Open thread: The “Trump and Cruz finally punch each other in the face” debate

posted at 8:01 pm on January 14, 2016 by Allahpundit

9 p.m. ET on Fox Business. That headline is sexy but it’s probably false: If anything, this is the “everybody punches Marco Rubio in the face” debate. Jeb certainly will, as that’s the only reason his campaign still exists at this point. Chris Christie will, hoping that a hard hit will finally clear his path in New Hampshire. Cruz will, since he still fears a head-to-head race with Rubio above others. Trump probably will too, just because he’s Trump. Heck, by the time the evening’s over, there’s a 50/50 chance that Ben Carson will awaken from his slumber and call Rubio a RINO. It’s bound to be hours of fun for Trump fans and Cruz fans alike.

Unless, that is, Trump and Cruz start swinging at each other. Politico seems convinced that Cruz is at long last ready to engage but I’ll believe it when I see it. What’s changed lately that would make Cruz rethink his long-held strategy of ingratiating himself to Trump fans? Remember this data set from the Cruz/Snowden post?

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Fully 75 percent find it very or mostly attractive that Cruz has held his fire on Trump. I think Cruz is prepared to counterpunch tonight, especially if Trump comes after him over his “natural-born” status, but he won’t initiate hostilities. Meanwhile, Trump has an odd tendency to avoid conflict at debates. Remember, he also attacked Cruz in the week before the last debate, calling him a “maniac” for how he’s clashed with Senate Republicans. Face to face with Cruz onstage a few days later, he turned into a pussycat, saying he felt reassured that Cruz has a “wonderful” temperament. Maybe, after all the hype this week about “New York values” and natural-born Canadians, war is unavoidable. It probably is now that we’re less than three weeks out from the caucuses and it’s dawning on Trump that there’s no reason for him not to attack Cruz. But who knows? We’ve all seen how weirdly chummy Trump gets with the other candidates at these things. Why risk a war of words with Cruz on national television that he might lose when he could gladhand him tonight and then accuse him of being a trojan horse sent by Ottawa tomorrow?

Speaking of Cruz’s status, Reince Priebus finally dares to go where Marco Rubio, Mitt Romney, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and nearly every legal scholar who’s looked at the eligibility issue have already gone:

I wonder if that news will trickle down to Trump in time for him to grouse tonight about the RNC meddling in the primary to help Cruz win (giggle). That’d be a fine, hallucinatory start to the long-delayed Trump/Cruz war — each man will accuse the other of being a tool of the establishment, Trump attacking Cruz for his Washington connections and fancy Goldman Sachs loans and Cruz attacking Trump for his palm-greasing, center-left fatcat “New York values.”

Whatever happens, I’ll be shocked if the needle moves much in Iowa over the next week because of this. (The week after, as late-deciders finally make up their minds, might be different.) If anything shakes loose, I assume it’ll be in New Hampshire depending upon how Rubio fares against Bush and Christie tonight. Pundits are forever heralding magical “Rubio moments” at these debates, writes Michael Brendan Dougherty, only to see Rubio stagger along at 12-15 percent in poll after poll in the following weeks. Is tonight the night that changes or is it 15 percent all the way down for the great establishment hope?

Rubio has the sympathetic coverage and interest of the Beltway media. He has basked in open cheering from influential conservative outlets like National Review Online and The Weekly Standard. He’s collecting endorsements from conservative congressmen. He and his allies have spent an enormous amount of money — second only to pro-Jeb Bush groups — trying to blunt the rise of Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz. And yet every poll for months in the first two nominating contents has him between 10 and 14 percent. He’s had 15 moments in the media over the past three months. And 15 weeks of same in the polls…

And definitely don’t pay attention to the fact that Marco Rubio’s fans, who had spent many golden Rubio-moments exulting in their man’s triumph over his former mentor, are now whining to the press about the funny ads coming from Right to Rise, a Jeb Bush-aligned Super PAC…

The whole premise of Rubio’s candidacy is that his fresh face and new way of thinking are guaranteed to beat stale legacy candidates like Hillary Clinton. And yet, he needs to be protected from Bush.

