In Second Republican Debate, Donald Trump’s Rivals Seek Points, Not Knockout

As the presidential campaign enters a more combative phase, many in the G.O.P. field are refining their battle plans for next week’s debate on CNN.

Comments: 98

  1. We really shouldn't call these sound bite spectacles "debates." They have reached a point where even the softball questions asked by Megyn Kelly are considered out of bounds "gotcha" questions.

    If you want to see what a debate is supposed to be, you should read a transcript of one of the Lincoln Douglas debates.

  2. The grossest thing about the Republican debates is that they are not meant to be seen by anyone who wants to see them. You need premium cable to view them. They want only certain people to watch. What in the world are they hiding?

  3. It's impossible to have a meaningful debate with 10 people in opposition to each other, unless they are able to stick to a single topic for the duration and allow for rebuttal, etc. But that would require quite a bit of thoughtful preparation, and today's politicians just aren't into that (not to mention TV viewers).

    This is a showcase, nothing more, and that's what they should call it.

  4. The 9'16 debate on CNN is being made available, streamed to anyone who wants to watch by just going to CNN.com -- no need to be a cable subscriber. The NYT covered this just a day or so ago.

  5. You do not need to shame Trump. He shames the human race and America in particular every time he opens his mouth.

  6. Republicanism has become a complete mockery, so Trump is appropriate to lead it. Does anyone remember the last Republican president? The man who hammered America with catastrophe after catastrophe. 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Katrina, the coup de grace with the great meltdown. I don't understand how people could ever vote for another one. How can you expect any different today? They are all variations on the theme of conman, from the religious huckster to the fast talking hustler out to pick your pocket.

  7. "Once you try to change your personality to try to come across differently - people see the phoniness".

    In this, Trump is correct.

    JEB! will fail.

  8. The GOP contenders just aren't learning! There is no possibility of shaming Donald Trump. He thrives on having no compunction. There is no possibility of taking on Donald Trump's egregiousness. The more shock appeal in his statements, the higher his ratings go. There is no possibility in critiquing Donald Trump's policies, because he has none. The more generalities and feel-good appeal his plans have, the louder his applause. The inability of any Republican rivals to distinguish themselves (at least in a positive way) looks pathetic. Kasich at least has a dignified comportment, but no particular selling points for national office. None of the 17 (at my last count) deserves to be President.

  9. The 16 non-Trumps would be better served to fluff up The Donald's ego and watch it explode than try to trip him. He can only reveal himself to be the biggest fool on stage as none of the other fools is capable of telling him he's fired and it's time to leave the island.

    That so many gullible people believe this nonsense is extremely depressing. In the past we could turn on Jon Stewart and feel our cognitive dissonance was shared by others.

  10. I believe it was Kasich in Ohio who signed a bill denying women carrying a fetus with Downs to have an abortion

  11. The one thing that every narcissist hates, the ONE thing that makes them sweat, squirm and fell entirely out of control is to be ignored. They thrive on being the center of attention, having the spotlight on them, holding all the aces while the rest of the room is in their choke hold. Every narcissist lives for the game....their own version of "gotcha" and they love to shock. Being in front on center stage and freezing the "audience" with shock is what makes them tick. It's their version of vampire blood.

    If these Republicans REALLY want to make themselves known, be taken seriously and really rally for change, the first thing they need to do is stop all the honing of words and phrases, stop worrying about how they will say things and begin to blatantly IGNORE Trump. While they make their statements and lay out their policies, they must pretend he is of no consequence and completely IGNORE him. Don't engage. Don't invite. Speak clearly, be smart and make something matter.

    Trump may have stirred up quite a pot of revolutionaries but we still have a government that runs as a democracy. No promise to make the radical changes Trump touts can happen within that framework unless our country becomes one run by a dictator overnight. Trump is a dictator and he's appealing to those who would love to see a coup d'etat.

    Republicans....speak with intelligence, show that you will work within our democratic principles together with the dems and ignore the Blowhard. That's how you win.

  12. Trump is a classic con artist. He can say a whole lotta nothing faster and better than anybody.

  13. Actually, it's the professional 'politicians' who are the con artists, who can deny they are full of empty promises.

  14. The only thing that could be more absurd than 2012 (and that's making a giant statement) would be the candidates tripping over one another to support new taxes on hedge fund managers. And yet that's a plausible scenario now that Mr. Trump has embarrassed the billionaire-owned candidates.

    The Kochs are sweating, and profusely.

  15. What people like about Trump is that he answers the question asked and says what he thinks, not what he's been coached to say. JEB! and others were clearly doing the latter, and it showed. When the moderators' initial question was whether any of the debaters wouldn't pledge to support the winning candidate, anyone watching the debate immediately knew the moderators were out to get him, and when Megyn Kelly immediately followed by asking him about his disparaging remarks about women over the years, it was obvious she was doing the same. (The next day Rupert Murdoch praised his moderators--surprise, surprise!) When Trump was asked about giving money to Hillary, people also knew his answer (i.e., that campaign donations buy influence) was right, and when he said he'd given money to many of the debaters on the stage for the same reason and that the process is broken, he was saying what people know to be true. It's the elephant in the room no establishment candidate is supposed to mention. Unfortunately, this is true of both parties, and only Trump and Bernie Sanders are willing to admit it, which is a big reason both are unexpectedly popular in a way that neither the Republican or Democratic National Committees anticipated. It will be interesting to see how they try to bring these two down now that the genie is out of the bottle.

