GOP Debate

GOP Debate No. 4: Ben Carson Gets Evasive, Jeb Bush Pouts — And Yes, Trump Still Wants That Wall

If you tuned into the Fox Business Network during the first half-hour of Tuesday’s Republican Presidential Debate, no one would blame you for thinking you had the wrong channel.

Considering how quickly the three previous GOP debates have devolved into insult slingfests among the candidates, it was refreshing (if not totally puzzling) to watch the first 30 minutes of Tuesday’s panel unfold with civility and productive discussion.

OK, maybe I’m being a little too generous. The debate’s opening half-hour wasn’t without its eyeroll-inducing moments, particularly when, nine minutes into the event, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spoke up in support of vocational education, insisting that “welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers!”

And let’s not forget when, a few moments later, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — who had thus far not been asked a question — took great offense to being interrupted by Ohio Gov. John Kasich. “I had about four minutes in the last debate. I’m going to get my question in!” Bush asserted, making us all wonder, “Jim Webb, is that you?

But it wasn’t until the second quarter of the debate when things really got heated, confusing and totally chaotic — in other words, par for the course. Although the two-hour event didn’t have quite the same amount of fireworks as past GOP face-offs — we all collectively zoned out during Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s monologue on big banks, right? — it wasn’t without its highlights, which we’ve detailed below:

SASSIEST FOLLOW-UP FROM A MODERATOR | After Kasich spent his allotted 90 seconds only vaguely outlining his plan to balance the federal budget, co-moderator Maria Bartiromo immediately retorted, “Do you want to name any specific steps, sir?” #MicDrop

GOP DebateMOST REPETITIVE RESPONSE | In case you had any doubts, Donald Trump still really wants to build that wall to keep illegal immigrants out of America. “We will have a wall. The wall will be built. The wall will be successful,” Trump asserted when the issue of immigration reform was raised. “And if you think walls don’t work, all you have to do is ask Israel. The wall works. Believe me.”

MOST POLARIZING ANSWER | Though most candidates earned cheers from the Milwaukee crowd on the topic of immigration, Cruz seemed to leave some audience members scratching their heads as he addressed the economic importance of immigration reform: “Immigration is a very personal economic issue. The politics of it would be very different if a bunch of lawyers or bankers were crossing the Rio Grande, or if a bunch of people with journalism degrees were coming over and driving down wages in the press.” (We at TVLine resent that!)

MOST AWKWARD MOMENT | Even though China is not currently involved in President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal, you could have crafted an entire drinking game around the number of times China was mentioned in TPP discussion — something that was not lost on Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. “Hey, Gerard,” Paul called to co-moderator Gerard Baker, “We might want to point out that China’s not part of this deal.” Paul’s statement took Baker by such surprise that, instead of tossing to a commercial break, the Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief spoke right through the outro music to clarify his point — rather clumsily, might we add.

BEST “SICK AND TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT YOUR DAMN E-MAILS!” MOMENT | Though neurosurgeon Ben Carson didn’t exactly take a deep dive into his disdain for the media, he did take a winning approach to the question of how recent negative media exposure is affecting his campaign. “Thank you for not asking me what I said in the 10th grade,” he said to co-moderator Neil Cavuto. “I appreciate that.”

SILLIEST SPAR | Just as Kasich and Trump began their tradition of talking over one another to make a point, Trump fired back, “You should let Jeb speak.” (Bush’s response? “Thank you, Donald, for allowing me to speak at the debate. What a generous man you are.”)

MOST OBVIOUS INDICATION THAT THE AUDIENCE WAS REPUBLICAN | “If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee,” Bartiromo told the hopefuls on stage, “you will be facing a candidate with an impressive resume.” Cue laughter and boos from the crowd — and a hearty chuckle from Rubio, who began his response to the what-makes-you-better-than-Hillary query with, “That’s a great question, and let me begin by answering it.” (Yes. That would be good.)

CANDIDATE MOST DESPERATE TO HAVE THE LAST WORD | Never mind that Cruz wasn’t actually asked the Clinton question. He tossed in his two cents anyway: “And Maria, I will note, [Hillary]’s got a lot of experience, but her policies have proven disastrous… Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of cronyism in the government.”

BEST WINK-AND-NOD | On the heels of multiple candidates plugging their personal campaign websites, Rubio took advantage of a tongue-in-cheek moment to do the same in his closing arguments. “Tonight, I ask for your vote, and I ask you to join us at my website, MarcoRubio.com,” he said, earning cheers and applause from the crowd — and a smile from Cavuto!

