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Cruz, Trump hit hard during tonight’s Republican debate

Donald+Trump+speaking+to+a+crowd+in+Mesa%2C+Arizona+on+Wednesday%2C+Dec.+16.+Trump+was+most+recently+seen+on+the+televised+RNC+debate.
Rebecca Noble

Donald Trump speaking to a crowd in Mesa, Arizona on Wednesday, Dec. 16. Trump was most recently seen on the televised RNC debate.

Candidates fired shots during the Republican presidential debate tonight. Exchanges primarily surrounded poll leader Donald Trump and his primary competition, Sen. Ted Cruz. Trump and Cruz are the two front-runners of the 2016 Republican race, with Trump dominating the national polls at 34.5 percent and Sen. Cruz trailing by 14.2 points, according to RealClearPolitics.com.

The debate touched upon a plethora of hot-button issues, but focused heavily on how to combat ISIS, the American economy, gun laws, trade issues and, of course, why each candidate is better than President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Who won?

Despite a slight faux pas regarding New York and their #NewYorkValues, Cruz was far and away tonight’s winner.

The usually charismatic and domineering Trump was actually booed at points during the event, allowing Cruz to capitalize and swing the crowd. Cruz was also the only candidate to present an actual tangible tax plan, while others either claimed that theirs had been endorsed or used it as an opportunity to once again, bash Clinton and Obama. Trump’s attacks on Cruz’s eligibility to be president, also referred to as the “birther” issue, was decidedly not well received by the audience; they actually booed him.

Rubio made attempts to interject himself into a largely Trump- and Cruz- dominated conversation, but ultimately came up short in many exchanges. At one point, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie flat-out shut Rubio out of the conversation.

“You already had your chance Marco, you blew it,” Christie said after Rubio tried to interject into the conversation.

Top ten moments 
  • “On Tuesday night I watched “story time” with President Obama.” – Christie.
  • “I was very happy to get a question this early on, I was going to have you wake me up.” – Ben Carson after first being addressed by the commentators.
  • Trump laughing audibly in the background when moderator Maria Bartiromo brought up a question regarding the New York Times’ piece claiming that Cruz took $1 million in campaign contributions without declaring it.
  • Cruz then attempting to fight against what he described as a “hit piece” published by the New York Times by saying “I made a paperwork error.”
  • “I hate to interrupt this episode of court TV” – Rubio after interjecting into Cruz and Trump’s argument over Cruz’s presidential eligibility.
  • Trump and Bush both acknowledging that mental health is a huge issue that is lending itself to the mass shootings. Both candidates also agreed that more stringent gun laws are not the solution to the mass-shooting problem.
  • Rubio saying that ISIS did not get their guns from a gun show. In fact, they got a large chunk of them from the U.S. According to CNBC, ISIS has approximately 2,300 Humvees, 40 M1A1 Abrams tanks, 52 M198 Howitzer mobile gun systems and 74,000 army-issue machine guns, all totaling at least $219.7 million in U.S. weaponry and equipment.
  • Kasich’s aggressive pointing and parental demand that the Saudi Arabians “knock it off,” referring to funding radical clerics.
  • Trump firmly responded that he would not revise his position of banning Muslims from the country. Though he said it would only be “temporarily.”
  • “I am a friend, we’re friends, that’s good” – Trump talking about Nikki Haley after
    the moderator asked him if he was angry at her for calling him out in the
    Republican response to the State of the Union address. 


Follow Sam Gross on Twitter.


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