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Lewyn Addresses America

A little politics, a little urbanism- I also blog 100 percent on urbanism at https://www.planetizen.com/user/63 and http://www.cnu.org/blog/194

Fun facts about election 2016:
1. Right now it looks like Trump actually got at least a million fewer votes than Mitt Romney. But Clinton got about six million fewer votes than Obama in 2012. Democrats voted with their feet.
2. Despite Democrats’ hopes that the “women’s vote” would help them, the gender gap (the difference between women’s R vote and men’s) was only slightly larger this year according to exit polls: 11 points this year (53 pct Trump men, 42 women), 8 in 2012 (52 Romney for men, 44 for women).
3. Democrats thought the Latino vote would make up for lost working-class whites. But Trump actually did better among Latinos than Romney, though not by a statistically significant margin (29 pct vs 27 pct).
4. Late deciders favored Trump by a 49-39 margin (I assume the other 12 percent didn’t answer or voted third party). People who decided before October were 51-46 Clinton.
5. Only 2 percent of people had favorable opinions of both candidates. Among people who disliked both, Trump won 49-29 (with lots of third party votes etc).

The polls are all over the lot, ranging from Trump by 5 to Clinton by 5.  The RCP (Real Clear Politics) average is Clinton by 2.  I am inclined to go with this; it seems to me that the Trump bubble of last week has run its course.  Even though the FBI news of yesterday (kinda sorta clearing Clinton) comes too late to do her much good, it does deprive Trump of one last chance for momentum.   On the other hand, at least some polls I have seen suggest that Republicans are basically more enthused about this election than Democrats, so I don’t think Clinton will rise to her pre-Halloween heights.   Since third party candidates usually lose steam over time, I am guessing that both Johnson and Stein do a bit worse than the polls.  So I am guessing something like:  Clinton 49 Trump 47 Johnson 4 Stein 1

 

This is close enough for a long night, and it is possible (though unlikely) that Trump could win in the Electoral College with this margin. (I think Trump clearly has an electoral college advantage;

 

Realclearpolitics.com says that there are 203 votes solid/leaning Clinton and 164 solid/leaning Trump (which sounds about right).   So I’m just going to focus on the tossups.

 

Maine- Maine votes partially by congressional district, instead of giving all four votes to the winner.  RCP says the 2nd District of Maine is a tossup.  The only recent poll shows Clinton very slightly ahead so I’ll give it to her, as well as the state as a whole.

New Hampshire- Friday I would have said Trump wins but most recent polls say Clinton.  My guess is that this may be a state where the FBI’s news puts her over the top .

Pennsylvania- Not one poll taken after Nov. 1 shows Trump leading.  Clinton

Virginia- Ditto – Clinton.

North Carolina- I think the decline of Trumpmentum gives Clinton a shot.  But I find it hard to imagine Dems winning if the national popular vote is as close as I think it will be, so reluctantly I call it for Trump (179 Trump)

Georgia- Closer than I expected but even so Trump is in the lead here. I think Trump.  If Clinton wins here, then we will know that the most pro-Clinton polls are right. (195 Trump)

Florida- The post Nov 1 polls lean ever so slightly towards Clinton, and big Hispanic turnout in early voting might put here over the top.  But Florida is usually about 1 pt more Republican than the nation as a whole, so I am guessing Trump by a 2000-like margin (224 Trump)

If this is NOT close in either direction it is a very big deal.

Ohio- The polls here range from Trump by 7 to Clinton by 1.  Clinton would have to win big nationally to win here.  So Trump (242 Trump)

Iowa- polls pretty similar to Ohjo and so the result will be too-Trump (248 Trump)

Michigan- A poll here and there shows a tie but not one shows Trump ahead.   So I call Michigan (and nearby Wisconsin too) for Clinton.  If he wins here he will be winning so big nationally that he won’t need it.

Colorado- See Michigan.

Nevada- A week ago I would have said Trump.  But most recent polls show a tie and lots of buzz about how early voting favors Clinton.  So I say Clinton with great reluctance.

New Mexico- Solid Dem, not sure why RCP calls this a tossup. Clinton.

Arizona- No polls from this week so hard to call.  But last week’s polls range from a 1 pt Clinton lead to a solid Trump lead, so I’ll say Trump (259 Trump)

Grand total: Clinton by a whisker (279-259).  The West will put her over the top!

States I am least certain about: Fla and NC- I changed my mind about both as I was typing.  If I am wrong, Clinton is at 323.  But I think she’d have to gain another point or two of nat’l popular vote to get there.

 

Senate- This looks like a good Republican year; the Trumpmentum of last week meant that there is not going to be the top to bottom Dem sweep that they needed to get the Senate.  RCP says with no tossups its 46-46 (including one D pickup, Illinois) and most of the 8 tossups are in red states.  So going state by state (again just the tossups)

 

Pa- Here you have two week candidates, incumbent Republican Pat Toomey (too conservative for the state) and Dem machine favorite Katie McGinty (who I think ran for something a few years ago and did quite poorly in the Dem primary).  The most recent polls are mostly almost a week old (the last one was a five day tracking poll that ended Friday).  The range has been from Toomey.  My guess is Clinton coattails pull her in. (D pickup)

New Hampshire-  Sen. Ayotte seems to have consistenly run ahead of Trump and so should be reelected.  The most recent polls are divided but RCP shows her with a Clinton-like lead (R hold) Having said that, if this turns out to be a bigger than expected Clinton victory, the Republicans could lose this one and/or NC

Florida- Not one poll has shown Sen, Rubio behind (R hold)

North Carolina- Polls are divided, as in the Presidential race.  But Sen. Burr seems to be running slightly ahead of Trump,which should be enough to put him over the top (R hold)

Indiana- A month ago, Evan Bayh was leading the race to take this open seat.  But polls show a Democratic meltown here, as his Republican challenger has established name recognition and hammered away at Bayh’s years as a lobbyist (R hold)

Missouri- Polls show a close race but Trump is winning big here and his coattails should save Sen. Roy Blunt (R hold)

Wisconsin- Two weeks ago I would have called this a Dem pickup.  But the November polls show a tie or even a lead for Sen. Ron Johnson (R hold).

Nevada- Harry Reid’s seat.  My guess is that this goes the way the Presidential election goes, so if Clinton wins here, Catherine Cortez Masto holds the seat for Dems.  Also, the most recent polls lean in her direction; this is one of the few close seats where the Democrat has gained ground over the past month (D hold)

Bottom line: the only seats changing partisan hands this year will be Illinois and Pennsylvania (so that’s a 52-48 Republican Senate).

Seats I am least sure about: Wisconsin, NC, NH, Pa.  I could easily see 53-47 R or 51-49 D.

 

House- Generic ballot news grim for Dems.  Just saw a poll showing Republicans ahead for first time.  My guess is Dems only gain a third of the RCP tossups, which puts them at 197 (D + 9).

 

Governors- GOP picks up WV, NH, Vermont.  Dems pick up Indiana, NC.

R + 1 (32-17 R).

I was on an airplane during the second debate so I couldn’t see it, but I thought I would read the transcript and add my thoughts (IN CAPS).  I was pretty horrified by Trump’s remarks about special prosecutors- really one of the most disturbing things he said this campaign.  Otherwise they were both adequate.

COOPER: Thank you very much for being here. We’re going to begin with a question from one of the members in our town hall. Each of you will have two minutes to respond to this question. Secretary Clinton, you won the coin toss, so you’ll go first. Our first question comes from Patrice Brock. Patrice?

QUESTION: Thank you, and good evening. The last debate could have been rated as MA, mature audiences, per TV parental guidelines. Knowing that educators assign viewing the presidential debates as students’ homework, do you feel you’re modeling appropriate and positive behavior for today’s youth?

CLINTON: Well, thank you. Are you a teacher? Yes, I think that that’s a very good question, because I’ve heard from lots of teachers and parents about some of their concerns about some of the things that are being said and done in this campaign.

And I think it is very important for us to make clear to our children that our country really is great because we’re good. And we are going to respect one another, lift each other up. We are going to be looking for ways to celebrate our diversity, and we are going to try to reach out to every boy and girl, as well as every adult, to bring them in to working on behalf of our country.

I have a very positive and optimistic view about what we can do together. That’s why the slogan of my campaign is “Stronger Together,” because I think if we work together, if we overcome the divisiveness that sometimes sets Americans against one another, and instead we make some big goals — and I’ve set forth some big goals, getting the economy to work for everyone, not just those at the top, making sure that we have the best education system from preschool through college and making it affordable, and so much else.

If we set those goals and we go together to try to achieve them, there’s nothing in my opinion that America can’t do. So that’s why I hope that we will come together in this campaign. Obviously, I’m hoping to earn your vote, I’m hoping to be elected in November, and I can promise you, I will work with every American.

I want to be the president for all Americans, regardless of your political beliefs, where you come from, what you look like, your religion. I want us to heal our country and bring it together because that’s, I think, the best way for us to get the future that our children and our grandchildren deserve.

CLINTON AT HER BEST- RESPECTABLE BUT OH SO SLEEP INDUCING

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, thank you. Mr. Trump, you have two minutes.

TRUMP: Well, I actually agree with that. I agree with everything she said. I began this campaign because I was so tired of seeing such foolish things happen to our country. This is a great country. This is a great land. I’ve gotten to know the people of the country over the last year-and-a-half that I’ve been doing this as a politician. I cannot believe I’m saying that about myself, but I guess I have been a politician.

GOOD

TRUMP: And my whole concept was to make America great again. When I watch the deals being made, when I watch what’s happening with some horrible things like Obamacare, where your health insurance and health care is going up by numbers that are astronomical, 68 percent, 59 percent, 71 percent,

PRETTY SURE THIS IS AN EXAGGERATION

when I look at the Iran deal and how bad a deal it is for us, it’s a one-sided transaction where we’re giving back $150 billion to a terrorist state, really, the number one terror state, we’ve made them a strong country from really a very weak country just three years ago.

IF THEY WERE SO WEAK HOW COME REPUBLICANS WERE SO SCARED OF THEM? BUT HAVING SAID THAT I CAN’T REALLY EXPECT ANY REPUBLICANS TO SAY ANYTHING POSITIVE ABOUT THE IRAN DEAL

When I look at all of the things that I see and all of the potential that our country has, we have such tremendous potential, whether it’s in business and trade, where we’re doing so badly. Last year, we had almost $800 billion trade deficit. In other words, trading with other countries. We had an $800 billion deficit. It’s hard to believe. Inconceivable.

MR TRUMP, YOU’RE NO MILTON FRIEDMAN.

You say who’s making these deals? We’re going the make great deals. We’re going to have a strong border. We’re going to bring back law and order. Just today, policemen was shot, two killed. And this is happening on a weekly basis. We have to bring back respect to law enforcement. At the same time, we have to take care of people on all sides. We need justice.

But I want to do things that haven’t been done, including fixing and making our inner cities better for the African-American citizens that are so great, and for the Latinos, Hispanics, and I look forward to doing it. It’s called make America great again.

COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump. The question from Patrice was about are you both modeling positive and appropriate behavior for today’s youth? We received a lot of questions online, Mr. Trump, about the tape that was released on Friday, as you can imagine. You called what you said locker room banter. You described kissing women without consent, grabbing their genitals. That is sexual assault. You bragged that you have sexually assaulted women. Do you understand that?

TRUMP: No, I didn’t say that at all. I don’t think you understood what was — this was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I apologize to my family. I apologize to the American people. Certainly I’m not proud of it. But this is locker room talk.

You know, when we have a world where you have ISIS chopping off heads, where you have — and, frankly, drowning people in steel cages, where you have wars and horrible, horrible sights all over, where you have so many bad things happening, this is like medieval times. We haven’t seen anything like this, the carnage all over the world.

And they look and they see. Can you imagine the people that are, frankly, doing so well against us with ISIS? And they look at our country and they see what’s going on.

Yes, I’m very embarrassed by it. I hate it. But it’s locker room talk, and it’s one of those things.

I AM NOT SURE WHAT “ONE OF THOSE THINGS” MEANS. I THINK HE’S TRYING TO SAY “WHAT I DID WAS BAD, BUT TODAY’S ISSUES ARE MORE IMPORTANT.”  BUT I JUST WISH HE WOULD MAKE THE POINT A BIT MORE COHERENTLY

I will knock the hell out of ISIS. We’re going to defeat ISIS. ISIS happened a number of years ago in a vacuum that was left because of bad judgment. And I will tell you, I will take care of ISIS.

COOPER: So, Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: And we should get on to much more important things and much bigger things.

COOPER: Just for the record, though, are you saying that what you said on that bus 11 years ago that you did not actually kiss women without consent or grope women without consent?

TRUMP: I have great respect for women. Nobody has more respect for women than I do.

THAT’S NOT REALLY A YES OR NO IS IT?

COOPER: So, for the record, you’re saying you never did that?

TRUMP: I’ve said things that, frankly, you hear these things I said. And I was embarrassed by it. But I have tremendous respect for women.

COOPER: Have you ever done those things?

TRUMP: And women have respect for me. And I will tell you: No, I have not. And I will tell you that I’m going to make our country safe. We’re going to have borders in our country, which we don’t have now. People are pouring into our country, and they’re coming in from the Middle East and other places.

We’re going to make America safe again. We’re going to make America great again, but we’re going to make America safe again. And we’re going to make America wealthy again, because if you don’t do that, it just — it sounds harsh to say, but we have to build up the wealth of our nation.

 

COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Right now, other nations are taking our jobs and they’re taking our wealth.

COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: And that’s what I want to talk about.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, do you want to respond?

CLINTON: Well, like everyone else, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking over the last 48 hours about what we heard and saw. You know, with prior Republican nominees for president, I disagreed with them on politics, policies, principles, but I never questioned their fitness to serve.

Donald Trump is different. I said starting back in June that he was not fit to be president and commander-in-chief. And many Republicans and independents have said the same thing. What we all saw and heard on Friday was Donald talking about women, what he thinks about women, what he does to women. And he has said that the video doesn’t represent who he is.

But I think it’s clear to anyone who heard it that it represents exactly who he is. Because we’ve seen this throughout the campaign. We have seen him insult women. We’ve seen him rate women on their appearance, ranking them from one to ten. We’ve seen him embarrass women on TV and on Twitter. We saw him after the first debate spend nearly a week denigrating a former Miss Universe in the harshest, most personal terms.

So, yes, this is who Donald Trump is. But it’s not only women, and it’s not only this video that raises questions about his fitness to be our president, because he has also targeted immigrants, African- Americans, Latinos, people with disabilities, POWs, Muslims, and so many others.

WELL HE INSULTS ALL AMERICANS EQUALLY.  THAT SEEMS FAIR.

So this is who Donald Trump is. And the question for us, the question our country must answer is that this is not who we are. That’s why — to go back to your question — I want to send a message — we all should — to every boy and girl and, indeed, to the entire world that America already is great, but we are great because we are good, and we will respect one another, and we will work with one another, and we will celebrate our diversity.

CLINTON: These are very important values to me, because this is the America that I know and love. And I can pledge to you tonight that this is the America that I will serve if I’m so fortunate enough to become your president.

RADDATZ: And we want to get to some questions from online…

TRUMP: Am I allowed to respond to that? I assume I am.

RADDATZ: Yes, you can respond to that.

TRUMP: It’s just words, folks. It’s just words.

HE HAS THE BEST WORDS

Those words, I’ve been hearing them for many years. I heard them when they were running for the Senate in New York, where Hillary was going to bring back jobs to upstate New York and she failed.

I’ve heard them where Hillary is constantly talking about the inner cities of our country, which are a disaster education-wise, jobwise, safety-wise, in every way possible. I’m going to help the African-Americans. I’m going to help the Latinos, Hispanics. I am going to help the inner cities.

She’s done a terrible job for the African-Americans. She wants their vote, and she does nothing, and then she comes back four years later. We saw that firsthand when she was United States senator. She campaigned where the primary part of her campaign…

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump — I want to get to audience questions and online questions.

TRUMP: So, she’s allowed to do that, but I’m not allowed to respond?

RADDATZ: You’re going to have — you’re going to get to respond right now.

TRUMP: Sounds fair.

RADDATZ: This tape is generating intense interest. In just 48 hours, it’s become the single most talked about story of the entire 2016 election on Facebook, with millions and millions of people discussing it on the social network. As we said a moment ago, we do want to bring in questions from voters around country via social media, and our first stays on this topic. Jeff from Ohio asks on Facebook, “Trump says the campaign has changed him. When did that happen?” So, Mr. Trump, let me add to that. When you walked off that bus at age 59, were you a different man or did that behavior continue until just recently? And you have two minutes for this.

TRUMP: It was locker room talk, as I told you. That was locker room talk. I’m not proud of it. I am a person who has great respect for people, for my family, for the people of this country. And certainly, I’m not proud of it. But that was something that happened.

IT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE HE’S EVEN TRYING TO CLAIM HE CHANGED

If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine are words, and his was action. His was what he’s done to women. There’s never been anybody in the history politics in this nation that’s been so abusive to women. So you can say any way you want to say it, but Bill Clinton was abusive to women.

TRUMP WANTS TO GO THERE?  IF IT WEREN’T FOR ALL THE CONFIDENTALITY AGREEMENTS THAT HE MADE HIS EX WIVES SIGN, I’M GUESSING THERE’D BE SOME PRETTY JUICY STORIES ABOUT TRUMP

Hillary Clinton attacked those same women and attacked them viciously. Four of them here tonight. One of the women, who is a wonderful woman, at 12 years old, was raped at 12. Her client she represented got him off, and she’s seen laughing on two separate occasions, laughing at the girl who was raped. Kathy Shelton, that young woman is here with us tonight.

IF YOU DON’T LISTEN CAREFULLY HE MAKES IT SOUND LIKE CLINTON RAPED KATHY SHELTON.  ACTUALLY IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BILL- SHE REPRESENTED A MAN ACCUSED OF RAPING KATHY SHELTON. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/10/09/why-donald-trump-just-attacked-hillary-clinton-for-defending-an-accused-child-rapist-explained/

 

So don’t tell me about words. I am absolutely — I apologize for those words. But it is things that people say. But what President Clinton did, he was impeached, he lost his license to practice law. He had to pay an $850,000 fine to one of the women. Paula Jones, who’s also here tonight.

NOT FOR ANYTHING AS BAD AS WHAT TRUMP TALKED ABOUT

And I will tell you that when Hillary brings up a point like that and she talks about words that I said 11 years ago, I think it’s disgraceful, and I think she should be ashamed of herself, if you want to know the truth.

(APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Can we please hold the applause? Secretary Clinton, you have two minutes.

CLINTON: Well, first, let me start by saying that so much of what he’s just said is not right, but he gets to run his campaign any way he chooses. He gets to decide what he wants to talk about. Instead of answering people’s questions, talking about our agenda, laying out the plans that we have that we think can make a better life and a better country, that’s his choice.

When I hear something like that, I am reminded of what my friend, Michelle Obama, advised us all: When they go low, you go high.

(APPLAUSE) And, look, if this were just about one video, maybe what he’s saying tonight would be understandable, but everyone can draw their own conclusions at this point about whether or not the man in the video or the man on the stage respects women. But he never apologizes for anything to anyone.

CLINTON: He never apologized to Mr. and Mrs. Khan, the Gold Star family whose son, Captain Khan, died in the line of duty in Iraq. And Donald insulted and attacked them for weeks over their religion.

He never apologized to the distinguished federal judge who was born in Indiana, but Donald said he couldn’t be trusted to be a judge because his parents were, quote, “Mexican.”

He never apologized to the reporter that he mimicked and mocked on national television and our children were watching. And he never apologized for the racist lie that President Obama was not born in the United States of America. He owes the president an apology, he owes our country an apology, and he needs to take responsibility for his actions and his words.

TRUMP’S GREATEST HITS

TRUMP: Well, you owe the president an apology, because as you know very well, your campaign, Sidney Blumenthal — he’s another real winner that you have — and he’s the one that got this started, along with your campaign manager, and they were on television just two weeks ago, she was, saying exactly that. So you really owe him an apology. You’re the one that sent the pictures around your campaign, sent the pictures around with President Obama in a certain garb. That was long before I was ever involved, so you actually owe an apology.

SOME CAMPAIGN STAFFERS SPREAD SOME RUMORS- NOT REALLY COMPARABLE TO THE BIRTHER CAMPAIGN.

Number two, Michelle Obama. I’ve gotten to see the commercials that they did on you. And I’ve gotten to see some of the most vicious commercials I’ve ever seen of Michelle Obama talking about you, Hillary.

So, you talk about friend? Go back and take a look at those commercials, a race where you lost fair and square, unlike the Bernie Sanders race, where you won, but not fair and square, in my opinion. And all you have to do is take a look at WikiLeaks and just see what they say about Bernie Sanders and see what Deborah Wasserman Schultz had in mind, because Bernie Sanders, between super-delegates and Deborah Wasserman Schultz, he never had a chance. And I was so surprised to see him sign on with the devil.

THE TITANIC DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ, WHO CAN SWAY MILLIONS OF VOTES (SARCASM)

But when you talk about apology, I think the one that you should really be apologizing for and the thing that you should be apologizing for are the 33,000 e-mails that you deleted, and that you acid washed, and then the two boxes of e-mails and other things last week that were taken from an office and are now missing.

BETTER PEOPLE THAN HILLARY CLINTON HAVE SCRUBBED THEIR EMAIL FILES (JUST GOOGLE GEORGE BUSH EMAILS OR ROMNEY EMAILS).

And I’ll tell you what. I didn’t think I’d say this, but I’m going to say it, and I hate to say it. But if I win, I am going to instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, because there has never been so many lies, so much deception. There has never been anything like it, and we’re going to have a special prosecutor.

THIS IS REALLY TRUMP’S NADIR.  CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF OPPONENTS SEEMS PRETTY PUTINESQUE TO ME.  THIS SORT OF BEHAVIOR IS MUCH MORE PROBLEMATIC TO ME THAN THE ODD SEXIST REMARK.  BUT UNFORTUNATELY MOST AMERICANS PROBABLY THINK ITS JUST FINE.

When I speak, I go out and speak, the people of this country are furious. In my opinion, the people that have been long-term workers at the FBI are furious. There has never been anything like this, where e-mails — and you get a subpoena, you get a subpoena, and after getting the subpoena, you delete 33,000 e-mails, and then you acid wash them or bleach them, as you would say, very expensive process.

So we’re going to get a special prosecutor, and we’re going to look into it, because you know what? People have been — their lives have been destroyed for doing one-fifth of what you’ve done. And it’s a disgrace. And honestly, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton, I want to follow up on that.

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: I’m going to let you talk about e-mails.

CLINTON: … because everything he just said is absolutely false, but I’m not surprised.

TRUMP: Oh, really?

CLINTON: In the first debate…

(LAUGHTER)

RADDATZ: And really, the audience needs to calm down here.

CLINTON: … I told people that it would be impossible to be fact-checking Donald all the time. I’d never get to talk about anything I want to do and how we’re going to really make lives better for people.

So, once again, go to HillaryClinton.com. We have literally Trump — you can fact check him in real time. Last time at the first debate, we had millions of people fact checking, so I expect we’ll have millions more fact checking, because, you know, it is — it’s just awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country.

TRUMP: Because you’d be in jail.

(APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton…

COOPER: We want to remind the audience to please not talk out loud. Please do not applaud. You’re just wasting time.

RADDATZ: And, Secretary Clinton, I do want to follow up on e- mails. You’ve said your handing of your e-mails was a mistake. You disagreed with FBI Director James Comey, calling your handling of classified information, quote, “extremely careless.” The FBI said that there were 110 classified e-mails that were exchanged, eight of which were top secret, and that it was possible hostile actors did gain access to those e-mails. You don’t call that extremely careless? CLINTON: Well, Martha, first, let me say — and I’ve said before, but I’ll repeat it, because I want everyone to hear it — that was a mistake, and I take responsibility for using a personal e-mail account. Obviously, if I were to do it over again, I would not. I’m not making any excuses. It was a mistake. And I am very sorry about that.

But I think it’s also important to point out where there are some misleading accusations from critics and others. After a year-long investigation, there is no evidence that anyone hacked the server I was using and there is no evidence that anyone can point to at all — anyone who says otherwise has no basis — that any classified material ended up in the wrong hands.

I take classified materials very seriously and always have. When I was on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I was privy to a lot of classified material. Obviously, as secretary of state, I had some of the most important secrets that we possess, such as going after bin Laden. So I am very committed to taking classified information seriously. And as I said, there is no evidence that any classified information ended up in the wrong hands

RADDATZ: OK, we’re going to move on.

TRUMP: And yet she didn’t know the word — the letter C on a document. Right? She didn’t even know what that word — what that letter meant.

You know, it’s amazing. I’m watching Hillary go over facts. And she’s going after fact after fact, and she’s lying again, because she said she — you know, what she did with the e-mail was fine. You think it was fine to delete 33,000 e-mails? I don’t think so.

She said the 33,000 e-mails had to do with her daughter’s wedding, number one, and a yoga class. Well, maybe we’ll give three or three or four or five or something. 33,000 e-mails deleted, and now she’s saying there wasn’t anything wrong.

And more importantly, that was after getting a subpoena. That wasn’t before. That was after. She got it from the United States Congress. And I’ll be honest, I am so disappointed in congressmen, including Republicans, for allowing this to happen.

Our Justice Department, where our husband goes on to the back of a airplane for 39 minutes, talks to the attorney general days before a ruling is going to be made on her case. But for you to say that there was nothing wrong with you deleting 39,000 e-mails, again, you should be ashamed of yourself. What you did — and this is after getting a subpoena from the United States Congress.

COOPER: We have to move on.

TRUMP: You did that. Wait a minute. One second.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, you can respond, and then we got to move on.

RADDATZ: We want to give the audience a chance.

TRUMP: If you did that in the private sector, you’d be put in jail, let alone after getting a subpoena from the United States Congress.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, you can respond. Then we have to move on to an audience question.

CLINTON: Look, it’s just not true. And so please, go to…

TRUMP: Oh, you didn’t delete them?

COOPER: Allow her to respond, please.

CLINTON: It was personal e-mails, not official.

TRUMP: Oh, 33,000? Yeah.

CLINTON: Not — well, we turned over 35,000, so…

TRUMP: Oh, yeah. What about the other 15,000?

GOOD HIT

COOPER: Please allow her to respond. She didn’t talk while you talked.

CLINTON: Yes, that’s true, I didn’t.

TRUMP: Because you have nothing to say.

CLINTON: I didn’t in the first debate, and I’m going to try not to in this debate, because I’d like to get to the questions that the people have brought here tonight to talk to us about.

CLINTON SOUNDS EVASIVE HERE

TRUMP: Get off this question.

CLINTON: OK, Donald. I know you’re into big diversion tonight, anything to avoid talking about your campaign and the way it’s exploding and the way Republicans are leaving you. But let’s at least focus…

TRUMP: Let’s see what happens…

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Allow her to respond.

CLINTON: … on some of the issues that people care about tonight. Let’s get to their questions.

COOPER: We have a question here from Ken Karpowicz. He has a question about health care. Ken?

TRUMP: I’d like to know, Anderson, why aren’t you bringing up the e-mails? I’d like to know. Why aren’t you bringing…

COOPER: We brought up the e-mails.

TRUMP: No, it hasn’t. It hasn’t. And it hasn’t been finished at all.

COOPER: Ken Karpowicz has a question.

TRUMP: It’s nice to — one on three.

QUESTION: Thank you. Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, it is not affordable. Premiums have gone up. Deductibles have gone up. Copays have gone up. Prescriptions have gone up. And the coverage has gone down. What will you do to bring the cost down and make coverage better?

COOPER: That first one goes to Secretary Clinton, because you started out the last one to the audience.

CLINTON: If he wants to start, he can start. No, go ahead, Donald.

TRUMP: No, I’m a gentlemen, Hillary. Go ahead.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Secretary Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I think Donald was about to say he’s going to solve it by repealing it and getting rid of the Affordable Care Act. And I’m going to fix it, because I agree with you. Premiums have gotten too high. Copays, deductibles, prescription drug costs, and I’ve laid out a series of actions that we can take to try to get those costs down.

But here’s what I don’t want people to forget when we’re talking about reining in the costs, which has to be the highest priority of the next president, when the Affordable Care Act passed, it wasn’t just that 20 million got insurance who didn’t have it before. But that in and of itself was a good thing. I meet these people all the time, and they tell me what a difference having that insurance meant to them and their families.

But everybody else, the 170 million of us who get health insurance through our employees got big benefits. Number one, insurance companies can’t deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Number two, no lifetime limits, which is a big deal if you have serious health problems.

Number three, women can’t be charged more than men for our health insurance, which is the way it used to be before the Affordable Care Act. Number four, if you’re under 26, and your parents have a policy, you can be on that policy until the age of 26, something that didn’t happen before.

So I want very much to save what works and is good about the Affordable Care Act. But we’ve got to get costs down. We’ve got to provide additional help to small businesses so that they can afford to provide health insurance. But if we repeal it, as Donald has proposed, and start over again, all of those benefits I just mentioned are lost to everybody, not just people who get their health insurance on the exchange. And then we would have to start all over again.

Right now, we are at 90 percent health insurance coverage. That’s the highest we’ve ever been in our country. COOPER: Secretary Clinton, your time is up.

CLINTON: So I want us to get to 100 percent, but get costs down and keep quality up.

COOPER: Mr. Trump, you have two minutes.

TRUMP: It is such a great question and it’s maybe the question I get almost more than anything else, outside of defense. Obamacare is a disaster. You know it. We all know it. It’s going up at numbers that nobody’s ever seen worldwide. Nobody’s ever seen numbers like this for health care.

It’s only getting worse. In ’17, it implodes by itself. Their method of fixing it is to go back and ask Congress for more money, more and more money. We have right now almost $20 trillion in debt.

Obamacare will never work. It’s very bad, very bad health insurance. Far too expensive. And not only expensive for the person that has it, unbelievably expensive for our country. It’s going to be one of the biggest line items very shortly.

We have to repeal it and replace it with something absolutely much less expensive and something that works, where your plan can actually be tailored. We have to get rid of the lines around the state, artificial lines, where we stop insurance companies from coming in and competing, because they want — and President Obama and whoever was working on it — they want to leave those lines, because that gives the insurance companies essentially monopolies. We want competition.

THERE ARE SOME SUBMARKETS WHERE THIS WOULD DO SOME GOOD (E.G. SHORT TERM HEALTH INSURANCE).  BUT BY AND LARGE ITS NONSENSE- THE PRIVATE INSURANCE MARKET WAS A MESS BEFORE OBAMACARE EVEN IN STATES WITH COMPETITION, FOR THE SIMPLE REASON THAT PRIVATE INSURANCE WILL ALWAYS BE HYPEREXPENSIVE WITHOUT THE BARGAINING POWER OF EMPLOYERS

You will have the finest health care plan there is. She wants to go to a single-payer plan, which would be a disaster, somewhat similar to Canada. And if you haven’t noticed the Canadians, when they need a big operation, when something happens, they come into the United States in many cases because their system is so slow. It’s catastrophic in certain ways.

But she wants to go to single payer, which means the government basically rules everything. Hillary Clinton has been after this for years. Obamacare was the first step. Obamacare is a total disaster. And not only are your rates going up by numbers that nobody’s ever believed, but your deductibles are going up, so that unless you get hit by a truck, you’re never going to be able to use it.

HE’S NO WORSE THAN ANY OTHER REPUBLICAN ON THIS STUFF

COOPER: Mr. Trump, your time…

TRUMP: It is a disastrous plan, and it has to be repealed and replaced.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, let me follow up with you. Your husband called Obamacare, quote, “the craziest thing in the world,” saying that small-business owners are getting killed as premiums double, coverage is cut in half. Was he mistaken or was the mistake simply telling the truth?

CLINTON: No, I mean, he clarified what he meant. And it’s very clear. Look, we are in a situation in our country where if we were to start all over again, we might come up with a different system. But we have an employer-based system. That’s where the vast majority of people get their health care.

And the Affordable Care Act was meant to try to fill the gap between people who were too poor and couldn’t put together any resources to afford health care, namely people on Medicaid. Obviously, Medicare, which is a single-payer system, which takes care of our elderly and does a great job doing it, by the way, and then all of the people who were employed, but people who were working but didn’t have the money to afford insurance and didn’t have anybody, an employer or anybody else, to help them.

That was the slot that the Obamacare approach was to take. And like I say, 20 million people now have health insurance. So if we just rip it up and throw it away, what Donald’s not telling you is we just turn it back to the insurance companies the way it used to be, and that means the insurance companies…

COOPER: Secretary Clinton…

CLINTON: … get to do pretty much whatever they want, including saying, look, I’m sorry, you’ve got diabetes, you had cancer, your child has asthma…

COOPER: Your time is up.

CLINTON: … you may not be able to have insurance because you can’t afford it. So let’s fix what’s broken about it, but let’s not throw it away and give it all back to the insurance companies and the drug companies. That’s not going to work.

COOPER: Mr. Trump, let me follow up on this. TRUMP: Well, I just want — just one thing. First of all, Hillary, everything’s broken about it. Everything. Number two, Bernie Sanders said that Hillary Clinton has very bad judgment. This is a perfect example of it, trying to save Obamacare, which is a disaster.

COOPER: You’ve said you want to end Obamacare…

TRUMP: By the way…

COOPER: You’ve said you want to end Obamacare. You’ve also said you want to make coverage accessible for people with pre-existing conditions. How do you force insurance companies to do that if you’re no longer mandating that every American get insurance?

TRUMP: We’re going to be able to. You’re going to have plans…

COOPER: What does that mean?

TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you what it means. You’re going to have plans that are so good, because we’re going to have so much competition in the insurance industry. Once we break out — once we break out the lines and allow the competition to come…

COOPER: Are you going — are you going to have a mandate that Americans have to have health insurance?

TRUMP: President Obama — Anderson, excuse me. President Obama, by keeping those lines, the boundary lines around each state, it was almost gone until just very toward the end of the passage of Obamacare, which, by the way, was a fraud. You know that, because Jonathan Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, was said — he said it was a great lie, it was a big lie. President Obama said you keep your doctor, you keep your plan. The whole thing was a fraud, and it doesn’t work.

PROBABLY TRUE FOR THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF PEOPLE, JUST NOT FOR EVERY SINGLE PERSON

But when we get rid of those lines, you will have competition, and we will be able to keep pre-existing, we’ll also be able to help people that can’t get — don’t have money because we are going to have people protected.

And Republicans feel this way, believe it or not, and strongly this way. We’re going to block grant into the states. We’re going to block grant into Medicaid into the states…

BLOCK GRANTS DON’T REALLY WORK FOR SOMETHING LIKE MEDICAID- STATES WILL JUST THROW MONEY INTO RANDOM PROGRAMS INSTEAD OF GIVING PEOPLE INSURANCE.

COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: … so that we will be able to take care of people without the necessary funds to take care of themselves.

COOPER: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

RADDATZ: We now go to Gorbah Hamed with a question for both candidates.

QUESTION: Hi. There are 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, and I’m one of them. You’ve mentioned working with Muslim nations, but with Islamophobia on the rise, how will you help people like me deal with the consequences of being labeled as a threat to the country after the election is over?

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, you’re first.

TRUMP: Well, you’re right about Islamophobia, and that’s a shame. But one thing we have to do is we have to make sure that — because there is a problem. I mean, whether we like it or not, and we could be very politically correct, but whether we like it or not, there is a problem. And we have to be sure that Muslims come in and report when they see something going on. When they see hatred going on, they have to report it.

As an example, in San Bernardino, many people saw the bombs all over the apartment of the two people that killed 14 and wounded many, many people.

SEEMS HARD TO BELIEVE- I CAN’T IMAGINE THAT PEOPLE MAKING BOMBS HAVE A LOT OF HOUSE PARTIES.  BUT IT IS A COOL MENTAL PICTURE: I IMAGINE VISITORS SAYING “I LOVED THEIR PARTY, BUT THERE WERE BOMBS ALL OVER THE FLOOR. DON’T PEOPLE PICK UP AFTER THEMSELVES ANY MORE?

