization only an option after the U.S. That group included four Democrats (including Republican bête noire and likely next Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer) and three other Republicans (including known immigration apostates John McCain and Lindsey Graham). The Texas senator is on the rise, particularly in Iowa’s kickoff caucuses, and is casting himself as a more electable alternative to Trump, while Rubio is seeking to straddle the divide between his party’s establishment and more conservative wings.

By doing that, he’d created an easy opening for another would-be presidential candidate — say, another freshman senator with a Hispanic surname who came to office in a Tea Party surge — to distinguish himself as the true conservative alternative. He called for a no-fly zone over Syria and vowed to shoot down a Russian plane if it were to violate that space. “Not only would I be prepared to do it, I would do it,” he said. “We would shoot down the planes of Russian pilots if, in fact, they were stupid enough to think that this president was the same feckless weakling that the president we have in the Oval Office is right now.” The debate’s focus on national security was a detriment for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has struggled on complex international matters. In 2013 we learned that the American people don’t trust the federal government to enforce immigration laws and we will not be able to do anything on immigration until we prove to the American people that immigration is under control. Rubio, however, has taken the conversion narrative one step further — he’s made it the central principle of his current immigration proposal, which is essentially, Let’s do the things that all Republicans agree on, and then we can deal with the rest after that.

This looks a lot like the 2013 Senate bill in terms of what Rubio wants to do: more border agents and fencing, mandatory employment verification for all workers, and “modernizing” the legal immigration system (including an expansion of high-skilled immigration). But what matters to many conservatives is what Bash pushed Rubio on in a follow-up question: whether his policy means unauthorized immigrants would ultimately get legalized. You can’t begin that process until you prove to people not just pass a law that says you will bring illegal immigration you should control you have to prove it is working. And one big reason people have been impressed by his debate performance, frankly, is that he’s managed to fend off attacks from other candidates on immigration even though everyone in the party knows it’s his weak spot.

This is what Rubio tried to do when Bash asked the question last night — he turned the subject to his current position, which he could defend on the merits. Cruz, Rubio, CNN moderators, and Carly Fiorina (somehow) all started talking over each other, and only a very dedicated listener would have caught the flow of conversation. His response sure sounded categorical: “I have never supported legalization and do not intend to support legalization.” But Team Rubio — and others who believe that Cruz is deliberately keeping his options open — seized on that “do not intend” as something other than an absolute no. The reason this theory matters is that it’s a way for Republicans who support legalization (or immigration reform more broadly) to reconcile themselves to the idea of a Cruz candidacy, as he increasingly looks like the less-crazy alternative to Donald Trump.

It reinforces the idea that because Ted Cruz is a smart man — as everyone agrees he is — he is just pretending to be a hardcore conservative to sneak past the base in the primaries.

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