BEST DEBATE KICKOFF EVER: ABC News sure knows how to start a political debate with a bang! Ben Carson, apparently still waking up from his Florida rest stop after the Iowa caucuses, did not hear, or did not understand, when ABC News moderators Martha Raddatz and David Muir introduced him, so he continued to wait in the wings while a camera recorded his early debate fumble. A staffer peeking out from behind the curtain to tell him to make his entrance did not impress Carson either. He continued to stand off stage, where he was joined by an equally confused Donald Trump. While the two political outsiders stood confusedly in the wings, the seasoned politico pros, who knew the drill, glided past and took their stands behind designated podiums. Muir was only faintly heard introducing John Kasich, which did not reach Kasich, who also held back off stage.
Had Raddatz and Muir looked at the stage, maybe Raddatz would not have announced: “Ladies and Gentlemen: The Republican candidates!” when just half of the hopefuls were on stage. When moderators finally did turn around, and saw the traffic jam in the wings, they began to vamp, reintroducing Carson and Trump, but forgetting Kasich.
“What about Kasich? Can I introduce Kasich?” Chris Christie quipped.
CHRISTIE V RUBIO: Marco Rubio had a strategy Saturday night in which he would segue every answer he gave into a well-scripted blast that President Obama “knows exactly what he’s doing” and that the GOP’s best hope is its own silver-tongued orator in the White House to undo the Obama years. Hilariously, Chris Christie pulled back the curtain to reveal the strategy:
“There it is. There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody,” Christie snarked when, even after revealing Rubio’s game plan, the senator from Florida stuck, broken-record-like, to his rehearsed Obama schtick.
“That’s what Washington D.C. does – memorized 25-second speech his advisers gave him,” drilled Christie, angered at Rubio’s suggestions that the New Jersey governor only grudgingly visited his blizzard-bedeviled state recently.
“See, Marco, the thing is this, when you’re president of the United States, when you’re a governor, they expect you to plow the snow … to rebuild their state, which is what I’ve done. None of that happens on the floor of the United States Senate.”
And so, @RubioGlitch was born on Twitter and nearly 2,000 joined in the fun:
TRUMP V BUSH: After Donald Trump defended the use of eminent domain for purposes of building highways and oil pipelines, Jeb Bush chimed in. “What Donald Trump did was use eminent domain to try to take the property of an elderly woman on the strip in Atlantic City,” Bush said, adding that Trump wanted the woman’s property to make way for “a limousine parking lot for his casinos.”
“He wants to be a tough guy,” Trump responded, limply. When Bush tried to speak, Trump told him to shut up: “Let me talk. Let me talk. [Finger shush] Quiet.”
Loud boos ensued, which Trump insisted were coming from Bush’s “donors and special interests” who were among the various invited guests who typically pack debate halls. The immediate increase in booing seemed to confirm for viewers what Trump was saying. “The reason they’re not loving me is I don’t want their money. I’m going to do the right thing for the American public.”