Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus is telling the boys he wants them to play nice tonight, calling for “more of a G-rated” debate in Miami.
Donald Trump, meanwhile, assures debate broadcaster CNN he intends to be “softer” onstage tonight than at recent debates. But with Mitt Romney’s Never Trump movement “mortally wounded,” he intends to “knock out” Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on his way to winning their states’ winner-takes-all primaries next weeek, giving him a lock on the GOP nom. “If you knock ’em out, nothing can happen,” Trump explained, reasonably. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz will be there tonight too, with Jake Tapper moderating the moderators.
This is going to go really well. Here’s how we see it.
Tonight’s debate is Part 1 of a Donald
Trump Two Parter. Tomorrow he’s staging another former candidate hostage taking – this time Ben Carson. Carson, who last week suspended his campaign for the GOP nom, is announcing his endorsement of Trump according to….well nearly everyone is reporting it tonight.
Tonight’s debate is Part 1 of a Donald Trump Two Parter. Tomorrow he’s staging another former candidate hostage taking – this time Ben Carson. Carson, who last week suspended his campaign for the GOP nom, is announcing his endorsement of Trump according to….well nearly everyone is reporting it tonight.
“Now, the stage is set for an intense debate about who should lead the Republicans and the nation.” Gawd, CNN’s intro sounds like an NFL playoff game.
And it looks like there’s gonna be a pregame show. Bait and switch.
CNN’s making loads of friends with this bait and switch:
Beginning to feel like Charlie Brown and the football on these debate times people keep claiming.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) March 11, 2016
Extending the metaphor, CNN’s screen looks like ESPN’s with all graphics, crawl and “here’s what’s coming up” thing on the left.
Such a shameless play for an extra half-hour of ratings.
“We’re just moments away,” Anderson Cooper says before going into a commercial that plug its own show. Define “moment.”
Chris Cuomo: “You mess with the bull, you get the horns.”
Wait, I thought we got the “hands”
Keyword in Cuomo comment: “bull.”
Poke the anchors, you get the cliches.
Me, I avoid cliches like the plague.
What say we all boycott the products advertised before the debate starts?
C’mon, folks, gimme a hashtag. #YouBaitWeSwitch?
Meanwhile, in HIllaryland:
OK, I’m officially boycotting James Earl Jones. Where’s my VHS of The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings? To the dump with you!
RNC chair Reince Priebus’s ringing endorsement of Trump, Cruz et al: “Can you at least agree with me that any one of these four gentlemen would be better than Hillary Clinton or a socialist?”
Reince Priebus — wasn’t that a character on Battlestar Galactica?
CNN’s John King just talked about tonight’s “enormous steaks”, er “stakes.”
As Trump would say, “I’ve never had any complaints about the size of my steaks.”
OK, this is a little “inside football,” but seeing as they’re at the University of Miami — anyone remember when Jerome Brown led his team to walk out of the pregame meal before the NCAA championship game in 1986. Wish I could follow his words and say, “Frllas, let’s go.”
OK, this is a little “inside football,” but seeing as they’re at the University of Miami — anyone remember when Jerome Brown led his team to walk out of the pregame meal before the NCAA championship game in 1986. Wish I could follow his words and say, “Fellas, let’s go.”
OK, only L.A.-based sports fans of a certain age will get that reference. On to the main event.
How did they determine the marching-onstage order? Triple coin flip.
Personal favorite memory of Nancy Reagan: When President Reagan had surgery on his nose for skin cancer and he and the First lady appeared at the second-floor window of the hospital to address reporters and the public. Someone asked a policy question that I don’t recall, and you could see Nancy mouth the words “we’re doing all we can.” Actor that he was, the president said on cue, “We’re doing all we can.”
Kasich mentions Spirit of America. Every playing a drinking game involving Beach Boys albums … bottoms up.
Rubio is dry so far.
Ted Cruz. This election is about stopping Washington .
Trump opens with the words “One of the biggest…”
Trump: Millions of extra people. I love the extra people.
“The Democrat Party.” I thought that slight went out with Dubya. I’m calling them the Republics from here on.
“Catering to board rooms?” Who is he — the Jersey Mike’s delivery guy?
Mmmm … Jersey Mike’s.
Note to Kasich handlers: Don’t let your candidate giggle after he utters the words, “People will be out of work.”
Laws ‘n’ regulations ‘n’ rules — oh my!