  16. Much of the process by which we choose our political candidates is essentially meaningless, because voter turn out in the general election is appallingly low. If we are able to use this candidate selection process to bring out more voters on election day, that would be a positive development. Otherwise, it is just a side show, and the career politicians and those that back them will carry the day when the elections take place.

  17. Rationality and reason seem to have jumped the tracks in the Republican presidential race. Today Donald Trump leads a pack of baying contenders with his absurd and mean spirited attacks on the persona of every other candidate. He is the Mike Tyson of presidential candidates who out punches any near opponent with body blows, and the occasional cheap shot. Over kill and intimidation are his calling card and people love it.

    I'm all for a good fight, but how can it be that voters support this businessman/salesman thug as the leader of the free world? Is it true that people love a winner simply because he wins? I think that there is more to life than winning, and that Trump doesn't represent anything in America that I value. He is a bully strongman who stands only for himself.

  18. REPATRICKSTEVENS: U should try growing up. Ad hominem attacks on DT mean nothing to his supporters, and make u look petty and bigoted for even writing them, DT has liberated us from the tyranny of political correctness, which is an enormous contribution to our public discourse.Imagine being able to say that among the undocumented streaming across our southern border there r a lot of felons who will and have done harm to Americans, and that for every one who crosses, there will be one less job for a working class American. Re CARLY FIORINA who bailed out of HP with a 40 million dollar buy out, after laying off 30,000 employees, DT said thinking about her gave him a "massive headache." Don't u agree? DT says he will be the jobs president, and will make America great again. Should he not be given the chance to prove it?After 7 years of Obama, in which the operative word was dissimulation,and was characterized by his contempt for rural whites and other socio economic groups, don't u think we deserve better?"Reflechissez!"

  19. Why can't anyone, especially the presidential hopefuls, understand that the elections aren't for more than a year? Every time I see one of these "stories" I can see only fluff and suppositories being shoved...well, I'm certain you know where I'm going with this. It's all nonsense at this point.

  20. Good gosh, after reading this article and the behavioral minutiae signifying their performance--are these candidates in rehab? Recovering from a traumatic brain injury? This is ridiculous. We should be nominating/electing walking, talking, adults. Instead, we get campaign managers talking like parents about their child's first steps.

  21. Trump is a new phenomenon and no other candidate can replace him. American voters are much smarter than what President Obama believes in.

  22. These 'presidential' debates are reminiscent of the waiting rooms in classic bordellos - about the same levels of sincerity and suspension of disbelief from both the pros/pols and the johns/voters...everybody dreaming of happy endings, but just not from not the best experiential vantage points

  23. Now that the Iran deal is politically secure, the Republican candidates can debate which of the following their imaginary time machine would move back away from: the ACA, marriage equality, Cuban/American relations, the Iraq withdrawal timeframe set by GWB, or the Iran accords.

  24. Here's a thought, it seems the rest of the republican field is at odds with Trump on one issue, taxes. Trump is willing to raise the taxes on the rich, the rest of the republicans... not so much. So if you think lowering taxes on the rich is such a great idea then come to the debate with it. Tell us how this policy, tried and tested as a big fat failure will work under you and will somehow be different. I'm sure another tax cut for the rich will sky rocket you in the polls among middle class voters.

  25. The Republican clown car:

    - advocates repealing the estate tax which applies only to folks inheriting over $5 million dollars

    - is against raising corporate tax revenue for spending on America's crumbling infrastructure - which is used primarily by industry and commerce

    - fights solutions to climate change like a carbon tax or investments in renewable clean energy while ensuring dirty oil and coal producers receive unneeded tax preferences

    - want to cut Social Security and Medicare that folks have been funding for 5 or 6 decades rather than improve its solvency by removing the income cap

    - insist on preferential tax treatment for unearned income and billionaire hedge fund managers; and the rich get tax deductions for mansions and donations of vanity projects; while middle income folks get a standard deduction that is less than a third of the cost of shelter, clothing, transportation, energy, food, health care, education, etc.

    - believe that religious freedom means a single elected official or a CEO of a private company can impose their personal religious beliefs over the religious beliefs of millions of state residents or thousands of employees

    I think the clowns should get back in the car and escape with their lives if not their dignity.

  26. These people have absolutely nothing to offer us, other than entertaining attacks on each other and absurd posturing with people who disobey the law of the land. The Republicans are the party of "what's in it for ME" and the Democrats are increasingly (thank you, Bernie Sanders) the party of "how do we care for all of US". It can't be any clearer this year.

  27. They can study to pose and pretend as hard as they can, but there isn't an intelligent or decent person in the entire lot.