Horribly wounded. They’ll never be the same. Muslims have to report the problems when they see them.

And, you know, there’s always a reason for everything. If they don’t do that, it’s a very difficult situation for our country, because you look at Orlando and you look at San Bernardino and you look at the World Trade Center. Go outside. Look at Paris. Look at that horrible — these are radical Islamic terrorists.

And she won’t even mention the word and nor will President Obama. He won’t use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” Now, to solve a problem, you have to be able to state what the problem is or at least say the name. She won’t say the name and President Obama won’t say the name. But the name is there. It’s radical Islamic terror. And before you solve it, you have to say the name.

AM SURPRISED HE DIDN’T MENTION MUSLIM IMMIGRATION, KIND OF A KEY PROPOSAL OF HIS

RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton? CLINTON: Well, thank you for asking your question. And I’ve heard this question from a lot of Muslim-Americans across our country, because, unfortunately, there’s been a lot of very divisive, dark things said about Muslims. And even someone like Captain Khan, the young man who sacrificed himself defending our country in the United States Army, has been subject to attack by Donald.

I want to say just a couple of things. First, we’ve had Muslims in America since George Washington. And we’ve had many successful Muslims. We just lost a particular well-known one with Muhammad Ali.

CLINTON: My vision of America is an America where everyone has a place, if you’re willing to work hard, you do your part, you contribute to the community. That’s what America is. That’s what we want America to be for our children and our grandchildren.

It’s also very short-sighted and even dangerous to be engaging in the kind of demagogic rhetoric that Donald has about Muslims. We need American Muslims to be part of our eyes and ears on our front lines. I’ve worked with a lot of different Muslim groups around America. I’ve met with a lot of them, and I’ve heard how important it is for them to feel that they are wanted and included and part of our country, part of our homeland security, and that’s what I want to see.

It’s also important I intend to defeat ISIS, to do so in a coalition with majority Muslim nations. Right now, a lot of those nations are hearing what Donald says and wondering, why should we cooperate with the Americans? And this is a gift to ISIS and the terrorists, violent jihadist terrorists.

We are not at war with Islam. And it is a mistake and it plays into the hands of the terrorists to act as though we are. So I want a country where citizens like you and your family are just as welcome as anyone else.

NEITHER OF THEM DISCUSSED THE REAL ISSUE SEPARATING THEM (MUSLIM IMMIGRATION).

RADDATZ: Thank you, Secretary Clinton.

Mr. Trump, in December, you said this. “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. We have no choice. We have no choice.” Your running mate said this week that the Muslim ban is no longer your position. Is that correct? And if it is, was it a mistake to have a religious test?

TRUMP: First of all, Captain Khan is an American hero, and if I were president at that time, he would be alive today, because unlike her, who voted for the war without knowing what she was doing, I would not have had our people in Iraq. Iraq was disaster. So he would have been alive today.

GREAT HIT.  WHAM!

The Muslim ban is something that in some form has morphed into a extreme vetting from certain areas of the world. Hillary Clinton wants to allow hundreds of thousands — excuse me. Excuse me..

RADDATZ: And why did it morph into that? No, did you — no, answer the question. Do you still believe… TRUMP: Why don’t you interrupt her? You interrupt me all the time.

RADDATZ: I do.

TRUMP: Why don’t you interrupt her?

RADDATZ: Would you please explain whether or not the Muslim ban still stands?

TRUMP: It’s called extreme vetting. We are going to areas like Syria where they’re coming in by the tens of thousands because of Barack Obama. And Hillary Clinton wants to allow a 550 percent increase over Obama. People are coming into our country like we have no idea who they are, where they are from, what their feelings about our country is, and she wants 550 percent more. This is going to be the great Trojan horse of all time.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EXTREME VETTING AND MODERATE VETTING?  HAVING SAID THAT, THE MAN AS A POINT.

We have enough problems in this country. I believe in building safe zones.

THAT SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING CAMPUS LEFTISTS ARE FOR

I believe in having other people pay for them, as an example, the Gulf states, who are not carrying their weight, but they have nothing but money, and take care of people. But I don’t want to have, with all the problems this country has and all of the problems that you see going on, hundreds of thousands of people coming in from Syria when we know nothing about them. We know nothing about their values and we know nothing about their love for our country.

GOOD

RADDATZ: And, Secretary Clinton, let me ask you about that, because you have asked for an increase from 10,000 to 65,000 Syrian refugees. We know you want tougher vetting. That’s not a perfect system. So why take the risk of having those refugees come into the country?

CLINTON: Well, first of all, I will not let anyone into our country that I think poses a risk to us. But there are a lot of refugees, women and children — think of that picture we all saw of that 4-year-old boy with the blood on his forehead because he’d been bombed by the Russian and Syrian air forces.

TODAY’S 4 YEAR OLD BOY IS TOMORROW’S BORED TEENAGER WHO TAKES UP A LITTLE JIHAD

There are children suffering in this catastrophic war, largely, I believe, because of Russian aggression.

UM, NO- ITS BECAUSE JIHADISTS REVOLTED AGAINST ASSAD AND THEN RUSSIA CAME IN TO HELP BECAUSE THE US WOULDN’T  And we need to do our part. We by no means are carrying anywhere near the load that Europe and others are. But we will have vetting that is as tough as it needs to be from our professionals, our intelligence experts and others.

YES, LIKE ITS SO EASY TO VET A SEMI LITERATE PEASANT FROM ALEPPO. PLEASE.

But it is important for us as a policy, you know, not to say, as Donald has said, we’re going to ban people based on a religion. How do you do that? We are a country founded on religious freedom and liberty. How do we do what he has advocated without causing great distress within our own county? Are we going to have religious tests when people fly into our country? And how do we expect to be able to implement those?,

ISLAM ISN’T LIKE OTHER RELIGIONS ANYMORE. IT JUST ISNT.

So I thought that what he said was extremely unwise and even dangerous. And indeed, you can look at the propaganda on a lot of the terrorists sites, and what Donald Trump says about Muslims is used to recruit fighters, because they want to create a war between us.

UNLIKE THE MUSLIM-INCINERATING WARS HILLARY SUPPORTS, WHICH, HEAVENS TO BETSY, ISLAMISTS WOULD NEVER USE IN THEIR PROPGANDA

And the final thing I would say, this is the 10th or 12th time that he’s denied being for the war in Iraq. We have it on tape. The entire press corps has looked at it. It’s been debunked, but it never stops him from saying whatever he wants to say.

TRUMP: That’s not been debunked.

CLINTON: So, please…

TRUMP: That has not been debunked.

CLINTON: … go to HillaryClinton.com and you can see it.

TRUMP: I was against — I was against the war in Iraq. Has not been debunked. And you voted for it. And you shouldn’t have. Well, I just want to say…

RADDATZ: There’s been lots of fact-checking on that. I’d like to move on to an online question…

TRUMP: Excuse me. She just went about 25 seconds over her time.

RADDATZ: She did not.

TRUMP: Could I just respond to this, please?

RADDATZ: Very quickly, please.

TRUMP: Hillary Clinton, in terms of having people come into our country, we have many criminal illegal aliens. When we want to send them back to their country, their country says we don’t want them. In some cases, they’re murderers, drug lords, drug problems. And they don’t want them.

And Hillary Clinton, when she was secretary of state, said that’s OK, we can’t force it into their country. Let me tell you, I’m going to force them right back into their country. They’re murderers and some very bad people.

GOOD HIT

And I will tell you very strongly, when Bernie Sanders said she had bad judgment, she has really bad judgment, because we are letting people into this country that are going to cause problems and crime like you’ve never seen. We’re also letting drugs pour through our southern border at a record clip. At a record clip. And it shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

ICE just endorsed me. They’ve never endorsed a presidential candidate.

ICE IS A GOVERNENT AGENCY AND DOESN’T ENDORSE PEOPLE (THOUGH I THINK HE MEANS THEIR UNION)

The Border Patrol agents, 16,500, just recently endorsed me, and they endorsed me because I understand the border. She doesn’t. She wants amnesty for everybody. Come right in. Come right over. It’s a horrible thing she’s doing. She’s got bad judgment, and honestly, so bad that she should never be president of the United States. That I can tell you.

I WOULD HAVE BROUGHT UP OPEN BORDERS REMARK FROM RECENT WIKILEAKS FILE.

RADDATZ: Thank you, Mr. Trump. I want to move on. This next question from the public through the Bipartisan Open Debate Coalition’s online forum, where Americans submitted questions that generated millions of votes. This question involves WikiLeaks release of purported excerpts of Secretary Clinton’s paid speeches, which she has refused to release, and one line in particular, in which you, Secretary Clinton, purportedly say you need both a public and private position on certain issues. So, Tu (ph), from Virginia asks, is it OK for politicians to be two-faced? Is it acceptable for a politician to have a private stance on issues? Secretary Clinton, your two minutes.

CLINTON: Well, right. As I recall, that was something I said about Abraham Lincoln after having seen the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie called “Lincoln.” It was a master class watching President Lincoln get the Congress to approve the 13th Amendment. It was principled, and it was strategic.

And I was making the point that it is hard sometimes to get the Congress to do what you want to do and you have to keep working at it. And, yes, President Lincoln was trying to convince some people, he used some arguments, convincing other people, he used other arguments. That was a great — I thought a great display of presidential leadership.

But, you know, let’s talk about what’s really going on here, Martha, because our intelligence community just came out and said in the last few days that the Kremlin, meaning Putin and the Russian government, are directing the attacks, the hacking on American accounts to influence our election. And WikiLeaks is part of that, as are other sites where the Russians hack information, we don’t even know if it’s accurate information, and then they put it out.

We have never in the history of our country been in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to influence the outcome of the election. And believe me, they’re not doing it to get me elected. They’re doing it to try to influence the election for Donald Trump.

CLINTON: Now, maybe because he has praised Putin, maybe because he says he agrees with a lot of what Putin wants to do, maybe because he wants to do business in Moscow, I don’t know the reasons. But we deserve answers. And we should demand that Donald release all of his tax returns so that people can see what are the entanglements and the financial relationships that he has…

RADDATZ: We’re going to get to that later. Secretary Clinton, you’re out of time.

CLINTON: … with the Russians and other foreign powers.

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, I think I should respond, because — so ridiculous. Look, now she’s blaming — she got caught in a total lie. Her papers went out to all her friends at the banks,Goldman Sachs and everybody else, and she said things — WikiLeaks that just came out. And she lied. Now she’s blaming the lie on the late, great Abraham Lincoln. That’s one that I haven’t…

(LAUGHTER)

OK, Honest Abe, Honest Abe never lied. That’s the good thing. That’s the big difference between Abraham Lincoln and you. That’s a big, big difference. We’re talking about some difference.

But as far as other elements of what she was saying, I don’t know Putin. I think it would be great if we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together, as an example. But I don’t know Putin.

GOOD

But I notice, anytime anything wrong happens, they like to say the Russians are — she doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the hacking. Maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia. And the reason they blame Russia because they think they’re trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know nothing about Russia. I know — I know about Russia,

NOW THAT’S A QUICK FLIP FLOP

but I know nothing about the inner workings of Russia. I don’t deal there. I have no businesses there. I have no loans from Russia.

GIVEN THAT YOUR TAX RETURNS ARE SECRET I FIND THIS HARD TO BELIEVE.

I have a very, very great balance sheet, so great that when I did the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue, the United States government, because of my balance sheet, which they actually know very well, chose me to do the Old Post Office, between the White House and Congress, chose me to do the Old Post Office. One of the primary area things, in fact, perhaps the primary thing was balance sheet. But I have no loans with Russia. You could go to the United States government, and they would probably tell you that, because they know my sheet very well in order to get that development I had to have.

Now, the taxes are a very simple thing. As soon as I have — first of all, I pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. Many of her friends took bigger deductions. Warren Buffett took a massive deduction. Soros, who’s a friend of hers, took a massive deduction. Many of the people that are giving her all this money that she can do many more commercials than me gave her — took massive deductions.

I pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes. But — but as soon as my routine audit is finished, I’ll release my returns. I’ll be very proud to. They’re actually quite great.

SO OBVIOUSLY FRAUDULENT IT HURTS.

RADDATZ: Thank you, Mr. Trump.

COOPER: We want to turn, actually, to the topic of taxes. We have a question from Spencer Maass. Spencer?

QUESTION: Good evening. My question is, what specific tax provisions will you change to ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share in taxes?

COOPER: Mr. Trump, you have two minutes.

TRUMP: Well, one thing I’d do is get rid of carried interest. One of the greatest provisions for people like me, to be honest with you, I give up a lot when I run, because I knock out the tax code. And she could have done this years ago, by the way. She’s a United States — she was a United States senator.

She complains that Donald Trump took advantage of the tax code. Well, why didn’t she change it? Why didn’t you change it when you were a senator? The reason you didn’t is that all your friends take the same advantage that I do. And I do. You have provisions in the tax code that, frankly, we could change. But you wouldn’t change it, because all of these people gave you the money so you can take negative ads on Donald Trump.

But — and I say that about a lot of things. You know, I’ve heard Hillary complaining about so many different things over the years. “I wish you would have done this.” But she’s been there for 30 years she’s been doing this stuff. She never changed. And she never will change. She never will change.

We’re getting rid of carried interest provisions. I’m lowering taxes actually, because I think it’s so important for corporations, because we have corporations leaving — massive corporations and little ones, little ones can’t form. We’re getting rid of regulations which goes hand in hand with the lowering of the taxes.

SOLID

But we’re bringing the tax rate down from 35 percent to 15 percent. We’re cutting taxes for the middle class. And I will tell you, we are cutting them big league for the middle class.

And I will tell you, Hillary Clinton is raising your taxes, folks. You can look at me. She’s raising your taxes really high. And what that’s going to do is a disaster for the country. But she is raising your taxes and I’m lowering your taxes. That in itself is a big difference. We are going to be thriving again. We have no growth in this country. There’s no growth. If China has a GDP of 7 percent, it’s like a national catastrophe. We’re down at 1 percent. And that’s, like, no growth. And we’re going lower, in my opinion. And a lot of it has to do with the fact that our taxes are so high, just about the highest in the world. ‘

FALSE

And I’m bringing them down to one of the lower in the world. And I think it’s so important — one of the most important things we can do. But she is raising everybody’s taxes massively.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, you have two minutes. The question was, what specific tax provisions will you change to ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share of taxes?

CLINTON: Well, everything you’ve heard just now from Donald is not true. I’m sorry I have to keep saying this, but he lives in an alternative reality. And it is sort of amusing to hear somebody who hasn’t paid federal income taxes in maybe 20 years talking about what he’s going to do.

But I’ll tell you what he’s going to do. His plan will give the wealthy and corporations the biggest tax cuts they’ve ever had, more than the Bush tax cuts by at least a factor of two. Donald always takes care of Donald and people like Donald, and this would be a massive gift. And, indeed, the way that he talks about his tax cuts would end up raising taxes on middle-class families, millions of middle-class families.

Now, here’s what I want to do. I have said nobody who makes less than $250,000 a year — and that’s the vast majority of Americans as you know — will have their taxes raised, because I think we’ve got to go where the money is. And the money is with people who have taken advantage of every single break in the tax code.

And, yes, when I was a senator, I did vote to close corporate loopholes. I voted to close, I think, one of the loopholes he took advantage of when he claimed a billion-dollar loss that enabled him to avoid paying taxes.

I want to have a tax on people who are making a million dollars. It’s called the Buffett rule. Yes, Warren Buffett is the one who’s gone out and said somebody like him should not be paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. I want to have a surcharge on incomes above $5 million.

ALSO SOLID

We have to make up for lost times, because I want to invest in you. I want to invest in hard-working families. And I think it’s been unfortunate, but it’s happened, that since the Great Recession, the gains have all gone to the top. And we need to reverse that.

People like Donald, who paid zero in taxes, zero for our vets, zero for our military, zero for health and education, that is wrong.

COOPER: Thank you, Secretary.

CLINTON: And we’re going to make sure that nobody, no corporation, and no individual can get away without paying his fair share to support our country.

COOPER: Thank you. I want to give you — Mr. Trump, I want to give you the chance to respond. I just wanted to tell our viewers what she’s referring to. In the last month, taxes were the number-one issue on Facebook for the first time in the campaign. The New York Times published three pages of your 1995 tax returns. They show you claimed a $916 million loss, which means you could have avoided paying personal federal income taxes for years. You’ve said you pay state taxes, employee taxes, real estate taxes, property taxes. You have not answered, though, a simple question. Did you use that $916 million loss to avoid paying personal federal income taxes for years?

TRUMP: Of course I do. Of course I do. And so do all of her donors, or most of her donors. I know many of her donors. Her donors took massive tax write-offs.

IF HE’S SO PROUD OF IT WHY’D HE TRY TO HIDE IT?

COOPER: So have you (inaudible) personal federal income tax?

TRUMP: A lot of my — excuse me, Anderson — a lot of my write- off was depreciation and other things that Hillary as a senator allowed. And she’ll always allow it, because the people that give her all this money, they want it. That’s why.

See, I understand the tax code better than anybody that’s ever run for president. Hillary Clinton — and it’s extremely complex — Hillary Clinton has friends that want all of these provisions, including they want the carried interest provision, which is very important to Wall Street people. But they really want the carried interest provision, which I believe Hillary’s leaving. Very interesting why she’s leaving carried interest.

But I will tell you that, number one, I pay tremendous numbers of taxes.

DOESN’T THIS CONTRADICT WHAT HE SAID ABOUT NOT PAYING TAXES? I’M CONFUSED

I absolutely used it. And so did Warren Buffett and so did George Soros and so did many of the other people that Hillary is getting money from. Now, I won’t mention their names, because they’re rich, but they’re not famous. So we won’t make them famous.

COOPER: So can you — can you say how many years you have avoided paying personal federal income taxes?

TRUMP: No, but I pay tax, and I pay federal tax, too. But I have a write-off, a lot of it’s depreciation, which is a wonderful charge. I love depreciation. You know, she’s given it to us.

Hey, if she had a problem — for 30 years she’s been doing this, Anderson. I say it all the time. She talks about health care. Why didn’t she do something about it? She talks about taxes. Why didn’t she do something about it? She doesn’t do anything about anything other than talk. With her, it’s all talk and no action.

COOPER: In the past…

TRUMP: And, again, Bernie Sanders, it’s really bad judgment.

WHAT DOES BERNIE SANDERS HAVE TO DO WITH IT?

She has made bad judgment not only on taxes. She’s made bad judgments on Libya, on Syria, on Iraq. I mean, her and Obama, whether you like it or not, the way they got out of Iraq, the vacuum they’ve left, that’s why ISIS formed in the first place. They started from that little area, and now they’re in 32 different nations, Hillary. Congratulations. Great job.

GOOD HIT!

COOPER: Secretary — I want you to be able to respond, Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Well, here we go again. I’ve been in favor of getting rid of carried interest for years, starting when I was a senator from New York. But that’s not the point here.

TRUMP: Why didn’t you do it? Why didn’t you do it?

COOPER: Allow her to respond.

CLINTON: Because I was a senator with a Republican president.

TRUMP: Oh, really?

CLINTON: I will be the president and we will get it done. That’s exactly right.

TRUMP: You could have done it, if you were an effective — if you were an effective senator, you could have done it. If you were an effective senator, you could have done it. But you were not an effective senator.

COOPER: Please allow her to respond. She didn’t interrupt you.

CLINTON: You know, under our Constitution, presidents have something called veto power. Look, he has now said repeatedly, “30 years this and 30 years that.” So let me talk about my 30 years in public service. I’m very glad to do so.

ACTUALLY SHE ONLY HELD OFFICE FOR A DOZEN YEARS

Eight million kids every year have health insurance, because when I was first lady I worked with Democrats and Republicans to create the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Hundreds of thousands of kids now have a chance to be adopted because I worked to change our adoption and foster care system. After 9/11, I went to work with Republican mayor, governor and president to rebuild New York and to get health care for our first responders who were suffering because they had run toward danger and gotten sickened by it. Hundreds of thousands of National Guard and Reserve members have health care because of work that I did, and children have safer medicines because I was able to pass a law that required the dosing to be more carefully done.

When I was secretary of state, I went around the world advocating for our country, but also advocating for women’s rights, to make sure that women had a decent chance to have a better life and negotiated a treaty with Russia to lower nuclear weapons. Four hundred pieces of legislation have my name on it as a sponsor or cosponsor when I was a senator for eight years.

I worked very hard and was very proud to be re-elected in New York by an even bigger margin than I had been elected the first time. And as president, I will take that work, that bipartisan work, that finding common ground, because you have to be able to get along with people to get things done in Washington.

COOPER: Thank you, secretary.

CLINTON: I’ve proven that I can, and for 30 years, I’ve produced results for people.

COOPER: Thank you, secretary.

RADDATZ: We’re going to move on to Syria. Both of you have mentioned that.

I THINK MANY AMERICANS WISH BOTH CANDIDATES WOULD MOVE TO SYRIA AND STAY THERE!

TRUMP: She said a lot of things that were false. I mean, I think we should be allowed to maybe…

RADDATZ: No, we can — no, Mr. Trump, we’re going to go on. This is about the audience.

TRUMP: Excuse me. Because she has been a disaster as a senator. A disaster.

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, we’re going to move on. The heart-breaking video of a 5-year-old Syrian boy named Omran sitting in an ambulance after being pulled from the rubble after an air strike in Aleppo focused the world’s attention on the horrors of the war in Syria, with 136 million views on Facebook alone.

But there are much worse images coming out of Aleppo every day now, where in the past few weeks alone, 400 people have been killed, at least 100 of them children. Just days ago, the State Department called for a war crimes investigation of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and its ally, Russia, for their bombardment of Aleppo.

So this next question comes through social media through Facebook. Diane from Pennsylvania asks, if you were president, what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? Isn’t it a lot like the Holocaust when the U.S. waited too long before we helped? Secretary Clinton, we will begin with your two minutes.

CLINTON: Well, the situation in Syria is catastrophic. And every day that goes by, we see the results of the regime by Assad in partnership with the Iranians on the ground, the Russians in the air, bombarding places, in particular Aleppo, where there are hundreds of thousands of people, probably about 250,000 still left. And there is a determined effort by the Russian air force to destroy Aleppo in order to eliminate the last of the Syrian rebels who are really holding out against the Assad regime.

Russia hasn’t paid any attention to ISIS.

ISN’T ISIS REBELLING AGAINST ASSAD?

They’re interested in keeping Assad in power. So I, when I was secretary of state, advocated and I advocate today a no-fly zone and safe zones. We need some leverage with the Russians, because they are not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution, unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with our partners and allies on the ground.

But I want to emphasize that what is at stake here is the ambitions and the aggressiveness of Russia. Russia has decided that it’s all in, in Syria. And they’ve also decided who they want to see become president of the United States, too, and it’s not me. I’ve stood up to Russia. I’ve taken on Putin and others, and I would do that as president.

I think wherever we can cooperate with Russia, that’s fine. And I did as secretary of state. That’s how we got a treaty reducing nuclear weapons. It’s how we got the sanctions on Iran that put a lid on the Iranian nuclear program without firing a single shot. So I would go to the negotiating table with more leverage than we have now. But I do support the effort to investigate for crimes, war crimes committed by the Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable.

YOU MEAN, LIKE YOU AND THE REST OF CONGRESS WAS HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR OPERATING SHOCK AND AWE— OH WAIT, THAT NEVER HAPPENED.

RADDATZ: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: First of all, she was there as secretary of state with the so-called line in the sand, which…

CLINTON: No, I wasn’t. I was gone. I hate to interrupt you, but at some point…

TRUMP: OK. But you were in contact — excuse me. You were…

CLINTON: At some point, we need to do some fact-checking here.

TRUMP: You were in total contact with the White House, and perhaps, sadly, Obama probably still listened to you. I don’t think he would be listening to you very much anymore.

Obama draws the line in the sand. It was laughed at all over the world what happened.

Now, with that being said, she talks tough against Russia. But our nuclear program has fallen way behind, and they’ve gone wild with their nuclear program. Not good. Our government shouldn’t have allowed that to happen. Russia is new in terms of nuclear. We are old.

GIBBERISH- THEY’VE HAD NUCLEAR WEAPONS SINCE THE 1940S.  MAYBE HE MEANS THEY ARE A LITTLE AHEAD SOMEHOW?

We’re tired. We’re exhausted in terms of nuclear. A very bad thing.

NOTHING WORSE THAN TIRED NUKES

Now, she talks tough, she talks really tough against Putin and against Assad. She talks in favor of the rebels. She doesn’t even know who the rebels are. You know, every time we take rebels, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else, we’re arming people. And you know what happens? They end up being worse than the people.

WORSE THAN WHAT PEOPLE?  BUT I THINK I UNDERSTAND THIS POINT- YOU CAN NEVER TELL WHAT THESE “REBELS” THINK

Look at what she did in Libya with Gadhafi. Gadhafi’s out. It’s a mess. And, by the way, ISIS has a good chunk of their oil. I’m sure you probably have heard that. It was a disaster. Because the fact is, almost everything she’s done in foreign policy has been a mistake and it’s been a disaster.

SEEMS PRETTY RIGHT TO ME

But if you look at Russia, just take a look at Russia, and look at what they did this week, where I agree, she wasn’t there, but possibly she’s consulted. We sign a peace treaty. Everyone’s all excited. Well, what Russia did with Assad and, by the way, with Iran, who you made very powerful with the dumbest deal perhaps I’ve ever seen in the history of deal-making, the Iran deal, with the $150 billion, with the $1.7 billion in cash, which is enough to fill up this room.

But look at that deal. Iran now and Russia are now against us. So she wants to fight. She wants to fight for rebels. There’s only one problem. You don’t even know who the rebels are. So what’s the purpose?

GO GET EM, DONALD!

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, your two minutes is up.

TRUMP: And one thing I have to say.

RADDATZ: Your two minutes is up.

TRUMP: I don’t like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS. Russia is killing ISIS. And Iran is killing ISIS. And those three have now lined up because of our weak foreign policy.

WELL PUT!

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, let me repeat the question. If you were president…

(LAUGHTER)

… what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? And I want to remind you what your running mate said. He said provocations by Russia need to be met with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved in air strikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military targets of the Assad regime.

TRUMP: OK. He and I haven’t spoken, and I disagree. I disagree.

RADDATZ: You disagree with your running mate?

TRUMP: I think you have to knock out ISIS. Right now, Syria is fighting ISIS.

ALSO THE NUSRA FRONT (AL QAEDA)

We have people that want to fight both at the same time. But Syria is no longer Syria. Syria is Russia and it’s Iran, who she made strong and Kerry and Obama made into a very powerful nation and a very rich nation, very, very quickly, very, very quickly.

I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria. They had a chance. And that was the line. And she didn’t.

RADDATZ: What do you think will happen if Aleppo falls?

TRUMP: I think Aleppo is a disaster, humanitarian-wise.

RADDATZ: What do you think will happen if it falls?

TRUMP: I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It basically has fallen. Let me tell you something. You take a look at Mosul. The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy, we have Mosul. They think a lot of the ISIS leaders are in Mosul. So we have announcements coming out of Washington and coming out of Iraq, we will be attacking Mosul in three weeks or four weeks.

Well, all of these bad leaders from ISIS are leaving Mosul. Why can’t they do it quietly? Why can’t they do the attack, make it a sneak attack, and after the attack is made, inform the American public that we’ve knocked out the leaders, we’ve had a tremendous success? People leave. Why do they have to say we’re going to be attacking Mosul within the next four to six weeks, which is what they’re saying? How stupid is our country?

RADDATZ: There are sometimes reasons the military does that. Psychological warfare.

BRILLIANT (SARCASM)

TRUMP: I can’t think of any. I can’t think of any. And I’m pretty good at it.

RADDATZ: It might be to help get civilians out.

AND TERRORISTS TOO! STOP ARGUING WITH THE MAN!

TRUMP: And we have General Flynn. And we have — look, I have 200 generals and admirals who endorsed me. I have 21 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients who endorsed me. We talk about it all the time. They understand, why can’t they do something secretively, where they go in and they knock out the leadership? How — why would these people stay there? I’ve been reading now…

RADDATZ: Tell me what your strategy is.

TRUMP: … for weeks — I’ve been reading now for weeks about Mosul, that it’s the harbor of where — you know, between Raqqa and Mosul, this is where they think the ISIS leaders are. Why would they be saying — they’re not staying there anymore. They’re gone. Because everybody’s talking about how Iraq, which is us with our leadership, goes in to fight Mosul.

Now, with these 200 admirals and generals, they can’t believe it. All I say is this. General George Patton, General Douglas MacArthur are spinning in their grave at the stupidity of what we’re doing in the Middle East.

RADDATZ: I’m going to go to Secretary Clinton. Secretary Clinton, you want Assad to go. You advocated arming rebels, but it looks like that may be too late for Aleppo. You talk about diplomatic efforts. Those have failed. Cease-fires have failed. Would you introduce the threat of U.S. military force beyond a no-fly zone against the Assad regime to back up diplomacy?

CLINTON: I would not use American ground forces in Syria. I think that would be a very serious mistake. I don’t think American troops should be holding territory, which is what they would have to do as an occupying force. I don’t think that is a smart strategy.

OMG, I ACTUALY AGEEE WITH SOMETHING SHE SAID ABOUT FOREIGN POLICY (HEAD SPINNING)

I do think the use of special forces, which we’re using, the use of enablers and trainers in Iraq, which has had some positive effects, are very much in our interests, and so I do support what is happening, but let me just…

DO THEY GET TO COMPETE IN THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS AFTER THE WAR IS OVER?

RADDATZ: But what would you do differently than President Obama is doing?

CLINTON: Well, Martha, I hope that by the time I — if I’m fortunate…

TRUMP: Everything.

CLINTON: I hope by the time I am president that we will have pushed ISIS out of Iraq. I do think that there is a good chance that we can take Mosul. And, you know, Donald says he knows more about ISIS than the generals. No, he doesn’t.

There are a lot of very important planning going on, and some of it is to signal to the Sunnis in the area, as well as Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, that we all need to be in this. And that takes a lot of planning and preparation.

IF THERE’S ONE THING SHE’S GOOD AT, ITS PREPARATION.

I would go after Baghdadi. I would specifically target Baghdadi, because I think our targeting of Al Qaida leaders — and I was involved in a lot of those operations, highly classified ones — made a difference. So I think that could help.

I would also consider arming the Kurds. The Kurds have been our best partners in Syria, as well as Iraq. And I know there’s a lot of concern about that in some circles, but I think they should have the equipment they need so that Kurdish and Arab fighters on the ground are the principal way that we take Raqqa after pushing ISIS out of Iraq.

RADDATZ: Thank you very much. We’re going to move on…

TRUMP: You know what’s funny? She went over a minute over, and you don’t stop her. When I go one second over, it’s like a big deal.

RADDATZ: You had many answers.

TRUMP: It’s really — it’s really very interesting.

COOPER: We’ve got a question over here from James Carter. Mr. Carter?

QUESTION: My question is, do you believe you can be a devoted president to all the people in the United States?

COOPER: That question begins for Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Absolutely. I mean, she calls our people deplorable, a large group, and irredeemable. I will be a president for all of our people. And I’ll be a president that will turn our inner cities around and will give strength to people and will give economics to people and will bring jobs back.

Because NAFTA, signed by her husband, is perhaps the greatest disaster trade deal in the history of the world. Not in this country. It stripped us of manufacturing jobs. We lost our jobs. We lost our money. We lost our plants. It is a disaster. And now she wants to sign TPP, even though she says now she’s for it. She called it the gold standard. And by the way, at the last debate, she lied, because it turned out that she did say the gold standard and she said she didn’t say it. They actually said that she lied. OK? And she lied. But she’s lied about a lot of things.

TRUMP: I would be a president for all of the people, African- Americans, the inner cities. Devastating what’s happening to our inner cities. She’s been talking about it for years. As usual, she talks about it, nothing happens. She doesn’t get it done.

Same with the Latino Americans, the Hispanic Americans. The same exact thing. They talk, they don’t get it done. You go into the inner cities and — you see it’s 45 percent poverty. African- Americans now 45 percent poverty in the inner cities. The education is a disaster. Jobs are essentially nonexistent.

I mean, it’s — you know, and I’ve been saying at big speeches where I have 20,000 and 30,000 people, what do you have to lose? It can’t get any worse. And she’s been talking about the inner cities for 25 years. Nothing’s going to ever happen.

WELL, NEW YORK’S INNER CITIES ARE DOING A LOT BETTER THAN THEY USED TO BE.  BUT THEN AGAIN THAT’S NEW YORK.

Let me tell you, if she’s president of the United States, nothing’s going to happen. It’s just going to be talk. And all of her friends, the taxes we were talking about, and I would just get it by osmosis. She’s not doing any me favors. But by doing all the others’ favors, she’s doing me favors.

YOU CAN TALK TALK TALK YOU CAN BICKER BICKER BICKER https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ9U4Cbb4wg

COOPER: Mr. Trump, thank you.

TRUMP: But I will tell you, she’s all talk. It doesn’t get done. All you have to do is take a look at her Senate run. Take a look at upstate New York.

COOPER: Your two minutes is up. Secretary Clinton, two minutes?

TRUMP: It turned out to be a disaster.

COOPER: You have two minutes, Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Well, 67 percent of the people voted to re-elect me when I ran for my second term, and I was very proud and very humbled by that.

SHE WAS BARELY OPPOSED

Mr. Carter, I have tried my entire life to do what I can to support children and families. You know, right out of law school, I went to work for the Children’s Defense Fund. And Donald talks a lot about, you know, the 30 years I’ve been in public service. I’m proud of that. You know, I started off as a young lawyer working against discrimination against African-American children in schools and in the criminal justice system. I worked to make sure that kids with disabilities could get a public education, something that I care very much about. I have worked with Latinos — one of my first jobs in politics was down in south Texas registering Latino citizens to be able to vote. So I have a deep devotion, to use your absolutely correct word, to making sure that an every American feels like he or she has a place in our country.

And I think when you look at the letters that I get, a lot of people are worried that maybe they wouldn’t have a place in Donald Trump’s America. They write me, and one woman wrote me about her son, Felix. She adopted him from Ethiopia when he was a toddler. He’s 10 years old now. This is the only one country he’s ever known. And he listens to Donald on TV and he said to his mother one day, will he send me back to Ethiopia if he gets elected?

You know, children listen to what is being said. To go back to the very, very first question. And there’s a lot of fear — in fact, teachers and parents are calling it the Trump effect. Bullying is up.

AT LEAST BETWEEN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES IT IS!

A lot of people are feeling, you know, uneasy. A lot of kids are expressing their concerns.

So, first and foremost, I will do everything I can to reach out to everybody.

COOPER: Your time, Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Democrats, Republicans, independents, people across our country. If you don’t vote for me, I still want to be your president.

COOPER: Your two minutes is up.

CLINTON: I want to be the best president I can be for every American.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, your two minutes is up. I want to follow up on something that Donald Trump actually said to you, a comment you made last month. You said that half of Donald Trump’s supporters are, quote, “deplorables, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic.” You later said you regretted saying half. You didn’t express regret for using the term “deplorables.” To Mr. Carter’s question, how can you unite a country if you’ve written off tens of millions of Americans?

CLINTON: Well, within hours I said that I was sorry about the way I talked about that, because my argument is not with his supporters. It’s with him and with the hateful and divisive campaign that he has run, and the inciting of violence at his rallies, and the very brutal kinds of comments about not just women, but all Americans, all kinds of Americans.

And what he has said about African-Americans and Latinos, about Muslims, about POWs, about immigrants, about people with disabilities, he’s never apologized for. And so I do think that a lot of the tone and tenor that he has said — I’m proud of the campaign that Bernie Sanders and I ran. We ran a campaign based on issues, not insults. And he is supporting me 100 percent.

COOPER: Thank you.