We’re still a ways away from “Rubio can’t win” but I think we’ve reached the point where we can rule out vast swaths of Republican voters suddenly realizing that he’s the perfect man for the moment, a sort of electoral epiphany that some Rubio fans seem convinced will be upon us at any moment. If he wins now, it’ll look more like how Romney won, with a modest base of enthusiastic supporters paired with a much larger group of Republicans who’ve concluded that the other candidates are too kooky or unlikable for them to support. It’ll be less “Rubiomania” than “Anybody but Trump and Cruz.”

Gotta get past Christie first, though. As we wait for the show to start, here’s George Will hammering Rubio for his poor judgment, from the Gang of Eight to intervention in Libya to supporting Obama’s horrible Star Chamber standards of due process for campus sexual assaults. Rich Lowry thinks Rubio’s electoral problem may be simpler than that: He’s very much not a perfect man for the moment given that the moment is defined by populist anger and Rubio is perpetually sunny and soft-spoken. There’s something to that, but one thing I’ve heard from Rubio critics on the right repeatedly is that if he had steered cleared of the Gang of Eight and had run this year with his conservative credentials still as firmly intact as Cruz’s are, he’d be crushing the field. In a straight-up personality contest between Rubio and Cruz, Rubio wins handily — even with the public as sour as it is. (Whether Rubio would be in a financial position to run this year absent his connection to the Gang of Eight, which was his big “in” with the donor class, is a another matter.)

In lieu of an exit question, I’ll leave you with new poll data from WSJ/NBC: Trump 33, Cruz 20, Rubio 13. That’s a six-point gain by Trump since the last WSJ/NBC poll and a two-point drop for both Cruz and Rubio. Trump seems to be gaining momentum, not losing it, as voting approaches. (What happened to the big mega-donor effort to blow up Trump with attack ads?) The good news for Trump critics is that Cruz leads him head-to-head, 51/43. The bad news is that Trump leads Rubio head-to-head, 52/45. The number of Republicans who said they could see themselves voting for Trump was 23 percent in March of last year. Today: 65 percent. Cruz might be the last hope of stopping this train before it builds up steam.


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2,000 or BUST.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 7:49 AM

2,001 Comments »

OmahaConservative on January 15, 2016 at 7:52 AM

Magicjava on January 15, 2016 at 7:51 AM

Anyone can file a lawsuit. Who cares?

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 7:53 AM

The fact that Maher is skeert of Cruz is reason enough to vote for him.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 7:53 AM

Good morning, OC.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 7:54 AM

Jeb! hardest hit.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 7:47 AM

Jeb!, bless his heart. He needs to lead the parade of “not going to happens” who bow out. Now.

The reality is that the race has come down to a filthy arrogant douchebag and two Americans of Cuban heritage. Which BTW is still more diverse than the Dems.

Happy Nomad on January 15, 2016 at 7:55 AM

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 7:54 AM

Morning…

OmahaConservative on January 15, 2016 at 7:56 AM

Texas Attorney Files Eligibility Lawsuit Against Ted Cruz!

Magicjava on January 15, 2016 at 7:51 AM

It will be thrown out – he has no standing to file suit.

Pork-Chop on January 15, 2016 at 7:59 AM

I’d agree with all of the above. Trump even managed to make it seem as if New Yorkers were real people.
Happy Nomad on January 15, 2016 at 7:38 AM

Ha ha. One of the best lines of the 20 pages. ;)

Cleombrotus on January 15, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Happy Nomad on January 15, 2016 at 7:55 AM

I better say it before some birther does, some would say a filthy arrogant douchebag, a Cuban American and a Cuban Canadian :-)

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 8:02 AM

Mornin’, y’all!