  28. I have bought more popcorn than anyone has the right to have! Forget the movies; forget "Survivor" and all the other "reality" shows I never watched.

    This is the one I have been waiting for. Not the CNN debate, but the whole show, right up to election day. Americans deserve this REAL reality show!

    Another extra butter in the microwave, please....

    God bless America.

  29. I don't doubt (and never have) that Trump can possibly secure the GOP nomination, but it will take an extreme, totally unprecedented plot twist for him to come close in a general election. We all know not to read too much into the polls, but his national head-to-head numbers just aren't moving, and no matter who the Dems nominate, and no matter how unenthusiastic voters are about their choice, the Dem grassroots machine will get enough voters to the polls to end the Trump delusion once and for all.

    I actually worry more about what this election means for the future of American presidential politics. I imagine we'll have 50 or more candidates in 2020, and it will probably start some time in late 2016. Kanye might even take the lead for a while. Who knows?

    The contest for "most powerful person in the world" has taken an incredibly cynical, depressing turn. (Thanks for that, GOP.) But at least, for now, it's still mildly entertaining.

  30. Rather than trying to unseat trump, the candidates should be vying for the #2 or 3 spots. Bush should be taking on kasich, walker needs to hip check Carli and so forth

  31. Speaking of divisive comments, Trump's gratuitous criticism of Carly Fiorina's looks makes me mad enough to reregister Republican to vote for her in the California primary after almost 50 years as a Democrat.

    First of all, she is a strikingly attractive woman and did the jeans proud she wore at the Iowa State Fair. That must have hurt her feelings. It did mine and men care far less than women about such remarks.

    Secondly, for what? Would any voter think, "Oh, I was considering
    Fiorina, but maybe she's not good-looking enough."

    Finally, if physical attractiveness is so important to Trump, how does he stand to look into the mirror to shave every morning.


  32. Why does all of this feel like SEPTEMBER OF 2016? A year from now, when people truly begin paying attention to our Presidential contest, most of these people will be gone, out of the race, including Donald Trump. We make such a spectacle of our political governance, such a big deal out of it, and 90% of it, or more, is simply everybody piling on to make money the good, old-fashion American way, by hoodwinking others into believing the product, or the political platform, they are selling is worth the money. Most of them are not worth the money.

    This includes political journalism, which solemnly treats all these big egos as though they have a shot at being President. Serious articles are written about their chances, ads are bought in various media outlets, networks run these debates, and all of it long before most people even care, or look into who these individuals are. Stephen Colbert has already had two possible contestants on his brand-new show.

    It seems to me part of how America has lost its way is in knowing what is important. Most of this very early political activity is really just show business and little else. And we all go along with all of this nonsense, too. Imagine if we limited all of this stuff to run from May to November of the election year? I think it would be a vast improvement.

  33. And just why is Donald Trump so "surprisingly durable" to your journalists?

    Perhaps because he throws all the established rules of political discourse out the window of Trump Force One?

    Or that he has aligned himself with not-so-cosmopolitan views about illegal immigration and black protest groups?

    Or -- even worse! -- that he might, at times, have a bit of an old-fashioned, white frat-boy attitude toward women?

    No, it must be more than that for the New York Times to be "surprised" by his durability.

    Maybe it's that stone-sober gaze he gives the camera, or maybe that unabashed love of America he gives us in an era of doubt.

    But whatever it is, it's real.

    And millions of fed-up and disillusioned Americans are loving it.

  34. The article inadvertently points to an important truth: these pseudo-debates are about style, not substance.

  35. Donald Trump - the King of the Carnival Barkers - sells an elixir that many white American men and - to a lesser extent women - who work for a living find irresistible. They feel cheated and angry and they are right. They have lost the genetic lottery and are neither clever nor beautiful. The promises they have heard about equality of opportunity and that everyone can find the road to riches are fables. The America Trump says he will make great again is a place where people like them are important. Respectable Republicans used the anger of those now drawn to Trump to gain power and serve their masters on Wall Street and other assorted big money interests. Now they bemoan that the vitriol they directed at those who sought to redistribute wealth is now being directed at them.

  36. I inquire hopw the nuclear Iran will figure in the debate

    I hope the candidates compete with each other over demonizing Iran and also Mr Obama, who has shown us the way, b7y demonizing US Dems and Israel

    should be interesting

    Mr trump is likely to lead the attack, and thereby win the election

    (he said)

    as for the disasters of US policy in Iraq-istan and ISIS-istan

    When Mr Bush left office the US Army was in Iraq and there was a shaky quiescence

    when Mr Obama withdrew the US Army ISIS arose and thus the world in flames, and he ain't done yet, OR 'you ain't seen nothin' yet'

    Blame Obama for ISIS in the few years remaining to us

    insh'allah

  37. If this isn't a farce I don't know what is. What a pathetic indictment of the American political landscape; presidential candidates trying to figure out what resonates with voters. How is it possible that this charade can qualify someone for what is without doubt perhaps the most grueling and demanding executive position on the planet? The collective descent into imbecility, with full media coverage is appalling.