Trump asked about his having brought in workers and making stuff in China.
Trump: “Nobody knows the system better than me. I know how to change it.”
Note to Trump handlers: Don’t let your candidate have a flag lapel pin smaller than everyone else’s.
You down with TPP? Yeah you know me.
Jake Tapper: Bringing back the pocket square. Viewers are noticing.
Meanwhile, Cruz: pro TPA. Trump: pro H1-B.
On what James Bond amphibious vehicle are you “driving jobs overseas,” Ted?
(OK, I retract that last bad joke, your honor.)
Rubio puts the “diss” in Disney.
You know Trump is working hard to stifle a joke about Indian ta-tas.
That was probably him who coughed.
Disney’s excuse for sending American jobs overseas:
Disappointingly substantive opening. Where are the well-endowed Executive Branch jokes.
If you shouldn’t be able to use it, maybe you should, Donnie Boy.
Trump: “Stop me before I use H1-B visas again.”
So far Kasich and Cruz have now each come out for The Wall. Wall envy.
Face it, Jake, Trump has called EVERYthing a disaster at onetime or another
Trump says he’s bringing in Carson to advise him on education. Particularly nap time. He just blew tomorrow’s big announcement.
So we take away from this that federal education standards are rotten to the Common Core?
Ben Carson’s first assignment: Nap Time reform.
So we take away from this that federal education standards are rotten to the Common Core?
Rubio not working for the American People — he’s working for Mom.
And baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.
Looking at the polls, Rubio might be retiring a LOT sooner than 65.
Great, Social Security will run out just as my last kid gets out of college.
God bless America.
Trump’s Dem debate review: “Boring to watch.”
Of course China’s GDP never could be zero — the Communist Party forces people to work.
I’m callin’ dibs on that bumper sticker: “Fraud Is Not Enough”
Out-of-context Trump statement of the day: “I’ve been going over budgets.”
Of course Trump “doesn’t need anybody’s money” as long as the cable “news” nets cover every goddamn word he says live.
Trump message to Flordians: “I will not touch Social Security.”
He begins dancing dancing dancing when pressed for details by Dana and pressed by Rubio.
Cruz wakes up and says Trump thinks like a liberal.
Is this the longest CNN has gone without a commercial since that Malaysian plane went missing? Or rather, two months after that plane went missing?
Thanks to Cruz, “Magic wand” is tonight’s “small hands.”
Donald Trump: “I cannot believe how civil it’s been up here.”
Kasich is assuming today’s 18-year-olds will get jobs to be able to pay into Social Security.
Donald Trump’s strategy: unnerve Cruz and Rubio with civility.
Horserace question: Tapper asks Cruz why Trump is so popular if Cruz is so right?
No, China isn’t “dumping all they have over here” — more like dumping it in the South China Sea to create artificial islands.
Off camera, Rubio and Kasich are playing rock-paper-scissors.
Donald Trump: I will build a bigger Walmart. It will be a great Walmart.
Apparently we’re going to get Calm Trump all night tonight and since Trump always sets the tone of GOP debates…..
Ouch — did CNN just troll Ted Cruz with an Ancestry.com ad?
If Muslims hate us so much, how do you explain that out-of-nowhere Cat Stevens tour in 2014?
It’s power tie vs. power tie for Rubio and Trump tonight.
Tapper asks Trump what he meant when he told Anderson Cooper “Islam hates us” and did he mean all of them. “I mean a lot of them,” Trump shoots back. Tapper asks again if he wants to clarify.
“I’m talking about radical Islam, something is going on, maybe you don’t know about. And I will stick with exactly what I said to Anderson Cooper.”
“There is tremendous hate. Women are treated horribly. There is tremendous hatred. We better solve the problem before it’s too late.”
Rubio, who has woken up because Tapper handed him an opportunity, responds: “I’m not interested in being politically correct. I”m interested in being correct.”
And Hugh Hewitt finally gets to play.
Cruz starts every answer with a pained sigh.
Whenever Trump says the Iran deal was “the worst deal I’ve ever seen negotiated” — and he says it a lot — I think, “How the hell would you know? You weren’t there.”
I envision the Nobel guys engraving “Donald Trump” on the Peace Prize as we speak.
Arm the Kurds!
Who is doing all the coughing up there? We demand answers!
“Shock and Awe 2: Electric Bugaloo.”
Let’s see, where could we get 20,000-30,000 angry Americans to send over to the Middle East?