“I’m mad as H*ll and I won’t take it anymore!”, Peter Finch, “Network”

My take: https://kingsjester.wordpress.com/2016/01/15/trump-and-the-average-american-voter-gladly-accepting-the-mantle-of-anger/

Trump and the Average American Voter: Gladly Accepting the “Mantle of Anger”

kingsjester on January 15, 2016 at 8:05 AM

Trump rents Iowa theater to show Benghazi movie

DES MOINES, Iowa — Donald Trump has rented space at an Urbandale movie theater and will give Iowans free tickets to a showing of the Benghazi movie that critics of Hillary Clinton have been eagerly awaiting.

“Mr. Trump would like all Americans to know the truth about what happened at Benghazi,” the GOP presidential candidate’s Iowa co-chair Tana Goertz said Thursday night.

Trump will pay for the showing of 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi at 6 p.m. Friday at the Carmike Cobblestone 9 Theatre, Goertz said.

“The theater is paid for. The tickets are paid for. You just have to RSVP,” she said.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2016/01/15/trump-rents-iowa-theater-show-benghazi-movie/78833638/

Garyinaz66 on January 15, 2016 at 7:37 AM

TRAMPY IS JUST TRYING TO BUY VOTES! FOR SHAME! KARATECHOP 2016!

fossten on January 15, 2016 at 8:06 AM

FRED!

Oh … wait.

My watch stopped.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 8:09 AM

Burn This GOPe B!TCH Down!!

OmahaConservative on January 15, 2016 at 8:12 AM

fossten on January 15, 2016 at 8:06 AM

well if Trump wants to buy votes at least he does it with his own money instead of his donor/owners money like all the rest.

;-)

Garyinaz66 on January 15, 2016 at 8:15 AM

kingsjester on January 15, 2016 at 8:05 AM

Good read.

Good morning, kj.

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 8:15 AM

Trump got trounced last night…what an embarassment…

But a good ploy pulling out the decade old “9/11” card…but since then, what has NY done, bring in hacks that want to tell you how much soda you can drink?

No one, but a Trump boi, falls for that “9/11” showed us how great we are…no, it was America, all of America…and every city in the U.S. would have reacted the same way…and thank God, Rudy, a Republican, was leading the charge.

But besides that…Cruz saying he wouldn’t take legal advice, what he was saying was he wouldn’t take any advice from Trump.

But where was Jeb, Kasich, Christie, Carson…where they even there?

Rubio was his normal perfect professional politician…he did his usual act of imitating someone who cares about America, but is too busy to represent the people who voted for him.

It was all Cruz and Trump…and Cruz showed why he is the most intelligent man on that debate stage.

right2bright on January 15, 2016 at 8:17 AM

hillbillyjim on January 15, 2016 at 8:15 AM

Good morning, ol’ buddy!

Thank you!

kingsjester on January 15, 2016 at 8:23 AM

The biggest loser…Rand Paul, whining because he was pushed to the second debate.

Hey, pal, the candidate I support got pushed to the second debate and she didn’t whine about it…she took advantage of the opportunity.

That is how the system works, you fight through the tough times and don’t whine about it.

No one wanted to be on the second tier…so of course they were not happy…but they showed up and did what they do best, present themselves to the people.

And still, Carly had the most concise and detailed answers to the questions…she just isn’t a good enough entertainer.

But Paul running off an sulking…what a fool.

right2bright on January 15, 2016 at 8:25 AM

From the “Making necessary adjustments department:

Minor win for Cruz on Birther issue, Trump was “electric”

Magicjava on January 15, 2016 at 8:26 AM

No one, but a Trump boi, falls for that “9/11” showed us how great we are…no, it was America, all of America…and every city in the U.S. would have reacted the same way…and thank God, Rudy, a Republican, was leading the charge.

right2bright on January 15, 2016 at 8:17 AM

Yeah that Charles Krauthammer, what a Trump fanboi.

fossten on January 15, 2016 at 8:26 AM

right2bright on January 15, 2016 at 8:25 AM

I like Carly too. But she pigeon holed herself as the anti-abortion lady and fell off the radar. She blew her (remote) chance.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 8:28 AM

Politricks on January 15, 2016

Did that putz really waste bandwidth defending Moochelle’s looks??