  38. wow, NOT ONE WORD about the American people. only how to formulate the magic recipe for overcoming Trump? so now the debate becomes a hyena pile up on Trump? The one they forced him to pledge his support of them, yet offer no support to him? Except Cruz. what a bunch of jealous petty low energy disingenuous jerks.
    they see their polls are in single digits, Fiorina for instance at 3%? already they should get the hint that the American people are not digging them. so what do they do? they want to push harder?
    yeah, PUSH THEMSELVES ON US! like a creepy suitor who's been turned down, just starts STALKING in hopes of convincing us to love them.

    how utterly disgusting. now they will only repel us. i hope Trump doesn't even show up at that debate, the candidates are making it all about Trump. Except Cruz. Cruz stands on his own. The rest are so weak.

  39. Bush attacking Trump for not being "conservative" enough is going to be futile. What people like about Trump is that he isn't like the others, and Bush saying I'm more like the Republican establishment than you isn't a winning proposition. He proposes huge tax cuts, and totally supports his brother in the disastrous Iraqi war and doesn't want to discuss the incredible financial meltdown we had then. So even though he left his surname off the Jeb! buttons, he's saying, vote for another four years of Bush idiocy.
    There is nothing Carly can say either. Bush's claims he's a winner in business, while Carly ran HP into the ground. It doesn't matter what she says, which is much like all the others, because her resume is so lacking.
    I hate to say it, but right now I think Trump could get the nomination. And as bad a candidate as Hillary is, she could very well lose to him.

  40. Why is the Justice Department not baring Jeb Bush from running, as he is sheltering, harboring and abetting a known criminal (in the eyes of the world), his brother Dubya? This family has no shame!!

  41. An article that says nothing about the issues -- just obviously biased quotes from the candidates or candidates' paid spokesmen. In the old days of journalism, a reporter would be expected to quote somebody not on a pol's payroll, compare stands on issues and maybe even quote a few ordinary people about what the candidates should be talking about. But that would have meant the reporters having to actually get up from their desks.

  42. The non-Trump candidates are not focusing on what I believe is Trump's greatest strength, which is that he is not beholden tomany financial backer. Not just that, but it also seems that all 16 of the others are beholden to the exact same financial backer. So they all come off as being mindless repeaters of the same tired mantras, which are about cutting taxes for the richest, obsessing about Obamacare, and denying climate change. I mean, where else in the world can you fine a room with 16 adults in it who all respond to the climate change issue by saying "I am not a scientist?"

    This is the real challenge that Trump is putting up to the GOP. Start thinking! Stop repeating the same endless catch phrases!

  43. Third! Bush should be talking up his signal contribution to America.
    That is, corrupting the 2000 election that allowed his demonstrably incompetent brother to be appointed by family retainers on the Supremes and go on to become the worst President in US history.
    A bona fide war criminal who fiddled while New Orleans drowned and Wall Street burned 40% of US household wealth.

  44. I am not sure whether Trump is the worst of the 17. The verdict is still out for the spot of the dumbest. When comparing the stupid 'quote' snippets in the press with what he actually says, a lot of it makes sense, even though (or perhaps because) it is presented in politically incorrect ways.
    All these candidates would fair well to fire their advisors. Every attack on Trump will only buoy him more. Instead, they should focus on eliminating the other 15. A showdown between Trump and No. 2 will put an end to the showman.

  45. New Republican Platform, Mexicans the enemy, woman the enemy, civility the enemy, health care the enemy, peace the enemy, collective bargaining the enemy, minimum wage/pay equity the enemy, non-Christians the enemy, ultimately: THEMSELVES the enemy (:

  46. Donald Trump's remarks throughout his "candidacy" have been disgraceful, appealing to the worst in human nature. But the really scary thing is, the rest of the pack is trying to out-Trump Trump. In any other race, Trump's stupid and nasty remarks about Carly Fiorina would have brought outraged demands for his resignation. What is wrong with the GOP leadership?

  47. There is none...

  48. This debate will be another opportunity for Kasich to come out as the adult in the schoolyard. Adding Fiorina was a Vince McMahon move to draw more viewers. If Trump pulls her off script, get ready for Palin II. She appeared in the three person discussion group on Bill Maher's show, and could not handle it. The cool kids (politicians) will make fun of Trump, and he will call them names and probably offend a new demographic in the process.
    I did not vote for Kasich because he seemed like another opinionated Tea Party Republican who sees only black and white, no middle ground. I was surprised to see how he has worked out agreements that involve compromise and are what is best for the state of Ohio.

    (Disclaimer: I am independent, not affiliated with any party. I do vote in primaries, so I have to declare a party. That changes each primary, depending on the candidate I support.)

  49. Look, the majority of the people watching are only watching for the bloopers and the shock value that republicans are notorious for. Intelligent people, sensible people, rational people do NOT vote republican.

    Republicans are a walking, talking stereotype, no sane person takes them seriously. No matter how much they try to hide who they are, people are going to see through it.

