And then, there were seven. That’s how many survived the poll-results culling of candidates by Fox Business Network for tonight’s sixth GOP primary debate after Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina were banished to the kids table. Paul pouted and is boycotting: “I won’t participate in anything that’s not first tier because we have a first-tier campaign.” It’s a mere 18 days until the Iowa caucuses, and tonight’s episode of what’s become the most popular new series on TV will star Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and John Kasich.
FBN’s Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo, who moderated the network’s first GOP debate in November, are back for Round 2 from North Charleston, SC. Let the games begin.
How many people picked up their newspapers this morning, Ted?
First question takeaway: GOP-ers still pick up newspapers
Cruz: “Let me begin to answer your question with something entirely off-topic that’s sure to draw applause. What? I’m out of time? Well, then, let me just answer that by saying Hillary stinks.”
No flag pin on John Kasich’s lapel? Borrrrrn to be wiiiiillllld!
Chris Christie first zinger of the night: SOTU was new TV show called “Storytime with Barak Obama”
Chris Christie says that when he’s president, Hillary Clinton “won’t get within 10 miles of the White House.” Too … many … punchlines … can’t … decide.
First campaign promise of the night: Chris Christie promises restraining order against Hillary Clinton — can’t come within 10 miles of Washington
Way to cite that crusty Obama line about ISIS being the JV team, Jeb. But come to think of it, CNN still might have that on its screen with a “Breaking News” tag.
The Hillary hatin’ is in full force 10 minutes in. Jeb says Hillary might be going between the White House and the courthouse in her first 100 days. Burn!
Marco Rubio will “win this war against ISIS,” dammit!
Oh Ben Carson, whine AGAIN about not getting an early question? That is so played.
And an unsolicited tip to the Good Doctor: Never EVER make a joke in which you say, “Wake me up when…”
Ben Carson wins the award for Most Misplaced Self-Deprecating Humor when he said he was surprised to get a question so soon: “I was going to ask you to wake me up when the time came.”
Do I need to adjust my set, or does Neil Cavuto really need a lozenge?
Immigration could be “the great Trojan horse,” Mr. Trump? Guess we’ll have to get the Mexicans to build it.
Trump’s first at bat: “Where are the women?”
Cruz: “The New York Times and I don’t have the best of relationships.” Really? I’d say the paper is thrilled that you actually still subscribe.
Ted Cruz explains that NYT article: “I’m a poor guy who made a paperwork error.”
Cruz blames festering bank-loan scandal on a “paperwork error.” Man, does this dude even OWN a computer?
How many folks scoring along at home are watching this Schwarzenegger commercial and saying, “Now THAT’S a Republican candidate I could get behind!”?
Did you hear that audience response to the pending birther question to Cruz? Hot crowd.
A simple Trump grin elicits the biggest crowd response of the night — until Cruz parries with “the Constitution didn’t change, but the poll numbers have.” Line o’ the night thus far.
Cruz on Trump bringing up that he was born in Canada: “Glad we’re focusing on the important issues.” Plays the “John McCain born in Panama” card and then throws down the “Donald Trump’s mother born in Scotland” card.
Trump says he’s bringing up Cruz’s birth in Canada now because now Cruz is doing better in the polls. This is Trump’s best debate performance yet.
Are the Supreme Court justices watching this? Might be time to start boning up on citizenship law.
More breaking news: Donald Trump is angry.
Can anyone tell if Ben Carson is asleep yet?
Has there been a single whiff of policy offered in the first 40 minutes?
Rubio vs. Christie: The undercard debate — going to the fridge time.
Governor vs. Senators: The Christie Game Plan
Wait, there has been some policy chatter: Beat Hillary Clinton. Beat Hillary Clinton. Beat Hillary Clinton. Beat Hillary Clinton. Beat Hillary Clinton.
Ben:” I want to take this opportunity to wake up and tell you guys to stop squabbling.”
Maria thinks she’s got a red meat question asking ominously about Bernie Sanders as a Socialist. Kasich wisely dumps that line of thought saying no way Sanders going to be president.
This already has had more entertaining moments than any of the first five debates — maybe combined.
Maria second red meater: “Bill Clinton’s past indiscretion and Hillary Clinton as enabler of sexual misconduct?”
The Secular Progressives — comin’ to a House of Blues near you this summer!
Man, I wish there was an open mike-feed on that stage during the commercials.
Re this “Money Monster” movie ad: Maybe Julia Roberts talking to potential voters when she just said: “Any who can get — get out right now. Do not look up. Do not make eye contact. Just go.”