I missed the whole thing because I had to go to bed early; but I took a look at a few back pages of comments. Sheesh!

CurtZHP on January 15, 2016 at 8:32 AM

Yeah that Charles Krauthammer, what a Trump fanboi.
fossten on January

Just read Krauthammer’s analysis. Saying he “won” the debate because of that response just shows what those debates have descended to.

He may have; I’m not saying he didn’t, but based on that response? It didn’t address Cruz’s point.

Cleombrotus on January 15, 2016 at 8:33 AM

I like Carly too. But she pigeon holed herself as the anti-abortion lady and fell off the radar. She blew her (remote) chance.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 8:28 AM

But but but…she cut Trump’s balls off!

— Rick Wilson

fossten on January 15, 2016 at 8:36 AM

Just read Krauthammer’s analysis. Saying he “won” the debate because of that response just shows what those debates have descended to.

He may have; I’m not saying he didn’t, but based on that response? It didn’t address Cruz’s point.

Cleombrotus on January 15, 2016 at 8:33 AM

You might disagree with him, but he is no Trump fanboi.

fossten on January 15, 2016 at 8:39 AM

It didn’t address Cruz’s point.

Cleombrotus on January 15, 2016 at 8:33 AM

Trump’s comment about William F. Buckley did, though.

fossten on January 15, 2016 at 8:39 AM

Quarter of Republicans think Cruz’s birthplace disqualifies him for president: poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A quarter of Republicans think White House hopeful Ted Cruz is disqualified to serve as U.S. president because he was born in Canada to an American mother, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

Republican voters nearly mirror independents and the broader electorate in their belief that Cruz cannot hold the White House, with 27 percent of all voters and 28 percent of independents responding he should be disqualified.

Only 47 percent of all voters surveyed responded that they thought Cruz is qualified to be president with regard to his citizenship

Garyinaz66 on January 15, 2016 at 8:41 AM

TRAMPY IS JUST TRYING TO BUY VOTES! FOR SHAME! KARATECHOP 2016!

fossten on January 15, 2016 at 8:06 AM

The only ticket with the Kung Fu skills is Redstone’s Kasich/Van der Plaats 2016.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 15, 2016 at 8:49 AM

I can’t believe that Laffer just used the stupid poison M&M bit just now. For Pete’s sake, stick to tax policy Art.

MJBrutus on January 15, 2016 at 8:52 AM

fossten on January 15, 2016 at 8:39 AM

I don’t think so. Buckley is the perfect example of the exception proving the rule. He was always against “New York values” because he recognized that these were precisely what was destroying the country.

Cleombrotus on January 15, 2016 at 8:57 AM

fossten on January 15, 2016 at 8:39 AM

I don’t think so. Buckley is the perfect example of the exception proving the rule. He was always against “New York values” because he recognized that these were precisely what was destroying the country.

Cleombrotus on January 15, 2016 at 8:57 AM

“East Coast liberal” values, to be precise.

“I am obliged to confess I should sooner live in a society governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston telephone directory than in a society governed by the two thousand faculty members of Harvard University.”

ebrown2 on January 15, 2016 at 9:38 AM

So the LIBERAL RINO FEMINISTS on FOX NEWS are still on the attack against CRUZ this morning on the NEW YORK VALUES. so they support DE BLASIO, BLOOMBERG, CUOMO, CLINTON, and TRUMP values eh? So the two blond bimbos on FOX are from NEW YORK? Thought so

Realdemocrat1 on January 15, 2016 at 9:40 AM

So LIBERAL RINOS support NEW YORK VALUES of releasing convicted felons back onto the streets eh? Certainly not IOWA values right TRUMP? How about the DEAD COPS BLACK LIVES MATTER VALUES? Angry much?