CLINTON: Because we talked about what we wanted to do. We might have had some differences, and we had a lot of debates…

COOPER: Thank you, Secretary.

TRUMP: … but we believed that we could make the country better. And I was proud of that.

COOPER: I want to give you a minute to respond.

TRUMP: We have a divided nation. We have a very divided nation. You look at Charlotte. You look at Baltimore. You look at the violence that’s taking place in the inner cities, Chicago, you take a look at Washington, D.C.

We have an increase in murder within our cities, the biggest in 45 years. We have a divided nation, because people like her — and believe me, she has tremendous hate in her heart. And when she said deplorables, she meant it. And when she said irredeemable, they’re irredeemable, you didn’t mention that, but when she said they’re irredeemable, to me that might have been even worse.

COOPER: She said some of them are irredeemable.

TRUMP: She’s got tremendous — she’s got tremendous hatred. And this country cannot take another four years of Barack Obama, and that’s what you’re getting with her.

COOPER: Mr. Trump, let me follow up with you. In 2008, you wrote in one of your books that the most important characteristic of a good leader is discipline. You said, if a leader doesn’t have it, quote, “he or she won’t be one for very long.” In the days after the first debate, you sent out a series of tweets from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m., including one that told people to check out a sex tape. Is that the discipline of a good leader?

GOOD HIT BY MODERATOR

TRUMP: No, there wasn’t check out a sex tape. It was just take a look at the person that she built up to be this wonderful Girl Scout who was no Girl Scout.

COOPER: You mentioned sex tape.

TRUMP: By the way, just so you understand, when she said 3 o’clock in the morning, take a look at Benghazi. She said who is going to answer the call at 3 o’clock in the morning? Guess what? She didn’t answer it, because when Ambassador Stevens…

NEITHER WOULD TRUMP, HE’D BE BUSY TWEETING UP A FEUD WITH SOMEONE

COOPER: The question is, is that the discipline of a good leader?

TRUMP: … 600 — wait a minute, Anderson, 600 times. Well, she said she was awake at 3 o’clock in the morning, and she also sent a tweet out at 3 o’clock in the morning, but I won’t even mention that. But she said she’ll be awake. Who’s going — the famous thing, we’re going to answer our call at 3 o’clock in the morning. Guess what happened? Ambassador Stevens — Ambassador Stevens sent 600 requests for help. And the only one she talked to was Sidney Blumenthal, who’s her friend and not a good guy, by the way. So, you know, she shouldn’t be talking about that.

FACT CHECKERS POINT OUT THAT THIS IS MISLEADING.  STILL, IT IS TRUE THAT THE LIBYAN EMBASSY WANTED MORE SECURITY (THOUGH I SUSPECT REQUESTS LIKE THIS HAPPEN ALLTHE TIME- IS THERE ANY EMBASSY THAT SAYS TO WASHINGTON, “YEAH, WE COULD USE LESS SECURITY”?)

Now, tweeting happens to be a modern day form of communication. I mean, you can like it or not like it. I have, between Facebook and Twitter, I have almost 25 million people. It’s a very effective way of communication. So you can put it down, but it is a very effective form of communication. I’m not un-proud of it, to be honest with you.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton, does Mr. Trump have the discipline to be a good leader?

CLINTON: No.

TRUMP: I’m shocked to hear that.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: Well, it’s not only my opinion. It’s the opinion of many others, national security experts, Republicans, former Republican members of Congress. But it’s in part because those of us who have had the great privilege of seeing this job up close and know how difficult it is, and it’s not just because I watched my husband take a $300 billion deficit and turn it into a $200 billion surplus, and 23 million new jobs were created, and incomes went up for everybody. Everybody. African-American incomes went up 33 percent.

And it’s not just because I worked with George W. Bush after 9/11, and I was very proud that when I told him what the city needed, what we needed to recover, he said you’ve got it, and he never wavered. He stuck with me.

And I have worked and I admire President Obama. He inherited the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. That was a terrible time for our country.

COOPER: We have to move along.

CLINTON: Nine million people lost their jobs.

RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton, we have to…

CLINTON: Five million homes were lost.

RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton, we’re moving.

CLINTON: And $13 trillion in family wealth was wiped out. We are back on the right track. He would send us back into recession with his tax plans that benefit the wealthiest of Americans.

RADDATZ: Secretary Clinton, we are moving to an audience question. We’re almost out of time. We have another… TRUMP: We have the slowest growth since 1929.

RADDATZ: We’re moving to an audience question.

TRUMP: It is — our country has the slowest growth and jobs are a disaster.

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, Secretary Clinton, we want to get to the audience. Thank you very much both of you.

(LAUGHTER)

We have another audience question. Beth Miller has a question for both candidates.

QUESTION: Good evening. Perhaps the most important aspect of this election is the Supreme Court justice. What would you prioritize as the most important aspect of selecting a Supreme Court justice?

RADDATZ: We begin with your two minutes, Secretary Clinton.

CLINTON: Thank you. Well, you’re right. This is one of the most important issues in this election. I want to appoint Supreme Court justices who understand the way the world really works, who have real-life experience, who have not just been in a big law firm and maybe clerked for a judge and then gotten on the bench, but, you know, maybe they tried some more cases, they actually understand what people are up against.

Because I think the current court has gone in the wrong direction. And so I would want to see the Supreme Court reverse Citizens United and get dark, unaccountable money out of our politics. Donald doesn’t agree with that.

I would like the Supreme Court to understand that voting rights are still a big problem in many parts of our country, that we don’t always do everything we can to make it possible for people of color and older people and young people to be able to exercise their franchise. I want a Supreme Court that will stick with Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose, and I want a Supreme Court that will stick with marriage equality.

Now, Donald has put forth the names of some people that he would consider. And among the ones that he has suggested are people who would reverse Roe v. Wade and reverse marriage equality. I think that would be a terrible mistake and would take us backwards.

I want a Supreme Court that doesn’t always side with corporate interests. I want a Supreme Court that understands because you’re wealthy and you can give more money to something doesn’t mean you have any more rights or should have any more rights than anybody else.

So I have very clear views about what I want to see to kind of change the balance on the Supreme Court. And I regret deeply that the Senate has not done its job and they have not permitted a vote on the person that President Obama, a highly qualified person, they’ve not given him a vote to be able to be have the full complement of nine Supreme Court justices. I think that was a dereliction of duty.

I hope that they will see their way to doing it, but if I am so fortunate enough as to be president, I will immediately move to make sure that we fill that, we have nine justices that get to work on behalf of our people.

RADDATZ: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. Thank you. You’re out of time. Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Justice Scalia, great judge, died recently. And we have a vacancy. I am looking to appoint judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia. I’m looking for judges — and I’ve actually picked 20 of them so that people would see, highly respected, highly thought of, and actually very beautifully reviewed by just about everybody.

But people that will respect the Constitution of the United States. And I think that this is so important. Also, the Second Amendment, which is totally under siege by people like Hillary Clinton. They’ll respect the Second Amendment and what it stands for, what it represents. So important to me.

Now, Hillary mentioned something about contributions just so you understand. So I will have in my race more than $100 million put in — of my money, meaning I’m not taking all of this big money from all of these different corporations like she’s doing. What I ask is this.

So I’m putting in more than — by the time it’s finished, I’ll have more than $100 million invested. Pretty much self-funding money. We’re raising money for the Republican Party, and we’re doing tremendously on the small donations, $61 average or so.

I ask Hillary, why doesn’t — she made $250 million by being in office. She used the power of her office to make a lot of money. Why isn’t she funding, not for $100 million, but why don’t you put $10 million or $20 million or $25 million or $30 million into your own campaign?

I SUSPECT THE MONEY ALL WENT TO LEGAL FEES.  I DON’T THINK SHE’S ALL THAT RICH.

It’s $30 million less for special interests that will tell you exactly what to do and it would really, I think, be a nice sign to the American public. Why aren’t you putting some money in? You have a lot of it. You’ve made a lot of it because of the fact that you’ve been in office. Made a lot of it while you were secretary of state, actually. So why aren’t you putting money into your own campaign? I’m just curious.

CLINTON: Well…

(CROSSTALK)

RADDATZ: Thank you very much. We’re going to get on to one more question.

CLINTON: The question was about the Supreme Court. And I just want to quickly say, I respect the Second Amendment. But I believe there should be comprehensive background checks, and we should close the gun show loophole, and close the online loophole. COOPER: Thank you.

RADDATZ: We have — we have one more question, Mrs. Clinton.

CLINTON: We have to save as many lives as we possibly can.

COOPER: We have one more question from Ken Bone about energy policy. Ken?

QUESTION: What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil power plant workers?

COOPER: Mr. Trump, two minutes?

TRUMP: Absolutely. I think it’s such a great question, because energy is under siege by the Obama administration. Under absolutely siege.

WELL THEN HOW COME THE US IS ALMOST SELF SUFFICIENT NOW?  FRACK BABY FRACK

The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, is killing these energy companies. And foreign companies are now coming in buying our — buying so many of our different plants and then re-jiggering the plant so that they can take care of their oil.

We are killing — absolutely killing our energy business in this country. Now, I’m all for alternative forms of energy, including wind, including solar, et cetera. But we need much more than wind and solar.

And you look at our miners. Hillary Clinton wants to put all the miners out of business. There is a thing called clean coal. Coal will last for 1,000 years in this country. Now we have natural gas and so many other things because of technology. We have unbelievable — we have found over the last seven years, we have found tremendous wealth right under our feet. So good. Especially when you have $20 trillion in debt.

I will bring our energy companies back. They’ll be able to compete. They’ll make money. They’ll pay off our national debt. They’ll pay off our tremendous budget deficits, which are tremendous. But we are putting our energy companies out of business. We have to bring back our workers.

You take a look at what’s happening to steel and the cost of steel and China dumping vast amounts of steel all over the United States, which essentially is killing our steelworkers and our steel companies. We have to guard our energy companies. We have to make it possible.

The EPA is so restrictive that they are putting our energy companies out of business. And all you have to do is go to a great place like West Virginia or places like Ohio, which is phenomenal, or places like Pennsylvania and you see what they’re doing to the people, miners and others in the energy business. It’s a disgrace.

WEST VIRGINIA WAS DECLINING LONG BEFORE OBAMA

COOPER: Your time is up. Thank you.

TRUMP: It’s an absolute disgrace. COOPER: Secretary Clinton, two minutes.

CLINTON: And actually — well, that was very interesting. First of all, China is illegally dumping steel in the United States and Donald Trump is buying it to build his buildings, putting steelworkers and American steel plants out of business. That’s something that I fought against as a senator and that I would have a trade prosecutor to make sure that we don’t get taken advantage of by China on steel or anything else.

You know, because it sounds like you’re in the business or you’re aware of people in the business — you know that we are now for the first time ever energy-independent. We are not dependent upon the Middle East. But the Middle East still controls a lot of the prices. So the price of oil has been way down. And that has had a damaging effect on a lot of the oil companies, right? We are, however, producing a lot of natural gas, which serves as a bridge to more renewable fuels. And I think that’s an important transition.

We’ve got to remain energy-independent. It gives us much more power and freedom than to be worried about what goes on in the Middle East. We have enough worries over there without having to worry about that.

So I have a comprehensive energy policy, but it really does include fighting climate change, because I think that is a serious problem. And I support moving toward more clean, renewable energy as quickly as we can, because I think we can be the 21st century clean energy superpower and create millions of new jobs and businesses.

But I also want to be sure that we don’t leave people behind. That’s why I’m the only candidate from the very beginning of this campaign who had a plan to help us revitalize coal country, because those coal miners and their fathers and their grandfathers, they dug that coal out. A lot of them lost their lives. They were injured, but they turned the lights on and they powered their factories. I don’t want to walk away from them. So we’ve got to do something for them.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton…

CLINTON: But the price of coal is down worldwide. So we have to look at this comprehensively.

COOPER: Your time is up.

CLINTON: And that’s exactly what I have proposed. I hope you will go to HillaryClinton.com and look at my entire policy.

COOPER: Time is up. We have time for one more…

RADDATZ: We have…

COOPER: One more audience question.

RADDATZ: We’ve sneaked in one more question, and it comes from Karl Becker.

QUESTION: Good evening. My question to both of you is, regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?

(APPLAUSE)

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump, would you like to go first?

CLINTON: Well, I certainly will, because I think that’s a very fair and important question. Look, I respect his children. His children are incredibly able and devoted, and I think that says a lot about Donald. I don’t agree with nearly anything else he says or does, but I do respect that. And I think that is something that as a mother and a grandmother is very important to me.

GOOD

So I believe that this election has become in part so — so conflict-oriented, so intense because there’s a lot at stake. This is not an ordinary time, and this is not an ordinary election. We are going to be choosing a president who will set policy for not just four or eight years, but because of some of the important decisions we have to make here at home and around the world, from the Supreme Court to energy and so much else, and so there is a lot at stake. It’s one of the most consequential elections that we’ve had.

THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL SINCE 2012 I THINK!

And that’s why I’ve tried to put forth specific policies and plans, trying to get it off of the personal and put it on to what it is I want to do as president. And that’s why I hope people will check on that for themselves so that they can see that, yes, I’ve spent 30 years, actually maybe a little more, working to help kids and families. And I want to take all that experience to the White House and do that every single day.

RADDATZ: Mr. Trump?

TRUMP: Well, I consider her statement about my children to be a very nice compliment. I don’t know if it was meant to be a compliment, but it is a great — I’m very proud of my children. And they’ve done a wonderful job, and they’ve been wonderful, wonderful kids. So I consider that a compliment.

I will say this about Hillary. She doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. I respect that. I tell it like it is. She’s a fighter. I disagree with much of what she’s fighting for. I do disagree with her judgment in many cases. But she does fight hard, and she doesn’t quit, and she doesn’t give up. And I consider that to be a very good trait.

GOOD

RADDATZ: Thanks to both of you.

COOPER: We want to thank both the candidates. We want to thank the university here. This concludes the town hall meeting. Our thanks to the candidates, the commission, Washington University, and to everybody who watched.

RADDATZ: Please tune in on October 19th for the final presidential debate that will take place at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Good night, everyone.

 

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during their presidential town hall debate with Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at Washington University in St. Louis, October 9, 2016.Photograph by Shannon Stapleton—Reuters

 

It seems to me that the FBI Director’s report on Hillary Clinton’s emails was the best possible outcome for the Republican Party.

If he had recommended indictment (assuming that the Justice Department followed his recommendation) the Democrats probably would have found a better nominee.

If he had condoned Secretary Clinton’s conduct, the email scandal would disappear, and Clinton’s lead over Donald Trump would grow.

But by condemning her conduct, the FBI Director has created a “worst of both worlds” situation for the Democrats- the email scandal won’t harm Clinton enough to justify  nominating someone else, and yet will continue to get publicity, thus reducing or eliminating her lead over Donald Trump.

My comments are IN CAPS.

 

Moderators Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace introduced the candidates and the debate began.

BAIER: Let’s get started.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, as you may have heard, the 2012 Republican nominee for President, Mitt Romney, had some things to say about you today.

He said your domestic policy will lead to recession, he’s said your foreign policy will make us less safe, and then he listed what he said are your personal qualities. Quoting now Romney on Trump, quote, “the bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd, third-grade theatrics”.

(CHEERING)

He challenged you to answer with substance, not insults. How do you answer Mitt Romney, sir?

TRUMP: Well look, he was a failed candidate, he should have beaten president Obama very easy.

He failed miserably, and it was an embarrassment to everybody, including the Republican party. It looked like he went away on a vacation the last month. So, I don’t take that, and I guess, obviously, he wants to be relevant. He wants to be back in the game.

As far as domestic policy and trade which is killing our country, he said free trade and I believe in free trade also. But, if you look at China, and you look Japan, and if you look at Mexico, both at the border, by the way, where they’re killing us.

Both at the border, and with trade — and every other country we do business with we are getting absolutely crushed on trade. And, he said free trade, I say free trade great. But, not when they’re beating us so badly.

With China we’re going to lose $505 billion dollars in terms of trades. You just can’t do it.

Mexico, $58 billion dollars.

Japan, probably about, they don’t know it yet, but about $109 billion dollars.

Every country we lose money with. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve got to reduce — we have to redo our trade deals 100 percent. I have the greatest business people in the world lined up to do it. We will make…

(BELL RINGING)

TRUMP: … great trade deals.

(CHEERING)

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, Romney also talked about your position on race, and the controversy over your failure to denounce David Duke on Sunday. You have repeatedly disavowed him since then, but I’d like to go deeper than that. What are your views on the Klu Klux Klan, and white supremacists?

TRUMP: I totally disavow the Klu Klux Klan. I totally disavow David Duke. I’ve been doing it now for two weeks, this is your — you’re probably about the18th person that’s asked me the question. It was very clear, that question was also talked about in the form of groups. Groups, I want to know which groups are you talking about? You have to tell me which groups?

Ultimately, he got to the Klu Klux Klan, which obviously I’m going to disavow. And, by the way, if you look on my Twitter account, almost immediately after the program they were disavowed again.

You know, it’s amazing. When I do something on Twitter, everybody picks it up, goes all over the place. But, when I did this one nobody ever picks it up. Take a look at my Twitter account.

WALLACE: Thank you, sir.

TRUMP: Thank you. Thanks.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Rubio, three weeks ago you said, quote: “I don’t do the personal attacks, primarily because it’s not who I am, because I think it’s beneath the office that I’m seeking but also because I don’t want to embarrass my kids.”

But in the past week you’ve mocked Mr. Trump’s tan. You’ve made fun of his spelling. You called him a con artist. You suggested he wet himself backstage at the last debate, along with other vulgar jokes and jabs. So what happened?

RUBIO: Yes, you know, Bret, let me say something. This campaign for the last year Donald Trump has basically mocked everybody with personal attacks. He has done so to people that are sitting on the stage today. He has done so about people that are disabled. He has done it about every candidate in this race.

So if there is anyone who has ever deserved to be attacked that way, it has been Donald Trump, for the way he has treated people in the campaign.

Now that said, I would much prefer to have a policy debate. I hope that’s what we will have here tonight. Let’s have a policy debate…

TRUMP: And we will.

RUBIO: … let’s talk about Donald Trump’s strategy and my strategy and Ted’s strategy and John Kasich’s strategy when it comes to ISIS. And on health care and on the important issues facing this country.

But let’s be honest too about all this. The media has given these personal attacks that Donald Trump has made an incredible amount of coverage. Let’s start talking again about the issues that matter to this country. I’m ready to do that starting right here right now tonight.

BAIER: Mr. Trump, your response?

TRUMP: Well, I also happened to call him a lightweight, OK? And I have said that. So I would like to take that back. He is really not that much of a lightweight. And as far as — and I have to say this, I have to say this. He hit my hands. Nobody has ever hit my hands. I have never heard of this. Look at those hands. Are they small hands?

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: And he referred to my hands, if they are small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there is no problem. I guarantee.

BAIER: OK. Moving on.

KELLY: OK, Senator Cruz, you say that you are the true conservative in this race. But 15 states have voted now, and you have won only four of them. You have lost repeatedly with what is supposed to be your core voter groups, including evangelicals and conservatives.

Hasn’t your brand of conservatism been rejected by an electorate that appears to be more taken with Mr. Trump’s populist message?

CRUZ: Well, Megyn, you know, at the end of the day for the folks at home, this is not about the insults back and forth between the candidates. This is not about what attacks we can throw at each other. This is the people at home who are struggling through seven years of Barack Obama.

This is the single moms who are working two and three jobs, 28, 29 hours a week because their hours have been forcibly reduced because of Obamacare. This is the truck drivers and the steel workers and the mechanics with calluses on their hands who have seen their wages not grow year after year after year while the cost of living goes up.

This is all the young people coming out of school with student loans up to their eyeballs that aren’t able to find a job.

And I don’t think the people of America are interested in a bunch of bickering school children. They are interested in solutions, not slogans. It’s easy to say, make things better, make things great. You can even print it and put it on a baseball cap.

But the question is, do you understand the principles that made America great in the first place? As president, I will repeal every word of Obamacare. I will pull back the regulators that are killing small businesses.

And we will pass a simple flat tax and abolish the IRS. And what that’s going to do, Megyn, is small businesses are going to explode. We are going to see millions of high-paying jobs. We are going to see wages going up. We are going to see opportunity.

That’s where our focus needs to be. That’s where my focus is. And that is why our campaign is the only campaign that over and over again has beaten Donald Trump to date, and it’s why we are the one campaign that going forward can and will beat Donald Trump in this election.

KELLY: Go ahead, Mr. Trump. TRUMP: I have heard Ted say that over and over again on television, that he is the only one that can beat me. Just, for the record, I have won 10. He has won three or four. Last week, in fact, on Tuesday, I was a half a million votes higher than him. I was a million votes higher than Marco, 1 million votes. That’s a lot of votes. And was by far in first place.

So I keep hearing that he is the only one that can beat me but he is getting beaten very, very badly. So where does this come from? Where does it come from?

KELLY: Go ahead, Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: Yes, I would just say a couple of things. There is no doubt that Donald has done well in these elections. There is no doubt about that. The numbers are there.

Here is what the numbers also say. Two-thirds of the people who have cast a vote in a Republican primary or caucus have voted against you. They do not want you to be our nominee.

 

WHICH MEANS ABOUT 80 PERCENT HAVE VOTED AGAINST RUBIO

RUBIO: And, the reason why is because we are not going to turn over the conservative movement, or the party of Lincoln or Reagan, for example, to someone whose positions are not conservative. To someone who last week defended Planned Parenthood for 30 seconds a debate stage. To someone, for example, that has no ideas on foreign — someone who thinks the nuclear triad is a rock band from the 1980’s.

TRUMP: Oh yeah, you’re…

RUBIO: … To someone who time and again on issue after issue has not proven that he has the principals…

(BELL RINGING)

RUBIO: … That outline what the conservative movement has been about. And, as Ted said, the things that made America great.

America is great because of the conservative principles of limited government and free enterprise, and a strong national defense…

KELLY: … OK…

RUBIO: … And, our nominee needs to be someone that stands by those things…

KELLY: … Alright…

RUBIO: … Donald has not demonstrated that.

KELLY: … Go ahead, Mr. Trump, and then we’re going to have to go to Governor Kasich.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Very nice words, but happens to be wrong. CNN just came out with a poll two days ago that…

RUBIO: … (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: … That national poll — excuse me…

RUBIO: … (INAUDIBLE)

TRUMP: … The national poll — a national poll where he’s at 15, he’s at 14… RUBIO: … (INAUDIBLE)…

TRUMP: … And, I’m at 49, so when he says 75 percent, that would mean that 80 percent of the people don’t dig you, and I’m back down to 50…

RUBIO: … Of all the people on this stage, he performs the worst against Hillary Clinton.

TRUMP: Wrong…

RUBIO: … If you’re our nominee, we will lose…

TRUMP: … I beat Hillary Clinton. I beat Hillary Clinton in many polls…

RUBIO: … You lose by (INAUDIBLE) points (ph). She will wipe you out.

TRUMP: I beat Hillary Clinton in many polls…

RUBIO: If you’re our nominee (INAUDIBLE)…

KELLY: … Hold on, Senator, hold on…

TRUMP: … I think I’m talking…

RUBIO: … Oh, excuse me (INAUDIBLE)…

TRUMP: … I beat Hillary Clinton…

KELLY: … Hold on, hold on, hold on…

TRUMP: … I hope you think (INAUDIBLE)…

KELLY: … The audience cannot understand when you’re talking over each other. Finish your point, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: … I beat Hillary Clinton in many polls. The Cue (ph) poll just came out. I beat Hillary Clinton in a recent Fox poll, I beat Hillary Clinton in USA Today, I beat her today in a poll in Ohio. I beat — I’m the only one that beats Hillary Clinton.

I beat — and I have not started on Hillary yet. Believe me, I will…

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: … start soon. I haven’t even started.

KELLY: OK.

BAIER: Governor Kasich, today you admitted that you have a narrow path to the nomination through a contested convention. Today also Mitt Romney proposed that Republicans should vote for Senator Rubio in Florida. They should vote for you in Ohio. They should vote for Senator Cruz in states that he can beat Mr. Trump to prevent Mr. Trump from getting the nomination.

So, do you buy Romney’s blueprint, and can you say tonight to your Florida supporters that they should vote for Senator Rubio to get a contested convention?

KASICH: You know, this so much about process. It frankly is boring to me. I would like it clear though, since we’re talking about polls, I beat Hillary Clinton by more than 11 points, and the reason it happens…

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: … In one poll…

KASICH: … The reason it happens…

TRUMP: … In one poll…

KASICH: … You know, the reason is because, as the Democrats tell me all the time, I can get the crossover votes. You see, because throughout this campaign I’ve talked about issues, I have never tried to go and get into these scrums that we’re seeing here on the stage. And, people say everywhere I go, “you seem to be the adult on the stage.”

(APPLAUSE)

In terms of — you know, Mitt Romney’s a great guy, but he doesn’t determine my strategy. The fact of the matter is I’m running for president because I worked hard to fix this country when I was in Washington as the Chairman of the Budget Committee where we had some of the most significant job growth after we balanced the budget.

We had wages going up, it was very successful in Ohio. Our wages grow faster than the national average. We’re up over 400,000 jobs. We paid down, back in the old days, they paid down half a trillion dollars of the national debt. It’s a formula that works. And, I believe that formula will work when I return to Washington as the president.

And, by the way, I won’t need on the job training because I know how to do all of this, and within the first 100 days I will have a plan that will pass the Congress because…

(BELL RINGING)

KASICH: … It is reasonable, and I can bring both sides together…

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: … But Governor, this is all about process. For voters, they need to see a path to get to the nomination if they’re going to support you.

On Super Tuesday you finished in single digits in nine out of 11 states. So, you can see that your path is through a contested convention. How do you…

KASICH: … Well, Bret, I think we’re all really there. I mean, the simple fact is that, you know, you all wrote me off. You wrote me off before I even got to New Hampshire, then when I finished in New Hampshire you wrote me off in the South, then you wrote me off in Super Tuesday.

I split delegates in Vermont with Donald Trump, I finished second in Massachusetts, and we won delegates in Virginia. But, guess what? It’s now March Madness and we’re heading up North to the place — to my turf, OK?

(CHEERING)

KASICH: And, let me just tell you this, I will win Ohio, and I am going to move all across this country, and over time as people begin to finally hear my message — you know what people say, Bret, to me all the time?

Why don’t they give you any time on the debate stage? Why is that?

(CHEERING)

KASICH: So now all of a sudden, I’m starting to get it, and what I want the people to know is, I know how to bring people together, Republicans and Democrats. I have successfully, both at the federal level and the state level brought economic growth, wage growth, and economic security to this country.

And I want to go back and do it again, and I’m going to keep talking about my message of bringing people together and motivating people in the neighborhoods that realize they don’t need somebody from Washington galloping in. There are many things they can do where they live, because the strength of our country is in our neighborhoods and our families. And I’m going to keep doing this.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Thank you.

WALLACE: Well, then, we want to focus now on the economy, which is one of the top issues on Facebook, with 6.6 million people discussing it online. A lot of that conversation is happening here in Detroit, where the unemployment rate is 10.9 percent. That’s more than double the national average.

Senator Rubio, you have taken to calling Mr. Trump a con artist who portrays himself as a hero to working people while he’s really been, in your words, “sticking it” to the American workers for 40 years. But he has built a big company that employs thousands of people. Question. How many jobs have you created?

RUBIO: Well, first of all, government doesn’t…

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

First of all, Chris, my point is exactly right. He has spent a career of convincing Americans that he’s something that he’s not in exchange for their money. Now he’s trying to do the same in exchange for their country. This is a fact. He talks about these great businesses that he’s built. He inherited over $100 million.

TRUMP: Wrong. Wrong.

RUBIO: And with that money, he lost more money than he made.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, it’s not your turn. You’ll get your turn, sir.

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: He can start tonight by announcing that all the Donald Trump clothing will no longer be made in China and in Mexico, but will be made here in the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

And on the issue of job creation, I find this interesting. The private sector creates jobs. The jobs of those of us in public service are to put in place policies that allow the economy to grow.

That’s the problem with the Democratic Party. They think government is what creates jobs. Government does not create jobs.

Now, the way you create jobs is you make America the easiest and the best place in the world to start a business or to expand an existing business. If you go on my website, marcorubio.com, you will see a real plan to fix our taxes, to roll back regulations, to repeal and replace Obamacare, not just lines around the states. Serious policies and proposals.

WALLACE: Sir? Mr. Trump, I’d like you to respond. You have 30 seconds to respond. But as part of that, could you respond to his specific assertion about Trump Collection clothes, which you say some of it is made in Mexico?

TRUMP: This little guy has lied so much…

RUBIO: Here we go.

TRUMP: … about my record.

RUBIO: Here we go. It’s personal.

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: He has lied so much about my record.

WALLACE: Mr. Rubio — Senator Rubio, why don’t you let him finish?

TRUMP: And I will tell you this. First of all, I got a call from my sister and brother tonight, and they said we had no idea Dad gave you $200 million. Believe me, I started off with $1 million. I built a company that’s worth more than $10 billion. And I say it not in a bragging way, but that’s the kind of thinking we need.

Very low debt, tremendous cash flow. My financials are all — they’re all in there with the federal elections. You’ve seen them. Everybody has seen them. I say it only because that’s the kind of thinking this country needs with $19 trillion in debit. Believe me.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: But wait one second. Specifically and quickly on the question, will you promise that you will — and how soon will you move your clothing collection, the clothes that are made in China and Mexico?

TRUMP: They devalue their currencies. I will do that. And by the way, I have been doing it more and more. But they devalue their currencies, in particular China. Mexico is doing a big number now, also. Japan is unbelievable what they’re doing.

They devalue their currencies, and they make it impossible for clothing-makers in this country to do clothing in this country. And if you look at what’s happened on Seventh Avenue, and you look at what’s happened in New York with the garment industry, so much of the clothing now comes out from Vietnam, China, and other places. And it’s all because of devaluation.

By the way, the Trans-Pacific, if you look at the TPP, a total disaster, which, by the way, Marco is in favor of, they need — it is a disaster for our country. It’s trying to be approved by various people, including President Obama. And I’ll tell you something. The biggest problem with that is: They don’t take into concurrence the devaluation. They’re devaluing their currency.

WALLACE: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Trump. Senator Rubio?

TRUMP: And they’re killing — they’re going to…

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Wait, wait, Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: The answer is, he’s not going to do it. And you know why? Because there are plenty of clothing makers in America.

(APPLAUSE)

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: If you go on my website, marcorubio.com, everything we have on there is made in America. The reason why he makes it in China or Mexico is because he can make more money on it. That’s why he’s doing it.

And the second point, you see what happens, again, when you challenge him on a policy issue. You asked him about the economy, and the first thing he does is launch an attack about some little guy thing. Because he doesn’t have answers.

TRUMP: No, no. I have very good answers.

RUBIO: And he’s asking us to make him the president of the United States of America.

(CROSSTALK) (APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: This is not a game.

TRUMP: I know what’s happening with the economy. You don’t know a thing.

RUBIO: Well, then answer the economy question.

TRUMP: You haven’t employed in your life one person.

RUBIO: But he doesn’t answer the employment question.

TRUMP: I have employed tens of thousands of people.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: You haven’t employed one person.

RUBIO: You ever heard of Trump Steaks? You ever heard of Trump Vodka?

TRUMP: Oh, you know what? You know what? Take a look at Trump Steaks.

RUBIO: All of these companies he has ruined.

TRUMP: By the way, that’s the other thing…

RUBIO: Trump Steaks is gone. You have ruined these companies.

TRUMP: Mitt Romney…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: … false, totally false. And now the funny thing is he didn’t talk about the hundreds of really successful jobs, the buildings all over the world that have made a fortune.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: I have a policy question for you, sir.

RUBIO: Let’s see if he answers it.

TRUMP: I will. Don’t worry about it, Marco. Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it little Marco, I will.

RUBIO: All right, well, let’s hear it big Donald.

TRUMP: Don’t worry about it, little Marco.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Gentlemen. Gentlemen.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: You have got to do better than this. TRUMP: This guy has a number one — the number one absentee record in the United States…

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, I would like to ask you a policy question.

TRUMP: He doesn’t show up to vote.

WALLACE: Your proposed tax cut…

TRUMP: That’s why the people in Florida do not like him.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, your proposed tax cut would add $10 trillion to the nation’s debt over 10 years, even if the economy grows the way that you say it will. You insist that you could make up for a good deal of that, you say, by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse.

TRUMP: Correct.

WALLACE: Like what? And please be specific.

TRUMP: Department of Education. We’re cutting Common Core. We’re getting rid of Common Core. We’re bringing education locally. Department of Environmental Protection.

NOT A DEPARTMENT – IS HE THINKING OF NY STATE (WHICH HAS A DEPT BY THAT NAME)?

We are going to get rid are of it in almost every form. We’re going to have little tidbits left but we’re going to take a tremendous amount out.

We have various other things. If you look at the IRS, if you look at every single agency, we can cut it down, and I mean really cut it down and save. The waste, fraud, and abuse is massive.

Larry Kudlow, great guy, everybody respects him, said my plan for taxes and tax cutting is the best by far of everybody.

WALLACE: But, Mr. Trump, Mr. Trump, your numbers don’t add up. Please put up full screen number four. The Education Department, you talk about cutting, the total budget for the education department is $78 billion.

And that includes Pell grants for low-income students and aid to states for special education. I assume you wouldn’t cut those things. The entire budget for the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency, $8 billion.

TRUMO: OK.

WALLACE: The deficit this year is $544 billion. That’s more than a half trillion dollars. Your numbers don’t add up, sir.

TRUMP: Let me explain something. Because of the fact that the pharmaceutical companies — because of the fact that the pharmaceutical companies are not mandated to bid properly, they have hundreds of billions of dollars in waste.

We don’t bid properly. We don’t have proper bidding procedures. The reason we don’t is because they take care of all of the senators, all of the congressman, and they don’t bid. They don’t go out to bid. WALLACE: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: Take a look — excuse me. You are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars…

WALLACE: No, you are not.

TRUMP: … if we went out to the proper bid. Of course you are.

WALLACE: No, you’re not, sir. Let’s put up full screen number 2.

You say that Medicare could save $300 billion a year negotiating lower drug prices. But Medicare total only spends $78 billion a year on drugs. Sir, that’s the facts. You are talking about saving more money on Medicare prescription drugs…

TRUMP: I’m saying saving through negotiation throughout the economy, you will save $300 billion a year.

WALLACE: But that doesn’t really cut the federal deficit.

TRUMP: And that’s a huge — of course it is. We are going to buy things for less money. Of course it is. That works out…

WALLACE: That’s the only money that we buy — the only drugs that we pay for is through Medicare.

TRUMP: I’m not only talking about drugs, I’m talking about other things. We will save $300 billion a year if we properly negotiate. We don’t do that. We don’t negotiate. We don’t negotiate anything.

OF COURSE HE’S BEING SILLY HERE, AS WALLACE POINTS OUT

KASICH: Can I…

WALLACE: No. I promise I will get to you in a moment, sir.

Senator Cruz, one of centerpieces of your campaign, in fact, you mentioned it again tonight, is that you will abolish the IRS. Question though, who will collect the taxes that you are still calling for? Who will oversee to make sure that people pay the taxes that they rightfully owe? And who will check on the various tax deductions and tax credits that you still want?

CRUZ: So my simple flat tax I have rolled out in precise detail how it will operate where every American can fill out our taxes on a postcard. And if you want to actually see the postcard, see all the details, you can find them on our Web site. It’s tedcruz.org.

When he we get rid of all the corporate welfare, all the subsidies, all the carve-outs in the IRS code, it dramatically simplifies it. And under Obama, the IRS has become so corrupt and so politicized we need to abolish it all together.

Now, at the end of that there will still be an office in the Treasury Department to receive the postcards but it will be dramatically simpler.

IN OTHER WORDS, RENAME THE IRS?