Did you tune in to the fourth GOP debate? What moments stood out? Hit the comments with all of your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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30 Comments
  1. Temperance says:

    Did they need third outing to again illustrate that they are all utterly incompetent as human beings and are desperately unqualified for any position in the government? I’d vote for a serial killer long before I’d vote for any of those awful excuses for people.

    • herman1959 says:

      Now, that’s cold!

      • David4 says:

        It’s not cold at all. Three of the republicans running for president went to a ‘kill the gays’ rally this past weekend. Trump is just running for ego, we have a surgeon I wouldn’t trust my life never mind the lives of 320 million people, Bush 1 is still smarter than his sons and is older than Jesus himself. I rather vote for baby Hilter than these people.

    • Bob Backus says:

      Guess you’re voting for Hilary Clinton- bodies connected to her- Foster, the Bengazi bunch, etc etc. So, you’ll get your serial killer, not to mention notorious bribe recipient, and complete incompetent.

  2. Dave says:

    How many of these things are going to be scheduled? This limited run series is fast becoming a 22-episode full season program.

  3. JS says:

    Are you covering the Democratic debates too?

    • Me says:

      The last time they “covered” a democratic debate, it was just jokes about Anderson Cooper…. So not really.

      • lherman22 says:

        The media being even handed by criticizing and mocking democratic candidates?? Are you crazy?

        • Angela says:

          Er, actually, that happens quite a lot.

          • Angela says:

            @kevinlawrencecantor: And again I say, er, yes, it does. Obama’s drone program has been heavily criticized, as has the fact that we still haven’t closed Guantanamo and the fact that there’s still people fighting in Afghanistan despite the fact we were supposed to get out of there by now. “The Daily Show” had great fun mocking Anthony Weiner’s sex scandal a few years ago (Jon Stewart had a lot to say about that-and Weiner was a friend of his). There’ve been jokes made about Hilary, as well as mention of her e-mail scandal and any silly things her campaign has done to try and make her “relevant” to a wider array of people. Anytime the Democrats wimp out on backing some policy or piece of legislation they claimed they’d support, the media has called them out on it.
            .
            Just to name a few things. Yes. It DOES happen, contrary to what some people like to believe.

          • Will says:

            Haha, angela, you are wrong. It doesnt happen to the extent and never with the level of vitrial. Get a clue.

        • peterwdawson says:

          To be fair, the Democratic debates have been pretty dry. The first one was the most interesting but since it’s pretty much Clinton and Sanders now it’s not the same as the sheer anarchy of several people with dominant personalities (and a couple of more spineless types) fighting for control of the floor. Plus the side more likely to be complimentary of the current President isn’t usually as entertaining as they tend to be polite rather than cut loose.

    • Angela says:

      There’s only been one of those thus far, if I recall rightly. But yes, they did have an article for it, so I figure they’re probably going to cover any future Democratic debates, too.

    • IMHO says:

      The Democrats have only had 1 Debate so far which was covered.
      There doesn’t seem to be an end to the Republican Debates.

  4. Angie_Overrated says:

    Trump is surprisingly uninformed on what a trade deficit actually means, particularly in light of the fact he likes to talk about how smart he is given that he’s a Wharton grad.

  5. my hoodies says:

    Not only that, it’s loose, comfy match and eco-friendly material will certainly get you psyched into a fortunately very good mood.

  6. Is Trump the Bizarro Reagan? I’m waiting for him to say “Mr. Nieto, erect this wall”.

  7. Gem says:

    Thank you for NOT making a slide show. I just want the information, not to click through a bunch of slides that have you accidentally click ads if you don’t hit the exact right button on your phone. Much appreciated!

  8. Jo says:

    My thought is that Ben Carson hides in the corner like he’s in 6th grade afraid to be called on in classes

  9. JBC says:

    I have watched all 4 Rep debates and the 1 Dem debate. I think Fox Business Network did the best job moderating and exploring the issues. It was nice to have the candidates get 90 seconds to reply. The moderators were sharp but respectful. I like that. I prefer to just hear the ideas of the candidates and was able to throughout this one. Next up Sat. the 14th, a Dem Debate which I think is on CBS, but I will have to check.. BE INFORMED AMERICANS it is important in this day and age.

  10. Edward Knight says:

    Sorry, we cannot get Fox Business Network where we live.