Realdemocrat1 on January 15, 2016 at 9:44 AM

I didn’t watch the debate, but I’ve been combing through the comments, and then saw this over at Breitbart…

At GOP Debate, Trump the Only Candidate Willing to Pause Muslim Immigration

Is this true? If so, why didn’t anyone comment here on that? Or did I miss it. Sorry, but this seals my vote for Trump. He’s the only one on that stage demonstrating one iota of common sense instead of political correctness. Very disappointed in Cruz over this if this did indeed happen.

dominigan on January 15, 2016 at 9:46 AM

ebrown2 on January 15, 2016 at 9:38 AM

Yeah, it’s a shame that the issue was so inartfully framed by Ted Cruz and Trump is making it a an issue of defending New York. We really need to be having this discussion because it’s what all of this rests on.

At least domestically.

Cleombrotus on January 15, 2016 at 9:48 AM

Just for not2bright..

Scarborough on Trump Pensacola Rally: ‘I Never Saw Anything Like That in My Hometown Before’ — ‘I Don’t Get It’

“I was at George W. Bush’s campaign rally in 2004 at the final stages of that unbelievable presidential race in early November,” Scarborough said. “I saw Reagan come to Pensacola twice in 1980. I saw the crowds. I never saw anything like that in my hometown before. It’s absolutely staggering, here we are — in early January. I’ll be honest with you — I guess seeing it in your own hometown, I don’t get it as far as the size of these crowds go. It’s like nothing I saw with Reagan. It’s like nothing I saw with Bush. It’s nothing I saw with any political candidate what I saw come out of Pensacola last night.”

Enjoy!

dominigan on January 15, 2016 at 10:14 AM

Donald Trump is NOT a natural born citizen.

According to the strongest birther theory, BOTH of your PARENTS need to be BORN ON US SOIL in order to be NATURAL BORN.

Donald J. Trump is INELIGIBLE to be President according to the argument he has embraced and ought to get a court declaration to clear that up.

Why are you trying to saddle us with a Presidential candidate you know will get sued by the other party?

Don’t try to laugh it off and not answer. Cruz just pointed out that Donald J. Trump has a problem and you can’t seem to deal with it.

BKennedy on January 15, 2016 at 7:02 AM

That is total BS and you know it.

The founders did not agree with that interpretation at all and neither did the supreme court.

NWConservative on January 15, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Is this true? If so, why didn’t anyone comment here on that? Or did I miss it. Sorry, but this seals my vote for Trump. He’s the only one on that stage demonstrating one iota of common sense instead of political correctness. Very disappointed in Cruz over this if this did indeed happen.

dominigan on January 15, 2016 at 9:46 AM

.
Because it was common knowledge before the debate. It wasn’t any surprise that the rest were shilling for bringing more rapists, Muslim supremacists, and terrorists here.

My favorite part was when Marco Rubio started saying ISIS was recruiting Muslim engineers to become terrorists for them, but he’s against stopping all Muslim immigration, thereby letting these sleepers into the country…

NWConservative on January 15, 2016 at 10:35 AM

The rinos escalate their war against Trump.

A Republican National Committeeman delivered a call-to-arms aimed at Donald Trump during a closed-door GOP meeting on Thursday, urging his colleagues to take a forceful stand against those who he said were destroying the party’s brand.

“Destroying the party’s brand.” That’s what’s wrong, your crony GOPe’s & you don’t want to give up your gravy train. Just like an addict. You can’t get better unless you admit you have a problem.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/republicans-urged-rally-against-donald-trump-217828

Belle on January 15, 2016 at 10:45 AM

Man…did Cruz make Trump look out of his league, or what??

Mimzey on January 15, 2016 at 10:55 AM

dominigan on January 15, 2016 at 9:46 AM

It’s in my short list of why he won on the on the previous page.

When it happened – was back in the thread – a few commented that the debate was won. commenter dio might have had an all caps/bold post on it :).