CRUZ: And let me take a moment, Chris, to go back to go back to this exchange that was going on.

In between all of the insults, let me point out the specificity that was lacking. It’s very easy to say, “Let’s cut waste, fraud, and abuse.” I’ve rolled out a detailed plan to cut $500 billion in federal spending, specifying exactly what I would cut.

(APPLAUSE)

It’s easy to say it, but one of the great disconnects to all the people, all of the voters, I understand the folks who are supporting Donald right now. You’re angry. You’re angry at Washington, and he uses angry rhetoric.

But for 40 years, Donald has been part of the corruption in Washington that you’re angry about.

(APPLAUSE)

And you’re not going to stop the corruption in Washington by supporting someone who has supported liberal Democrats for four decades, from Jimmy Carter to John Kerry to Hillary Clinton. You’re not going to stop the corruption and the cronyism by supporting someone who has used government power for private gain. Instead, we need a president who stands with the American people.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Kasich, I promise I will get to you. But you do get 30 seconds to respond, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Well, all of a sudden, I hear for 40 years I’ve been involved in Washington. I have been supporting people for many years. And these people have been politicians, and they’ve been on both sides, Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives. I’ve supported everybody, because, until recently, I wasn’t a politician, and I hope maybe you don’t all consider me a politician right now. I hate the term politician.

But I’ve been supporting politicians. A recent article somewhere said Donald Trump is a world-class businessman who goes out and he does get along with everybody. I’ve supported Democrats, and I’ve supported Republicans. And as a businessman, I owed that to my company, to my family, to my workers, to everybody to get along.

Part of the problem we have in Washington, Chris…

WALLACE: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: … is it’s total gridlock. Nobody gets along. We need people to get along. We need to be able to get things done.

THIS ILLUSTRATES THE ABSURDITY OF PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS. ON THE ONE HAND, PROMISE TO CUT GOVERNMENT BACK.  ON THE OTHER, PROMISE TO MAKE DEALS.  BARRING A LIBERTARIAN PARTY SWEEP OF CONGRESS YOU PROBABLY CANNOT HAVE BOTH.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Governor Kasich, Democrats, as you know, will make income inequality a big issue in the general election. You support raising the minimum wage, although you say not to the $15 an hour that Democrats are talking about. Mr. Trump opposes any increase because he says it will price American workers out of the world market. Is he wrong about that? No increase in the minimum wage?

KASICH: Well, well, wait a minute, first of all, I didn’t say I was for an increase in the federal minimum wage. I said in Ohio we increased it modestly every single year. So I’m not for a federal minimum wage increase.

WALLACE: But you did talk about states doing it.

KASICH: Well, states — if states want to do it, they ought to sit down with businesspeople and the lawmakers and figure out what will work. But hold on a second here with everything else.

I’m the only person on this stage who actually was the chief architect of balancing the federal budget. It’s not a theory for me. It’s not — it’s not some — you have to know how to put everything together. And you know, I spent 10 years of my life to get there, and I did not do that because I’m worshiping at some balanced budget shrine.

The reason I did it is when you have commonsense regulations, lower taxes on individuals and businesses, and you have a fiscal plan that makes sense, the job creators will expand employment. And what happened? When I was there, the jobs were exploding. Bill Clinton’s tried to take credit for it. When I went to Ohio, we’re up 400,000 jobs. It’s the same formula.

But it isn’t easy. I fought the entire Washington establishment and won, because when you balance a budget, you must affect every single thing. Everything in the federal government specifically. You cannot get there with theories or broad statements, and you have to be willing to take the heat. In fact, I fought a Republican president, who I thought was not offering constructive proposals to fix this economy.

So when we talk about all this, there’s one person on this stage and one person who’s been a candidate for president in either party that restored economic strength, growth, a balanced budget, paid down debt, cut taxes, the things that people in this country want. No theories. Reality.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Thank you, Governor.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: All right. Let’s talk immigration for a little bit. Senator Cruz, let’s start with you. You have repeatedly touted how you have stood shoulder to shoulder with Senator Jeff Sessions to fight illegal immigration and amnesty. But Senator Sessions just endorsed Donald Trump. If voters want Jeff Sessions-style immigration policies, isn’t their choice rather clear?

CRUZ: Yes, their choice is very clear. If you look to the actual record — you know, Donald mentioned a moment ago that he was just doing business when he was writing checks to liberal Democrats. But that’s not, in fact, the checks he was writing.

Listen, we could all understand if you write a check to a city commission because you’re looking for a zoning waiver on building a building. That may be corrupt, but you could understand real estate developers doing that.

CRUZ: That’s not what Donald Trump did. Donald Trump supported Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan. Donald supported John Kerry over George W. Bush. If you don’t like Obamacare, Donald Trump funded Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi taking over Congress to pass Obamacare.

On immigration, if you don’t like amnesty, if you don’t like the Gang of Eight, Donald Trump funded five of the eight members of the Gang of Eight $50,000.

And let’s talk about this election. The choice Republican primary voters are making is who is best prepared to stand up to Hillary Clinton and beat Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump has written checks to Hillary Clinton not once, not twice, not three times. Ten times. And four of those checks were not to her Senate campaign. It wasn’t that she was the New York senator and it was a cost of doing business. It was to her presidential campaign.

Donald Trump in 2008 wrote four checks to elect Hillary Clinton as president.

KELLY: OK.

CRUZ: So I’d like to ask Donald, why did you write checks to Hillary Clinton to be president in 2008? It wasn’t for business. And how can you stand on a debate stage now with her and say you don’t think she should be president?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Actually, it was for business. It was. It was. It was for business. I pride myself, including outside of the United States. I’m doing almost 120 deals outside of the — which I hope to be able to stop very soon and let my children handle it — but we’re doing many, many deals outside of the United States.

I support politicians. In 2008, I supported Hillary Clinton. I supported many other people, by the way. And that was because of the fact that I’m in business. I did support very heavily Ronald Reagan. I also supported George Bush, by the way.

KELLY: All right. Mr. Trump…

CRUZ: But what would you say…

KELLY: Well, stand by — stand by, Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: … to Hillary Clinton on the debate stage when you wrote her a check in 2008, wrote her four checks to be president?

TRUMP: Let me tell you, something, Ted. The last person that Hillary Clinton wants to face is Donald Trump. That I can…

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Let’s move on. And with all due respect, we have — we have questions. We have questions.

TRUMP: That I can tell you.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: No, no, no. Hold on. Hold on. We can do more of this later. Mr. Trump, hi.

TRUMP: Hello.

KELLY: How are you doing?

TRUMP: Nice to be with you, Megyn.

KELLY: Great to have you here.

TRUMP: You’re looking well. You’re looking well.

KELLY: As are you.

(APPLAUSE)

Back in January, you gave an off-the-record interview to the New York Times. It was apparently audiotaped. Now, a recent report in Buzzfeed citing sources at the Times reports that in that interview you expressed flexibility when it comes to your immigration policy, specifically with respect to your promise to deport the 11 million people who are now living here illegally. You have suggested that you may have expressed some flexibility when it comes to the size of the wall that you want to build. But did you tell them, specifically, that you are flexible when it comes to your deportation plan?

TRUMP: I don’t know exactly what — when you talk about off the record. First of all, Buzzfeed? They were the ones that said under no circumstances will I run for president. And were they wrong. But a lot of people said that.

Then, I did have a meeting with the editorial board of the New York Times, a very nice meeting. Many of those things were off the record, I think at their suggestion and my suggestion. And I think being off the record is a very important thing. I think it’s a very, very powerful thing.

And I will say this. These three gentlemen have gone off the record many times with reporters. And I think they want to honor it, and I would always honor that.

I will say, though, in terms of immigration — and almost anything else — there always has to be some, you know, tug and pull and deal. And, you know, when I watch Ted stand on the Senate floor, I had great respect for what he did. He stood there for a day-and-a- half or something. In the meantime, what came of it? Nothing. You have to be able to have some flexibility, some negotiation.

Now, sometimes you ask for more than you want and you negotiate down to the point. I may have discussed something like that with the New York Times, but I would never release off-the-record conversations. I don’t think it’s fair, frankly, to do that to anybody.

KELLY: How flexible are you on this issue?

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

TRUMP: Not very flexible. No, not very flexible. I give the example — I’m going to build a wall. I’m the one that wants the wall. I’m the one that can build the wall.

(APPLAUSE)

It’s going to get built. And by the way, Mexico is going to pay for the wall. I can tell you that. Mexico is going to pay for the wall.

(APPLAUSE)

But — and I used an example. And this isn’t necessarily what was said, but whatever was said, the wall’s 50 feet high. Is it going to be 45 feet or 40 feet? That could very well be. That could very well — he wants it to be higher.

(LAUGHTER)

That could very well be. But there’s always give and take. There’s always negotiation. And the best negotiator that knows what he’s doing will make a great deal. But we need give and take in government. If you don’t have give and take, you’re never going to agree on anything.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION: I CAN MAKE SPEECHES BUT I REALIZE CONGRESS WON’T PAY FOR THEM.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Senator Rubio, you not only supported the failed immigration reform effort through the Gang of Eight, but you’re still on record as favoring an eventual path to citizenship for those who are here illegally. And in addition…

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

… you favored in-state tuition for Florida illegal immigrants. You’ve been hitting Mr. Trump hard on this flexibility discussion with the New York Times, but his supporters might say at least his opening stance was tough.

RUBIO: Well, first of all, let me say that on the issue of the off-the-record, that’s not up to the New York Times. That’s up to you, Donald. If tonight you tell the New York Times to release the audio, they will do it, and we can exactly see what your true views are on immigration…

TRUMP: Fine (ph).

RUBIO: … because it is a major issue, in your campaign that you’ve made a center issue. Now, as far as my record on it is concerned, I absolutely want to solve this issue. And I did the best we could in a Senate that was controlled by liberal Democrats and Harry Reid in the hopes that the House, made up of conservatives, would take it up and make it even stronger. And I said that repeatedly at the time.

I’m not just saying that now; I said it throughout that process. We do need to do with this issue.

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

RUBIO: When I’m president it will not be dealt with the way it was done in the Senate.

It will be done first and foremost by bringing illegal immigration under control and proving it to the American people. And only after that is done can anything else happen.

AND DO THIS HOW?  HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN ITS UNDER CONTROL? WILL IT BE BEFORE YOU LEAVE OFFICE?

And it will be something the American people support. We’ll see what they are willing to support. It’s not going to be an executive order and we’re not going to ram it down their throats.

KELLY: Mr. Trump, we will let respond, but will you release the tapes? Will you authorize of The Times to release the tapes?

TRUMP: I will say one thing, what Marco said is — I understand it. He is talking about a little give and take and a little negotiation. And you know what? That’s OK. That’s not the worst thing in the world.

There is nothing wrong with that. I happen to be much stronger on illegal immigration. Sheriff Joe Arpaio endorsed me. And if he endorses you, believe me, you are the strongest, from Arizona.

But give and take is OK. And I thought what he said is OK. We may differ on the degree. But what he said to me is OK.

KELLY: Will you release the tapes?

TRUMP: No. I never do that. I would not do that. I don’t think — I have too much respect — if I deal with you off the record, if I deal with Bret or Chris off the record, I have too much respect for that process to say, just release everything. I would not do that.

KELLY: OK. Stand by. We’re going to continue this right after the break. We have more.

BAIER: Coming up, more with Megyn on immigration, plus questions on other top issues, including the war on terror. The “FOX News Republican Presidential Debate Live from Detroit” continues after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Welcome back everybody to the FOX News Republican presidential debate, live from the FOX theater here in Detroit. Let’s get back now to the questions.

Mr. Trump, your campaign website to this day argues that more visas for highly skilled workers would, quote, “decimate American workers”. However, at the CNBC debate, you spoke enthusiastically in favor of these visas. So, which is it?

TRUMP: I’m changing. I’m changing. We need highly skilled people in this country, and if we can’t do it, we’ll get them in. But, and we do need in Silicon Valley, we absolutely have to have.

So, we do need highly skilled, and one of the biggest problems we have is people go to the best colleges. They’ll go to Harvard, they’ll go to Stanford, they’ll go to Wharton, as soon as they’re finished they’ll get shoved out. They want to stay in this country. They want to stay here desperately, they’re not able to stay here. For that purpose, we absolutely have to be able to keep the brain power in this country.

(APPLAUSE)

YOU WANT SOMEONE WHO WILL RIGIDLY HOLD TO OUTDATED IDEAS, TRUMP NOT YOUR MAN.

KELLY: So you abandoning the position on your website…

TRUMP: … I’m changing it, and I’m softening the position because we have to have talented people in this country.

KELLY: And you’re not releasing the discussion with the New York Times behind closed doors…

TRUMP: … That is correct.

KELLY: Which will have some asking whether, on your immigration policies, you’re really just playing to people’s fantasies, which is a tactic…

TRUMP: … No, I’m not playing.

KELLY: … you praised in your book, The Art of the Deal.

TRUMP: I’m not playing to anybody’s fantasies, I’m playing to the fact that our country is in trouble, that we have a tremendous problem with crime. The border is a disaster, it’s like a piece of Swiss cheese. We’re going to stop it, we’re going to stop people from coming into our country illegally. We’re going to stop it.

(APPLAUSE) (CHEERING)

KELLY: Senator Cruz, not long ago you propose quintupling the number of these foreign worker visas. After you announced for president, you reversed yourself, citing reports that the program was being abused. But, that abuse had been around long before your 180. In fact, it was so bad that just a few months earlier that a bipartisan group of senators called for an investigation and you declined to join them.

Isn’t it a good thing that the American public didn’t trust Ted on that one?

CRUZ: Well, the abuse of the H1-B program has been rampant. On the face of that H1-B abuse, I have proposed, and promised as president that I will impose a 180 day moratorium on the H1B program to implement a comprehensive investigation and audit because you got U.S. companies that are firing American workers, bringing in foreign workers, and forcing them to train their replacements.

And, I would note that is not dissimilar to what we discovered at the last debate concerning the hotel that Donald owns down in Florida. Down in Florida that hotel has brought in hundreds of foreign workers, and afterwards it was really striking.

I watched the CNN interview Donald did where he explained, he said, well the problem is you can’t find Americans who are qualified, or who want to work as waiters and waitresses. Now, let me ask the people here, how many people have worked as a waiter or waitress?

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Millions across this country. That is an astonishing statement. You know, Marco’s Dad started as a bartender. My Dad started washing dishes, and yet, you know how many Americans wanted those jobs?

GOOD HIT!

(BELL RINGING)

CRUZ: Roughly 300 applied, Donald hired 17. And, that’s why this New York Times tape is so troubling because what’s been reported is that Donald told the Editorial Board of the New York Times what I’m saying on immigration, I don’t believe. I’m not going to build a wall, I’m not going to deport people, this is all just rhetoric for the voters.

Now, if he didn’t say that, he has an easy solution. Simply release the tape.

But, for everyone at home who’s mad at politicians that lied to us, Donald’s record right now as he standing here…

KELLY: … OK.

CRUZ: … His record right now is one of repeatedly hiring illegal aliens…

KELLY: … Times up, sir…

CRUZ: … abusing (ph) American workers…

KELLY: … Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: First of all I’ve had tens of thousands of people working for me, most of which are — 98, 97, 98 percent of the people in this country, from this country. I’m very proud of it. You have a club in Palm Beach, Florida called the Mar-a-Lago Club, it’s a very, very successful club. It has a very short season, it’s called, the Season, and it goes from November until March.

It’s a few months, five months at the most. People don’t want a short-term job.

OH PLEASE

They don’t want — so, we will bring people in, and we will send the people out. All done legally, all done with the process that’s…

(BELL RINGING)

TRUMP: … Approved by government in Palm Beach, or West Palm Beach. We bring people in, we bring them out. We want to hire as many Americans as we can, but they don’t want part-time, very short part-time jobs.

KELLY: Understood. Thank you.

RUBIO: That’s not accurate. I’m sorry, Megyn, that’s not accurate. That’s my — there were at least 300 Americans that applied last year, none of them were hired. Some of them…

TRUMP: … Wrong…

RUBIO: … have been interviewed…

TRUMP: … That’s wrong.

RUBIO: … They were not hired…

TRUMP: … Wrong…

RUBIO: … And, here’s why he does it this way, let me explain why he (INAUDIBLE) H2-B…

TRUMP: … Wrong…

RUBIO: … Because when you bring them in this way, when you bring someone in on one of these visas they can’t go work for anybody else. They either work for you or they have to go back home. You basically have them captive, so you don’t have to worry about competing for higher wages with another hotel down the street. And, that’s why you bring workers from abroad.

You argue that you’re here to fight on behalf of the American worker, but when you have chances to help the American worker…

(BELL RINGING)…

RUBIO: … but when you have chances to help the American workers, you’re making your clothes overseas and you’re hiring your workers from overseas.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Go ahead, sir.

TRUMP: The — the — the other hotels during the season, they do the same thing. They take in a lot of people, because you can’t get them. They take in a lot of people. Long-term employees, we don’t do that, but short-term employees, we have no choice but to do it, and other hotels in that very, very hot area. It is a very hot area.

RUBIO: There were Americans in that hot area.

TRUMP: It’s very, very hard to get people. But other hotels do the exact same thing. And just so you understand, just again, this is a legal process. This is a procedure. It’s part of the law. I take advantage of that. There’s nothing wrong with it. We have no choice.

KELLY: All right.

CRUZ: Donald, you could resolve this issue very quickly by simply…

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

… releasing the New York Times tape. Because, listen, maybe it’s right.

TRUMP: This wasn’t on the subject.

CRUZ: … that you didn’t tell them you’re misleading the American people. If that’s the case…

TRUMP: Tapes were not on the subject, but that’s…

CRUZ: If you didn’t tell them that, the tapes will prove you’re innocent.

KELLY: OK.

CRUZ: But if, in fact, you went to Manhattan and said I’m lying to the American people, then the voters have a right to know.

TRUMP: No, no. You’re the liar. You’re the lying guy up here.

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: Because we’ve been lied to too many times.

TRUMP: You’re the — you’re the one. You’re the one.

CRUZ: Why don’t you release the tapes? Release the tapes.

TRUMP: You’re the one. Now, let me just tell you. Let me just tell you.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me. I’ve given my answer, Lyin’ Ted. I’ve given my answer.

KELLY: All right. Let’s leave it at that.

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

Let’s leave it at that. We have more to get to.

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

BAIER: Gentlemen, the next topic to discuss is terrorism. Senator Rubio, ISIS is a big topic of conversation on Facebook. We have a map that shows theconservation about ISIS around the country. You proposed sending a larger number of American ground troops to help defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq…

RUBIO: That’s correct, and Libya.

BAIER: … but military commanders say the biggest ISIS threat to Europe in particular now is coming from Libya, not Syria.

RUBIO: Correct.

BAIER: So just to be clear, if you’re for putting more U.S. ground troops in Iraq and Syria, are you also ready to send U.S. ground troops on the ground in Libya?

RUBIO: Well, Bret, what I’ve argued from the very beginning is ISIS — in order to defeat ISIS, you must deny them operating spaces. This is how ISIS or any radical group, for that matter, can grow. It’s how Al Qaida was able to carry out 9/11, is that the Taliban gave them an operating space in Afghanistan.

Today that operating space has largely been based in Iraq and Syria, but I’ve been warning about the Libyan presence for the better part of two years. So they need to be targeted wherever they have an operating space. They do need to be defeated on the ground by a ground force made up primarily of Sunni Arabs themselves. This is a radical Sunni movement. They can only be defeated if they are driven out and the territory is held by Sunni Arabs. But it will require a specific number of American special operators, in combination with an increase in air strikes. And that will include, if necessary, operating spaces in Libya, which, in fact, they are using to project into the Sinai against Egypt and ultimately into Europe, as well.

BAIER: Governor Kasich, would you put ground troops in Libya?

KASICH: Well, first of all, just to be clear, not only did I serve for 18 years on the Defense Committee, more than anybody on this stage, but, secondly, I was called into the Pentagon after 9/11 to help Secretary Rumsfeld with some of his difficulties.

I will say, look, let me tell you what happened with Libya. And I pointed out in the last debate — Hillary Clinton worked aggressively to depose Moammar Gadhafi. We had no business doing it. He was working with us. He was cooperating with us. He denuclearized. And now they pushed him out, and now we have a fertile ground for ISIS.

WELL  STATED, GOVERNOR!

Fortunately in Libya, there’s only a few cities on the coast, because most of Libya is a desert. The fact of the matter is, we absolutely have to be — and not just with special forces. I mean, that’s not going to work. Come on. You’ve got to go back to the invasion when we pushed Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. We have to be there on the ground in significant numbers. We do have to include our Muslim Arab friends to work with us on that. And we have to be in the air.

AND IF THEY LEAVE LIBYA, WHERE DO THEY GO NEXT?

And we — it should be a broad coalition, made up of the kinds of people that were involved when we defeated Saddam. Now, you’ve got to be on the ground and in the air both in Syria and Iraq. And at some point, we will have to deal with Libya. I am very concerned about ISIS getting their hands on the oilfields in Libya and being able to fund their operations. The fact is cool, calm, deliberate, effective, take care of the job, and then come home. That’s what we need to do with our military foreign policy.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Mr. Trump, just yesterday, almost 100 foreign policy experts signed on to an open letter refusing to support you, saying your embracing expansive use of torture is inexcusable. General Michael Hayden, former CIA director, NSA director, and other experts have said that when you asked the U.S. military to carry out some of your campaign promises, specifically targeting terrorists’ families, and also the use of interrogation methods more extreme than waterboarding, the military will refuse because they’ve been trained to turn down and refuse illegal orders.

So what would you do, as commander-in-chief, if the U.S. military refused to carry out those orders?

TRUMP: They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me. Believe me.

THEY DIDN’T REFUSE BUSH AND CHENEY, SO WHY SHOULD THEY REFUSE TO DO QUESTIONABLE THINGS NOW?

HAVING SAID THAT, GIVEN AMERICA’S HABIT OF ENGAGING IN DUMB WARS, A PRESIDENT WHO THE MILITARY IGNORES MIGHT NOT BE SUCH A BAD IDEA.

BAIER: But they’re illegal.

TRUMP: Let me just tell you, you look at the Middle East. They’re chopping off heads. They’re chopping off the heads of Christians and anybody else that happens to be in the way. They’re drowning people in steel cages. And he — now we’re talking about waterboarding.

This really started with Ted, a question was asked of Ted last — two debates ago about waterboarding. And Ted was, you know, having a hard time with that question, to be totally honest with you. They then came to me, what do you think of waterboarding? I said it’s fine. And if we want to go stronger, I’d go stronger, too, because, frankly…

(APPLAUSE)

… that’s the way I feel. Can you imagine — can you imagine these people,these animals over in the Middle East, that chop off heads, sitting around talking and seeing that we’re having a hard problem with waterboarding? We should go for waterboarding and we should go tougher than waterboarding. That’s my opinion.

BAIER: But targeting terrorists’ families?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: And — and — and — I’m a leader. I’m a leader. I’ve always been a leader. I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it. That’s what leadership is all about.

BAIER: Even targeting terrorists’ families?

TRUMP: Well, look, you know, when a family flies into the World Trade Center, a man flies into the World Trade Center, and his family gets sent back to where they were going — and I think most of you know where they went — and, by the way, it wasn’t Iraq — but they went back to a certain territory, they knew what was happening. The wife knew exactly what was happening.

They left two days early, with respect to the World Trade Center, and they went back to where they went, and they watched their husband on television flying into the World Trade Center, flying into the Pentagon, and probably trying to fly into the White House, except we had some very, very brave souls on that third plane. All right?

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Cruz, you were mentioned.

TRUMP: I have no problem with it.

BAIER: Senator Cruz?

CRUZ: Bret, you know, I think the American people understand that yelling and cursing at people doesn’t make you a tough guy.

TRUE

We need a commander-in-chief that, number one, will rebuild the military, just like Ronald Reagan did in 1981 coming out of the weak Jimmy Carter administration. He passed tax reform and regulatory reform. The economy took off. It generated millions in high-paying jobs, trillions in new revenue. He rebuilt the military, bankrupted the Soviet Union, and won the Cold War.

As president, I will do the exact same thing with radical Islamic terrorism. We will rebuild this military so that it remains the mightiest fighting force on the face of the planet. And then, when I am commander-in-chief, every militant on the face of the Earth will understand that if they go and join ISIS, if they wage jihad against the United States of America, they are signing their death warrant.

ALL THOSE EXTRA SHIPS AND PLANES DIDN’T DO MUCH GOOD AGAINST GUYS WITH BOXCUTTERS

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: But, Senator Cruz, in 2013, you said you were open — you were open to the possibility that Edward Snowden had performed a considerable public service, you said back then, in revealing certain aspects of the NSA procedures. Many of your colleagues in the Senate, including Senator Rubio, called him a traitor. It took you until January of this year to call him a traitor and say he should be tried for treason. Why the change of heart? And why did it take you so long?

CRUZ: Well, Bret, as someone who spent much of his life in law enforcement, I believe you should start with the facts and evidence first before ending up with the verdict. When the news first broke of the United States government engaging in massive surveillance on American citizens, that was a very troubling development, and it’s why the United States Congress acted to correct it.

Now, at the same time, I said in that initial statement that if the evidence indicated that Edward Snowden violated the law, he should be prosecuted for violating the law. And, indeed, since then, the evidence is clear that not only does Snowden violate the law, but it appears he committed treason. Treason is defined under the Constitution as giving aid and comfort to the enemies of America, and what Snowden did made it easier for terrorists to avoid detection.

BY TELLING AMERICANS THAT THEIR GOVERNMENT WAS SPYING ON THEM?  SEEMS LIKE A STRETCH, TO PUT IT MILDLY.

And Snowden’s comments afterwards, and his behavior afterwards, he fled to Russia, he fled to China. His conducts afterwards indicates that he was not a whistleblower, but instead he was undermining the ability to defend this country. But we need a president who isn’t rash, who doesn’t just pop off at the — at the hip, but waits to see what the facts are and then acts to defend this country.

INSTEAD THEY POP OFF WHEN THEY ARE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT.  READING THIS MAKES ME WISH RON PAUL WAS ON THE STAGE.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Mr. Trump, you’ve repeatedly deflected calls for specific national security or defense policy plans with the claim that you’ll ask the best people when you become president, and take their advice.

So who are the best people? Can you reveal two or three names that you trust for national security?

TRUMP: I think Richard Haass is excellent. I have a lot of respect for him. I think General Keane is excellent. I think that there are — I like Colonel Jacobsvery much. I see him. I know him. I have many people that I think are really excellent but in the end it’s going to be my decision.

When you just asked the question about Snowden, I will tell you right from the beginning, I said he was a spy and we should get him back. And if Russia respected our country, they would have sent him back immediately, but he was a spy. It didn’t take me a long time to figure that one out. Believe me.

But I would get the best people, people that I’d be comfortable with. And we will do the right thing.

KASICH: Bret, it’s very interesting to note, I think it’s for the good of the record here that they took a survey of foreign policy magazines, 700 foreign policy experts, who would be the best person to conduct foreign policy of all the candidates in the race?

I received 55 percent of the vote. Jeb Bush received 30 percent of the vote. And everybody else, none of them made double digits. And that’s because you have to have the experience.

SURPRISINGLY THIS IS TRUE (THOUGH MY SUSPICION IS THAT THIS REFLECTS KASICH’S EXPERTISE LESS THAN IT REFLECTS ACADEMICS’ VAGUE FEELING THAT KASICH IS GENERALLY MORE MODERATE SO HE MUST BE MODERATE ON FOREIGN POLICY TOO)  http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/02/19/snap-poll-who-will-make-the-next-best-foreign-policy-president-trump-syria-scholars/?utm_content=buffera9b84&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

 

And you know, we hear about Ronald Reagan rebuilding the military. I was there when Ronald Reagan rebuilt the military. I worked with him. I was there when Ronald Reagan rebuilt the economy. I was there, and I worked with him. I knew Ronald Reagan.

AS THE MONKEES WOULD SAY: “WE’RE THE OLD GENERATION, AND WE GOT SOMETHING TO SAY”

And I’ll leave it right there with what comes after that. You can figure that one out.

BAIER: Governor Kasich, thank you.

KELLY: We’re going to have more questions for the candidates right after this break. And during the commercial break, join us for a — Facebook live on the FOX News Facebook page and tell us what you think about tonight’s debate in the comment section.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Welcome back to the historic Fox Theater in downtown Detroit and the Republican presidential debate. Let’s get right back to the questions.

KELLY: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is they believe you tell it like it is. But time and time again in this campaign, you have actually told the voters one thing only to reverse yourself within weeks or even sometimes days. We’ve teed up just three examples in a videotape,similar to those we used with Senator Rubio and Senator Cruz in the last debate. The first is on whether the war in Afghanistan was a mistake. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CUOMO: What about in Afghanistan? Do you believe that American boots should stay on the ground in Afghanistan to stabilize the situation?

TRUMP: We’ve made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place. That thing will collapse about two seconds after they leave. Just as I said that Iraq was going to collapse after we leave.

(UNKNOWN): About Afghanistan, you said we made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place.

TRUMP: We made a mistake going into Iraq. I’ve never said we made a mistake…

(UNKNOWN): Our question was about Afghanistan. That day on October…

TRUMP: Well, OK, I never said that.

(UNKNOWN): … was on Afghanistan.

TRUMP: OK. Wouldn’t matter. I never said it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Next, on whether we should accept…

TRUMP: Should I respond to that first?

KELLY: Two more, and then you’ll have the floor. Next on whether we should accept the Syrian refugees…

TRUMP: You’ll be here a long time.

KELLY: On whether we should accept the Syrian refugees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O’REILLY: Do you object to migrants who are getting out of the Middle East and North Africa? Do you object to them coming to the USA?

TRUMP: I hate the concept of it, but on a humanitarian basis, with what’s happening, you have to. It’s living in Hell in Syria; there’s no question about it. They’re living in Hell.

HANNITY: Are you saying absolutely people from Syria, the Middle East, should we allow any of them into this country?

TRUMP: Look, from a humanitarian standpoint, I’d love to help, but we have our own problems. We have so many problems that we have to solve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: Most recently, on whether President George W. Bush lied to get us into the Iraq war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction; there were none. And they knew there were none.

I don’t know if he lied or not. He could have lied. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t. I guess you’d have to ask him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KELLY: And there are many other examples. So how is any of this “telling it like it is”?

TRUMP: Well, on Afghanistan, I did mean Iraq. I think you have to stay in Afghanistan for a while, because of the fact that you’re right next to Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons, and we have to protect that. Nuclear weapons change the game.

And I was always against going into Iraq. In fact, I — believe me, I was always against it. There was some cases where I sort of — in one interview with a great friend of mine, and yours, Howard Stern — said that — said that…

(LAUGHTER)

I said very meekly, long before we went in, I said very meekly, well, maybe, maybe, I don’t know. By the time it got to that point, I was always against Iraq. But Afghanistan, I felt — and in that one, if you notice, I corrected it the second day. OK? Second question? KELLY: There are several examples, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: No, no. But…

KELLY: We went through the Afghanistan being a mistake. Within one day, you reversed yourself on Syrian refugees.

TRUMP: Now on — let me explain that. You’re right. Let me explain. First time the question had been put to me, it was very early on. The migration had just started. And I had heard that the number was a very, very small number.

By the second day, two or three days later, I heard the number was going to be thousands and thousands of people. You know, when they originally heard about it, they were talking about bringing very, very small numbers in.

And I said, begrudgingly, well, I guess maybe that’s OK. It was not like, “Let’s bring them in,” because I think we should build a safe zone in — we should really — what we should be doing is building safe zones so they can stay in their own country and not go all over, and at least this way we’re not going to have the problem. That’s what we have to do.

(APPLAUSE)

LIKE THE BIBLICAL REUBEN, TRUMP IS AS UNSTABLE AS WATER

But just — just to set — because I fully understand what you’re asking. When I first heard the question, first time the question was ever asked to me, first time I really had known about the question, the migration had just started. I was very much like, OK, by the time I went back and studied it, and they were talking about bringing thousands and thousands, I changed my tune. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

KELLY: But the point I’m going for is you change your tune on so many things, and that has some people saying, what is his core?

TRUMP: Megyn, I have a very strong core.

(APPLAUSE)

I have a very strong core. But I’ve never seen a successful person who wasn’t flexible, who didn’t have a certain degree of flexibility. You have to have a certain degree of flexibility.

(APPLAUSE)

You can’t — for instance, let’s say, on — on the second question, you can’t say it’s OK, and then you find out it’s not OK, and you don’t want to do anything. You have to be flexible, because you learn. I mean, before I knew the question was asked by Bill, and the next day, or the couple of days later, the question was asked by, by — you know — I was asked by a number of people, actually. I was asked by Sean, but I was asked by a number of people. But by that time, the number had increased significantly.

KELLY: Sean was the next day after Bill.

TRUMP: The next day. But I had learned. I mean, nobody had ever asked me the question. This was brand new. But — and I really mean it. You have to show a degree of flexibility. If you’re going to be one way and you think it’s wrong, does that mean the rest of your life you have to go in the wrong direction because you don’t want to change?

(APPLAUSE)

I GUESS BETTER TOO FLEXIBLE THAN  NOT FLEXIBLE ENOUGH.

KASICH: Megyn.

TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE)

KELLY: Go ahead, Governor.

KASICH: I did 200 meetings in New Hampshire, I don’t know how many in Michigan now. In these townhalls people come in and they’re very emotional meetings. And, you know what they really want to know? If somebody tells them something, can they believe it?

And, the reason why people are so upset in this country is because politicians all the time tell them what they want to hear. And, they go to Washington, or they go to the state capital, wherever, and they don’t deliver on those promises.

You know, when I ran for Governor of Ohio, I said not only would we balance the budget, but we would cut taxes. People said that can’t be done. I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t believe it.

We cut taxes in Ohio more than any governor in the country, and $5 billion dollars worth of tax cuts — we’re not running a surplus in Ohio. But, you see, what’s getting in the hearts and souls of the people is they want change, and they keep putting outsiders in to bring about the change, then the change doesn’t come. Then they put more outsiders in because we’re putting people in that don’t understand compromise. They don’t understand policy…

(BELL RINGING)

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: … They’re getting more and more frustrated with the system which is why we must pick somebody that has a record of achievement, not just talk.

KELLY: OK.

KASICH: Not just talk, but a record of achievement. That’s how we’ll restore credibility..

RUBIO: … This isn’t just about flexibility.

KELLY: Go ahead, Senator. RUBIO: There’s a difference between flexibility and telling people whatever you think you need to say to get them to do what you want them to do.

(CHEERING)

RUBIO: And, that’s what Donald has done throughout his career.

TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE)

RUBIO: Well, he did, and that’s why Trump University…

TRUMP: … That’s not right…

RUBIO: … Is so relevant here. I saw this video last week where he’s sitting in front of a camera saying we’re going to hire the best people, and I’m going to hand pick them. There are going to be hand picked and instructors, the best instructors in the world. One of them, but the way, was the manager at a Buffalo Wild Wing. And, that’s who they hired to do this, and people borrowed money, and they signed up for this fake university.

And, these people owe all this money now, and they got nothing in return for it, but you are willing to say whatever you had to say…

(BELL RINGING)

RUBIO: … To get them to give you their money…

KELLY: … Go ahead, Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: … We’ll find out when we have the (INAUDIBLE)…

RUBIO: … And, we’re not going to do that to our country…

TRUMP: … And, by the way, just so you understand…

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: … This is a case I could have settled very easily, but I don’t settle cases very easily when I’m right. Ninety-eight percent approval rating, we have an “A” from the Better Business Bureau…

RUBIO: … That’s false…

TRUMP: … We have a 98 percent approval rating from the people who took the course. We have an “A” from the Better Business Bureau. And, people like it. Now, he’s saying they didn’t learn.

We have many, many people that will be witnesses. Again, I don’t settle cases. I don’t do it because that’s why I don’t get sued very often, because I don’t settle, unlike a lot of other people.