  50. As you look at the republican candidates stumble out of the clown car, you get a better grasp on why Trump is ahead in the polls. He is the clowniest of all the clowns and that is an awesome feat! One of the two leading candidates does not believe in evolution and the other leading candidate provides all the anecdotal evidence needed to support that contention.

  51. The best strategy against being "Trumped" is if the other candidates simply ignore him. Insults just make him more combative and nasty, whereas ignoring him makes him insecure, childlike and more likely to make an even bigger fool of himself than he already has.

  52. The presidency is assured for the Democrats unless they allow Republicans to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat. They would have to start a war among themselves to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House.
    Donald Trump has done irreparable damage to the GOP, and they can't recover from it. Their cast of candidates ranges from inept to pathetic. Even though so many of them flout their religious backgrounds, none of them has a prayer of winning.

  53. Mr. Trump laughed at the notion that Mr. Bush might suddenly manifest moxie at the next debate. “Once you start changing your personality to try to come across differently, it doesn’t come out right or naturally — people see the phoniness,” Mr. Trump said.

    So right, Mr. Trump.

    Could you please tell us again how much you love to read the Bible...?

  54. Maybe if we are truly lucky there will be one or two serious policy debates in this debate. Oh wait, this is not a debate but made for TV entertainment. So sit back and get the popcorn and beer and watch episode 2 in the hit Republican Debate reality show (as contrived as the Alaskan Bush People who sleep in hotels during the filming of the show).

    This would all be funny except it make's a mockery of the off of the President, the most powerful position on earth.

  55. Ted Cruz can’t legally run for President He should be returning all the money his supporters have given to him. Why tout his run for the Presidency when the links clearly show by touting his run you are helping to subvert the US Constitution
    http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/news/2009_fall/white_oped.htm
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/natural_born_citizen
    Why the authors and everyone else continue to include Ted Cruz into the debate I don't know. From law suits in the courts and opinions by respected law schools have opined on the subject I suggest we end his campaign for the financial savings of his supporters.

  56. Mr. Trump is unfiltered; says what he thinks but lacks substance. His reality showesque side show manner is what has garnered such initial interest in his campaign. Much of his appeal is from Millennials/Generation-WHY.

    When listening to responses to questions from both Gov. Christie and Sen. Rubio, esp., they are immediate, complete and fluid. Ms. Fiorina and Dr. Carson, neither of whom have political experience, are en pointe, as well.

    Gov. Kasich lacks the name recognition.

  57. When you think about this process - it indeed is an embarrassing dog and pony show. When Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar have to remind Donald Trump he needs to be better educated, we know running for the President of the United States has turned to a new low.

    Jeb Bush seems to have slipped to oblivion and appears dazed and confused.
    Hello!

    Ben Carson has to prove his faith and spirituality? Really? The man is the only one up there it seems, who knows what a neuron is. What would he declare? My faith requires more synapse connections than yours, Donald?

    Scott Walker's idea of presidency is going to the inauguration, putting his hand on the Bible to take his oath - but is wearing boxing gloves at that podium. All that fighting! Wreaking havoc is presidential? Even Muhammad Ali showed a sense of kindness. Then he will ride his Harley over to the White House or wherever in Washington, clear out ISIS, clean out millions of health care benefits for constituents, and erase union dues for all employees in the US. Ah, just in time for he and Tonette to make it to the inaugural balls! Amazing Day One!

    Mike Hucakabee would be marching in the Inaugrural Parade accompanied by the scarecrow from not the Wizard of Oz, but alas, from Kim Davis' home town in Kentucky.

    And Carly Fiorina will be buying some new makeup and hiring a new cosmetologist because Donald Trump begs us all to look at her face.

    This is disgusting and to some of us very "unAmerican"; classless.

  58. Surveys, polls, and focus groups are ways of getting you to tell politicians the lie that you will believe. Don't respond. It's their job to tell us what they truly believe and will try to do, not the other way around. By denying them this information, you also reduce the value of their television, radio, and autocaller ads. This is because you deny them your feedback on their message which is what they need to decide to place more ads or pull them. -- Don't respond to polls, surveys, and focus groups, particularly if you are an undecided voter. -- Don Krieger -- Please repost!

  59. This is the reason that so many republicans want to be president...

    http://www.bravenewfilms.org/watch_iraqforsale

    To skim billions of dollars of taxpayer money off of government war contracts, that is the REAL reason all of them voted against the Iran deal and are insisting on starting more wars.

    Don't be tricked into it again, get out and VOTE!

  60. In the upcoming GOP debate, DT should be asked to explain his Mafia ties in the building and financing of his buildings and casinos. He should be asked to his explain his failure to pays his suppliers.
    Anyone who inherits a fortune and doesn't pay his bills can make money. If they don't confront this con man with the truth, then it will be the fault of the media.

  61. Oh good lord.. But then across the pond, Europe generally loves Obama so even the prospect that a very odd, rich host of a television show about making money could be President of the US is alarming. I mean there was an actor once, but, well you know, he could act. Can you imagine Trump interacting with the rest of the world? His success to date in our world of soundbites is understandable to some extent but surely many a Republican is considering re-enrolling as a Democrat faced with this predicament? I will continue to avidly watch it unfold - the real world these days is far stranger than fiction..

