As the Iowa caucuses begins its drawdown, most Politicians are clamouring for a piece of media action – but not Donald Trump. What made Thursday Night’s debate one of the most unusual debate nights in history was that it was a showdown without a front-runner.
Donald Trump skipped the debate, claiming Fox News and moderator Megyn Kelly were biased against him. That left seven rivals on stage, just four days before the Iowa caucuses: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Rand Paul.
Trump held his own event at the same time at Drake University, setting up a split-screen kind of evening.
Below are some of the key highlights that happened during the debates.
Mockery of Donald Trump continues
Ted Cruz, who is very much expected to win the Iowa Primary, opened the debate with a sarcastic impression of Donald Trump’s frequent insults of his opponents.
“I’m a maniac and everyone on this stage is stupid, fat and ugly,” Cruz said. Then he thanked his fellow candidates for showing Iowa voters respect by showing up.
Bush, a frequent target of Trump, said with a wry smile, “I kind of miss Donald Trump; he was a teddy bear to me.”
Megyn Kelly challenges Rubio and Cruz with some tough questions
“I do not support blanket amnesty. I do not support amnesty,” Rubio said.
“You said more than that, sir,” Kelly said.
“No, I do not support blanket legalization,” Rubio said, shaking his head.
Rubio and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) then briefly exchanged barbs, accusing each other of supporting a path to citizenship.
“He led the charge to finally fix this immigration problem that has existed now, for, as Marco says, for 30 years. And then he cut and run because it wasn’t popular amongst conservatives, I guess,” Bush said.
Next, Kelly moved onto Cruz. She used a similar series of clips to question Cruz about his an amendment that he attempted to add to the 2013 immigration reform bill that created a path to citizenship.
“Was that all an act? It was pretty convincing,” Kelly said after playing clips of Cruz saying that he “didn’t want immigration reform to pass.”
“The amendment I proposed is 38 words. It’s about one sentence, anyone can go on my website, tedcruz.org and read exactly what it said,” Cruz said, grinning slightly. “It didn’t say a word about legalization.”
Rand Paul makes some crucial comments on Criminal Justice Reform
The star of the night was undoubtedly Rand Paul (unless you include Donald Trump, who had a full )
His comments on
One thing I discovered in Ferguson was that a third of the budget for the city of Ferguson was being reaped by civil fines. People were just being fined to death. Now you and I and many of the people in this audience, if we get a $100 fine, we can survive it. If you’re living on the edge of poverty and you get a $100 fine or your car towed, a lot of times you lose your job.
I also think the war on drugs has disproportionately affected our African-American community. What we need to do is make sure that the war on drugs is equal protection under the law and we don’t unfairly incarcerate another generation of young African-American males. In Ferguson, for every 100 African-American women, there are only 60 African-American men. Drug use is about equal between white and black, but our prisons, three out of four people in prison are black or brown.
I think something has to change. I think it’s a big thing that our party needs to be part of. And I’ve been a leader in Congress on trying to bring about criminal justice reform.
Paul’s two big claims are right. The US Department of Justice investigation into Ferguson’s police and courts found that the city harshly enforced fines and court fees to raise local budget revenue, largely from its black population.
The war on drugs, meanwhile, has disproportionately hit black Americans: They are far more likely than their white counterparts to be arrested for drugs, even though black Americans aren’t more likely to use or sell drugs.
Summarised from: Vox, Business Insider, US News