We have a situation where we will win in court…

(BELL RINGING) TRUMP: But, many of the people that are witnesses did tremendously well, and made a lot of money…

RUBIO: … That’s false…

TRUMP: … By taking the course.

KELLY: Go ahead, Senator.

TRUMP: You’re going to see, you don’t know…

RUBIO: … The Better Business Bureau gave it a “D” minus.

TRUMP: You’re going to see, you’re going to see.

KELLY: … It’s Senator Rubio’s turn…

TRUMP: … No, no. Before they had the information…

RUBIO: … Go on my website, Marco Rubio.com…

TRUMP: … Before they had the information…

KELLY: … Senator Rubio, standby, let him finish his point, and then I’ll give you the floor…

TRUMP: … Before they had the information it got — it is right now an “A”, once they had the information…

RUBIO: … (INAUDIBLE) this anymore.

TRUMP: … The only reason that is was a “D” was because we didn’t care — we didn’t give them the information…

RUBIO: … A third of the people (INAUDIBLE)…

TRUMP: … When they got the information it became an “A”…

KELLY: … With respect — wait. With respect…

TRUMP: … Marco you don’t know (INAUDIBLE)…

KELLY: … With respect, we went back and looked at this…

TRUMP: … Yes.

KELLY: The rating from the Better Business Bureau was a “D” minus…

(CHEERING) (APPLAUSE) TRUMP: … (INAUDIBLE)

KELLY: … that’s the last publicly available rating in 2010, and it was the result of a number of complaints they had…

TRUMP: … But it was elevated to an “A”…

UNIDENTIFIABLE MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

KELLY: … That’s never been publicly available.

TRUMP: … I can give it to you. I can give it to you tomorrow..

KELLY: … Let’s just bring the viewers up to speed, let’s just bring the viewers up to speed.

TRUMP: … It was elevated to an “A”.

KELLY: Let me just set the record, and then you guys can have at it. There was Trump University, which was a business that you started, and it was marketed…

TRUMP: … Small business…

KELLY: … to many people, and now there is a class-action of over 5,000 plaintiffs against you, Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: … Right…

KELLY: … And, it involves veterans, and it involves teachers, and it involves so-called little guys, working class, and lower- working class and middle class who say that they were fleeced, who say that it was as scam. The class has been certified, and in that case you counter-sued the lead plaintiff alleging that you were being defamed.

That case was thrown out against her…

TRUMP: … The lead plaintiff is now getting out of the case because it’s so bad for her…

KELLY: … But, what happened was…

TRUMP: … Excuse me, the lead plaintiff signed a letter saying how great it was, and it on tape saying how great it was.

KELLY: OK, no, but — standby. But, what happened in that case was you counter-sued her. The court threw out your counter-suit, and made you pay almost $800,000 dollars in legal fees of hers, and you made the same argument about 98 percent of the people being happy with Trump University. And, that woman in particular signing a survey saying she liked it while someone was standing over her shoulder…

TRUMP: … She’s trying to get out of the case. She’s trying to get out of the case…

KELLY: … And this is what — standby, this is what the Court of Appeals found. They said that the plaintiffs against you are like the Madoff victims…

TRUMP: Oh, give me a break… KELLy: … This is what the Court of Appeals said.

TRUMP: Give me a break.

KELLY: This is what the court of appeals said.

TRUMP: Give me a break.

KELLY: They found that victims of con artists often sing the praises of their victimizers until they realize they have been fleeced.

TRUMP: You know what, let’s see what happens in court. This is a civil case. Very easy to have settled. Could settle it now. Very easy to have settled. Let’s see what happens at the end of a couple years when this case is over, OK?

KELLY: It has been going for five years.

TRUMP: Yes, it has been going for a long time.

KELLY: Go ahead, Senator.

RUBIO: I spoke to one of the victims yesterday.

TRUMP: We’ll win the case.

RUBIO: I spoke to one of the victims yesterday.

TRUMP: One, one of the victims.

RUBIO: No, there are several. Obviously there are so many, I can’t talk to them every day. I spoke to one of them, he told me exactly what happened. They signed up for this course because they believed Mr. Trump was this fantastic businessman, that Donald is going to teach them the tricks of the trade.

They signed up. They paid $15,000 for this course. They were asked for additional money for this course. If they really wanted the real secrets of success, they had to pay even more money, and so they did.

And you know what they got in these courses? Stuff you can pull off of Zillow. When they finally realized what a scam it was, they asked for their money back.

And you refused to give them their money back. Why don’t you tonight…

TRUMP: I gave many people their money back. RUBIO: Then why don’t you tonight say you’re going to give the money back to everybody who wants…

TRUMP: Let me just…

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: OK. Senator Rubio, let him answer.

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: Let him answer.

Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: We will see who’s right at the end of a few years. But all of the — almost all of the people, many, many people signed what’s called the report card at the end, did you like the course, how did you like it.

Almost all of them said it was terrific, OK? With letters, with this. Some of them are on tape saying it was terrific. Let’s see what happens at the end of three years.

KELLY: With respect, Mr. Trump, one-third of the plaintiffs in that case demanded refunds. So it’s not the case that 98 percent were…

TRUMP: I gave some refunds to people because if they asked for the refunds in a certain period of time, and we gave refunds to people.

KELLY: OK.

TRUMP: But let’s see what happens at the end of three years. Let’s see who’s right.

KELLY: Still a pending litigation.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: It’s called pending litigation.

RUBIO: Megyn, this is why this is relevant to this election.

KELLY: All right. Senator Rubio then Senator Cruz. Go ahead.

RUBIO: This is why, because he’s trying to do to the American voter what he did to the people that signed up for this course. He’s making promises he has no intention of keeping. And it won’t just be $36,000 that they lose, it’s our country that’s at stake here.

The future of the United States and the most important election in a generation,

WELL, THE MOST IMPORTANT SINCE 2012 ANYHOW.  THOUGH I THINK IT COULD BE THE MOST IMPORTANT IN A GENERATION IF RUBIO IS PRESIDENT AND STARTS WW 3 WITH RUSSIA. (JUST GOOGLE RUBIO AND “WAR WITH RUSSIA” IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE).

and he’s trying to con people into giving them their vote just like he conned these people into giving him their money.

TRUMP: Let me tell you the real con artist. Excuse me. Excuse me. The real con artist is Senator Marco Rubio who was elected in Florida and who has the worst voting record in the United States Senate.

He doesn’t go to vote. He’s absent. He doesn’t go. Now, the people of Florida can’t stand him. He couldn’t get elected dogcatcher. The people of Florida — the people of Florida — and by the way, I know he’s going to spend $25 million on ads. Without that he wouldn’t have a chance. He’s 20 points south.

The people in Florida wouldn’t elect him dogcatcher. He couldn’t get any — he’s right now 21 points down to me. And, you know…

KELLY: OK.

TRUMP: … again, there will be a lot of advertising. It’s the only thing that might save him. But I doubt it.

RUBIO: Notice that’s not an answer.

KELLY: I’m coming to you next. But go ahead.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: He scammed the people of Florida. He scammed people. He doesn’t vote. He doesn’t show up for the U.S. Senate. He doesn’t vote. He scammed the people. He defrauded the people of Florida.

KELLY: With respect, you’ve made that point.

Go ahead.

RUBIO: There’s no — as you can see in his answer, it’s always the same thing.

TRUMP: You defrauded the people of Florida, little Marco.

KIND OF A STRETCH.  IF YOU VOTE FOR SOMEONE WHO’S YOUNG ENOUGH TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT, YOU ASSUME THE RISK THEY WILL MISS A FEW VOTES.  AND HOW OFTEN DOES ONE VOTE MATTER IN THE SENATE THESE DAYS ANYHOW?  HINT: NEVER

RUBIO: He has defrauding people out of things, and not just — and not just, by the way, on the issue of Trump University. He had another development in Mexico that he had nothing to do with except his name on the building. People put money into that building.

TRUMP: That was licensing.

RUBIO: They lost their money. Yes, licensing, but you told them you owned the building. So they gave him his money. They lost their money. Time and again…

KELLY: All right. Stand by. I will come back to you. Senator Cruz wants to weigh in. You’re coming back.

Go ahead.

CRUZ: Megyn, let me ask the voters at home, is this the debate you want playing out in the general election? The stakes in this election are too high. For seven years, millions of Americans, we’ve been struggling, wages have been stagnating, people are hurting, our constitutional rights are under assault.

And if we nominate Donald, we’re going to spend the spring, the fall, and the summer with the Republican nominee facing a fraud trial…

TRUMP: Oh, stop it.

CRUZ: … with Hillary Clinton saying…

TRUMP: It’s just a minor case. It’s a minor case.

CRUZ: … why did you give my campaign and my foundation $100,000?

TRUMP: It’s a minor civil case.

CRUZ: And with Hillary Clinton…

TRUMP: Give me a break.

CRUZ: … pointing out that he supported her four times in her presidential race.

TRUMP: It’s a minor civil case.

CRUZ: Donald, learn not to interrupt. It’s not complicated.

TRUMP: There are many, many civil cases.

CRUZ: Count to 10, Donald. Count to 10.

TRUMP: Give me a break.

CRUZ: Count to 10. The stakes are too high and if you are one of the 65 to 70 percent of Republicans who recognize that nominating Donald would be a disaster, then I ask you to come join us. If you’re supporting other candidates, come join us.

We welcome you to our team because we’ve demonstrated not once, not twice, not three times, but five separate times we have beat Donald. And if you don’t want him to be the nominee, then I ask you to stand with us as a broad coalition of people who believe in the Constitution, believe in freedom, and want to turn this country around.

KELLY: Go ahead, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: I don’t believe these politicians. All talk, no action.

SEEMS LIKE PROJECTION HERE.  THEN AGAIN, I THINK “NO ACTION” IS THE BEST ARGUMENT I’VE HEARD FOR VOTING FOR TRUMP.  THE LAST THING I WANT FROM MOST PEOPLE NOW RUNNING IS ACTION.

I’m standing here listening to — I’m hearing him say about a percentage. CNN, he gets 15. That means 85 percent, based on what you’re saying, of the people don’t dig you, number one, number one. Is that a correct statement? How do you get — are you at 15 in the new CNN poll? Do you believe in CNN? I mean, I know we’re with FOX. But CNN spent — CNN…

CRUZ: All right, I’ll respond…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: CNN spent a lot of money on a poll, just came out. I’m at 49. He’s at 15. He tells me about 65 percent of the people. It’s not 65 percent of the people. If you go by that, 85 percent of the people.

Then he goes, we have five. And — well, excuse me, I won 10. I won 10 states. If you listen to him, it’s like — I won 10 states. Everybody knows that on Super Tuesday Trump was the winner. There wasn’t one person that didn’t say that. Even the two people on your left and right said we did a great job. So how does he take — how does he take five and say it’s better than 10?

KELLY: Go ahead, Senator.

TRUMP: I am by far the leader. But if you listen to a politician, he’ll try and convince you otherwise.

KELLY: Senator Cruz, go.

CRUZ: All right, well, Donald lives by the polls every day. He tweets about the polls.

TRUMP: No, I don’t. No, I don’t.

CRUZ: He’s told us to look to the CNN poll. Well, that’s a very good poll to look to, because that CNN poll showed that head to head Donald Trump loses to Hillary Clinton by 8 points. He doesn’t just lose close; he loses by 8 points. That same poll he told you to look at shows me beating Hillary Clinton.

(APPLAUSE)

We cannot mess this up. And, by the way, the last four polls in a row, when you nominate a candidate who literally has been on every side of every issue, and in the course of this debate may be on two other sides before we’re done, that’s not how you win. And the stakes are too high. (CROSSTALK)

KELLY: All right. I’m going to let Mr. Trump — I’m going to let — let me just…

TRUMP: According to your poll…

(CROSSTALK)

KELLY: I’m going to let you respond to that, Mr. Trump. I’m going to then go to you, Governor. You’re up next.

TRUMP: … I know, but your recent polls have me beating Hillary Clinton, and very, very easily.

KELLY: OK. Do you want to weigh in?

KASICH: All right, look, honestly, when I see people at these meetings, these town halls, where we take massive questions, and I get to spend time with them. Last night, there was a woman that came to tell me about the loss of her 15-year-old son, who took his own life.

See, there’s people in this country — and Ted’s right — their wages haven’t gone up for so long, they see the rich get richer, they believe, and they’re not moving. And they put their money in the bank, and they got no interest on their money. They receive none. And their sons or daughters are living in the basement because they can’t get a good job after they rang up so much college debt.

What people are hungry for is, who can fix this?

YES, THAT WOULD BE NICE- BUT RIGHT NOW I THINK I’D SETTLE FOR “WON’T START WORLD WAR III”

People want to know who — what can you do to solve the problems in Washington, to make sure that we have stronger job growth and better wages? But you know what else they’re yearning for? They want to believe that they have the power to fix things where they live, and they want the power back, so they can begin to do things in their community.

Now, listen, this has been going on for a long time here. And I appreciate the discussion back and forth. But there are a lot of people out there yearning for somebody who’s going to bring America back, both at the leadership level and in the neighborhood, where we can begin to reignite the spirit of the United States of America. And let’s stop fighting.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor, thank you. Gentlemen, thank you.

WALLACE: Much more to come live from the Fox Theater, including where the candidates stand on the social issues facing the country. The Republican presidential debate continues in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Welcome back, everybody, to the Fox News Republican presidential debate. We want to get right back to the questions.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: We are here in Detroit. The top issues in Michigan, according to Facebook, are displayed in a word cloud you’re taking a look at. The second biggest issue is clean water. That, of course, is directly tied with the situation in Flint.

Senator Rubio, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have both been to Flint. They are both running ads in this state focusing on that, focusing on supporting Flint and fixing the problems, showing images of people in Flint thankful that they’re there.

Without getting into the political blame game here, where are the national Republicans’ plans on infrastructure and solving problems like this? If you talk to people in this state, they are really concerned about Flint on both sides of the aisle. So why haven’t GOP candidates done more or talked more about this?

RUBIO: Well, I know I’ve talked about it, and others in our campaign have talked about it, and other candidates have talked about it, as well. What happened in Flint was a terrible thing. It was systemic breakdown at every level of government, at both the federal and partially the — both the state and partially at the federal level, as well.

And by the way, the politicizing of it I think is unfair, because I don’t think that someone woke up one morning and said, “Let’s figure out how to poison the water system to hurt someone.”

(APPLAUSE)

But accountability is important. I will say, I give the governor credit. He took responsibility for what happened. And he’s talked about people being held accountable…

(APPLAUSE)

… and the need for change, with Governor Snyder. But here’s the point. This should not be a partisan issue.

ON THE ONE HAND, WE’RE TAKING RESPONSIBILITY- ON THE OTHER HAND, IT’S THE OTHER PARTY’S FAULT.  SEEMS SLIGHTLY CONTRADICTORY The way the Democrats have tried to turn this into a partisan issue, that somehow Republicans woke up in the morning and decided, “Oh, it’s a good idea to poison some kids with lead.”

STRAW MAN.  MY SENSE IS THAT THE LINE OF ATTACK ON SNYDER AND HIS AIDES ARE BEING ACCUSED OF SOMETHING LIKE THIS:  “WE ACCIDENTALLY POISONED SOME PEOPLE WITH LEAD.  BUT LET’S NOT SPEND MONEY DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT, BECAUSE WE’RE FISCAL CONSERVATIVES.”  AM I WRONG?   It’s absurd. It’s outrageous. It isn’t true.

(APPLAUSE)

All of us are outraged by what happened. And we should work together to solve it. And there is a proper role for the government to play at the federal level, in helping local communities to respond to a catastrophe of this kind, not just to deal with the people that have been impacted by it, but to ensure that something like this never happens again.

BAIER: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Governor Kasich, the city of Detroit has long suffered with urban blight, broken street lights, dilapidated and vacant houses, and so on. In 2013, Detroit actually declared bankruptcy, which helped, but the schools here remain a big problem. They’re $3.5 billion in debt and are some of the most troubled and poorly testing in the country. The kids too often go to classrooms that are unsafe, falling apart, infested with rodents and insects. Experts say the schools could go bankrupt by next month.

Question to you. If the federal government bailed out the auto industry here in Detroit, should it also bail out the Detroit schools?

KASICH: Well, look, first of all, I think the mayor now is controlling the schools. This is not much different than what happened in Cleveland, Ohio, where the African-American Democrat mayor, the union, and business leaders came to see me and said, “Would you help us to pass legislation to really create a CEO environment so that we can take control of the schools?”

We even invested in a buyout plan, where we bought out the teachers who had been there a long time, because there were so many young teachers who had been laid off who were so enthusiastic to get back in the schools. It worked beautifully. Cleveland’s coming back. The Cleveland schools are coming back because of a major overhaul.

REALLY? I DON’T THINK PEOPLE I KNOW IN CLEVELAND FEEL THAT WAY

It’s the same thing that has to happen in all of our urban schools. And, frankly, look, if I were president, I’d take 104 federal programs, bundle them into four buckets, and send it to the states, because fixing schools rests at the state and the local level, and particularly at the school board level.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: Now, I also believe — I also believe that you need to introduce vocational education in those schools.

SCHOOLS EVERYWHERE ALREADY HAVE VOCATIONAL EDUCATOIN You need mentoring in those schools. And you need to have a situation where people can have an alternative forum to get a degree. And you need school choice, both vouchers and charter schools. All of those things can come together to help, Megyn.

But here’s the bottom line. And I’ll go quickly. We as adults have to fight in our neighborhoods, in our communities, for our children’s education. Put the politics aside, and everyone in this room can play a role in lifting their schools and lifting the students who are in those schools, because too much politics gets in the middle of it, and where we focus as adults, and put children first, we see tremendous results. And the people of this town are going to rise. And they need to be involved. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: For — for half a century, as you all know, Detroit was the symbol of America’s industrial might: 300,000 manufacturing jobs in this city. At last count, there are now fewer than 30,000 manufacturing jobs here, and the unemployment rate in this city is 11 percent, twice the national average.

Senator Cruz, I know that you have general plans for tax reform, but what specifically would you do to bring manufacturing jobs back to America and train residents of cities like Detroit to do those jobs?

CRUZ: Well, Chris, thank you for that question. Let me start by observing that Detroit is a great city with a magnificent legacy that has been utterly decimated by 60 years of failed left-wing policy.

(APPLAUSE)

You know, Henry Ford revolutionized automobile manufacturing and brought automobiles to the middle class. During World War II, Detroit provided — funded the arsenals of democracy to help us win World War II. In — in the 1960s, Detroit was the Silicon Valley of America. It had a population of 2 million people, had the highest per capita income in the country.

And then, for 50 years, left-wing Democrats have pursued destructive tax policies, weak crime policies, and have driven the citizens out. (APPLAUSE)

This city now has just 700,000 citizens. There are vacant homes, one after the other after the other. Crime has been rampant, and it is an outrage. And let me say to folks in the media: That is a story that the media ought to be telling over and over again, the destruction of left-wing policies and the millions who have hurt because of it.

BOILERPLATE PARTISAN NONSENSE.  PLENTY OF PLACES WITH MUCH MORE LEFT-WING LEADERS THAN DETROIT ARE MORE PROSPEROUS.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Well, I was going to say, I’ll give you 30 seconds to try to answer my question. What specifically would you do to bring manufacturing jobs back to Detroit and to train the residents here to do those jobs?

CRUZ: The way you bring manufacturing back to America is, number one, you lift the regulations. As president, I will repeal Obamacare, the biggest job-killer in America.

I will pull back the federal regulators, the EPA and all the regulators that are killing small businesses and manufacturing.

And my tax plan, which is a very, very detailed plan on the website, tedcruz.org, is what’s called border adjustable. We get rid of all the taxes. We get rid of the corporate income tax and the death tax and the Obamacare taxes and the payroll tax. And we replace it with a 16 percent business flat tax that is border adjustable, which means all exports are entirely tax-free and all imports pay the 16 percent business flat tax. That’s a 32 percent differential.

What that will do, Chris, is bring millions of manufacturing jobs back to this country, bring the steel industry back to this country, create an environment where when we compete on a fair and level playing field, American ingenuity can beat anyone. But right now, the federal government isn’t giving us a level playing field.

NONE OF THIS IS PARTICULARLY DETROIT SPECIFIC, BUT THEN AGAIN CRUZ ISN’T REALLY TALKING TO DETROITERS HERE.

WALLACE: Thank you, Senator.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Gentlemen, the next series of questions will be on social issues. Governor Kasich, the last debate, you were asked a question about religious liberty, in a hypothetical situation where a same-sex couple approaches a cupcake maker to do their wedding. Here’s what you said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KASICH: If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay, then tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BAIER: Governor, some faith leaders got nervous about that answer. Do gay marriage dissenters have rights?

KASICH: Well, look, first of all, I try to be a man of faith every day as best as I can, and I try to focus in my faith on the dos and I think the don’ts will take care of themselves once I get the dos right, which is humility, and loving my enemy, and caring for my neighbor.

But secondly, look, you’re in the commerce business, you want to sell somebody a cupcake, great. OK? But now if they ask you to participate in something you really don’t like, that’s a whole ‘nother issue, OK? Another issue.

KASICH IS FOR SELLING CUPCAKES.  NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

Here’s what I’d like to see happen. The Supreme Court ruled, I don’t agree with the ruling. I’m of favor of marriage between — you know, traditional marriage, a man and a woman. What I hope was going to happen after the Supreme Court ruling is things would settle down.

If you go to a photographer to take pictures at your wedding, and he says, I’d rather not do it, find another photographer, don’t sue them in court. You know what, the problem is in our country — in our country, we need to learn to respect each other and be a little bit more tolerant for one another.

NOT REALLY RELEVANT TO ANYTHING A PRESIDENT DOES, BUT NEVERTHELESS WELL PUT.

And at the end of the day, don’t go to court. Can’t we have common sense in America? That’s the way it used to be. And there was a book written called “The Death of Common Sense.” We need to bring it back.

But at the end of the day, if somebody is being pressured to participate in something that is against their deeply-held religious beliefs, then we’re going to have to think about dealing with the law.

But you know what, I’d rather people figure this out without having to put another law on the books and have more arguments in this country. Why don’t we come together as a country, respect one another, love one another and lift this country? I think that’s what people want.

So thanks for asking.

BAIER: Senator Cruz, the U.S. Supreme Court obviously declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, a decision you have criticized. Given the current status of the law, do you believe a gay couple should be able to adopt?

CRUZ: Well, listen, adoption is decided at the state level and I am a believer in the 10th Amendment in the Constitution, I would leave the question of marriage to the states, I would leave the question of adoption to the states.

That’s the way it has been for two centuries of our nation’s history until five unelected judges in an illegitimate and wrong decision decided to seize the authority over marriage and wrongfully tear down the marriage laws of all 50 states.

Now, interconnected to this is the question of religious liberty. And at the last debate, one of my colleagues on this stage said on the question of religious liberty and Supreme Court nominees that he’d be willing to compromise and negotiate.

I can tell you, for me, there are areas that we should compromise on. Marginal tax rates, we can reach a middle ground on. But when it comes to core principles and convictions, when it comes to the Constitution and Bill of Rights, I can tell the men and women at home I will never compromise away your religious liberty.

And for me, Bret, religious liberty has been a lifelong passion. I’ve spent two decades defending religious liberty, including defending the Ten Commandments before the U.S. Supreme Court and winning. Defending the Pledge of Allegiance before the Supreme Court and winning.

I CAN’T IMAGINE HIS RIVALS ARE AGAINST RELIGIOUS LIBERTY EITHER. ALSO THE FLAG, MOTHERHOOD AND APPLE PIE.

And defending the Mojave Desert Veterans Memorial, a lone white Latin cross that was erected to honor the men and women who gave their lives in World War I. I represented 3 million veterans for free defending that memorial and we won 5-4 before the Supreme Court.

BAIER: Senator, thank you.

Senator Cruz definitely avoided saying your name, Mr. Trump, but I think he was referring to you and your religious liberty answer. Would you like to respond?

TRUMP: I have nothing to say. I mean, generally speaking, agree with what he said. I would have certainly have rather left it to the states. I was always in favor — I was very surprised when they came up with that decision.

I would have certainly — I would have preferred had it been left to the states and I think most people would have preferred that.

BAIER: Senator Rubio, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative icon, obviously, pointed out, in the United States versus Heller, that like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited.

Just like the First Amendment doesn’t allow you to go into a theater and yell fire, he said the Second Amendment leaves room to regulate guns. So do you agree with Justice Scalia? And if so, what limits would you draw around the Second Amendment?

RUBIO: As few as possible. The Second Amendment, as I’ve said before, is not a suggestion. It is the constitutional right of every American to protect themselves and their families. It is a right that — it is the Second Amendment for a reason.

It is right after the defense of the freedom of speech for a reason, for clearly the founders of our nation understood and the framers of the Constitution understood that you cannot have life and you cannot have liberty and cannot pursue happiness if you are not safe.

RUBIO: And the Second Amendment — when people talk about gun laws, what they need to realize is, criminals don’t follow gun laws. They’re criminals. By definition, they ignore the law.

(APPLAUSE)

But the gun rights of Americans, if you are talking to a law- abiding citizen and a gun-owner like myself, if you pass a law, I will follow whatever the law is. A criminal will not do it. They will continue to pursue these guns on the black market, where they then go out and commit crimes and they steal guns from each other.

Gun laws are not effective. They simply do not provide for safety. But they do, however, ensure that law-abiding people don’t have access to weapons to protect themselves and guns to protect themselves, but criminals always will be well armed. They don’t care about the law; they don’t follow the law. We will protect the Second Amendment when I’m president of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Mr. Trump, you were once a supporter of an assault weapons ban. So do you think there should be any restrictions on the Second Amendment?

TRUMP: No, I’m a big defender of the Second Amendment. And if you look at what’s happened, whether it’s in California, where you had the 14 people killed, whether it’s in Paris — which, by the way, has the toughest gun laws in the world and 130 people killed. Many, many people in the hospital gravely injured. They will be dying. Many people will be dying in addition.

If we had guns, or if they had guns on the other side of the room, with the bullets going in the opposite direction, you would not have had 130 people killed. That I can tell you right now.

(APPLAUSE)

So I’m a very, very big supporter of the Second Amendment.

BAIER: But in 2000, you wrote in your book, “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons.”

TRUMP: I don’t support it anymore. I do not support the ban on assault.

(AUDIENCE BOOS)

BAIER: Senator Cruz? Any limits to the Second Amendment?

CRUZ: Well, listen, unlike Donald, I would not support banning firearms. In that instance, Bill Clinton banned many of the most popular firearms in America. And by the way, the study showed that ban did nothing to reduce violent crime. It just took away the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.

ACTUALLY CRIME DID GO DOWN UNDER CLINTON

(APPLAUSE)

And let me point out, you know, it is easy for political candidates to have rhetoric and say, “I support the Second Amendment.” But you cannot say that and at the same time say what Donald just said, which is that on the question of Supreme Court nominees he wants to compromise and reach a middle ground with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer. That’s what he said in the last debate.

TRUMP: I — I did not say that. I did not say that.

CRUZ: And any justice that Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer sign off on…

TRUMP: I did not say that.

CRUZ: And I would point out, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer are both Democrats that Mr. Trump has written checks to repeatedly. Any justice that those two sign off on is going to be a left-wing judicial activist who will undermine religious liberty, and we are one vote away from the Heller decision being overturned, which would effectively erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of Rights.

If you care about the Second Amendment, then you need to ask who on this stage do you know will appoint principled constitutionalists to the court and not cut a deal with your Second Amendment rights?

BAIER: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: So we’re listening to the all-talk, no-action politician, and he was the primary supporter of John Roberts, who gave us Obamacare.

CRUZ: That’s flat-out wrong.

TRUMP: No, it’s not. You take a look. He was the primary supporter. He pushed John Roberts, and pushed him, and pushed him, and Bush ultimately appointed him. He got appointed. And when it came his time to raise his hand and kill Obamacare, not once, but twice, he let us down, and he did the wrong thing.

This is the man that was the primary supporter. And you can read law journal, you can read whatever you want to read — I’ve read plenty of it. There was no stronger supporter of John Roberts than him. And it was a very, very big mistake.

BAIER: Quickly, Senator Cruz. CRUZ: You know, Donald has a tenuous relationship with the truth.

(LAUGHTER)

I wrote one op-ed supporting President Bush’s nomination after he made it. I would not have made that nomination. But let me point out…

TRUMP: Not what you say in the op-ed.

CRUZ: … if Donald actually cared about…

TRUMP: That is not what you said in the op-ed.

CRUZ: But, Donald, please, I know it’s hard not to interrupt. But try.

TRUMP: Yeah, I know it is. But it’s not what you said in the op-ed.

CRUZ: Breathe, breathe, breathe.

TRUMP: Lyin’ Ted.

CRUZ: You can do it. You can breathe. I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard. But just…

RUBIO: When they’re done with the yoga, can I answer a question?

WELL PUT

CRUZ: You cannot.

(LAUGHTER)

RUBIO: Unbelievable.

CRUZ: I really hope that we don’t — we don’t see yoga on this stage.

RUBIO: Well, he’s very flexible, so you never know.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: But you cannot, in fact, care about conservative Supreme Court justices and support Jimmy Carter for president. You cannot care about conservative Supreme Court justices and support John Kerry for president, as Donald did. You cannot care about conservative Supreme Court justices and support Harry Reid for Senate majority leader.

And you cannot care about conservative Supreme Court justices and write four checks to Hillary Clinton for her to be president if you care at all about the Second Amendment or religious liberty or anything else.

BAIER: Gentlemen, gentlemen, we’re going to move on. Thank you very much. We want to talk about some more policy questions coming up.

WALLACE: And coming up, the candidates tackle foreign policy. But first, during the commercial break, join us for a Facebook live on the Fox News Facebook page and tell us what you think about tonight’s debate in the comments section. Stay with us. More to come.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KELLY: Welcome back, everybody. We’re going it get right back to the questions.

WALLACE: And gentlemen, we’re going to focus for a bit now on foreign policy.

Senator Rubio, you like to take a shot at Mr. Trump on the campaign trail saying that negotiating a hotel deal in a foreign country is not foreign policy. The other day you even compared him to Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, as lunatics trying to get a hold of nuclear weapons.

Please tell Mr. Trump why he’s unprepared to be commander-in- chief.

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I think, as we’ve seen throughout this campaign, Donald has not shown a seriousness about the issues of foreign policy. He just simply hasn’t.

Whether it was the structure of our military, even today he was asked a question about the issue of commanders not following his lead on killing the family of terrorists. And his answer basically was, if I tell them to do it, they’re going to do it. Now that’s just not true.

Foreign policy is not only consequential, I think much of our future now depends on it.

MADE ME LAUGH (OBVIOUS OF COURSE BUT JUST PHRASED IN AN UNINTENTOINALLY AMUSING WAY) You know, I see a lot of young people at my events around the country. I feel great when they come.

And I always them that despite the hardships of the moment, I honestly believe that today’s Millennials have a chance to be the greatest generation we’ve had in 100 years. I really do.

Because the world today has hundreds of millions of people that can afford to be their clients, their customers, their partners, people they collaborate with. But that won’t happen if the world is dangerous and it’s unstable.

And that will require strong American leadership. The next president of the United States is going to have eight years of a mess of a foreign policy to clean up. That’s why it can’t be Hillary Clinton.

And quite frankly, that’s why it can’t be someone who simply has not shown the intellectual curiosity or the interest in learning about these very complicated issues. And Donald simply hasn’t.

A LOT OF CHUTZPAH COMING FROM THE RUBIOBOT WHOSE EVERY WORD IS A WARMED OVER WALL ST JOURNAL EDITORIAL.  BUT OF COURSE TRUE.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, your response.

TRUMP: Well, let me just say this. I’ve gotten to know Marco over a period of time, believe me, he is not a leader. Believe me.

RUBIO: But that doesn’t answer the question.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: He didn’t interrupt you. Let him talk.

TRUMP: He didn’t answer — he’s not a leader. And, frankly, when I say they’ll do as I tell them, they’ll do as I tell them. And that’s very — it’s very simple. It’s very simple.

We are in a very dangerous place. We have a depleted military. Totally depleted. We have — by the way, our vets are treated horribly. We’re going to take care of our vets. We’re going to start taking care of our vets, properly, like we should.

(APPLAUSE)

But we’re going to build up our military, and we’re going to get the equipment we want, not the equipment that’s sold to us by somebody that gave him and him and not the governor campaign contributions. OK? We’re going to get the equipment that the generals and the soldiers want.

I will prove to be a great leader. And, you know, it’s very interesting, we talk about the polls. Every single poll when it comes to ISIS and the military and the border say, by far, Trump is the best.

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, your time is up.

RUBIO: Yeah, I just want to — a couple points. Once again, he was pressed on a policy issue to show his understanding of the foreign policy, and his reaction was just to attack somebody else with a name.

Here’s the bottom line. And I’m going to repeat it again. The world today is as complicated and as complex as it has been certainly in a very — certainly in the lifetime of anybody here today. You indeed do have a lunatic in North Korea with nuclear weapons. You indeed do have the Chinese government taking over the most important shipping lane in the world. And Vladimir Putin, who you’ve expressed admiration for, Donald…

TRUMP: Wrong. Wrong.

RUBIO: You’ve expressed admiration for him.

TRUMP: Wrong.

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: Donald, you said he’s a strong leader.

TRUMP: Wrong.

RUBIO: He is now dividing Europe up…

OK, HE HAS TAKEN A LITTLE CHUNK OR TWO OF ONE OR TWO COUNTRIES. BUT IT STILL ISN’T THE RUSSIAN EMPIRE OF OLD.

TRUMP: He said very good things about me, and I said…

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: All right, I’m going to finish my statement here.

TRUMP: Yeah, finish.

RUBIO: And he’s also sowing instability in the Middle East.

RUBIO STILL STUCK IN COLD WAR MODE.   You have Iran who’s going to get $100 billion of sanctions relief. You have radical jihadists spreading all over the world. This is a time for seriousness on these issues. You have yet to answer a single serious question about any of this. Will you give us a detailed answer about foreign policy any time you’re asked on it?

TRUMP: Let me just tell you, first of all, I’ve been hearing this man so long talking about Putin. Putin said about me — I didn’t say about Putin — Putin said very nice things about me. And I say very nicely, wouldn’t it be nice if actually we could get along with Russia, we could get along with foreign countries, instead of spending trillions and trillions of dollars?

You’re talking about Flint, Michigan. You’re talking about places — we need to rebuild the infrastructure of our country. Wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with the world, and maybe Russia could help us in our quest to get rid of ISIS, et cetera, et cetera?

AMEN, BROTHER TRUMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Gentlemen, you both have had a chance to talk. You both have had a chance to talk a couple of times. I’d like to move on to Senator Cruz. Senator, we have some breaking news tonight. North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, has ordered that country’s nuclear weapons to be made ready at a moment’s notice.

CRUZ: Yes. Yes.

WALLACE: And this comes just hours after the U.N. Security Council announced that — approved the toughest sanctions in two decades against that country. Assume you’re President Cruz tonight. What do you do?

CRUZ: Well, you’re right, the news is very disturbing that Kim Jong-un has put their nuclear weapons on ready state. I’m glad that we’re sending another carrier group to the South China Sea. I’m glad that Congress passed sanctions on North Korea.

But this is all the result of the failures of the Clinton administration two decades ago that negotiated a deal with North Korea lifting the sanctions, allowing billions of dollars to flow in, and they used that money to develop nuclear weapons in the first place.

What we — now we’re in a much harder position. When you have a lunatic with nuclear weapons, to some extent, it constrains your options. We need to be moving the carrier — carrier group to the South China Seas. We — we need to be putting in place missile defense, such as the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea.

We need to be pursuing space-based missile defense. One of the advantages of space-based missile defense is that if you have a missile launch in North Korea or you have a missile launch in Iran, a space-based missile defense can take out one or two or three missiles before it can cross over and do damage.