  62. It wasn't the "third string general of a certain army that is based in an area that used to be such-and-such country" Mr. Trump couldn't name, or apparently even recognize. It was the leaders of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah and ISIS. All of which he said would be gone by the time he took office. Either he gives a lot of credit to President Obama, knows something we don't, or is planning on being very active in foreign affairs during the transition.

    This is not funny anymore.

  63. Watching the Republican presidential candidates jumping through hoops trying to trump The Trumpster, a master at his own game, is leaving most of the nation in stitches. This GOP Reality TV circus is the best entertainment anyone could have imagined, far better than most of what passes for actual entertainment. We can't get enough.

    And we can't wait until the next debate. It's a soap opera/reality TV combo, with the outcome a cliffhanger almost a year away. Who could ask for anything more?

    DD
    Manhattan

  64. How is it possible that most Republican can qualify this character public show The office of a US President is undoubtedly a more tiring and demanting fob in the world Hillary Clinton 2016

  65. If the second GOP debate is half as hilarious as the first, then we are in for some good fun indeed.

    The Donald has managed to steal this reality show and captured it as his very own. He has become the Ringmaster of this seventeen-ring circus. For the most part the professional Republicans, in all their pomp, ceremony and protocol, have been left by the roadside, eating the dust of The Donald and to a degree, non-politico amateurs like Ben The Brain Carson and dark horse Carly the Failed CEO Fiorina.

    Republicans appear enthralled with people who have no experience in politics. They can't seem to get enough inappropriate politically incorrect bashing rhetoric. The more ridiculous the insult, the higher The Donald rises in the polls. The Donald's off-the-cuff outrageous insults rival a Don Rickles performance. The people then beg for more, an encore. They are addicted to The Donald Show.

    Please, Republicans, we implore you, keep it up. We Dems and Hillary will be laughing at your shenanigans all the way to next year, when Hillary crosses the finish line with furlongs to spare and enters the White House with ease.

    GOP, Send in the clowns.
    Don't bother, they're here.

    DD
    Manhattan

  66. Why haven't the Dems debated yet? Avoiding tough questions for Hillary perhaps?

  67. Probably because everyone hasn't thrown their hat in the ring yet? After a quick search, their first debate is set for Oct 13th, and then once a month after that.

  68. Initially it was because everyone assumed Hilary was going to win by a landslide. Obviously this isn't happening though. Don't worry, even the dems are upset about it.

  69. The debates mean nothing at this point. America knows deep down in it's heart the political system is broken and we need a tough man to clean house. Politicans are sissies and afraid to call "A Spade a Spade".
    Minorities, whites and women - especially women will roll this guy right into the whitehouse. Deep down in a woman's subconscious, they desire and love a dominate male. No women respects weak and indecisive sissies.

  70. Once upon a time, candidates went in fear of committing "gaffes." Saying something really stupid could sink your campaign or cost you a big poll drop. Avoiding gaffes, however, makes for dull candidates who can only spout boilerplate. Enter Donald Trump, the first post-gaffe presidential candidate. He actually leverages his gaffes as evidence on his authenticity. No doubt Trump is exactly what he looks like. He acts like a jerk and he is a jerk. This has got him up to 27% in Iowa. So Trump is a new kind of candidate: part Dada, part Gong Show. Except there doesn't seem to be an actual gong anywhere on stage and no one to hit it if there were.

  71. MIMA, I agree with you. I also believe this is good strategy, to stay calm and to debate Donald point by point.

    If that fails and Donald becomes President of this country, I am taking my grandchildrens' inheritance and moving to Australia.

  72. Trump will continue to ride the republican voter's wave with his construction of a border wall. If there is anything these other rubes can learn from Trump is republicans are able to visualize and attach their attention to the simple formations Trump constructs. The more childish and less complex, the better. Reach lower than the common denominator and there you will find Huckabee handing out white crosses to republican voters all to the tune of Eye Of The Tiger. He's got the right idea, but his crying up there on the Davis stage shows "weakness" which throws republicans off every time. Better luck next time, Mike.

  73. Trump will gladly build a wall as would most Republicans. But none of them want to spend money on the national infrastructure.

  74. The Candidates are learning these are Sprint Races not the Marathon.
    The Voters may learn, a nominee must follow party rules all the way to the white house, throughout the Presidency.
    There is one among many who does not follow rules

  75. Must see TV, unless the Mets are on. Whom will Trump insult? How will any of the other ten get a word in? There's potential for some real blow ups, with Bush, Walker and Rubio having all faded into the twilight and needing to make some impact. Will Cristie and Paul go head to head again? Will anyone care? Who will try to use the faith card the most? Huck on behalf of that wacko county clerk in Kentucky? Carson on his Bible-based tax plan of tithing? Will Trump try to memorize at least one Bible verse? Unfortunately, some real crazies...Santorum, Jindahl, Perry, Graham...missed the cut. Loving it. Reminds one of the bar scene in Star Wars!