George Clooney as Jim Cramer type: Is this a rerun of the CNBC GOP debate?
…or is it a movie about a guy who’s actually angrier than Trump?
Chris Christie: “Mr. President we’re not against you, we’re against your policies, you petulant child. Nothing personal.”
Can’t spell “petulant child” without POTUS.
Hey Ted, exactly when did Dianne Feinstein file to run for president?
Kinda forgot there was a time bell. Great pace tonight.
I thought all of Cruz’s “New York values” talk was about the price of apartments.
Cruz on “New York values”: Everyone understands.. socially liberal, pro abortion and pro gay marriage.
Trump’s response to Cruz saying not too many liberals come from New York: William F. Buckley.
Trump then clubs Cruz with World Trade Center
Bush: “Move U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.” That sounded dang near like a potential policy statement. Who had an hour and 10 minutes in the office pool?
Question: Would John Kasich as GOP running mare secure Ohio for the Republicans?
Bartiromo tossing to commercial: “There’s much more ahead including the war against ISIS.” Must-see TV is back!
Glad to see that hawks aren’t an endangered species in America.
Hard to pick a winner at this point, but it ain’t Doc Carson.
Wonder if Lindsey Graham dug being shown in the audience?
In addition to narcolepsy, Ben Carson is adding hearing loss?
Haven’t heard from Cruz in a while — maybe he ducked out to check the Canadiens-Blackhawks score.
There it is — there’s that “we gotta stop with political correctness” line. I can exhale now.
Why does it seem only Kasich gets the bell?
Is Jeb tweeting from the stage?
Running against New York Times almost as good as running against Hillary Clinton at a GOP debate.
Cavuto to Trump: “I’m sorry, sir. You lost me.”
Trump in his comfort zone talkin’ economics and free trade — and “how stupid the American leadership is.”
And boy, was he expecting big applause after that China rant.
Instead, the crowd seemed to say collectively: “I’m sorry, sir. You lost me.”
Trump playing Veep footsie across the stage tonight, now saying “I’m liking” Kasich.
Oh yeah, Marco Rubio’s playing too. Where ya been, guy?
Rubio on EPA: Employment Prevention Agency
This is actual substance here. Only two hours tonight? Darn.
New campaign slogan for Bush: Jeb! My Name Was Mentioned!
Hey look — a standing ovation for the commercial break!
Seriously, Paramount, why didn’t you just buy ALL the ad time for the Benghazi movie?
The bridge question goes to Christie? Really??
Takeaway: Christie loves bridges!
Cruz going wayyy past the bell. Who does he think he is — Taraji P. Henson at the Golden Globes?
How long does this go on? Didn’t Donald Trump negotiate this one too?
Ancestry.com ad starts with: “Growing up, we were German.” Hey, we let that guy’s family in…
It’s straight-up 8 o’clock. Better squeeze in Best Picture quickly.
When is the bathing suit competition? And talent?
The Donald just pointed to his hair and said, “Whatever it is up here, I’m gonna use it.” (Yeah yeah, that was cheap — but irresistible.)
Worst. Heckle. Ever.
Shouting in the hall:
“WE WANT RAND”
Kasich is talking about healing! Give him the bell!
Rubio-Cruz II: This time it’s personal.
Cruz’s best line of the night, to Rubio’s 11 attacks against him: “I appreciate you dumping your Oppo-research folder on the table”
It’s 11:15 in the East, gents. Could be you’re losing the room…
So who won, Deadline commenters?
Closing statements = gone in 60 seconds.
Kasich: “I’ll spend my final minute talking about my family rather than saying, you know, what the hell I’d do as president.”
Jeb Bush: Who can you count on. Results. Florida. Details. Credibility. zzzzzzz…
Christie: “I’ve spent my whole life fighting.” Way to perpetuate those Jersey stereotypes, governor.
Ben Carson: I can give my closing statement with….. my… eyes…. closed. I’ve got a web site. Watch my hands.
Rubio: “If you elect me, I’ll do the math and realize America was NOT founded 200 years ago.” #BicentennialWas1976
Ted Cruz: 13 Hours “****” Ted Cruz… Moms. Dads. Political correctness. I can say Radical Islamic Terrorism, nah, nah, nah!!
Trump: “Last night, I stood with 75 construction workers. Half of them had tears flowing down their face. I had just pink-slipped them.”
Cavuto: “We went a little bit over here.” Yes, by 25%. Now Trump is pissed, and he coming for you…
Oh, and dig that wonderful martial music in the outro.
That’s a wrap. Thanks for playing our game.