SOUNDS INFORMED, BUT I DON’T KNOW ENOUGH TO KNOW WHETHER IT MAKES SENSE.

And we also need to be putting pressure on China, because North Korea is effectively a — a client state of China. All of that will happen with a strong commander-in-chief that is devoted to keeping this country safe.

WALLACE: Thank you, Senator.

Governor Kasich, I want to move back to the debate that we heard earlier about Vladimir Putin. In December, after Vladimir Putin had some nice thing to say about Donald Trump, calling him bright and talented, your campaign ran a video suggesting that Trump might name the Russian president as his running mate. Here’s a clip.

KASICH: I’ll have to see this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(UNKNOWN): If elected, Trump promised that the dictatorial duo would, quote, “make tyranny great again.”

TRUMP: I think I’d get along very well with Vladimir Putin. I just think so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(LAUGHTER)

WALLACE: That was your campaign video, sir.

KASICH: That was a pretty good one.

WALLACE: Well, OK.

KASICH: No, I…

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: If I may — sir, if I may ask my question…

KASICH: Of course.

WALLACE: I think you were kidding…

WALLACE: But it was your video and the serious question is, because the suggestion is, do you think that Donald Trump is naive about the threat that Vladimir Putin represents?

KASICH: I’m not biting. Let me take you around the world, OK? Let me — look, I’m going to take you very quickly.

In Russia, we need to tell them we’re going to arm the Ukrainians with defensive lethal weapons. And we’re going to tell Putin if you attack anybody in Eastern Europe in NATO, you attack Finland and Sweden, which is not in NATO, consider it an attack on us. And he will understand that.

WHY BOTHER? WHY SHOULD WE CARE IF RUSSIA TAKES A CHUNK OF EURABIA?  NOT THAT I THINK THAT’S LIKELY.  IF YOU’RE GOING TO THREATEN WORLD WAR III, BEST TO DO IT OVER SOMEPLACE RUSSIA NOT INTERESTED IN ATTACKING.

Secondly, I would tell the Chinese you don’t own the South China Sea. Stop hacking us. And we’re going to beef up our cyber command. And we’re going to be in a position to be able to take out your systems if you continue to do this.

Now let’s move over into the Middle East. The Egyptians, they know they’re on their last legs there because of the attack from ISIS. The Jordanians are — really have been our friends. They know that they are at risk. So do the Saudis. So do the Gulf states.

They are our allies, really, or have similar aims,

THE SAUDIS ARE NOT OUR ALLIES- WHY CAN’T KASICH GET IT THROUGH THIS SKULL?  THEY PROPAGANDIZE PEOPLE TO SPREAD FANATICISM ALL OVER THE WORLD.   we need to bring them closer to us. Turkey a critical avenue IF BY “CRITICAL AVENUE” YOU MEAN “FRIENDS OF HAMAS” YOU AGREE/. to the Middle East. We have to bring them towards the West, and not towards the East.

THIS SPEECH ILLUSTRATES WHY KASICH HAS NOT MADE THE SALE FOR ME.  HE MAY NOT BE AS EXTREME AS RUBIO, BUT HE IS STILL TOO NEOCON-LIKE FOR ME.

WALLACE: Governor…

KASICH: And we have a joint, good human intelligence. That is called a semi-trip around the world. And if you gave me more time, I’d finish the trip.

WALLACE: Governor, thank you.

KASICH: Thank you.

BAIER: Coming up, a final question and closing statements. And take a look at this. The volume of conversation on Facebook surrounding the remaining candidates over the last month. Whether that conversation is good or bad, Donald Trump clearly dominates the field.

We’ll be back with more of the Republican presidential debate live from Detroit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BAIER: Welcome back to the Republican presidential debate. Let’s get back at it.

Gentlemen, this is the last question of the night. It has been a long time since our first debate, seven months ago in Cleveland. A lot has transpired since then, obviously, including an RNC pledge that all of you signed agreeing to support the party’s nominee and not to launch an independent run. Tonight, in 30 seconds, can you definitively say you will support the Republican nominee, even if that nominee is Donald J. Trump?

Senator Rubio, yes or no?

RUBIO: I’ll support the Republican nominee.

BAIER: Mr. Trump? Yes or no?

RUBIO: I’ll support Donald if he’s the Republican nominee, and let me tell you why. Because the Democrats have two people left in the race. One of them is a socialist. America doesn’t want to be a socialist country. If you want to be a socialist country, then move to a socialist country.

The other one is under FBI investigation. And not only is she under FBI investigation, she lied to the families of the victims of Benghazi, and anyone who lies to the families of victims who lost their lives in the service of our country can never be the commander- in-chief of the United States.

BAIER: Senator…

RUBIO: We must defeat Hillary Clinton.

BAIER: Senator Cruz, yes or no, you will support Donald Trump is he’s the nominee?

CRUZ: Yes, because I gave my word that I would. And what I have endeavored to do every day in the Senate is do what I said I would do. You know, just on Tuesday, we saw an overwhelming victory in the state of Texas where I won Texas by 17 percent.

And I will say it was a powerful affirmation that the people who know me best, the people who I campaigned, who made promises that if you elect me, I’ll lead the fight against Obamacare, I’ll lead the fight against amnesty, I’ll lead the fight against our debt, and I will fight for the Bill of Rights and your rights every day, that the people of Texas said you have kept your word, and that’s what I’ll do as president.

BAIER: Governor Kasich, yes or no, would you support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee?

KASICH: Yeah. But — and I kind of think that, before it’s all said and done, I’ll be the nominee. But let me also say…

(APPLAUSE)

But let me also say, remember…

BAIER: But your answer is yes?

KASICH: But I’m the little engine that can. And, yeah, look, when you’re in the arena, and we’re in the arena. And the people out here watching — we’re in the arena, we’re traveling, we’re working, we spend time away from our family, when you’re in the arena, you enter a special circle. And you want to respect the people that you’re in the arena with. So if he ends up as the nominee — sometimes, he makes it a little bit hard — but, you know, I will support whoever is the Republican nominee for president.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Mr. Trump, I’m going to ask you a version of the same question. As we saw today with Mitt Romney, the #NeverTrump movement is gaining steam. Some people are talking about contributing millions of dollars to try to stop you. Again today, you raised the possibility that you might run as an independent if you feel you’re treated unfairly by the Republican Party.

So I’m going to phrase the question that the other three people on this stage just got. Can you definitively say tonight that you will definitely support the Republican nominee for president, even if it’s not you?

TRUMP: Even if it’s not me?

(LAUGHTER)

Let me just start off by saying…

WALLACE: Thirty seconds, sir.

TRUMP: … OK — that I’m very, very proud of — millions and millions of people have come to the Republican Party over the last little while. They’ve come to the Republican Party. And by the way, the Democrats are losing people. This is a trend that’s taking place. It’s the biggest thing happening in politics, and I’m very proud to be a part of it. And I’m going to give them some credit, too, even though they don’t deserve it. But the answer is: Yes, I will.

WALLACE: Yes, you will support the nominee of the party? TRUMP: Yes, I will. Yes. I will.

KELLY: Candidates, it’s now time for your closing statements. Governor Kasich, we’ll start with you.

KASICH: Well, ladies and gentlemen, I love being here in Michigan, and I want to say to all of you here that I have a record of being able to solve some of the biggest problems. It’s not just talk, and it’s not theory.

I did it in Washington by helping people get into a healthier economic situation. I’ve done it in Ohio. And as we’ve made progress in Ohio, we’ve left no one behind. We’ve not left behind the mentally ill, the drug addicted, the working poor, the developmental disabled, and we have raised our minority community.

And as president of the United States, I will go back to Washington, I will take the formulas that I used, and I will — I will fix the problems in Washington, and you’ll work with me as I send you power to fix your — your communities, your neighborhoods, your state, and together, we’ll restore the spirit of America. And I know you want that. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

WALLACE: Senator Rubio, 30 seconds, closing statement.

RUBIO: Well, I know this has been an unusual election cycle, as it continues, and there’s a lot of problems in America, and people are truly hurting. But this election is not just about confronting our problems; it’s also about embracing our opportunities.

I believe the 21st century holds the potential to be the greatest era in the history of the United States, if we get this election right and if we act now. If we do, if we do what needs to be done, we can leave our children as the freest and most prosperous Americans that have ever lived, and the 21st century can be the greatest era in the amazing story of America. So I ask everyone to vote for me and join our effort at marcorubio.com.

(APPLAUSE)

BAIER: Senator Cruz, your closing statement?

CRUZ: I want to talk to every soldier and sailor and airman and Marine. I want to talk to every mom and dad and sister and brother and son and daughter of someone fighting for this country. For seven years, you’ve had a commander-in-chief that doesn’t believe in you, that sends you into combat with rules of engagement that tie your arms behind your back. That is wrong. It is immoral. And in January 2017, it will end.

I want to also talk to all the police officers and firefighters and first responders who have been left behind with this president. Starting in January 2017, I will have your back.

(APPLAUSE)

KELLY: Mr. Trump, your closing statement.

TRUMP: Thank you. I am going to bring jobs back to the United States like nobody else can. We’re going to fix our very depleted military. We’re going to take care of our vets. We’re going to strengthen our borders. And you’re going to be very, very proud of this country in just a few years if I’m elected president. Thank you.

KELLY: Thank you, sir.

 

A liberal acquaintance of mine said that Sanders was electable because he would bring new people into the electorate.

It seems to me that if this was true, Democratic primary turnout would be up.  So let’s look at the New Hampshire results:

2008 about 285,000 voters (details here)

2012 about 250,000 voters (details here).

Democrats are staying home, not turning out to vote for Sanders.  To put it another way, the total non-Clinton vote in 2008 was about 173,000; this year it was about 155,000- again down.  Clinton herself got 17,000 fewer votes.

What about on the Republican side:

2008 about 238,000 votes

2012 a little over 280,000 votes

The energy is on the Republican side this year.  Of course, this is based on just one primary- we’ll see how the rest of the primaries shape up.

 

 

As always my comments are IN CAPS.

MY GENERAL THOUGHTS: THE ONLY REAL WINNER HERE WAS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.  BUSH AND TRUMP WERE SOMETIMES GOOD AND SOMETIMES TERRIBLE..  RUBIO WAS NEVER ALL THAT GOOD, AND SOMETIMES TERRIBLE (BUT I KNOW THE PRESS DECLARED HIM THE WINNER BECAUSE AFTER NEW HAMPSHIRE EXPECTATIONS WERE VERY LOW).  KASICH AND CRUZ SAID NOTHING HORRIBLY EMBARASSING BUT WEREN’T ALL THAT INTERESTING EITHER.

 

 

First, the death of Justice Scalia, and the vacancy that leaves on the Supreme Court. Mr. Trump, I want to start with you. You’ve said that the President shouldn’t nominate anyone in the rest of his term to replace Justice Scalia. If you were President, and had a chance with 11 months left to go in your term, wouldn’t it be an abdication to conservatives in particular, not to name a conservative justice with the rest of your term?

TRUMP: Well, I can say this. If the President, and if I were President now I would certainly want to try and nominate a justice. I’m sure that, frankly, I’m absolutely sure that President Obama will try and do it. I hope that our Senate is going to be able — Mitch, and the entire group, is going to be able to do something about it.

In times of delay, we could have a Diane Sykes, or you could have a Bill Pryor, we have some fantastic people. But this is a tremendous blow to conservatism. It’s a tremendous blow, frankly to our country.

DICKERSON: So, just to be clear on this Mr. Trump, you’re OK with the President nominating somebody… TRUMP: … I think he’s going to do it whether or I’m OK with it or not. I think it’s up to Mitch McConnell, and everybody else to stop it. It’s called delay, delay, delay.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Governor Kasich, I want to get your thoughts on this. Justice Scalia was a real believer, obviously, in the strict word of the constitution. Now, Harry Reid says that a failure to fill his vacancy would be, quote, “Shameful abdication of one of the Senate’s most essential constitutional responsibilities.”

Where do you come down on this?

KASICH: Well, John, first of all if I were president we wouldn’t have the divisions in the country we have today. I do want to take a second as we reflected on Judge Scalia, it’s amazing — it’s not even two minutes after the death of Judge Scalia, nine children here today, their father, didn’t wake up. His wife sad, but, I just wish we hadn’t run so fast into politics.

Here’s my concern about this. The country is so divided right now, and now we’re going to see another partisan fight take place. I really wish the president would think about not nominating somebody. If you were to nominate somebody, let’s have him pick somebody that’s going to have unanimous approval, and such wide spread approval across the country that this could happen without a lot of recrimination.

“UNANIMOUS” IS A BIT IMPOSSIBLE THESE DAYS- BUT I SEE HIS POINT.  I don’t think that’s going to happen, and I would like the President just to for once here put the country first. We’re going to have an election for President very soon, and the people will understand what is at stake in that election.

And, so I believe the President should not move forward, and I think that we ought to let the next President of the United States decide who is going to run that Supreme Court with a vote by the people of the United…

(BELL RINGING)

KASICH: … States of America.

BUT DOES HE THINK HIS PICKS SHOULD HAVE UNANIMOUS APPROVAL? OR IS THERE A SPECIAL OBAMA RULE?

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Dr. Carson. Dr. Carson, you, like others, put out a statement after the death was announced, and you said the president should delay.

You’ve written a book on the constitution recently. What does the constitution say about whose duty it is here to act in this kind of a situation?

CARSON: Well, the current constitution actually doesn’t address that particular situation, but the fact of the matter is the Supreme Court, obviously, is a very important part of our governmental system. And, when our constitution was put in place, the average age of death was under 50, and therefore the whole concept of lifetime appointments for Supreme Court judges, and federal judges was not considered to be a big deal.

Obviously that has changed, and it’s something that probably needs to be looked at pretty carefully at some point. But, we need to start thinking about the divisiveness that is going on in our country. I looked at some of the remarks that people made after finding out that Justice Scalia had died, and they were truly nasty remarks. And, that we have managed to get to that position in our country is truly a shame. And, we should be thinking about how we could create some healing in this land.

But, right now, we’re not going to get healing with President Obama. That’s very clear. So, I…

(BELL RINGING)

CARSON: … Fully agree that we should not allow a judge to be appointed during his time.

DICKERSON: Senator Rubio, you’re a…

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Senator Rubio, you’re a lawyer. Quickly, can you address the issue of whether the Constitution tells us who has the power to appoint Supreme Court justices?

And then, also, the Senate Republicans last year floated an idea of removing the filibuster for Senate — excuse me, for Supreme Court nominations. You seemed open to that. What’s your feeling on that now?

RUBIO: Well, let me first talk about Justice Scalia. His loss is tremendous and obviously our hearts and prayers go out to his family. He will go down as one of the great justices in the history of this republic.

You talk about someone who defended consistently the original meaning of the Constitution, who understood that the Constitution was not there to be interpreted based on the fads of the moment, but it was there to be interpreted according to its original meaning.

Justice Scalia understood that better than anyone in the history of this republic. His dissent, for example, on the independent counsel case is a brilliant piece of jurist work. And, of course, his dissent on Obergefell as well.

Number two, I do not believe the president should appoint someone. And it’s not unprecedented. In fact, it has been over 80 years since a lame duck president has appointed a Supreme Court justice.

DEAD WRONG, UNLESS RUBIO HAS A VERY UNUSUAL DEFINITION OF “LAME DUCK.” BUT SECOND TERM PRESIDENTS APPOINT JUSTICES ALL THE TIME; BUSH APPOINTED ROBERTS  AND ALITO IN HIS SECOND TERM.

And it remind us of this, how important this election is. Someone on this stage will get to choose the balance of the Supreme Court, and it will begin by filling this vacancy that’s there now.

And we need to put people on the bench that understand that the Constitution is not a living and breathing document. It is to be interpreted as originally meant.

DICKERSON: Quickly, though on this question…

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Very quickly, Senator, on this specific question, though. You were once in favor of dropping the threshold…

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: That’s not accurate.

DICKERSON: … majority — you were never in favor of that?

RUBIO: No, I’ve never — there has been, for example, today, according to the changes Harry Reid made, appellate judges can now be appointed by a simple majority, but not Supreme Court justices.

And I think today you see the wisdom of why we don’t that want to change. Because if that were the case and we were not in charge of the Senate, Harry Reid and Barack Obama would ram down our throat a liberal justice, like the ones Barack Obama has imposed on us already.

DICKERSON: OK. Thank you, Senator.

Governor Bush, I would like to ask you, conservatives for a long time have felt like that their Republican presidents have picked justices that didn’t turn out to be real conservatives.

BUSH: Right.

DICKERSON: Bernie Sanders has said he would have a litmus test. He would you make sure that he appointed a justice who was going to overturn Citizens United. If they can have a litmus test for a nominee, what about you? Would you have a litmus test for a nominee? And what would it be?

BUSH: Not on specific issues, not at all. I think the next president — if I’m president, I will appoint people — I’ll nominate people that have a proven record in the judiciary.

The problem in the past has been we have appointed people thinking you can get it through the Senate because they didn’t have a record. And the problem is that sometimes we’re surprised.

The simple fact is the next president needs to appoint someone with a proven conservative record, similar to Justice Scalia, that is a lover of liberty, that believes in limited government, that consistently applied that kind of philosophy, that didn’t try to legislator from the bench, that was respectful of the Constitution.

ALL THESE CONCEPTS SEEM A BIT CONTRADICTORY TO ME.  NOT TRYING TO LEGISLATE FROM THE BENCH AND BEING RESPECTFUL OF THE CONSTITUTION, TO ME, IMPLY BEING FAIRLY DEFERENTIAL TOWARDS ELECTED PEOPLE.  BEING A “LOVER OF LIBERTY” WHO “BELIEVES IN LIMITED GOVERNMENT” TO ME SUGGEST IMPOSING YOUR AGENDA ON THE CONSTITUITON.

And then fight and fight, and fight for that nomination to make sure that that nomination passes.

Of course, the president, by the way, has every right to nominate Supreme Court justices. I’m an Article II guy in the Constitution. We’re running for the president of the United States. We want a strong executive for sure. But in return for that, there should be a consensus orientation on that nomination, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama will not have a consensus pick when he submits that person to the Senate.

SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY ISN’T IT?  AND IS BUSH GOING TO SEEK CONSENSUS NOMINEES IF HE’S PRESIDENT?

DICKERSON: Right, so, Senator Cruz, the Constitution…

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: So, Senator Cruz, the Constitution says the president “shall appoint with advice and consent from the Senate,” just to clear that up. So he has the constitutional power. But you don’t think he should.

Where do you set that date if you’re president? Does it begin in election year, in December, November, September? And once you set the date, when you’re president, will you abide by that date?

CRUZ: Well, we have 80 years of precedent of not confirming Supreme Court justices in an election year. And let me say, Justice Scalia…

DICKERSON: Just can I — I’m sorry to interrupt, were any appointed in an election year or is that just there were 80 years…

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: Eighty years of not confirming. For example, LBJ nominated Abe Fortas. Fortas did not get confirmed. He was defeated.

DICKERSON: But Kennedy was confirmed in ’88.

CRUZ: No, Kennedy was confirmed in ’87…

DICKERSON: He was appointed in ’87.

CRUZ: He was appointed in…

DICKERSON: … confirmed in ’88. That’s the question, is it appointing or confirming, what’s the difference?

CRUZ: In this case it’s both. But if I could answer the question…

DICKERSON: Sorry, I just want to get the facts straight for the audience. But I apologize.

DICKERSON WAS RIGHT, BUT ONLY BY A MONTH OR SO- KENNEDY WAS CONFIRMED IN FEB. 88.

(BOOING)

(LAUGHTER)

CRUZ: Justice Scalia was a legal giant. He was somebody that I knew for 20 years. He was a brilliant man. He was faithful to the Constitution. He changed the arc of American legal history. And I’ll tell you, his passing tonight, our prayers are with his family, with his wife, Maureen, who he adored, his nine children, his 36 grandkids.

CRUZ: But it underscores the stakes of this election. We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that will strike down every restriction on abortion adopted by the states. We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that will reverse the Heller decision, one of Justice Scalia’s seminal decisions that upheld the Second Amendment right to keep and to bear arms.

We are one justice away from a Supreme Court that would undermine the religious liberty of millions of Americans — and the stakes of this election, for this year, for the Senate, the Senate needs to stand strong and say, “We’re not going to give up the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation by allowing Barack Obama to make one more liberal appointee.”

And then for the state of South Carolina, one of the most important judgments for the men and women of South Carolina to make is who on this stage has the background, the principle, the character, the judgment, and the strength of resolve to nominate and confirm principled constitutionalists to the court? That will be what I will do if I’m elected president.

DICKERSON: All right.

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you, Senator Cruz. All right, we’re going to move on to national security here, and we are going to — I want to read a quote from Secretary Robert Gates, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who served for eight year — under eight presidents.

And this is what he said about Republican candidates, quote, “Part of the concern that I have with the campaign is that the solutions being offered are so simplistic and so at odds with the way the world really works.”

So, in that spirit, we’re going to work tonight to be more specific.

Mr. Trump, I want to start with you. You have said as president, you’ll get up to speed very quickly. You’ll know more quickly as president than any of the experts.

So, you’ve been elected president. It’s your first day in the situation room. What three questions do you ask your national security experts about the world? TRUMP: What we want to do, when we want to do it, and how hard do we want to hit? Because we are going to have to hit very, very hard to knock out ISIS.

GOOD FOCUS.  ONE THING I LIKE ABOUT TRUMP: HE SEEMS TO BE FOCUSED LIKE A LASER BEAM ON ISIS, AS OPPOSED TO SOME OTHER PEOPLE WHO WANT TO START WARS UNRELATED TO ISIS.

We’re going to also have to learn who our allies are. We have allies, so-called allies, we’re spending billions and billions of dollars supporting people — we have no idea who they are in Syria. Do we want to stay that route, or do we want to go and make something with Russia?

I hate to say Iran, but with Russia, because we — and the Iran deal is one of the worst deals I have ever seen negotiated in my entire life. It’s a disgrace that this country negotiated that deal. But very important…

(APPLAUSE)

Not only a disgrace, it’s a disgrace and an embarrassment. But very important, who are we fighting with? Who are we fighting for? What are we doing? We have to rebuild our country. But we have to — I’m the only one on this stage that said, “Do not go into Iraq. Do not attack Iraq.” Nobody else on this stage said that. And I said it loud and strong. And I was in the private sector. I wasn’t a politician, fortunately.

But I said it, and I said it loud and clear, “You’ll destabilize the Middle East.” That’s exactly what happened.

SAY IT, BROTHER TRUMP! (THOUGH APPARENTLY HE DIDN’T SAY IT BEFORE THE WAR STARTED, NOT IN PUBLIC ANYHOW).

I also said, by the way, four years ago, three years ago, attack the oil, take the wealth away, attack the oil and keep the oil. They didn’t listen. They just started that a few months ago.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Senator Rubio — just 30 seconds on this question, Senator Rubio. Are those the questions you would ask?

RUBIO: No. I think there are three major threats that you want to immediately get on top of. No. 1 is, what are we doing in the Asia-Pacific region, where both North Korea and China pose threats to the national security of the United States.

No. 2 is, what are we doing in the Middle East with the combination of the Sunni-Shia conflict driven by the Shia arc that Iran is now trying to establish in the Middle East, also the growing threat of ISIS.

“SHIA ARC”?  SERIOUSLY?  HE’S REFERRING TO THREE OR FOUR COUNTRIES, AS OPPOSED TO THE 20 SUNNI COUNTRIES, MOST OF WHICH MAKE IRAN SEEM LIKE MOTHER TERESA.  RUBIO’S SHIA-PHOBIA SOUNDS TO ME A LOT ;LIKE ANTI-ZIONISM: IN BOTH CASES PEOPLE CONFUSE A TINY MINORITY WITH A MAJORITY.

And the third is rebuilding and reinvigorating NATO in the European theater, particularly in Central Europe and in Eastern Europe, where Vladimir Putin is now threatening the territory of multiple countries, already controls 20 percent of Georgia and a significant percentage of Ukraine.

SO WHAT?  WHY IS THIS A TERRIBLE THING?

RUBIO IS EXACLTLY WHAT IS WRONG WITH US FOREIGN POLICY- INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON PEOPLE WHO ARE ACTUALLY TRYING TO KILL US, THERE IS THIS LUST TO SHOW YOUR MANHOOD BY TURNING FRENEMIES INTO ENEMIES.

IF CALIPH AL-BAGHDADI WAS WATCHING THIS DEBATE, HE WOULD SAY “THAT’S HOW WE ARE GOING TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD.  DIVIDE AND CONQUER THE INFIDELS!’

DICKERSON: Let me ask you a follow-up, a full, proper question, then.

(APPLAUSE)

Violent extremists are operating or active in 40 countries. Some 80 countries are in different degrees of instability. And so, that’s just the crises overseas. Barack Obama walked into an economic collapse when he came into office. We face international health crises, from Ebola to Zika.

So, there is a lot of opportunity for crisis, as you have talked about. What would you point to in your past to show voters that you’ve been in a crisis and that you’ve been tested when that inevitable crisis comes when you’re president?

RUBIO: Well, let me tell you what has happened a couple of years ago. One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make in Congress is when you are asked by the president to authorize the use of force in a conflict, because you are now putting your name, on behalf of the people of your state, behind a military action, where Americans in uniform could lose their life.

So, in 2014, Barack Obama said he would not take military action against Assad unless it was authorized by the Senate, beginning on the Committee of Foreign Relations, where I am one of its members.

RUBIO: And it was hard because you looked at the pictures. I saw the same images people saw. I’m the father of children. I saw the images of these little children — been gassed and poisoned by their own leaders and we were angry. Something had to happen, and there was the sense that we needed to seek retribution.

And then I looked at Barack Obama’s plan. Barack Obama’s plan, which John Kerry later described as unbelievably small, and I concluded that that attack would not only not help the situation, it would make it actually worse. It would allow Assad to stand up to the United States of America, survive a strike, stay in power and actually strengthen his grip.

So it was a difficult decision to make and when we only had a few days to look at and make a decision on it and I voted against Barack Obama’s plan to use force, and it was the right decision.

TALK ABOUT HAVING IT BOTH WAYS!

DICKERSON: Dr. Carson, I want to ask you a question…

(APPLAUSE)

Dr. Carson, you said you’ve had more two a.m. — two a.m. phone calls than anybody up on this stage. But when those two a.m. phone calls came, you operated on a foundation of all of that amazing medical work that you did, all of that learning. So if you were to be president, though, you wouldn’t have the political foundation that hones those instincts when the two a.m. phone call comes. So isn’t that a liability?

CARSON: No, it isn’t. First of all, let me go back to your first question for me. It wasn’t phrased as who gets to nominate Supreme Court appointees, of course that’s the president. So I know that there are some left wing media who would try to make hay on that.

Secondly, thank you for including me in the debate. Two questions already. This is great. Now, as far…

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

As far as those two a.m. phone calls are concerned, judgment is what is required. And the kinds of things that you come up with are some sometimes very, very difficult and very unique. One of the things that I was known for is doing things that have not been done before. So no amount of experience really prepares you to do something that has never been done before. That’s where judgment comes in.

And that, I think, is a situation that we’re in right now, a situation that we have never been in before with the kinds of threats that pose real danger to our nation, and it comes in very handy in those situations.

DICKERSON: Governor Kasich, Russia is being credited…

(APPLAUSE)

Russia is being credited with bombing U.S.-backed rebels on behalf of Assad in Aleppo and Syria. They’ve also moved into the Crimea, eastern Ukraine. You’ve said you want to punch them in the nose. What does that mean? What are you going to do?

KASICH: First of all — yes. First of all, look, we have to make it clear to Russia what we expect. We don’t have to declare an enemy, rattle a sword or threaten, but we need to make it clear what we expect. Number one is we will arm the folks in Ukraine who are fighting for their freedom. They deserve it. There will be no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Secondly, an attack on NATO, trumped up on any excuse of Russian- speaking people, either in the NATO countries or in Finland or Sweden is going to be an attack on us. And look, I think we have an opportunity as America to put something really great together again.

DOES HE WANT TO START WORLD WAR III?  THEN AGAIN, I DON’T THINK RUSSIA IS LIKELY TO ATTACK FINLAND OR SWEDEN.

The Egyptians, the Saudis, the Jordanians, the Gulf states, they all know they’re at risk.

FROM WHO?

We need to look into Europe, we look at France, we look at Germany and the migrants. We look at Belgium, we look at Britain. Everybody now is being threaten by radical Islam.

WHICH THEY SHOW BY ADMITTING THOUSANDS OF MUSLIMS INTO THEIR COUNTRY.

We have an opportunity to lead.

“LEADING” IS VAGUE NONSENSE.

You know, the fact of the matter is the world is desperate for our leadership. Sometimes they may — they may make a remark here or there that we don’t like, but frankly, the world needs us. And we have an opportunity now to assemble a coalition of the civilized people, those who respect civilization, the rights of women, the rights to protest, to be able to reassert our leadership all across this globe again and make sure this century is going to be the best we’ve ever seen.

AND DO WHAT?

DICKERSON: Governor…

(APPLAUSE)

Governor Bush.

BUSH: Yes.

DICKERSON: You said defeating ISIS requires defeating Assad. But wouldn’t that also put us into conflict with Russia, a country that supports Assad? so doesn’t that mean effectively Assad’s there to stay?

BUSH: No, it doesn’t, and that’s the problem. The lack of leadership in this country by Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, thinking that this is a policy that works, this policy of containment with ISIS. It’s a complete, unmitigated disaster. And to allow Russia now to have influence in Syria makes it harder, but we need to destroy ISIS and dispose of Assad to create a stable Syria so that the four million refugees aren’t a breeding ground for Islamic jihadists.

SO HE WANTS TO FIGHT ISIS AND SYRIA AT THE SAME TIME?  SERIOUSLY?  AND DO WHAT IN THEIR PLACE?  OH, THAT’S RIGHT, BUSH BELIEVES THAT THE US CAN DESTROY EVERY MAJOR FORM OF LEADERSHIP IN A COUNTRY AND PRODUCE SOMETHING OTHER THAN ANARCHY.  LISTEN, FOOL: THAT DIDN’T WORK FOR RUSSIA IN AFGHANISTAN. IT DIDN’T WORK FOR YOUR BROTHER IN IRAQ.  IT DIDN’T WORK FOR THE CURRENT PRESIDENT IN LIBYA. AND IT WON’T WORK FOR PRESIDENT RUBIO IN SYRIA.  IT JUST WON’T, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WISH IT WOULD.

This is the problem. Donald Trump brought up the fact that he would — he’d want to accommodate Russia. Russia is not taking out ISIS. They’re — they’re attacking our — our — our team, the team that we’ve been training and the team that we’ve been supporting.

OUR TEAM?  YOU MEAN AL-QAEDA?  (AKA THE NUSRA FRONT)

It is absolutely ludicrous to suggest that Russia could be a positive partner in this. They are on the run. They are making — every time we step back, they’re on the run.

I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT “ON THE RUN” MEANS IN THIS CONTEXT.

BUSH: The question that you asked was a really good one about what you would do — what three things would you do.

I would restore the military, the sequester needs to be reversed. I would have a strategy to destroy ISIS, and I would immediately create a policy of containment as it relates to Iran’s ambitions, and to make it make clear that we are not going to allow for Iran to do what it’s doing, which is to move towards a nuclear weapon.

Those three things would be the first and foremost things that we need to do…

(BELL RINGING)

BUSH: … in 2017.

DICKERSON: Mr. Trump, you’re…

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Mr. Trump, you were mentioned here. You did say that you could get along very well with Vladimir Putin. You did at one point say let Russia take care of ISIS…

TRUMP: … (INAUDIBLE) called me a genius, I like him so far, I have to tell you. Let me just tell you this.

Jeb is so wrong. Jeb is absolutely self — just so you understand, you know what that is? That’s Jeb’s special interest and lobbyist talking.

Look, let me just tell you something, Jeb — Jeb is so wrong. You got to fight ISIS first. You fight ISIS first. Right now you have Russia, you have Iran, you have them with Assad, and you have them with Syria. You have to knock out ISIS. They’re chopping off heads. These are animals. You have to knock em out. You have to knock them off strong. You decide what to do after, you can’t fight two wars at one time.

I CAN’T BELIEVE I’M AGREEING WITH DONALD TRUMP. BUT I THINK THE TALMUD SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT PROPHECY BEING LIMITED TO CHILDREN AND FOOLS…

If you listen to him, and you listen to some of the folks that I’ve been listening to, that’s why we’ve been in the Middle East for 15 years, and we haven’t won anything. We’ve spent $5 trillion dollars in the Middle East with thinking like that. We’ve spent $5…

(BELL RINGING)

TRUMP: Lindsey Graham, who backs him, had zero on his polls. Let me just say something — we’ve spent — we’ve spent.

I only tell the truth, lobbyists.

We’ve spent $5 trillion dollars all over the — we have to rebuild our country. We have to rebuild our infrastructure. you listen to that you’re going to be there for another 15…

DICKERSON: … Alright…

TRUMP: … You’ll end up with world war three…

DICKERSON: … Alright, Governor Bush, please respond.

BUSH: The very basic fact is that Vladimir Putin is not going to be an ally of the United States. The whole world knows this. It’s a simple basic fact.

UM, NO I DON’T.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: They’re not taking out — they’re not even attempting to take out ISIS. They’re attacking the troops that we’re supporting. We need to create a coalition, Sunni led coalition on the ground with our special operators to destroy ISIS, and bring about stability. And, you can’t do that with Assad in power. He has…

TRUMP: … We’re supporting troops

BUSH: … Let me finish….

TRUMP: …that we don’t even know who they are.

DICKERSON: … OK, settle…

BUSH: …This is ridiculous…

TRUMP: … We’re supporting troops that we don’t even know who they are…

DICKERSON: … Alright, Mr. Trump, alright…

TRUMP: We have no idea who they are.

DICKERSON: Gentleman, I think we’re going to leave that there. I’ve got a question for Senator…

BUSH: … This is coming from a guy who gets his foreign policy from the shows.

TRUMP: … Oh, yeah, yeah…

BUSH: … This is a guy who thinks that Hillary Clinton is a great negotiator in Iran…

TRUMP: … Let 44 million in New Hampshire, it was practically (INAUDIBLE)…

BUSH: … This is a man who insults his way to the nomination…

TRUMP: … 44 million — give me a break.

(CROSSTALK)

CHILDREN, CHILDREN….

DICKERSON: … Alright, alright, gentlemen, gentlemen, let’s leave it there so I can ask a question of Senator Cruz who’s also running for President.

(LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Senator Cruz, you talked about the first Gulf War as being a kind of model for your focused, and determined effort to go after ISIS. But, there were 700,000 ground troops as a part of that, and you don’t have a ground component to your plan. Why?

CRUZ: Well, we need to focus on what the objective is, you know? You’re question about the first three questions you would ask in this Situation Room. I think it is a problem if the president, commander in chief we’ve elected does not have the experience and background to understand the threats facing this country coming in on day one.

If you look at the threats facing this country, the single gravest threat, national security threat, is the threat of a nuclear Iran. That’s why I’ve pledged on day one to rip to shreds this Iranian nuclear deal, and anyone that thinks you can negotiate Konami does not understand the nature of Komani.

SILLY BECAUSE 1) NO, I REALLY DON’T THINK ITS AS MUCH OF A THREAT AS ISIS 2) I DON’T SEE HOW DEEP SIXING THIS DEAL IS GOING TO PREVENT A NUCLEAR IRAN- SOUNDS TO ME LIKE A GREAT WAY TO ACCELERATE IT.

When it comes to ISIS, we’ve got to have a focused objective. One of the problems of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy, and sadly, too many establishment Republicans in Washington, is they focus on issues unrelated to protecting this country. They focus on nation building, they focus on toppling governments to promote democracy, and it ends up undermining our national security.

Now, with regard to ISIS, we need a commander in chief that sets the objective we will utterly defeat them because they have declared war. They’ve declared a jihad on us.