But it is when Trump clearly won. Honestly Muslmi ban and China Trade were really where Trump killed it – not the NYC flap. Krauthhammer and co just can’t admit that because it would be too damaging to their PC globalist sensibilities.

Trump was so good in middle part that the whole line of candidates were almost wheezing in their responses trying to keep up. Rubio threw a lot of words at the mic that meant nothing. Bush looked weak, yet again. Cruz fumbled his VAT plan and otherwise was invisible. Kasich actually agreed with Trump on tariffs and ended up sounding the most polished of the also rans.

What the media doesn’t tell you is that Trump won that debate , easily, on substance.

BoxHead1 on January 15, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Man…did Cruz make Trump look out of his league, or what??

Mimzey on January 15, 2016 at 10:55 AM

what

BoxHead1 on January 15, 2016 at 11:01 AM

I’m guessing that “Canuck attacks New Yorkers” probably isn’t a campaign theme Ted really wants to embrace.

whatcat on January 15, 2016 at 11:32 AM

Because it was common knowledge before the debate. It wasn’t any surprise that the rest were shilling for bringing more rapists, Muslim supremacists, and terrorists here.

My favorite part was when Marco Rubio started saying ISIS was recruiting Muslim engineers to become terrorists for them, but he’s against stopping all Muslim immigration, thereby letting these sleepers into the country…

NWConservative on January 15, 2016 at 10:35 AM

I guess I was hoping for more from Cruz, even though I’ve suspected for a while he was weak on immigration. I guess this proves it. If anything this election cycle, you’ve got to give Trump credit for separating the chaff from the wheat!

dominigan on January 15, 2016 at 11:34 AM

BoxHead1 on January 15, 2016 at 11:01 AM

Trump’s intellect came across like a college jock. He could have just as well been wearing a 50’s college sweater with a big “T” on it.
Very out of his league compared to Cruz.

Mimzey on January 15, 2016 at 11:52 AM

Still butthurt that Kasich is crushing Paul in the polls?

Athos on January 15, 2016 at 1:46 AM

In what universe?

TBSchemer on January 15, 2016 at 2:00 AM

Why this universe, of course.

The one where Kasich was on the stage for the ‘main table’ debate, and Paul was delegated to the ‘kiddie table’ because of his falling poll numbers. Classy for Paul to petulantly refuse to participate, too.

Even Carly, who went from the kiddie table debate, to the main table debate, and back to the kiddie table debate, showed up to participate.

Has to hurt – particularly with now losing that coveted Lindsey Graham endorsement.

Athos on January 15, 2016 at 12:17 PM

“Destroying the party’s brand.” That’s what’s wrong, your crony GOPe’s & you don’t want to give up your gravy train. Just like an addict. You can’t get better unless you admit you have a problem.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/01/republicans-urged-rally-against-donald-trump-217828

Belle on January 15, 2016 at 10:45 AM

Someone tell me again as to why we (and Trump/Cruz/Carson) are even begrudgingly giving any kind of support to a party that is actively running against us?

I find it offensive to even tangentially have to retain any kind of association with these GOP scumbags. It is literally enraging to view on a daily basis the incredible arrogance and hubris that these people display.

Sugarbuzz on January 15, 2016 at 12:25 PM

Sarah Palin? The lady from Alaska who had to spend thousands of dollars on styliSt to help change her image of moose hunting, mini van driving, soccer mom?! Lol hahahahahahahhahaha! Thanks…you just proved my point hahahahahha!

Politricks on January 15, 2016 at 1:40 AM

And your beloved Moochell could have used a stylist and fashion consultant to help change her image of ill-bred, dirt-common, America-hating TRASH. She’s just pure ghetto trash….always has been….always will be.

(For lotsa laughs, why don’t you peruse the paper Mooch wrote at Princeton? You’ll love it.)

Solaratov on January 15, 2016 at 12:28 PM

Comment pages: 1 19 20 21