Whoa — line of the night: Rubio gives Bernie Sanders credit.
Now Rubio is endorsing firing Americans.
Will Jake Tapper bring up the single most important issue in Florida — the fact that the ocean is consuming it?
Tapper tees Rubio up with a slow pitch, noting Obama heading to Cuba, marking first time in 88 years POTUS has done so. Before a question is asked, audience boos, in support of Rubio’s slam: “Only thing changed they now have more money.”
Was that sound I just heard a faint heartbeat of Rubio’s chances to steal Florida next week?
Rubio, on Trump saying Cuba will sue us if we pull out of the new arrangement. “I don’t know where Cuba’s going to sue us. If they sue us in court in Miami they’re going to lose.
Rubio’s been resuscitated:
On Cuba, Marco Rubio just showed Donald Trump why knowledge of policy and substance matters.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) March 11, 2016
Inside Kasich’s head as he formulates a way to break in to the Cuba debate:
“Let’s see, hey, neither the Indians nor the Reds has a single Cuban player! Damn Yankees.”
Arm the Ukrainians!
Oooh, here we go. Climate change in a very soggy Miami Beach.
Rubio on climate change: Water levels rising because South Florida was built on a swamp.
Right now I picture Chris Christie using his remote to jump back and forth between the debate and Jeopardy!
More Rubio on climate change: “People want Washington to pass a law to change the weather.”
Colin Powell? Wow, that’s a blast from the past.
Big contrast to Dem debate: Kasich just runs down list of solar power, wind power, etc. to dead silence in the room. They are not applause lines here.
Jimmy Carter — the guy who brought Egypt and Israel together? That guy?
Tapper quotes Trump on ‘Chinese acted with strength putting down Tienamin Square.’
“Strong doesn’t mean good,” Trump responds.
Tapper tail between legs.
Re that ad a minute ago: “The intelligent all-new Audi Q7 was engineered to help sense danger before you do.”
Man, that machine must be going nuts right now.
Of course the American Institute of Architects would advertise during the GOP debate. They want that to wrest that wall contract from the Mexicans. Keep the jobs here at home!
“They don’t like seeing black folk at my rallies.”
Tapper finally brings up the protester who got sucker punched at Trump’s rally and that Hillary Clinton says it’s an issue and that candidates set the tone. Tapper asks “Have you set the tone?”
“I hope not,” Trump says.
Did Cruz just drop a “y’all” bomb in Florida?
“The dishonesty of the press??” That’s how you deflect the Nazi salute criticism?
Are we talking about law enforcement officers like the ones at the Trump rally who cuffed the black guy for assaulting that redneck’s fist with his face?
Given opportunity to come out strong against violence at GOP rallies, Cruz blames Obama.
Trump blames Today show.
Kasich advocates hugging.
Rubio gives the only good answer: Leadership is about using the anger to motivate us, not to define us. He’s making a head-snapping pivot to being inspirational.
Kasich using political fuzzy math.
I think they were talking about the Secret Service agent who choked and threw to ground the Time photog trying to document the roughing up of protesters.
Ted Cruz names Donald Trump President of the Smithsonian. “If we nominate Donald Trump, Hillary wins.”
Cruz is beggin’: “We’ve beaten Trump in states from Alaska to Maine, from Kansas to Texas” — the latter is a 20-ride car ride through the Oklahoma Panhandle
Rubio says he’s still in this race to keep alive some old guy who comes out with his folding chair and Rubio sign every day.
Did I just hear a Tea Party name-check? Is that the first one this primary season?
Way to squeeze in “one last break,” CNN.
You know CNN planned the Lincoln-Douglas episode to air right after the network’s GOP debate. Well played indeed.
All those potential border wall construction workers just jotted down that lawyer’s number.
CLOSING STATEMENT TIME!!!
Kasich: Maybe you will be president too. Positive campaign. Fix problems.
Hit it, Lisa!
Marco Rubio: My parents didn’t want me to go into politics.
Cruz: What an incredible nation we have that the son of a mailman, the son of a bartender, the son of a dishwasher – and the son of a rich guy — can all stand here on stage, running for POTUS.
Trump: I am bringing people by the millions to the GOP. Do you want them?
Wow, did you just see Trump’s hand ENGULF Rubio’s?
That’s a wrap. Rubio did the best job tonight. And, Trump will take Florida.
I agree with my colleague on both counts. See everyone next time.