Republican Debate 2015: 10 Highlights From The Explosive Debate

The latest US Republican debate, which was hosted by CNBC, saw sparks flying as candidates threw shots at each other, whereas others managed to smoothly rebuff verbal attacks sent to them.

Viewers of the debate were treated with a spirited exchange amongst the candidates; passionate words were exchanged not only within the circle of White House aspirants, but also towards the CNBC moderators as well.

In case you missed the verbal exchanges, we’ve come up with a rundown of highlights on the debate and its participants so that you can be up-to-date in time for the next debate:

1. Ben Carson

Carson, having no political experience, was under attack from the very beginning. While he was quiet for most of the debate, when he did speak, it was often under defensive covers. A retired surgeon, Carson is one of the poll front-runners who is quickly gaining on fellow political outsider, Donald Trump.

Carson’s tax proposal — a “proportional tax system” based on tithing, in which people would pay the same percentage — was slammed by CNBC while receiving heat from the governor of Ohio, John Kasich.

“This is the fantasy that I talked about in the beginning,” said Kasich of Carson’s tax ideas. “These plans would put us trillions and trillions of dollars in debt.”

2. Jeb Bush

With the current state of his struggling campaign, Bush needed a boost in order to re-establish himself at the front of the field. The former Florida governor missed his chance when, after CNBC moderators pointed out Marco Rubio’s missed votes, he pounced on his self-proclaimed protege.

It was a sting for Bush and Rubio who have been friends for years. “Marco, when you signed up for this, this was a six-year term, and you should be showing up to work,” Bush said. “I mean, literally the Senate, what is it, like a French work week? You get like three days where you have to show up?”

Rubio brushed off the jab, simply responding, “Someone has convinced you that attacking me is going to help you. It’s not.”

3. Chris Christie

One of the more vocals ones of the political argument, the New Jersey governor showed everyone he could hold his own at a debate, managing to consistently interject himself and establish his relevance at the occasion.

Christie discussed GOP values such as crime and the development of alternative energy — particularly solar. Furthermore, he was one of several who lashed out CNBC for their irrelevant interrogations and aggressive prodding.

“Do you want to answer, or do you want me to answer?” he retorted at CNBC. “Even in New Jersey what you are doing is called rude.”

Christie further slammed Bush, who rambled on about the fantasy sports industry.

“We have $19 trillion in debt, we have people out of work, we have ISIS and Al Qaeda attacking us, and we’re talking about football?” said Christie.

4. Donald Trump

Say what you want about the billionaire, but Trump’s performance at the debate was commendable as he refrained from personal attacks on other candidates, unlike his previous debate performances in the past.

CNBC moderator John Harwood asked whether Trump’s candidacy was “a comic book version of a presidential campaign,” to which Trump denied this accusation, and instead said that the inquisition was “not a very nicely asked” one. Instead of going on the offense, Trump opted to point out the benefits of his economic plan instead.

5. John Kasich

“Folks, we gotta wake up. We cannot elect someone who doesn’t know how to do the job.”

Ohio governor John Kasich opened his exchange with a subtle attack on Trump, causing the billionaire TV celebrity to bite back with Kasich’s tanking poll numbers.

“My great concern is that we are on the verge of perhaps picking someone who cannot do this job,” said Kasich, targeting not only Trump, but Carson as well for his non-political background.

“He was such a nice guy,” said Trump in his retort towards Kasich’s remark. “And he said, ‘Oh, I’m never going to attack.’ But then his poll numbers tanked… that is why he is on the end [of the debate stage] — and he got nasty.”

6. Ted Cruz

It was the junior US senator from Texas who set the mood for the debate, immediately cornering CNBC and the media for their line of questioning.

“The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” he declared, earning himself cheers of approval from the audience.

“This is not a cage match,” he continued. “And you look at the questions: ‘Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?’ How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?”

Cruz’s performance was strong, maintaining his persona as a candidate without utilizing personal attacks against his fellow competitors while still managing to flame the common enemy that night: the mainstream media.

7. Carly Fiorina

Formerly the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina has been marketing herself as the Republican to match Democratic contender Hillary Clinton. During the debate, Fiorina took a hostile turn when she was accused of getting her facts wrong at a previous debate in which she stated, “92% of the jobs lost during Barack Obama’s first term belonged to women.”

When pointed out that fact checkers at Washington Post had previously deemed this data inaccurate during Mitt Romney’s run in 2012, Fiorina responded, “Well, first of all, it’s The Washington Post that said I wasn’t a secretary. So from my point of view, they have no credibility, honestly.”

The Washington Post did not actually state Fiorina was not a secretary.

Later on, Fiorina cautioned Clinton in her closing statement, indicating that she was someone to look out for.

“What we need now is a proven leader who has produced results,” Fiorina said. “That’s how you go from secretary to CEO: you lead and you produce results. I may not be your dream candidate just yet, but I can assure you: I am Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare.”

8. Mike Huckabee

At the GOP presidential debate, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee addressed America’s health care crisis, saying, “We don’t have a health care crisis in America, we have a health crisis.”

He added, “And until we deal with the health of Americans and do what we did with polio — when I was a little kid, we eradicated it. You know how much money we spent on polio last year in America? We didn’t spend any. We’ve saved billions of dollars.”

Additionally, Huckabee began praising his competitor, Trump, seemingly out of nowhere.

“I love Donald Trump, he is a good man,” he said. “I’m wearing a Trump tie tonight… Let me tell you, Donald Trump would be a better president every day of the week and twice on Sunday, rather than Hillary.”

9. Rand Paul

Representing Kentucky, the senator and physician gave a so-called “filibuster” against the budget deal, only for his pitch to end less than twenty minutes later. Paul’s campaign has excessively hyped this pitch, and the debate with CNBC was not spared.

“I will stand firm. I will spend every ounce of energy to stop [the deal],” Paul said. “I will begin tomorrow to filibuster it. And I ask everyone in America to call Congress tomorrow and say enough is enough: no more debt.”

10. Marco Rubio

Rubio was arguably the star of the night, having easily rebuffed attacks and smoothly transitioning towards his own topic for discussion. When slammed by his mentor, Bush, Rubio upstaged him, saying, “I’m not running against Governor Bush, I’m not running against anyone on this stage. I’m running for president.”

Moreover, the Florida senator touched upon his humble beginnings when questioned about his financial management.

“I didn’t inherit any money — my dad was a bartender and my mother was a maid,” he said. “I’m not worried about my finances; I’m worried about the finances of everyday Americans who today are struggling in an economy that is not producing good-paying jobs.”

He also made hits at the Republican establishment, as well as Democrats and the media.

“The Democrats have the ultimate super PACs: they’re called the mainstream media,” said Rubio.

Who won and who lost at the debate? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the author

Regina is a Fine Arts graduate who expresses herself through various mediums. She finds amusement in pop culture, enjoys video games, and watches way too many YouTube videos on a daily basis.