Now, what do we need…

(BELL RINGING)

CRUZ: … To carry that out. We need overwhelming air power, we need to arm the Kurds who can be our boots on the ground, and if ground troops are necessary than we should employ them, but it shouldn’t be politicians demonstrating political toughness. It should be military expert judgement carrying out the objectives set out by the commander in chief.

GOOD. I’M HONESTLY NOT SURE ANY LEVEL OF GROUND TROOPS ANY AMERICAN IS CONTEMPLATING WILL WORK, GIVEN THAT IT TOOK 150K TO BEAT AL QAEDA, WHICH WAS MUCH WEAKER THAN ISIS.  BUT IN THE LAND OF THE BLIND, THE ONE EYED SEN CRUZ IS KING

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Very quickly, 30-second follow-up. You’ve said that essentially the Kurds would be the American ground forces in there. The criticism that experts have on that is that the Kurds only can work within their territory.

If they take larger amounts of territory, you have an ethnic war with the Arabs. So the Kurds can’t really do as much as you seem to be putting on their backs.

CRUZ: We have Kurds in both Iraq and Syria. They are fighting ISIS right now. They are winning victories right now.

DID HE JUST IGNORE THE QUESTION?

ISIS is using American military equipment they’ve seized in Iraq. And the Obama administration refuses to arm the Kurds, the Peshmerga, the fighting forces who have been longtime allies.

FALSE. JUST COMPLETELY FALSE.

We ought to be arming them and letting them fight. Now if we need to embed Special Forces to direct our overwhelming air power, if it is required to use ground troops to defeat ISIS, we should use them, but we ought to start with using our incredible air power advantage.

The first Persian Gulf War, we launched 1,100 air attacks a day. Today we’re launching between 15 and 30. We’re not using the tools we have and it’s because the commander-in-chief is not focused on defeating the enemy.

DICKERSON: All right. Mr. Trump…

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: … on Monday, George W. Bush will campaign in South Carolina for his brother. As you’ve said tonight, and you’ve often said, the Iraq War and your opposition to it was a sign of your good judgment.

In 2008, in an interview with Wolf Blitzer, talking about President George W. Bush’s conduct of the war, you said you were surprised that Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi didn’t try to impeach him.

You said, quote: “which personally I think would have been a wonderful thing.” When you were asked what you meant by that and you said: “For the war, for the war, he lied, he got us into the war with lies.” Do you still believe President Bush should have been impeached.

TRUMP: First of all, I have to say, as a businessman I get along with everybody. I have business all over the world.

(BOOING)

TRUMP: I know so many of the people in the audience. And by the way, I’m a self-funder. I don’t have — I have my wife and I have my son. That’s all I have. I don’t have this.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: So let me just tell you, I get along with everybody, which is my obligation to my company, to myself, et cetera.

Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake. All right? Now, you can take it any way you want, and it took — it took Jeb Bush, if you remember at the beginning of his announcement, when he announced for president, it took him five days.

He went back, it was a mistake, it wasn’t a mistake. It took him five days before his people told him what to say, and he ultimately said, “it was a mistake.” The war in Iraq, we spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives, we don’t even have it. Iran has taken over Iraq with the second-largest oil reserves in the world.

Obviously, it was a mistake.

DICKERSON: So…

TRUMP: George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.

DICKERSON: But so I’m going to — so you still think he should be impeached?

BUSH: I think it’s my turn, isn’t it?

TRUMP: You do whatever you want. You call it whatever you want. I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.

TRUMP IS OUT OF BOUNDS HERE.  I DON’T THINK ANYONE “KNEW” THERE WERE NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.  GIVEN THAT MR. HUSSEIN HAD USED POISON GAS IN THE PAST, I THINK EVEN AMERICANS WHO OPPOSED THE WAR THOUGHT THEY HAD SOME.  HAVING SAID THAT, I HAVE CLAIMED THAT THE BUSH PEOPLE WENT TOO FAR TO MAKE THEIR CASE, LIKE COPS TRYING TO FRAME SOMEONE THEY THOUGHT WAS GUILTY ANYHOW- MAYBE THAT’S WHAT TRUMP IS REFERRING TO.

(BOOING)

DICKERSON: All right. OK. All right.

Governor Bush — when a member on the stage’s brother gets attacked…

BUSH: I’ve got about five or six…

DICKERSON: … the brother gets to respond.

BUSH: Do I get to do it five or six times or just once responding to that?

TRUMP: I’m being nice.

BUSH: So here’s the deal. I’m sick ask tired of Barack Obama blaming my brother for all of the problems that he has had.

ANYTHING THAT’S OBAMA’S FAULT IS BUSH’S FAULT TOO. NO WAR IN IRAQ, NO OBAMA BEATING HILLARY (SINCE A LARGE PART OF THE RATIONALE FOR THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN WAS BASICALLY “I WAS AGAINST THE WAR AND SHE WAS FOR IT”).  SO NO BUSH 43, NO OBAMA.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: And, frankly, I could care less about the insults that Donald Trump gives to me. It’s blood sport for him. He enjoys it. And I’m glad he’s happy about it. But I am sick and tired…

TRUMP: He spent $22 million in…

(CROSSTALK)

BUSH: I am sick and tired of him going after my family. My dad is the greatest man alive in my mind.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: And while Donald Trump was building a reality TV show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. And I’m proud of what he did.

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: And he has had the gall to go after my brother.

TRUMP: The World Trade Center came down during your brother’s reign, remember that.

(BOOING)

BUSH: He has had the gall to go after my mother.

Hold on. Let me finish. He has had the gall to go after my mother.

TRUMP: That’s not keeping us safe.

BUSH: Look, I won the lottery when I was born 63 years ago, looked up, and I saw my mom. My mom is the strongest woman I know.

TRUMP: She should be running.

BUSH: This is not about my family or his family. This is about the South Carolina families that need someone to be a commander-in- chief that can lead. I’m that person.

DICKERSON: Governor Kasich, would you weigh in on…

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Governor Kasich, please weigh in.

KASICH: I’ve got to tell you, this is just crazy, huh?

(LAUGHTER)

KASICH: This is just nuts, OK? Jeez, oh, man. I’m sorry, John.

DICKERSON: Why is it nuts? Talk about it. Give us your sense of…

KASICH: Oh, well, listen, I think being in Iraq, look, we thought there were weapons of mass destruction. Colin Powell, who is one of the most distinguished generals in modern time said there were weapons there.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: But, but, the fact is we got ourselves in the middle of a civil war. The Sunni, the Shia, and the Kurds, never gotten along. In fact, that country was drawn — the borders of that country were drawn after World War I by Westerners that didn’t understand what was happening there.

KASICH: The tragedy of it is that we’re still embroiled. And, frankly, if there weren’t weapons of mass destruction we should never have gone. I don’t believe the United States should involve itself in civil wars. Civil wars are not in our direct are interest, and if you — and look, I served on a defense committee for 18 years and was called into the Pentagon after 9/11 by Secretary Rumsfeld to deal with some of the most serious problems that we faced.

OK BUT A TINY BIT MISLEADING IN THIS RESPECT: THE CIVIL WAR DIDN’T EXIST BEFORE THE US INVADED.   BUSH BASICALLY CREATED THE CIVIL WAR BY OVERTHROWING HUSSEIN, CAUSING THE COUNTRY TOI LAPSE INTO ANARCHY.

The fact is, is that we should go to war when it is our direct interest. We should not be policemen of the world, but when we go, we mean business. We’ll do our job. We’ll tell our soldiers, our people in the service, take care of your job and then come home once we’ve accomplished our goals.

That’s what we need to do.

VERY GOOD  BUT IT SEEMS TO CONTRADICT SOME OF HIS BLATHER ABOUT RUSSIA.

 

DICKERSON: Thirty seconds, Senator Rubio.

RUBIO: I just want to say, at least on behalf of me and my family, I thank God all the time it was George W. Bush in the White House on 9/11 and not Al Gore.

WHAT WOULD GORE HAVE DONE THAT WOULD BE WORSE?

(APPLAUSE)

And you can — I think you can look back in hindsight and say a couple of things, but he kept us safe. And not only did he keep us safe,

DID RUBIO NOT EVEN LISTEN TO THE BUSH/TRUMP EXCHANGE? DID HE FORGET WHO WAS PRESIDENT ON 9/11?

but no matter what you want to say about weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein was in violation of U.N. resolutions, in open violation, and the world wouldn’t do anything about it, and George W. Bush enforced what the international community refused to do.

SO THE US SHOULD INVADE ANY COUNTRY THAT IT THINKS IS IN VIOLATION OF UN RESOLUTIONS?  LOTS OF PEOPLE THINK ISRAEL IS IN VIOLATION OF UN  RESOLUTIONS, DOES THAT MEAN THE US SHOULD BOMB THE SMITHEREENS OUT OF ISRAEL?  I AM BEGINNING TO WONDER WHETHER THIS GUY IS AN IDIOT.

And again, he kept us safe, and I am forever grateful to what he did for this country.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: How did he keep us safe when the World Trade Center — the World — excuse me. I lost hundreds of friends. The World Trade Center came down during the reign of George Bush. He kept us safe? That is not safe. That is not safe, Marco. That is not safe.

RUBIO: The World Trade Center came down because Bill Clinton didn’t kill Osama bin Laden when he had the chance to kill him.

FALSE DICHOTOMY.  JUST BECAUSE CLINTON FAILED DOESN’T MEAN BUSH DIDN’T FAIL TOO.  NO LOGIC HERE.

(APPLAUSE) TRUMP: And George Bush– by the way, George Bush had the chance, also, and he didn’t listen to the advice of his CIA.

DICKERSON: All right, Dr. Carson, we have a cleansing…

BUSH: Can I just…

DICKERSON: We have a cleansing…

BUSH: I’m not going to invite Donald Trump to the rally in Charleston on Monday afternoon when he brother is coming to speak.

TRUMP: I don’t want to go.

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: I’m rescinding the invitation. I thought you might want to come, but I guess not.

DICKERSON: All right. Well, Dr. Carson, I have got a question now for you.

A moment of pause here. You have said, Dr. Carson, that — referring to yourself that people bought into the idea that, quote, “A nice person can’t be tough on terrorists.”

You have called for loosening the rules of engagement for the military, which could lead to more civilian casualties.

So, explain why those casualties would be acceptable in the fight against ISIS?

CARSON: Well, first of all, let me just address the Iraq question.

You know, I was not particularly in favor of us going to war in Iraq, primarily because I have studied, you know, the Middle East, recognizing that those are nations that are ruled by dictators and have been for thousands of years. And when you go in and you remove one of those dictators, unless you have an appropriate plan for replacing them, you’re going to have chaos.

SAY IT, BROTHER CARSON!!!!

Now, fortunately, we were able to stabilize the situation, and it was the current administration that turned tail and ran and destabilized the situation.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, having said that, in terms of the rules of engagement, I was talking about, you know, Obama has said, you know, we shouldn’t bomb tankers, you know, coming out of refineries because there may be people in there, or because the environment may be hurt.

You know, that’s just asinine thinking. And the fact of the matter is…

(APPLAUSE)

You know, we — obviously, you’re not going to accomplish all of your goals without some collateral damage. You have to be able to assess what is acceptable and what is not.

DICKERSON: All right, thank you, Dr. Carson.

TRUMP MAY HAVE LOST THE NOMINATION WITH THESE EXCHANGES- WHICH IS TOO BAD BECAUSE EXCEPT FOR THE “BUSH LIED” REMARK (WHICH REALLY WAS A BIT MUCH) I THINK I MOSTLY AGREE WITH HIM.

We’re going to have to take a commercial break here. Thank you to all the candidates. We’ll be right back with CBS News’ 2016 debate in Greenville, South Carolina.

(APPLAUSE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: We’re back with the Republicans who could (ph) be president. The topic now is money and how the candidates would spend it. We’ll turn the questioning over to Kimberly Strassel of The Wall Street Journal and Major Garrett of CBS news. Kim?

STRASSEL: Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: Yes.

STRASSEL: You have made a lot of promises and you have also — you’re the only candidate who has said he would not touch entitlements. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has estimated that your ideas would cost an additional $12 trillion to $15 trillion over the next 10 years and that we would have to have annual economic growth of anywhere from 7.7 percent to nine percent annually to pay for them. Are you proposing more than you can actually deliver, at least not without big deficits?

TRUMP: First of all, the — when you say I’m the only candidate, if you listen to the Democrats, they want to do many things to Social Security and I want to do them on its own merit. You listen to them, what they want to do to Social Security, none of these folks are getting elected, OK, whether they can do it or not. I’m going to save Social Security. I’m going to bring jobs back from China. I’m going to bring jobs back from Mexico and from Japan, where they’re all — every country throughout the world — now Vietnam, that’s the new one.

They are taking our jobs. They are taking our wealth. They are taking our base. And you and I have had this discussion. We’re going to make our economy strong again. I’m lowering taxes. We have $2.5 trillion offshore. We have 2.5 trillion that I think is actually five trillion because the government has no idea when they say 2.5, they have no idea what they’re doing or saying, as they’ve proven very well.

We’re going to bring that money back. You take a look at what happened just this week, China bought the Chicago Stock Exchange, China, a Chinese company. Carrier is moving to Mexico, air conditioning company. Not only the ones I talk about all the time, Nabisco and Ford and — they’re all moving out.

We have an economy that last quarter, GDP didn’t grow. It was flat. We have to make our economy grow again. We’re dying. This country is dying. And our workers are losing their jobs, and you’re going…

STRASSEL: But in terms of…

TRUMP: I’m the only one who is going to save Social Security, believe me.

STRASSEL: OK. But how would you actually do that? Can I ask you? because right now, Social Security and Medicare…

TRUMP: Because you have tremendous waste. I’ll tell you…

STRASSEL: They take up two-thirds of the federal budget and they’re growing.

TRUMP: You have tremendous waste, fraud and abuse. That we’re taking care of. That we’re taking care of. It’s tremendous. We have in Social Security right now thousand and thousands of people that are over 106 years old. Now, you know they don’t exist. They don’t exist. There’s tremendous waste, fraud and abuse, and we’re going to get it. But we’re not going to hurt the people who have been paying into Social Security their whole life and then all of a sudden they’re supposed to get less. We’re bringing our jobs back. We’re going to make our economy great again.

THE SAME OLD POLITICAL RUBBISH ABOUT WASTE, FRAUD AND ABUSE.  TRUMP PLAYS THE GAME JUST LIKE THE REST OF THEM.

GARRETT: Senator Cruz.

(APPLAUSE)

John mentioned this is about dollars and incentives, we also want to talk about economic growth engagements. You have proposed a consumption tax, you called it the “back tax. ” Some analysts compare it more to an attributed “value added tax.”

From the perspective from economic growth in building wages, how does that work and how would you address those loan standing conservative concerns that something approaching the “value added tax” would be used to constantly increase those race to pay for future government spending and become an escalator of taxation not of growth?

CRUZ: Well, let me say it at the outset that everyone here understands – everyone understands that how – that the middle class has been left behind in the last seven years of the Obama economy and we’ve got to bring jobs back. We’ve got to get people back to work. We’ve got to get wages going up again. We’ve got to get people moving from part time work to full time work.

We all agree on that but it’s not going to be solved with magic pixie dust. It’s just going to be solved by declaring into the air, “let there be jobs.” We actually have to understand the principles that made America great in the first place.

Now, where do you get economic growth? If you look at cause and effect over our nation’s history, every time we lessen the burden of Washington on small business owners, on job creators, we see incredible economic growth. You do that through tax reform and regulatory reform.

My tax plan – typical family of four , first 36,000 dollars you earn, you pay nothing in taxes – no income taxes, no pay role taxes, no nothing. Above ten percent, everyone pays the same simple flat ten percent income rate, it’s flat and fair. You can fill out your taxes on a postcard and we abolish the IRS. If you want to see the post card, I’ve got it on my website.

GARRETT: Now the question – conservatives have sort of this idea conceptually for a long time but especially on this consumption value added tax system. In Europe where it exist, it has become an escalator of taxation to feed government spending and that’s why conservatives have long resisted it. Why and what would you do as president to make sure that doesn’t happen?CRUZ: Now Major, the business flat tax that is in my tax plan is not a VAT. A VAT in Europe is a sales tax. The business flat tax is not a sales tax, it is a tax of 16 percent opposed fairly and evenly across the board on all business.

One of the things that’s critical is we’re doing that in conjunction with abolishing the corporate income tax, with abolishing the Obamacare taxes, with abolishing the payroll taxes which are the biggest taxes paid by most working Americans and with abolishing the death tax which is cruel and unfair. And you asked about economic growth, the non-partisan tax foundation estimated a simple flat tax that would product 4.9 million new jobs, it would increase capital investment by 44 percent and would lift everyone’s income by double digits.

That’s how you turn the country around, not just hoping and praying for it but implementing policies that work.

SOLID, DULL ANSWER.  CRUZ RARELY HITS HOME RUNS WHEN HE SPEAKS, BUT HE RARELY MAKES ME WANT TO BEAT MY HEAD AGAINST THE NEAREST BRICK WALL.

STRASSEL: OK, I have a question, a related tax question.

Senator Rubio, you have the highest tax rate of anyone up on the stage in terms of the top tax rates, 35 percent. Some economists say, “it would limit its potential to boost economic growth.” You do that, so that you will have more revenue to pay for a tripling of the Child Tax Credit.

Normally, it’s liberals who like to use the tax code to insert social policy. Why should conservatives who want to tax adopt the other side’s approach?

RUBIO: Well, because I’m influencing social policy, this is their money. This is the money of parents. You don’t earn the tax credit unless you’re working. That’s your money, it doesn’t belong to government.

Here’s what I don’t understand, if a business takes their money and they invest in the piece of the equipment, they get to write to off their taxes. But if a parent takes money that they have earned to work and invests in their children, they don’t? This makes no sense.

Parenting is the most important job any of us will ever have. Family formation is the most important thing in society. So what my tax plan does, is it does create – especially for working families, an additional Child Tax Credit. So that parents who are working get to keep more of their own money, not the government’s money to invest in their children to go to school, to go a private school, to buy a new back pack.

Let me tell you, if you’re a parent that’s struggling, then you know that fifty dollars a month is the difference between a new pair of shoes this month or not getting a new pair of shoes for your kids. I’m going to have a tax plan that is pro-family because the family is the most important institution in society. You cannot have a strong country without strong families.

NONCONTROVERSIAL, NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.

(APPLAUSE) STRASSEL: Governor Kasich, this on is on size (ph) of government. In 2013 you pushed through a Medicaid reform in yours state over the rejections of many of the republicans in your state. Total enrollment and overall cost of program have gone well beyond what anyone had expected including yourself. How can you argue that this overall growth fits in with conservative ambition to significantly cut back on the size of federal welfare programs?

KASICH: Yeah. Well, first of all, those numbers incorrect. We are — our Medicaid programs are coming in below cost estimates, and our Medicaid program in the second year grew at 2.5 percent.

And Kimberly, let me tell you, when we expand Medicaid and we treat the mentally ill, then they don’t live under a bridge or live in a prison, where they cost $22,500 a year.

When we take the drug addicted and we treat them in the prisons, we stop the revolving door of people in and out of prisons and we save $22,500 a year.

Guess what else? They get their lives back. And the working poor, they’re now getting health care. And you know that about a third of the people who are now getting that health care are people who are suffering very serious illnesses, particularly cancer.

So, what I would tell you is, we’ve gone from an $8 billion hole to a $2 billion surplus. We’ve cut taxes by more than any governor in America by $5 billion.We have grown the number of jobs by 400,000 private sector jobs since I’ve been governor.

Our credit is strong. Our pensions are strong. And frankly, we leave no one behind. Economic growth is not an end unto itself. We want everyone to rise, and we will make them personally responsible for the help that they get.

And that is exactly the program we’re driving in Ohio. And, boy, people ought to look at Ohio, because it has got a good formula.

GOOD SOLID ANSWER.

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT: Governor Bush, a question for you — but if you want to jump in, please.

BUSH: I’d like — can I — can I…

GARRETT: Jump in, and then I’ve got a question for you.

BUSH: Look I admire the fact that Governor Kasich is supporting spending more money on drug treatment and mental health. I think that’s a high priority all across this country, but expanding Obamacare is what we’re talking about, and Obamacare’s expansion, even though the federal government is paying for the great majority of it, is creating further debt on the backs of our children and grandchildren. We should be fighting Obamacare, repealing Obamacare, replacing it with something totally different.

(APPLAUSE)

When I was — as a private citizen, Florida was confronted with the choice. The governor was supportive of doing what John did. So was the Florida Senate. A committed speaker of the House asked me to go as a private citizen to make the case against the expansion.

I did, and it wasn’t expanded there, just as it wasn’t expanded in South Carolina under Governor Haley.

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: Real quickly, jump in, because I have got a question for Governor Bush, but jump in.

KASICH: Yeah, let me say a couple of things.

First of all, when Jeb was governor, his first four years as governor, he expand — his Medicaid program grew twice as fast as mine. OK? It’s just a fact.

Now, with Obamacare, I’ve not only sued the administration, I did not set up an exchange. And he knows that I’m not for Obamacare, never have been. But here’s what’s interesting about Medicaid.

You know who expanded Medicaid five times to try to help the folks and give them opportunity so that you could rise and get a job? President Ronald Reagan.

Now, the fact of the matter is, we expanded to get people on their feet, and once they’re on their feet, we are giving them the training and the efforts that they need to be able to get work and pull out of that situation.

GARRETT: Understood, Governor Kasich.

KASICH: That’s what we’re doing in our state.

BUSH: South Carolina — South Carolinians need to know this, because the Cato Institute, which grades governors based on their spending, rank him right at the bottom.

GARRETT: Yeah, Governor Bush, fine.

BUSH: And Governor Haley is ranked at the top.

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: Let me get in a question from…

BUSH: No. He mentioned my name.

GARRETT: I understand, I understand. BUSH: Let me finish, though. No, no, no — hey, wait, wait, wait. Just hold Major, hold Major. Hold on, Major.

(CROSSTALK)

BUSH: South Carolinians want to make that they elect the most conservative governor or candidate that can win.

KASICH: Let me — let’s tell you…

GARRETT: I have a question on economic growth, Governor Bush.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: Major — Major, we can’t — we’ve got to — look, I have got to correct the record. And the fact of the matter is, we went from an $8 billion hole to a $2 billion surplus. We’re up 400,000 jobs. Our credit is rock solid.

And I don’t know…

GARRETT: A (inaudible), Governor.

KASICH: Look, the bottom line is the people of this — of this country, and this state want to see everybody rise, and they want to see unity, and I don’t want to get into all this fighting tonight because people are frankly sick of the negative campaigning.

GARRETT: I know, understood. Governor Bush.

KASICH: And I’m going to stay positive about what I want to do from the…

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT: Governor Bush, from the perspective economic growth — viewed from this perspective of economic growth, you have proposed a tax on hedge fund managers.

The Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative tax group you’re probably aware of, has said no Republican should be for higher taxes on capital gains. And many conservatives wonder if this proposal of yours would undermine not only that philosophy, but undercut your projection of 4 percent economic growth annually under your presidency?

BUSH: Of course, not. It won’t have an impact on hedge funds managers paying ordinary income. In fact, it’s not just hedge fund people, but people that are doing — they’re in the business of investing other people’s money, getting capital gains treatment is not appropriate.

They should be paying ordinary income. That’s their business. They’re grateful to be able to make a lot of money, I’m sure. And what we do is lower the rates. It’s not the end of the world that private equity people and hedge fund folks that are, right now, getting capital gains treatment for the income they earn, pay ordinary income like everybody else in this room.

BUSH: That’s not a problem at all. What we need to do is reform the tax code to simplify the rates, to shift power away from Washington, D.C. That’s what I did as governor of the state of Florida, $19 billion dollars of tax cuts, and it stimulated seven out of the eight years. Florida led the nation in job growth.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Dr. Carson, before we go to break, could you give us your sense of this conversation about either MedicAid, or economic growth through taxation?

CARSON: Well, first of all, let me just mention on the tax issue. Ben Carson.com, go read about it because my tax plan has been praised by Kato, by Wall Street Journal. Forbes said it is the best, the most pro-growth tax plan, and it’s based on real fairness for everybody. Starts at the 150% poverty level, but even the people below that have to pay something because everybody has to have skin in the game, and the millions of people can’t, you know, talk about what other people have to pay and have no skin in the game.

And, it deals with corporate tax rate, and makes it the same as everybody else…

(BELL RINGING)

CARSON: … Everybody pays exactly the same.

DICKERSON: Doctor…

CARSON: … And, as far as Medicare and MedicAid, my main goal is to get rid of Obamacare, and put the care back in the hands of (INAUDIBLE)…

GARRETT: … Dr. Carson…

DICKERSON: … Dr. Carson, I’m sorry we have to go to a commercial. The free market wants what it wants.

LOVELY LINE FROM THE MODERATOR!

Back soon with the 2016 Republican debate in Greenville, South Carolina.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: Welcome back. We’ll begin the second half of the debate with one of the hottest issues in the Republican campaign, immigration. But before I turn it back to Major Garrett and Kim Strassel, I have one question for Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump, in the Republican National Committee’s Spanish language response to the State of the Union, Congressman Diaz-Balart said, quote “It’s essential that we find a legislative solution,” talking about immigration, “to offer a permanent and humane solution to those who live in the shadows. What does that mean to you, a humane solution to those who live in the shadows?

TRUMP: I want everybody taken care of, but we have to take care of our people in this country. We’re not taking care of our people. We have no border. We have no control. People are flooding across. We can’t have it. We either have a border, and I’m very strongly — I’m not proposing. I will build a wall. I will build a wall.

Remember this, the wall will be paid for by Mexico. We are not being treated right.

YOU AND WHOSE ARMY WILL MAKE MEXICO PAY?  JUST SILLY

(APPLAUSE)

We are not being treated properly. If we don’t have borders, if we don’t have strength, we don’t have a country. People are flowing across. We have to take care of our people. Believe me.

GARRETT: Senator Rubio…

(APPLAUSE)

For the purposes of the lines — lines you would draw legislatively as a president on immigration reform, define amnesty.

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I think amnesty is the forgiveness of a wrongdoing without consequence and that — I’ve never supported that. I do not support that.

AS BILL CLINTON WOULD SAY “IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT THE MEANING OF THE WORD AMNESTY IS”

I think there has to be consequences for violating our immigration laws. What I think is clear about this issue to begin with is we’re not going to be able to make progress on illegal immigration until first, illegal immigration is brought under control.

You go back to 1986 when they legalized three million people and they promised to secure the border. It didn’t happen, and as a result, people have lost trust in the federal government. It is now clear that the only way to make progress on immigration is not just to pass a law that enforces the law, but actually prove to people that it’s working.

They want to see the wall built. They want to see the additional border agents. They want to see e-verify. They want to see an entry- exit tracking system. Forty percent of the people in this country illegally are entering legally and over-staying visas. And only after all of that is in place, then we’ll see what the American people are willing to support on this issue.

I think the American people will be very reasonable, but responsible, about how you handle someone who has been here a long time, who can pass a background check, who pays a fine and starts paying taxes and all they want is a work permit. But you can’t do any of that until you prove to people that illegal immigration is under control once and for all.

THE FOLLOW UP QUESTION THAT SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE ASKED: EVEN IF EVERYTHING YOU SUPPORT GETS DONE, AND AS A RESULT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IS “UNDER CONTROL” (WHATEVER THAT MEANS) , WILL PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT ENOUGH TO SUPPORT A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP BEFORE 2024 WHEN YOU LEAVE OFFICE?

MY SUSPICION IS: PROBABLY NOT, BECAUSE PEOPLE AREN’T THAT WELL INFORMED, AND THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOMEONE EAGER TO DEMAGOGUE THE ISSUE FOR VOTES.

 

(APPLAUSE)

STRASSEL: Senator Cruz. Senator Cruz, you have promised to deport illegal aliens. You have also promised to reverse President Obama’s executive action that gives temporary amnesty to illegals brought here by their parent as children. As president, you would have the names and addresses of the some 800,000 of those that have registered under that action. Now, you have said that in this country, we shouldn’t go door to door look for illegals, but in this case you would have a list. Would you use it?

CRUZ: Well, you know, your question highlights a sharp difference on immigration on this stage. You know, in a Republican primary, everyone talks tough on immigration. Everyone is against illegal immigration in a Republican primary. But as voters, we’ve been burned over and over again by people that give us a great campaign speech and they don’t walk the walk.

There are sharp differences on amnesty. If you look at the folks on this stage, when Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and establishment Republicans were leading the fight to pass a massive amnesty plan, I stood with Jeff Sessions and Steve King and the American people and led the fight to defeat that amnesty plan.

(APPLAUSE)

STRASSEL: So would you — would you use the addresses?

CRUZ: Now that moment…

STRASSEL: Would you pick them up?

CRUZ: That moment was what Reagan would call “a time for choosing.” When it comes to deciding which side of the line you’re on, the Rubio-Schumer amnesty plan…

(BOOING)

CRUZ: … apparently supported by the donor class, which is why Washington supported it. The Rubio-Schumer amnesty plan passed the Senate and it was on the verge of passing the House.

House leadership intended to take it up and pass it with the Democrats overruling most of the Republicans. And the question for anyone on illegal immigration is where were you in that fight? Where did you stand?

You are right. There is a difference between Senator Rubio and me on this question.

DID HE ANSWER THE QUESTION?  I DON’T THINK SO.

HE SHOULD HAVE JUST SANG THE “I’VE GOT A LITTLE LIST” SONG FROM THE MIKADO.

(CROSSTALK)

STRASSEL: Senator Rubio, your reply.

RUBIO: We’re going to have to do this again, OK? When that issue was being debated, Ted Cruz, at a committee hearing, very passionately said, I want immigration reform to pass, I want people to be able to come out of the shadows. And he proposed an amendment that would legalized people here.

Not only that, he proposed doubling the number of green cards. He proposed a 500 percent increase on guest workers. Now his position is different. Now he is a passionate opponent of all those things.

So he either wasn’t telling the truth then or he isn’t telling the truth now, but to argue he is a purist on immigration is just not true.

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: Major, I get a response to that.

GARRETT: Very quickly, Senator Cruz.

STRASSEL: All right. Senator Cruz. Your response, Senator Cruz.

CRUZ: You know, the lines are very, very clear. Marco right now supports citizenship for 12 million people here illegally. I oppose citizenship. Marco stood on the debate stage and said that.

But I would note not only that, Marco has a long record when it comes to amnesty. In the state of Florida, as speaker of the house, he supported in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. In addition to that, Marco went on Univision in Spanish and said he would not rescind President Obama’s illegal executive amnesty on his first day in office.

TRUE BUT MISLEADING- HE WOULD RESCIND THESE POLICIES EVENTUALLY.

I have promised to rescind every single illegal executive action, including that one.

(MIX OF APPLAUSE AND BOOING)

CRUZ: And on the question…

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: Well, first of all, I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn’t speak Spanish. And second of all, the other point that I would make…

CRUZ: (SPEAKING SPANISH).

I THINK RUBIO GOT CAUGHT WITH HIS PANTS DOWN ON THIS ONE.  I CAN’T BELIEVE THE PRESS ISN’T PLAYING THE VIDEO OVER AND OVER AGAIN OF THIS ONE.  BUT RUBIO, BARRING THE KIND OF TOTAL SCREWUP IN THE NEW HAMPSHIRE DEBATE, PRETTY MUCH IS THE SPOILED CHIL.D OF THE MEDIA.  BECAUSE BOTH LEFT AND RIGHT MEDIA ARE SO AFRAID OF TRUMP AND CRUZ, THEY LET HIM GET AWAY WITH A LOT.

RUBIO: Look, this is a disturbing pattern now, because for a number of weeks now, Ted Cruz has just been telling lies. He lied about Ben Carson in Iowa.

(APPLAUSE)

RUBIO: He lies about Planned Parenthood. He lies about marriage. He’s lying about all sorts of things. And now he makes things up. The bottom line is this is a campaign and people are watching it. And they see the truth behind all these issues.

I DON’T KNOW WHAT RUBIO IS TALKING ABOUT (EXCEPT FOR THE BEN CARSON THING).  RUBIO SOUNDS UNHINGED.  SO IF YOU WANT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT TRUMP BEING CRAZY…

And here is the truth, Ted Cruz supported legalizing people that were in this country…

CRUZ: That is simply…

(CROSSTALK)

RUBIO: … and only now does he say…

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: That is absolutely false. What he said is knowingly false. And I would note, if you want to assess — if you want to assess…

RUBIO: Well, we’ll put on our Web site, marcorubio.com. We’re going to…

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: … who is telling the truth…

(CROSSTALK)

CRUZ: If you want to assess who is telling the truth…

(APPLAUSE)

CRUZ: … then you should look to Jeff Sessions, who said, without Ted Cruz the Rubio-Schumer amnesty bill would have passed, and Ted was responsible. You should look to Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin that said…

EVEN WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT, IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE SORT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE HARD CORE OPPONENTS OF IMMIGRATION TEND TO BE PEOPLE WHO LIKE CRUZ BETTER.  CRUZ WINS THIS EXCHANGE IF ANYONE DOES.

(CROSSTALK)

GARRETT: Governor Bush, I want to bring this out to a little wider philosophical aspect, if you will.

BUSH: Thank you.

GARRETT: You have said illegal immigrants, quote, “broke the law but it’s not a felony,” still quoting you, “it’s an act of love, it’s an act of commitment to your family.”

Mr. Trump has, as you are well aware, denounced that statement over and over. Do you still believe it? What does that mean to you? And how does that inform your approach to immigration reform?

BUSH: Great question. I feel like I have to get into my inner Chris Christie, and point out that the reason why I should be president is listening to two senators talk about arcane amendments to bills that didn’t pass.

FOR ONCE, I AM IMPRESSED RATHER THAN DEPRESSED BY SOMETHING THAT JEB BUSH SAID IN THIS DEBATE.  WELL DONE!

(APPLAUSE)

BUSH: This is — this is the problem. We need a leader to fix this problem. And I have a detailed plan to do just that, including controlling the border, dealing with the visa over-stayers, making sure that we have a path to legal status, not to citizenship, for those that come out from the shadows and pay a fine, learn English, don’t commit crimes, work and pay taxes.

That is the better approach.

GARRETT: Fundamentally, do you believe this rhetoric is insufficiently compassionate to this issue?

BUSH: The great majority of people that come to this country come because they have no other choice. They want to come to provide for their families. That doesn’t mean it’s right. That doesn’t mean it’s right.

We should pick who comes to our country. We should control our border. Coming here legally should be a lot easier than coming here illegally. But the motivation, they’re not all rapists, as you-know- who said. They’re not that.

WELL DONE

These are people that are coming to provide for their families. And we should show a little more respect for the fact that they’re struggling. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be controlling the border. That’s exactly what we should be doing.

GARRETT: Mr. Trump…

TRUMP: Look…

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: … when I announced that I was running for president on June 16th, illegal immigration wasn’t even a subject. If I didn’t bring it up, we wouldn’t even be talking.

TRUMP: Now I don’t often agree with Marco, and I don’t often agree with Ted, but I can in this case. The weakest person on this stage by far on illegal immigration is Jeb Bush. They come out of an act of love, whether you like it or not. He is so weak on illegal immigration it’s laughable, and everybody knows it.

BUSH: … So, you know…

(BELL RINGING)

BUSH: … This is the standard operating procedure, to disparage me. That’s fine…

WHINE, WHINE WHINE

TRUMP: … Spend a little more money on the commercials…

BUSH: … But, if you want to talk about weakness, you want to talk about weakness? It’s weak to disparage women.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: (INAUDIBLE). I don’t know what you’re talking about.

BUSH: It’s weak to denigrate the disabled. And, it’s really weak to call John McCain a loser because he was a…

TRUMP: … I never called him — I don’t call him..

BUSH: … That is outrageous. The guys an American hero.