  76. It must be hard to be a Republican candidate these days. They are all forced to orbit around the shining lunacy of the Trump sun, fed by the media's gluttonous addictive need for ratings (oreos, anyone?). And as orbiters, their efforts to shine on their own are reactive--not proactive.

    Which is never a good thing. Trump is right on some things, such as this statement about JEB!: “Once you start changing your personality to try to come across differently, it doesn’t come out right or naturally — people see the phoniness,” Mr. Trump said."

    Anyone who witnessed his overly eager, too forced performance on the debut of the Colbert report has to agree.

    But I think the GOP's problems go further than even they suspect. It's one thing to play into the idiocy of the "So You Want to Be President?" show that Trump created. But it's quite another to get serious and actually outline their policy positions--many of which are at odds with mainstream voters, on any number of topics from the Kim Davis episode (Cruz and Huckabee) to weary old supply side tax cuts for the rich (Bush) to war-mongering foreign policy ideas based on neocon ideology (Rubio).

    So whether they act crazy or act serious, the base might be pleased but the general public might simply be appalled.

  77. Bobby Jindal has never struck me as a completely rational human being, however, I was totally knocked out by his extraordinarily brave description of Donald Trump. “Donald Trump is not a serious candidate,’’ Jindal told reporters at the National Press Club. “He’s a narcissist. He’s an egomaniac. The only thing he believes in is himself. The reality is that I want to say what everybody is thinking about Donald Trump but afraid to say.’’ and “Donald Trump is shallow,’’ Jindal said. “Has no understanding of policy. He’s full of bluster. He has no substance. He lacks the intellectual curiosity to even learn. You can’t argue policy with this guy. The only thing that Donald Trump believes in is himself.’’ This ought to be copied and pasted on one's refrigerator for daily reminder that the showman demagogue is as far from qualified to be POTUS as anyone can be, even among all the half-brained GOP candidates running.

  78. Trump's popularity has numerous roots. One is dissatisfaction/rebellion against politicians and their parties not serving the electorate. The attitude seems to be anything is better than the politicos who do not impress nor show themselves as distinguished from the last. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    But there is another aspect to this- Trump appeals to a segment of our society that clearly thrives on "celebrity news". News not of substance but of people who use their position in society to cast themselves as more important/influential than they truly are. The entertainment is considered as serious news. Sadly, this has permeated the presidential elections. Even sadder, Trump proves that no matter what is said or who is offended, he is taken as a serious option by the electorate. Ultimately, Trump is a product of ourselves.

  79. I believe the only way any other Republican candidate might be able to undermine Trump’s self-deluded perfection and the deluded force of authority that such confidence produces, would be either to consistently channel Atty. Welch from the McCarthy hearings – “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”, or to rev up his/her own Narcissistic Personality. Two narcissists – both of whom cannot be wrong, who have imperial contempt for any pathetic soul with a differing viewpoint – would be a sight to behold. Mud-slinging on Mount Olympus.

  80. After years of the Republican party stirring the cauldron of racist white backlash, successfully, to come back from the brink of extinction in 2008, it should be no surprise that Trump is dominating the pack. He is the headline "birther" on the stage. The news media seem to have forgotten this credential, but you can be sure a huge swath of Republican voters have not.

    Trump need not mention it. All he need do, as he continues to do, is chant xenophobic hatred of Mexicans and the Chinese and whomever else proves handy to remind his voters that, yes, he's still the one, still their big bully bigot and he won't back down. And the ugly truth is that's just about the only "value" the old GOP "values voter" base truly has; the rest are window dressing.

    Bush vowing the tell voters Trump is not "a true Conservative" flies in the face of that reality. It's complaining that the curtains are the wrong color on a breathtaking wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-floor luxury hotel penthouse view. No one is looking at the curtains. If they really bother you, just call room service and get them changed. Trump has never had a problem obliging his top-paying guests.

  81. I'm debating (no pun intended) whether to simply enjoy the circus or hold out and take a stand.

    If I just enjoy it, I might have fun, but I will end up joining the collective dance upon the grave of the ideas on which this country was founded.

    If I hold out, I don't have as much fun, but I get the chance to tell the media circus and the GOP that I don't want to participate, the only issue is that they don't care.

  82. "“There’s no panic here; it’s not like we have to swing for the fences, but rather, the goal is to hit some real singles in Wednesday’s debate,” said Ed Goeas, a senior adviser to Mr. Walker, the Wisconsin governor. "

    Really? You mean that Walker was not whiffing a home run swing when he said over-and-over yesterday that he would "wreak havoc" on Washington D.C. if elected?

    Unlike Sarah Palin's phony attempt to claim international experience that she could see Russia from Alaska, Scott Walker really can see Iowa (across the Mississippi River) from Wisconsin. Unfortunately for Gov. Walker, Iowa can also see what a disaster Wisconsin has become since he was elected Governor.

