It did not take long for the Republican candidates to devolve into a shouting match and talk of Donald Trump‘s manhood during their debate in Detroit Thursday night.
One of the first questions from the Fox News moderators went to Sen. Marco Rubioover his harsh insults directed at Trump leading up to Super Tuesday.
“Donald Trump has basically mocked everybody with personal attacks,” Rubio said, rattling off a list of groups who Trump has targeted, including women, the disabled and minorities. “If there’s anyone who’s ever deserved to be attacked that way, it’s Donald Trump.”
While Rubio spoke, Trump held up his hands, referencing Rubio’s taunt that they were small. Asked to respond, Trump called out the “small hands” remark — and its implication.
“He hit my hands,” Trump said. “I’ve never heard of this. He referred to my hands [meaning] if they’re small something else has to be small. I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee it.”
From there, the event quickly slipped into a three-way shouting match until the Fox moderators regained control.
At one point, Fox anchor Chris Wallace admonished the candidates, saying they “have got to do better than this.”
When they did finally listen, Wallace went after Trump on statements he has made about reducing the federal deficit. Wallace pointed out Trump has said he will eliminate the federal deficit, which stood last year at $557 billion, by ending the federal Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency and allowing the federal government to buy drugs for Medicaid through a competitive bidding process. The total savings under Trump’s plan, Wallace pointed out, would only save about half of one year’s deficit spending.
Trump disagreed, saying he would save more by opening up other federal programs to competitive bidding to help make up the difference.
A recurring theme through the debate saw Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz needling Trump on his changing stances on issues. Trump repeatedly called on his experience as a businessman who understands the need for give-and-take in negotiations.
“I’ve never seen a successful person who is not flexible, who doesn’t have a certain degree of flexibility,” Trump said.
Rubio shot back: “There is a difference between flexibility and telling people anything to get them to do what you want them to do. And that is what Donald has done in his entire career.”
Cruz hammered Trump on his donations toward Hillary Clinton‘s 2008 presidential campaign, and repeated his call for Trump to allow The New York Times to release an off-the-record conversation on the topic of illegal immigration. Cruz and Rubio have both hinted the conversation includes Trump softening his position against illegal immigrants.
He makes it pretty easy…
“The only reason it was a D was because we didn’t care, we didn’t give them the information,” he said during the Republican debate Thursday on Fox News.
“With respect, we went back and looked at this,” Kelly said. “The rating from the Better Business Bureau was a D minus. That’s the last publicly available rating in 2010, and it was a result of the number of complaints they had received.”
Trump claimed that the rating was elevated to an A, but Kelly shot back saying that information had never been publicly released.
“I can give it to you,” he said. “I will give it to you. I will give it to you tomorrow. … It was elevated to an A.”
The two continued a back and forth, talking about the lawsuit against Trump University, but without the enmity of the first Fox debate in August.
“Let’s see what happens in court. This is a civil case, very easy to have settled, could settle it now, very easy to have settled. … Let’s see what happens at the end of a couple years when this case is over,” Trump said.
“It’s been going for five years,” Kelly shot back.
“Yea, it’s been going for a long time,” Trump responded.
People for some reason are defending this…
Walker did say he is inclined to allow a short continuance for the start of the trial, which is now set to begin later this month. He said he would consider rescheduling it “later this spring.”
Coleman, who has said he spoke to Hart often and used information from those conversations to hurt Hubbard politically, defended himself and – in the public portions of the hearing – did little to hurt either the prosecution or the defense.
The most striking testimony came when Coleman’s estranged business partner Jack Campbell said Coleman told him “I’m in a real bind here. I’ve been threatened with a bar complaint unless I file the affidavit.”
He said “Mike Hubbard’s defense team threatened a bar complaint.”
In one of the most interesting tidbits of this hearing, the defense team never questioned Campbell about that claim on cross examination.
Coleman had testified that he felt pressured by his conscience to come forward with the affidavit. He said he filed it when he realized he had made earlier statements to the court that he later found to be incomplete or in error.
Another witness, Coleman associate John Rice, testified that Coleman said he felt pressure from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to file the affidavit. He said it was because of “a possible bar complaint in advance.”
A lawyer for ALEA said he could not comment on that statement. Coleman said he did not know what Rice was talking about.
And I admit I inadvertantly glanced at his notes when he heard Rice’s testimony about ALEA.
Coleman scribbled “WTF does that mean?”
Which ought to be the slogan for the day.
What it all means, for now anyway, is that the Hubbard corruption case moves forward. It looks like he will get his day in court. When all of Alabama can say:
President Obama cast some light on his post-presidency plans Thursday, telling lunch companions in Milwaukee that he plans to remain in Washington so that his youngest daughter can finish high school.
“We’re going to have to stay a couple of years so Sasha can finish. Transferring someone in the middle of high school — tough,” he said while eating lunch at a Milwaukee restaurant.
Beyond that? “We haven’t figured that out yet,” he said.
Perhaps realizing that he was within earshot of his traveling press corps, he then shooed reporters away. “Thanks guys,” he said. “Get out of here.”
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