GOOD HIT

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: He also said about language…

BUSH: … The simple fact is I’ve also laid out my plans on (INAUDIBLE) immigration…

TRUMP: … Language. Two days ago he said he would take his pants off and moon everybody, and that’s fine. Nobody reports that. He gets up and says that, and then he tells me, oh, my language was a little bit rough…

STRASSEL: … OK…

TRUMP: … My language. Give me a break…

GARRET: … Governor Kasich, here in South Carolina earlier this week you said the idea, the concept of deporting 11 million undocumented workers…

BUSH: (INAUDIBLE) Just, for the record (INAUDIBLE) make sure my mother’s listening, if she’s watching the debate. I didn’t say that I was going to moon somebody…

TRUMP: … You did say it, You did say it. Been reported in 10 different news…

GARRET: … We will leave the moon metaphors to be adjudicated later, I assure you. Governor Kasich, you said earlier this week in South Carolina, the concept, the idea of deporting 11 million undocumented workers in this country is nuts. Why is it you are so opposed to that idea? Senator Cruz has said it’s a simple application of existing law. The application of that is not inhumane, it is just. Why do you disagree?

KASICH: Before I get to that, this is the ninth or tenth debate. What I’ve been watching here, this back and forth, and these attacks, some of them are personal. I think we’re fixing to lose the election to Hillary Clinton if we don’t stop this.

(APPLAUSE)

KASICH: I mean, the fact is — you know what? I would suggest why don’t we take off all the negative ads, and all the negative comments down from television and let us just talk about what we’re for, and let’s sell that, and the Republican party will be stronger as a result…

GARRET: …What are you for on immigration?

KASICH: … (OFF MIKE) (INAUDIBLE) First of all, I’m for sealing the border, OK? And, then I’m for a guest worker program. People can come in, work, and go back home. We haven’t closed the border because special interests, I believe, blocked it. Then, we have 11 and a half million people here. If they have not committed a crime since they’ve been here, make them pay a fine, and some back taxes, and give them a path to legalization, never to citizenship.

SO WE HAVE A SEMI=SLAVE CLASS OF PEOPLE WHO CAN LIVE HERE FOREVER BUT NEVER VOTE?  THAT DOESN’T SOUND GOOD TO ME- IT SEEMS TO ME THAT IN THE LONG RUN PEOPLE SHOULD BE EITHER CITIZENS OR DEPORTED.  (THOUGH IN FAIRNESS, I REALIZE THAT THERE ARE GOOD REASONS WHY WE CAN’T DO EITHER ONE FOR 11 MILLION PEOPLE RIGHT NOW).

It is not going to happen that we’re going to run around and try to drag 11 and a half million people out of their homes.

I’ll tell you this. Within the first hundred days I will send a plan like this to the congress of the United States, and if I’m president, I’ll bet you dollar to donuts right now, it will pass.

ABOUT AS LIKELY AS BASHAR ASSAD BEING THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE.  IMMIGRATION IS A HARD ISSUE POLITICALLY- THAT’S WHY NOTHING PASSES.

(BELL RINGING)

That is a reasonable proposal that the people of this country, in my judgement, will support, and so will the bulk of the congress of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

STRASSEL: Moving subjects. Dr. Carson, this week Morgan Stanley agreed to pay a $3.2 billion dollar fine to state and federal authorities for contributing to the mortgage crisis. You have a lot of Democrats out saying that we should be jailing more executives, so two questions.

Should financial executives be held legally responsible for financial crisis, and do you think fines like these are an effective way to deter companies from future behavior like that?

CARSON: Well, first of all, please go to my website, Bencarson.com and read my immigration policy, OK? Because it actually makes sense.

Now, the — as far as these fines are concerned, you know? Here’s the big problem. We’ve got all these government regulators, and all they’re doing is running around looking for people to fine. And, we’ve got 645 different federal agencies, and sub-agencies. Way, way too many, and they don’t have anything else to do.

I think what we really need to do is start trimming the regulatory agencies rather than going after the people who are trying to increase the viability, economic viability of our society. Now, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some people out there who are doing bad things. But, I’m not sure that the way to solve that problem is by increasing all the regulatory burden. You know, when you consider how much regulations cost us each year, you know? $2 trillion dollars per family, $24,000 per family, that happens to be the same level as the poverty level…

SO THE PEOPLE WHO  BANKRUPTED WALL STREET AND FORECLOSED ON MILLIONS OF HOMES WERE TRYING TO INCREASE THE VIABILITY OF OUR SOCIETY? THEY SURE WEREN’T GOOD AT IT.  THIS SORT OF REMARK REMINDS ME HOW IGNORANT CARSON IS.  ON THE OTHER HAND, ARE THE OTHER GUYS ALL THAT MUCH BETTER?

(BELL RINGING)

CARSON: … For a family of four. If you want to get rid of poverty, get rid of all the regulations.

DICKERSON: Senator Cruz, I have a question for you. Speaker Paul Ryan has made a big commitment to trying to lift the 50 million poor out of poverty. Arthur Brooks, who is the president of the American Enterprise Institute, says, quote, “If we are not warriors for the poor every day, free enterprise has no matter.” How you have been in your campaign a warrior for the poor?

CRUZ: I think it is a very important question because the people who have been hurt the most in the Obama economy had been the most vulnerable. It’s been young people. It’s been Hispanics. It’s been African-Americans. It’s been single moms. We have the lowest percentage of Americans working today in any year since 1977.

And the sad reality is big government, massive taxes, massive regulation, doesn’t work. What we need to do instead is bring back booming economic growth, let — small businesses are the heart of the economy. Two-thirds of all new jobs come from small businesses. If we want to lift people out of poverty — you know, I think of these issues from the perspective of my dad.

My dad fled Cuba in 1957. He was just 18. He couldn’t speak English. He had nothing. He had $100 in his underwear. And he washed dishes making 50 cents an hour and paid his way through school. Today, my dad is a pastor. He travels the country preaching the gospel.

Now, I think about all of these issues. How would it impact my dad when he was washing dishes? If we had Obamacare in place right now, the odds are very high my father would have been laid off because it’s teenaged kids like my dad who have gotten laid off. If he didn’t get laid off, the odds are high he would have had his hours forcibly reduced to 28, 29 hours a week.

We need to lift the burdens on small businesses so you have jobs and we need welfare reform that gets people off of welfare and back to work.

GARRETT: Mr. Trump — Mr. Trump.

(APPLAUSE)

I was with you in Pendleton, South Carolina earlier this week at the Rodeo Arena. It was a bit chilly there. You promised the crowd and they rose to their feet that if Ford or a company like were to move a factory to Mexico, you would try to stop it or threaten them with a 35 percent tax or tariff on every car sold. TRUMP: Or a tax.

GARRETT: Right. So my question is, based on your understanding of the presidency, where do you derive that power? Would you need the consent of Congress to go along? And do you see the presidency as a perch from which you can cajole and/or threaten private industry to do something you think is better for the U.S. economy?

TRUMP: I would build consensus with Congress and Congress would agree with me. I’ll give you an example because I don’t like the idea of using executive orders like our president. It is a disaster what he’s doing. I would build consensus, but consensus means you have to work hard. You have to cajole. You have to get them into the Oval Office and get them all together, and you have to make deals.

Let me just tell you, I mentioned before, China — big Chinese company bought the Chicago Exchange. Kerry is moving — and if you saw the people, because they have a video of the announcement that Carrier is moving to Mexico, OK?

Well, I’ll tell you what. I would go right now to Carrier and I would say I am going to work awfully hard. You’re going to make air conditioners now in Mexico. You’re going to get all of these 1400 people that are being laid off — they’re laid off. They were crying. They were — it was a very sad situation. You’re going to go to Mexico. You’re going to make air conditioners in Mexico, you’re going to put them across our border with no tax.

I’m going to tell them right now, I am going to get consensus from Congress and we’re going to tax you when those air conditioners come. So stay where you are or build in the United States because we are killing ourselves with trade pacts that are no good for us and no good for our workers.

A BIT NAÏVE- SOMETIMES YOU CAN’T GET PEOPLE TO AGREE, AS I THINK THE CURRENT PRESIDENT HAS DISCOVERED. BUT STILL I LIKE TRUMP’S INSTINCTS AND WONDER IF THEY COULD SURVIVE A MONTH OR TWO IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Alright. Mr. Trump, thank you so much. We’re going to take a break for a moment. We’ll be back in a moment with the CBS News Republican debate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: We’re back now from Greenville, South Carolina with the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

Mr. Trump, I have a question for you. Presidents have to, on the one hand, be firm, but also be flexible.

You have been flexible and changed your opinion on a number of things from abortion to Hillary Clinton. But you have said, rightly, that it’s just like Ronald Reagan, who changed his mind on things.

But at the same time, you’re criticizing Senator Cruz for what you say is a change on immigration. He disputes that, of course.

So, why is your change of opinion make you like Reagan, and when he changes his opinion, it’s a huge character flaw?

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: John, in life you have flexibility. You do have flexibility. When you’re fighting wars, you’re going one way, you have a plan. It’s a beautiful plan. It can’t lose. The enemy makes a change, and all of a sudden you have to change.

You have to have flexibility. In Ronald Reagan, though, in terms of what we’re talking about, was the great example. He was a somewhat liberal Democrat who became a somewhat, pretty strong conservative. He became — most importantly he became a great president. He made many of the changes that I’ve made — I mean, I’ve seen as a grew up, I’ve seen, and as I get older and wiser, and I feel that I am a conservative.

Now, I also feel I’m a common-sense conservative, because some of the views I don’t agree with. And I think a lot of people agree with me, obviously, based on what’s happening.

DICKERSON: Which conservative idea don’t you agree with?

TRUMP: Well, I think these people always hit me with eminent domain, and frankly, I’m not in love with eminent domain. But eminent domain is something you need very strongly.

When Jeb had said, “You used eminent domain privately for a parking lot.” It wasn’t for a parking lot. The state of New Jersey — too bad Chris Christie is not here, he could tell you — the state of New Jersey went to build a very large tower that was going to employ thousands of people.

I mean, it was going to really do a big job in terms of economic development. Now, just so you understand, I got hit very hard. It’s private, it’s private eminent domain. You understand that they took over a stadium in Texas, and they used private eminent domain, but he just found that out after he made the charge.

I FEEL LIKE THERE NEEDS TO BE A TRUMP/ENGLISH GLOSSARY FOR THE PAST COUPLE OF SENTENCES

DICKERSON: All right. Governor Bush, I think by “they,” he is referring to your brother, these on the hook for your brother.

TRUMP: Yeah. Well, Jeb, wouldn’t have known about it.

BUSH: So, there — so, there is all sorts of intrigue about where I disagree with my brother, there would be one right there. You should not use eminent domain for private purposes.

A baseball stadium or a parking lot for a limo…

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: You shouldn’t have used it then, Jeb.

DICKERSON: But that was his brother.

BUSH: It’s very different. Transmission lines, pipe lines, bridges, and highways. All of that is proper use of imminent domain. Not to take an elderly woman’s’ home to build a parking lot so that high-rollers can come from New York City to build casinos in Atlantic City.

STRASSEL: Senator Cruz, you were mentioned in the mix here, your response?

CRUZ: You know flexibility is a good thing but it shouldn’t – you shouldn’t be flexible on core principles. I like Donald, he is an amazing entertainer but his policies for most of his life…

TRUMP: Thank you very much, I appreciate it.

CRUZ: For most of his life his policies have been very very liberal. For most of his life, he has described himself as very pro- choice and as a supporter of partial birth abortion. Right now today as a candidate, he supports federal tax payer funding for Planned Parenthood. I disagree with him on that.

That’s a matter of principle and I’ll tell you…

TRUMP: You probably are worse than Jeb Bush. You are single biggest liar.This guys lied – let me just tell you, this guy lied about Ben Carson when he took votes away from Ben Carson in Iowa and he just continues. Today, we had robo-calls saying. “Donald Trump is not going to run in South Carolina,” — where I’m leading by a lot.”

MORE ICKY BRIDGE BURNING RHETORIC.  MY SENSE IS THAT TRUMP IS MORE SIMILAR TO CRUZ THAN ANYONE ELSE, AND IT DOESN’T DO EITHER MUCH GOOD TO ATTACK THE OTHER.

I’m not going to vote for Ted Cruz. This is the same thing he did to Ben Carson. This guy will say anything, nasty guy. Now I know why he doesn’t have one endorsement from any of his colleagues.

CRUZ: Don, I need to go on…

TRUMP: He’s a nasty guy.

CRUZ: I will say, it is fairly remarkable to see Donald defending Ben after he called, “pathological,” and compared him to a child molester. Both of which were offensive and wrong.

But let me say this – you notice Donald didn’t disagree with the substance that he supports taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. And Donald has this weird pattern, when you point to his own record he screams, “liar, liar, liar.” You want to go…

TRUMP: Where did I support it? Where did I…

CRUZ: You want to go…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Again, where did I support it?

CRUZ: If you want to watch the video, go to our website at Tedcruz.org.

TRUMP: Hey Ted, where I support it?

CRUZ: You can see it out of Donald’s own mouth.

TRUMP: Where did I support?

CRUZ: You supported it when we were battling over defunding Planned Parenthood. You went on…

TRUMP: That’s a lot of lies.

CRUZ: You said, “Planned Parenthood does wonderful things and we should not defund it.”

TRUMP: It does do wonderful things but not as it relates to abortion.

CRUZ: So I’ll tell you what…

TRUMP: Excuse me. Excuse me, there are wonderful things having to do with women’s health.

CRUZ: You see you and I…

TRUMP: But not when it comes to abortion.

CRUZ: Don, the reasoned principle matters. The reasoned principle matters sadly was illustrated by the first questions today. The next president is going to appoint, one, two, three, four Supreme Court Justices.

If Donald Trump is president, he will appoint liberals. If Donald Trump is president, your Second Amendment will gone…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Hold on…

CRUZL You know how I know that?

DICKERSON: Hold on gentleman, I’m going to turn this car around.

TRUMP: Ted Cruz told your brother that he wanted John Roberts to be on the United States Supreme Court. They both pushed him, he twice approved Obamacare.

DICKERSON: All right gentlemen.

BUSH: My name was mentioned twice.

DICKERSON: Well hold on. We’re going to — gentleman, we’re in danger of driving this into the dirt.

DICKERSON: Senator Rubio, I’d like you to jump in here…

BUSH: He called me a liar.

DICKERSON: I understand, you’re on deck governor.

BUSH: Also, he talked about one of my heroes, Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan, was a liberal maybe in the 1950’s. He was a conservative reformed governor for eight years before he became president and no one should suggest he made an evolution for political purposes. He was a conservative and he didn’t tear down people like Donald Trump is. He tore down the Berlin Wall.

TRUMP: OK, governor.

BUSH: He was a great guy..

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Senator Cruz, 30 seconds on this one.

CRUZ: I did not nominate John Roberts. I would not have nominated John Roberts.

TRUMP: You pushed him. You pushed him.

CRUZ: I supported…

TRUMP: You worked with him and you pushed him. Why do you lie?

CRUZ: You need to learn to not interrupt people.

TRUMP: Why do you lie?

CRUZ: Donald, adults learn…

TRUMP: You pushed him.

CRUZ: Adults learn not to interrupt people.

TRUMP: Yeah, yeah, I know, you’re an adult.

TRUMP REALLY HAS SOME ANGER MANAGEMENT ISSUES HERE.

CRUZ: I did not nominate him. I would not have nominated him. I would’ve nominated my former boss Liberman (ph) who was Justice Scalia’s first law clerk. And you know how I know that Donald’s Supreme Court Justices will be liberals? Because his entire life he support liberals from Jimmy Carter, to Hillary Clinton, to John Kerry.

In 2004, he contributed to John Kerry. Nobody who cares about judges would contribute to John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Harry Reid.

DICKERSON: We’re going to switch…

CRUZ: That’s what Donald Trump does.

DICKERSON: We’re going to switch here to Senator Marco Rubio.

Senator Marco Rubio, please weigh in.

RUBIO: On anything I want?

DICKERSON: I thought you had a point?

RUBIO: Well, let me talk about poverty.

DICKERSON: I thought you had a point you wanted to make.

RUBIO: I do.

BUSH: That was me.

RUBIO: I had something important.

DICKERSON: You’re on deck sir.

RUBIO: The issue of poverty is critical, because for me, poverty is the — is — is free enterprise not reaching people. Today, we have antipoverty programs that don’t cure poverty. We don’t cure poverty in America. Our anti-poverty programs have become, in some instances, a way of life, a lifestyle.

Now, we do need anti-poverty programs, you can’t have free enterprise programs without them, but not as a way of life. And so I have a very specific proposal on this and I don’t — in 60 seconds, I can’t describe it all, but it basically turns the program over to states. It allows states to design innovative programs that cure poverty, because I think Nikki Haley will do a better job curing poverty than Barack Obama.

WHAT, MORE BLOCK GRANTS?  RUBIO TRYING TO SOUND REASONABLE, BUT IT JUST SOUNDS INCOHERENT HERE.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Senator, I wanted to ask you, just going back to immigration, in the last debate, you listed your series of accomplishments in the Senate. One thing you left off was — was immigration reform. Is it the case that in your list of accomplishments you can’t mention that?

RUBIO: Well, no. It’s not the case. It didn’t pass and we haven’t solved immigration in this country. It’s still a problem. It is worse today than it was three years ago, which is worse than it was five years ago. And it has to be confronted and solved.

But the only way forward on this issue — you asked a question about flexibility. Let me tell you about that. One of the things that you need in leadership is the ability to understand that to get things done, you must figure out the way to get it done. You will not pass comprehensive immigration reform. People do not trust the federal government.

They want to see the law being enforced. They want to see illegal immigration come under control. They want to see that wall. They want to see e-verify. They want to see all of these things working and then they will have a conversation with you about what do you do with people that have been here a long time that are otherwise, you know, not criminals. But they’re not going to do it until you first enforce the law.

DICKERSON: Dr. Carson, I have…

(APPLAUSE)

Dr. Carson, I have a question for you. Candidates are…

CARSON: Before you ask the question, can I respond to the — you know, they mentioned my name a couple of times.

DICKERSON: Alright. You have 30 seconds, Doctor.

CARSON: Alright. Well, first of all, you know, so many people have said to me, “You need to scream and jump and down — jump up and down like everybody else.” Is that really what you want? What we just saw? I don’t think so.

And you know, I — when I got into this race, I decided to look under the hood of the engine of what runs Washington, D.C., and my first inclination was to run away, but I didn’t do it because I’m thinking about our children and fact that we are the United States of America. And anybody up here is going to be much better than what’s going to come on the other side. And what happened tonight with — with Justice Scalia tells you that we cannot afford to lose this election and we cannot be tearing each other down.

GOOD, DESERVES THE APPLAUSE HE GOT.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Dr. Carson, I — let me ask you a different question. When you were — you were the first one, really, to talk about political correctness. Everybody now talks about it, but that was really what sparked your — your rise. Politicians are often accused of glossing over any hard choices people have to make, just always selling happy, nice things. So in the — in the spirit of saying something that might be politically incorrect, tell the voters something that they need to hear but that might be politically incorrect?

CARSON: Well, first of all, I’m not a politician, so I’m never going to become a politician. But here’s what — here’s what people need to know. People need to know that free college is not — it’s a non-starter. You know, you have to look at our economic situation. We’re on the verge of economic collapse and, you know, we’re — it’s not just the $19 trillion, but it’s also the $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

What we need to think about is what does that do to the average person? When we have a debt of that nature, it causes the Fed to change their policy, it causes the central bank to keep the — the rates low, and who does does that affect? Mr. Average, who used to go to the bank every Friday and put part of his check in the bank and watch it grow over three decades and be able to retire with a nice nest egg, that’s gone. That part of the American dream is gone.

All of these things are disappearing, and Bernie Sanders and people like Hillary Clinton blame it on the rich. They say those evil rich people, if we take their money we can solve the problem. It’s not the evil rich people. It’s the irresponsible evil government.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Governor Kasich. Governor Kasich, you’ve been described as the Democrats’ favorite Republican. You talked about in New Hampshire, Democrats would come up to you and say, “I hope you win.” Why will that help you win a Republican nomination?

KASICH: You know, John, I think all people are the same. Look, I did 106 town halls and I’ve been doing them left and right here in South Carolina. The first thing we have to do is grow the economy, and I know the formula because I was chairman in Washington when we balanced the budget and created so many jobs, and the same that we’ve been able to do in Ohio.

KASICH: You need common sense regulations so small business can flourish, you need lower taxes both on business and individuals, and you need a fiscal plan to be able to get ourselves in a situation where people can predict a little bit about the future when it comes to the fiscal issues.

And when you have that formula, combined with workforce that’s trained, you can explode the economy and create many jobs. I have done it twice, and I want to go back to Washington and do it again.

John, the thing is, is I think that there are people now, these blue-collar Democrats — my dad was a blue-collar Democrat — the Democratic party has left them. When they’re arguing about being socialists, they’ve left — they have lost those blue-collar Democrats.

And you know what I think they get out of me — is my sense of what they get out of me, and it’s embarrassment about campaigns, you brag about yourself.

But I think I’m a uniter, I think people sense it. I think they know I have the experience, and that I’m a man that can give people hope and a sense that they have the opportunity rise. And I’ll tell you, I love these blue-collar Democrats, because they’re going to vote for us come next fall, promise you that.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Mr. Trump, let me ask you a question. Presidents in both parties say that the one thing you need in your administration is somebody who can tell you you’re wrong.

You don’t necessarily seem like somebody who has somebody who tells you you’re wrong a lot. Can you tell us of an instance where somebody has said, “Donald Trump, you’re wrong,” and you listened to them?

TRUMP: Well, I would say my wife tells me I’m wrong all the time. And I listen.

THIS STATEMENT WOULD BE MORE IMPRESSIVE IF HE WASN’T ON HIS THIRD WIFE.  AND FROM WHAT I KNOW OF HER SHE DOESN’T SOUND ALL THAT HELPFUL. (THOUGH MY IMPRESSION IS THAT HIS DAUGHTER IS PRETTY STRONG).

(LAUGHTER)

DICKERSON: About what?

TRUMP: Oh, let me just say — look, I am very open — I hired top people. I’ve had great success. I built a great, great company. I don’t need to do this. I’m self-funding. I’m spending a lot of money. I’ve spent — like in New Hampshire, I spent $3 million. Jeb bush spent $44 million. He came in five, and I came in No. 1.

That’s what the country needs, folks. I spent $3, he spends 42 of their money, of special interest money. And it’s just — this is not going to make — excuse me. This is not going to make our country great again.

This is not what we need in our country. We need people that know what the hell they’re doing. And politicians, they’re all talk, they’re no action. And that’s why people are supporting me.

I do listen to people. I hire experts. I hire top, top people. And I do listen. And you know what? Sometimes they’re wrong. You have to know what to do, when to do it. But sometimes they’re wrong.

EXPERTS? HIRED BY TRUMP? NAME ONE!

DICKERSON: Let me — something, in talking to voters that they wish somebody would tell you to cut it out is the profanity. What’s your reaction to that?

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Well, I’ll tell you — over the years, I’ve made many speeches. People have asked me, big companies have asked me to make speeches, and friends of mine that run big companies on success.

And occasion, in order to sort of really highlight something, I’ll use a profanity. One of the profanities that I got credited with using, that I didn’t use, was a very bad word, two weeks ago, that I never used.

I said, “You.” And everybody said “Oh, he didn’t say anything wrong.” But you bleeped it, so everyone thinks I said the — I didn’t say anything. I never said the word.

It is very unfair, that criticism. Now, I will say this, with all of that being said, I have said I will not do it at all, because if I say a word that’s a little bit off color, a little bit, it ends up being a headline.

I will not do it again. I was a very good student at a great school not using — by the way — not using profanity is very easy.

DICKERSON: All right. OK. Governor Bush, I’d like to ask you…

BUSH: Yeah, well, I have got to respond to this.

DICKERSON: Well, can I — how about you respond, and then you can answer the question I’m about to ask you.

BUSH: Sounds like a good plan.

DICKERSON: It’ll be…

BUSH: Or you could ask me two questions, so I could get two minutes instead of one.

DICKERSON: If we adjudicate this, the night will be over.

Governor, in 2012, you said that your father and Ronald Reagan would have a hard time in today’s Republican Party, based on their records of trying to find accommodation and finding some degree of common ground.

Do you still feel that way?

BUSH: I think the dysfunction in Washington is really dangerous, that’s what I think. And we need a proven leader that has a record of solving problems, someone who doesn’t cut and run; someone who could be a commander-in-chief to unite our country around common purposes; someone who doesn’t disparage people.

I JUST WISH BUSH COULD APPLY THIS ATTITUDE TOWARDS FOREIGNERS AS HE DOES TOWARDS AMERICANS.  I THINK HE’D ACTUALLY BE AN OK DOMESTIC PRESIDENT; I JUST DON’T TRUST HIM AS COMMANDER IN CHIEF.

Someone that doesn’t brag, for example, that he has been bankrupt four times and it was great, because he could use the legal system.

Someone…

TRUMP: That’s not — let me respond. That’s another lie. I never went bankrupt!

NOT PERSONALLY, SO HE’S SORT OF RIGHT.  JUST A FEW OF HIS MANY COMPANIES.

(CROSSTALK)

DICKERSON: Hold on, Mr. Trump.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: No, but it’s another lie.

DICKERSON: Hold on, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: No, but it’s another lie. This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Just a lie.

BUSH: We need someone with a proven record to be able to forge consensus to solve problems.

And right now, both Republicans and Democrats in Washington don’t get it.People are struggling — 63 percent of Americans can’t make a $500 car payment. Most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. And we need someone has a proven record of growing the economy, reforming the things that are broken.

And I’m that person.

DICKERSON: OK, Mr. Trump, your response.

(APPLAUSE)

TRUMP: Let me just tell you. Jeb goes around saying, just like the biggest business leaders in this country, I’ve used the laws of the land to chapter — I bought a company, I threw it immediately into a chapter, I made a great deal. I uses the laws to my benefit, because I run a company.

BUSH: Yeah…

TRUMP: Excuse me, Jeb!

BUSH: Yeah.

TRUMP: I never went bankrupt, never.

Now — but you don’t want to say that. Now, let me just say, I’ve used it, just like the biggest leaders in the country. Let me tell you something — Florida.

TRUMP: Florida, he put so much debt on Florida. You know, we keep saying he’s a wonderful governor, wonderful governor. He put so much debt on Florida, and he increased spending so much that as soon as he got out of office, Florida crashed.

I happened to be there. It’s my second home. Florida crashed. He didn’t do a good job as governor.

BUSH: Here we go.

TRUMP: And you haven’t — excuse me, you haven’t heard that. You listen to the good record in Florida. You take a look at what happened, as soon as that year ended he got out, Florida crashed. Too much debt.

He loaded it up with debt, and his spending went through the roof.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: By the way…

DICKERSON: The bells are ringing, sir.

TRUMP: … he was not a good governor.

BUSH: Here’s the record. Here’s the record. We led the nation in job growth seven out of eight years. When I left there was $9 billion of reserves, 35 percent of general revenue. No state came close to that.

TRUMP: Take a look at your numbers.

BUSH: When I — during my time, we were one of the two states to go to AAA bond rating.

BUSH’S BEST ARGUMENT, AND ONE REASON WHY I THINK HE’D PROBABLY BE BETTER THAN MOST OF THIS GROUP AT DAY TO DAY DOMESTIC GOVERNMENT. We didn’t go bankrupt like Trump did and call it success when people are laid off, when vendors don’t get paid. That’s not success.

What we did was create an environment where people had a chance to have income. Personal income during my time went up by 4.4 percent.

TRUMP: Florida went down the tubes right after he got out of office.

BUSH: The government grew by… TRUMP: Went right down because of what he did to it.

BUSH: … half of that.

DICKERSON: All right. Thank you.

Senator Rubio, I want to ask you a 30-second question, no president can…

RUBIO: Thirty seconds.

DICKERSON: No — well, I’ll ask the question, you do what you want.

RUBIO: I speak fast.

(LAUGHTER)

DICKERSON: No president can know everything, right? So a smart leader knows how to ask questions. So if you could talk to any previous president, what’s the smart question you would ask about that job that you would want to know?

RUBIO: Well, I think one of the presidents — well, the president I grew up under was Ronald Reagan. And Reagan had a vision for America’s future. And if you think about what Ronald Reagan inherited, it’s not unlike what the next president is going to inherit.

This is the worst president we’ve had in 35 years, 35 years back would have made it Jimmy Carter. That’s what Ronald Reagan inherited. And I think the question you would ask is how did you inspire again the American people to believe in the future?

How did you — what did it take to ensure that the American people, despite all of the difficulties of the time — you know, you look back at that time, the American military was in decline. Our standing in the world was in decline. We had hostages being held in Iran. Our economy was in bad shape.

The American people were scared about the future. They were scared about what kind of country their children were going to live in and inherit. And yet somehow Ronald Reagan was able to instill in our nation and in our people a sense of optimism.

And he turned America around because of that vision and ultimately because of that leadership. I wish Ronald Reagan was still around. This country needs someone just like that.

And if our next president is even half the president Ronald Reagan was, America is going to be greater than it has ever been.

TO HIM ITS ALL ABOUT SALESMANSHIP, NOT SUBSTANCE. ICK.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: All right. That’s going to have to be it there, Senator Rubio. We have got to go to a break. We will be right back with the CBS News Republican Debate in Greenville, South Carolina.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DICKERSON: Time now for closing statements. You will each have one minute, and we’ll begin with Governor Kasich.

KASICH: Well, I want to thank the people of South Carolina. You’ve been fantastic. And look, what I want you to know is I’m going to send a lot of power, money and influence back to where we all live. But as I’ve traveled around South Carolina, I’ve noticed something. You know, it’s that people have a sense that you’re not going to wait on a president. You know, when I was a kid, we didn’t wait on presidents to come to that little blue-collar town and fix things.

You know, the Lord made all of us special. The Lord wants us to be connected. I believe we’re part of a very big mosaic. And I’ll send the power back. And whoever gets elected president here, hopefully will take care of the issue of jobs and wages and Social Security and the border.

But the spirit of the America rests in all of us. It’s in our guts. It’s taking care of our children. It’s taking care of the lady next door who just lost her husband. It’s fixing the schools where we live and telling kids to stay off drugs. You see, I think what the Lord wants is for to us engage, and in America, the spirit of America doesn’t come from the top down. The spirit of America rests in us. And I want to call on everyone in America to double down and realize that you were made special to heal this country and lift it for everyone.

FLATTERING THE AUDIENCE ALWAYS HELPS!

Thank you all very much. And I hope I can have your vote in South Carolina.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Dr. Carson — Dr. Carson, you’re next.

CARSON: This is the first generation not expected to do better than their parents. Some people say it’s the new normal, but there’s nothing normal about it in an exceptional American. I, like you, am a member of we, the people, and we know that our country is heading off the cliff.

Joseph Stalin said if you want to bring America down you, have to undermine three things: our spiritual life, our patriotism and our morality.

VERIFIABLY FALSE.  SNOPES.COM SAYS SO.   We, the people, can stop that decline, starting right here in South Carolina. If all the people who say, “I love Ben Carson and his policies, but he can’t win,” vote for me, not only can we win, but we can turn this thing around.

You know, we have this manipulation by the political class and by the media telling us who we’re supposed to pick and how we’re supposed to live. We, the people, are the only people who will determine that. And if you elect me as your next president, I promise you that you will get somebody who is accountable to everybody and beholden to no one. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Governor — Governor Bush.

BUSH: Thank you all very much. The next president is going to be confronted with an unforeseen challenge. That’s almost certain. It could be a pandemic, a major natural disaster or an attack on our country. The question for South Carolinians and Americans is you who do you want to have sitting behind the big desk in the Oval Office? Because that’s the question. It’s not the things we’re talking about today. It’s the great challenge that may happen.

GOOD

BUSH: I believe I will have a steady hand as Commander in Chief and President of the United States. I will unite this country around common purposes because I did it as governor of the state of Florida.

When I was governor, we had eight hurricanes and four tropical storms in 16 months. Our state was on it’s back. We recovered far faster than what people thought because we led.

We want to challenge rather than cutting and running. That’s what we need in Washington , D.C. We need someone with a servant’s heart that has a backbone that isn’t going to focus on polls and focus groups. The focus will be on the American people to keep them safe and secure.

EXCELLENT CLOSING STATEMENT- REALLY HITS BUSH’S STRENGTHS (AT LEAST AS I PERCEIVE THEM).   IF I COULD ONLY ELECT A SEPARATE PRESIDENT JUST FOR DOMESTIC POLICY, JEB BUSH WOULD BE A TEMPTING CHOICE.

I ask for your vote next Saturday.

(APPLAUSE)

GARRETT: Thank you governor.

STRASSEL: And now, Marco Rubio.

RUBIO: Thank you and thank you for watching tonight.

This is a difficult time in our country. Our economy’s flat, it’s not creating the jobs it once did and people struggle living paycheck to paycheck. Our culture’s in trouble. Wrong is considered right and right is considered wrong.

All the things that once held our families together are now under constant assault. And around the world, America’s reputation is in decline. Our allies don’t trust us, our adversaries don’t fear us, Iran captures our sailors and parades them before the world on video.

These are difficult times but 2016 can be a turning point. That’s why I’m running for president and that’s why I’m here today to ask you for your vote. If you elect me president, we are going to re- embrace free enterprise so that everyone can go as far as their talent and their work will take them.

We are going to be a country that says that, “life begins at conception and life is worthy of the protection of our laws.” We’re going to be a country that says. “that marriage is between one man and one woman.” We are going to be a country that says, “the constitution and the rights that it talks about do not come from our president, they come from our creator.” We are going to be loyal to our allies like Israel, not enemies like Iran. And we will rebuild the U.S. military so no one will there test it.

Vote for me. I will unify this party. I will grow it. We will win this election and we will make the 21st century a new American century.

HE CERTAINLY HITS ALL THE OBVIOUS REPUBLICAN NOTES- LIKE MONDALE IN ’84, HE APPEALS TO EVERY CONCIEVABLE REPUBLICAN INTEREST GROUP.

(APPLAUSE)

DICKERSON: Senator Cruz? Senator Cruz, your closing statement?

CRUZ: South Carolina, you have a critical choice to make. Our country literally hangs in the balance.

Do you want another Washington deal maker who will do business as usual, cut deals with the democrats, grow government, grow debt and give up our fundamental liberties? Or do you want a conservative, a proven conservative that will stand and fight with you each and every day?

Listen, repealing Obamacare is not going to be easy. Passing a simple flat tax that abolishes the IRS is not going to be easy but if we stand with the American people we can do it.

And today, we saw just how great the stakes are, two branches of government hang in the balance. Not just the presidency but the Supreme Court. If we get this wrong, if we nominate the wrong candidates, the Second Amendment, life, marriage, religious, liberty – everyone of those hangs in the balance.

My little girls are here. I don’t want to look my daughters in the eyes and say, “we lost their liberties.” Who do you know will defend The Constitution and Bill of Rights? And as a Commander in Chief, who do you know will stand up to our enemies as the clam, steady, deliberate, strength to defeat our enemies, to secure our borders and to keep America safe.

A BIT OVERDRAMATIC.

DICKERSON: Mr. Trump, your closing statements?

TRUMP: Thank you.

Politicians are all talk, no action. You’ve seen where they’ve take you to. We are 19 trillion dollars right now. It’s going to be increased with that horrible budget from a month ago that was just approved by politicians.

We need a change. We need a very big change. We’re going to make our country great again.

I say this every night, every day, every afternoon and it’s so true – we don’t win anymore. We don’t win with healthcare, we don’t win with ISIS and the military, we don’t take care of our vets, we don’t care of our borders, we don’t win. We are going to start winning again. We are not going to be controlled by people that are special interests and lobbyists that everybody here has contributed to. And you know what, they do exactly what those folks want them to do.

We are going to make our country great and we’re going to do the right thing. I’m working for you. I’m not working for anybody else.

BLAH BLAH BLAH.