    Walker doesn't look like a long ball hitter. But, he'd better keep swinging for the fences because the 3% that support him won't even get him to first base.

  83. Jeb! is still the favorite to win the republican primary among bookies, and by a wide margin.
    He's also one of the few GOP candidates who's trying to reach out to hispanics (to the point he even labelled himself 'hispanic'). My guess is after he's won the primary he'll also try to reach out to women -- by choosing Fiorina as his running mate.

  84. Jeb! is still the CW favorite to win the nomination, but the clock is slowly winding down on that presumption. His major donors have no cause to panic just yet, but if Bush is still down in single digits a month from now, I think they'll start eyeing the doors.

  85. This is my favorite new comedy show of the season. It's going to be better than the one 4 years ago.

  86. Agreed! But why is this season so short? That's the problem with television today- even when a good show gets renewed, half the time it's with fewer episodes per season.

  87. The Democratic Presidential candidates are laying out their campaign agendas and offering positive solutions on a variety of issues crucial to Americans. They are proposing very specific policy positions designed to solve problems and provide common sense answers. They believe voters want and deserve clear and constructive answers to the problems facing our nation.

    Now let's turn to the presidential candidates of the Republican/Tea Party as they head into their Clown Bus Debate - Part II.

    In contrast, the Republican/Tea Party candidates are offering more opposition, gridlock and obstruction rather than solutions. They are following the same agenda of the last 6 years that has led to the hyper-partisan divide. On nearly every issue discussed so far, the Republican/Tea Party candidates are promoting an agenda of opposition. They have no positive agenda and instead are relying on ginning up anger, hatred and division.

    Preparing "aggressive new tactics"? To borrow a term from Stephen Colbert, looks like the non-Trumps are going all out to make their answers "Trumpier".

  88. Mr. Walker ranked third in the number of words said in the August debate because he has nothing to say other than, "Vote for me! I hate women! I hate teachers! I'll do whatever the Koch brothers want me to do"!

  89. Do we really need to be assailed daily by all this mediocrity. Would it not be nice to have, in this day and age, a candidate who has class, intelligence, and knowledge. One who can discuss issues in a positive and constructive way instead of constantly catering to the tabloids. What is going on today is tragic for this country. let's stop laughing and put a stop to it.

  90. I just saw cnn will stream the debate for free. Those of us that have cut the chord can watch if we choose.

  91. I'm waiting for the swimsuit competition to make my choice.

  92. I was raised in the rhetorical era of JFK, RFK and MLK. Compared to these giants of the spoken word, the current crop of GOP candidates are as inspiring as tollbooth collectors. With the occasional exception, they are choosing, or forced by competitive circumstances to appeal to the lowest common denominator in their primary electorate: a demographic mix of white supremacy, broad ignorance; intolerance bleeding profusely into bigotry, and disguised as "religious liberty"; unbridled obsession with all manner of gun ownership, including assault weapons; the flouting of settled federal law which they're convinced threatens their narrow social and cultural delusions.

    No wonder this GOP primary season makes the one in 2012 seem tame by comparison. I'm reminded of ( of all people) Chuck Heston's famous line in "Planet of the Apes" as he's been fire-hosed in a cell by his simian prison guard, "It's a Madhouse!
    A Madhouse!" Amen, brother.

  93. With Donald Trump on the stage, I don't see how anyone can keep a straight face and call this upcoming spitball fight a debate.

  94. Judging from their response to the Iran deal, illegal immigration, the Kim Davis fiasco and the Planned Parenthood brouhaha, it appears that the GOP has gone Stark. Raving. Mad.

  95. This is my take on Donald Trump, if he becomes Pres. The first things he will do enact an emergency tax on all homeowners in America (he will called "occupancy tax") then declare a default on the national debt, principal and interest offering all bond holders $.10c to the dollar, he personally buy a chunk of it, wait four years to sell it for a big gain.
    That is how he made his money. He did it more than once.

  96. Donald needs to stop acting like the kids I grew up with in the projects in Brooklyn, i.e., any time there was a perceived verbal attack or even a hint of an attack on an individual, that person would immediately shoot right back with a horrendous verbal barrage. Make fun of someone's physical characteristics. Make fun of their family. Make fun of the way they talk, or of something they did. We used to call it "ranking out" the other person. What common 50's NYC street behavior. And there's Donald doing that at his age.
    If he could only cut that out - and stop making idiotic proposals on immigration - he'd very quickly pick up millions of new voters. Why? Because everything else he says makes more sense - and is more honest - than the rest of the field. And most people instantly see that.

  97. Jeb sounded tired and, yes, low energy. Rand, with his crazy wild hair and his sweaty face, did not seem presidential. Rubio came across well, as did Kasich and Carson(at the end). Many voters make their decisions by watching these debates, so it will all be about sound bites and how the candidates project. Trump will probably do well again. No matter the topics or who takes on who, my prediction is the the viewership will be really high, so the networks are there real winners.

  98. This is quite unnatural that most leading candidates are more busy trying to find weak points (preferably compromising) of one another than trying to show voters their bright sides and ingenious plans.