U.S. Politics

After Violence, Trump Says Protesters at His Rallies Are “Bad Dudes”

During Thursday night’s GOP debate, moderator Jake Tapper asked Donald Trump about the recent spate of violence at his rallies, including an episode on Wednesday where a white man was charged with assault after punching a black protester at a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“This is hardly the first incident of violence breaking out at your rallies,” Tapper said. “Do you believe that you’ve done anything to create a tone where this kind of violence would be encouraged?”

Trump responded that he didn’t condone this behavior. Tapper then proceeded to rattle off a series of Trump’s own quotes from the campaign trail, including one instance in which he said about a protester: “I’d like to punch him in the face.

Trump responded by blaming the protesters: “We have some protesters who are bad dudes, they have done bad things,” Trump said. “They get in there and start hitting people. We had a couple big, strong, powerful guys doing damage to people.” Trump added that he relies on local police to remove protesters from his events, saying, “If they’re gonna be taken out, I’ll be honest, I mean, we have to run something.”

U.S. Politics

Everything You Missed From the GOP Debate in Miami

Everything You Missed From the GOP Debate in Miami

Image Credit: AP


The four remaining candidates for the Republican presidential nomination clashed in Miami Thursday, making their cases for themselves — and against frontrunner Donald Trump — ahead of a round of critical primaries on Tuesday.

The CNN-sponsored debate had flashpoints over everything from Cuba to the economy, but was marked by a notably more civil and dignified tone than the last showdown, which featured cringeworthy exchanges about the size of hands and other body parts.

Thursday’s debate marked a critical moment for Marco Rubio, who could face an embarrassing defeat to Trump in Florida on Tuesday, while Ted Cruz continued to make his case as the best man to stop the frontrunner from taking over the GOP. John Kasich looked forward to the coming contest in his home state of Ohio.

We captured the night’s highlights below:

1. The debate opened with a discussion about trade.

The debate kicked off with a discussion of free-trade agreements, with the candidates expressing a range of views on the matter.

Kasich called for cracking down on countries that violate the terms of trade agreements.

“My position has always been we want to have free trade, but fair trade,” Kasich said. “And I’ve been arguing all along that it is absolutely critical that when other countries break those agreements, we don’t turn the process over to some international bureaucrat who comes back a couple years later and says, ‘oh, America was right and people are out of work.’ The fact of the matter is we have to have an expedited process.”

Trump cited his experience as a businessman, saying it equipped him with the know-how to change the rules of the global trading game.

“I’m the one that knows how to change it,” he said. “Nobody else on this stage knows how to change it like I do. Believe me.”

Everything You Missed From the GOP Debate in Miami

Source: Wilfredo Lee/AP

Rubio evinced more optimism on the topic.

“Our people are the most innovative on this planet” he said. “If it’s a free and fair trade deal we can compete against anyone in the world and we need to in the 21st century.”

Meanwhile, Cruz explained his newfound opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement by citing what he called the negative consequences of trade agreements.

“We’re getting killed in international trade right now,” he said. “And we’re getting killed because we have an administration that’s doesn’t look out for American workers and jobs are going overseas.” — Luke Brinker

2. Trump confirmed Ben Carson will endorse him on Friday.

During a discussion of his opposition to the Common Core education standards, Trump confirmed an earlier Washington Post report that he’d soon announce an endorsement from one of his former rivals.

“I was with Dr. Ben Carson today, who is endorsing me, by the way, tomorrow morning, and he is — we were talking. We spoke for over an hour on education. He has such a great handle on it,” Trump said of his former foe, who ended his longshot bid for the GOP nomination a week ago.

Trump said he would ask Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, to weigh on education reform.

The timing of the Carson endorsement matters for several reasons: Besides potentially earning Trump the support of his ex-rival’s backers, it bolsters his argument that he’s the man to unite the GOP on the way to November.

Bonus: Carson lives in winner-take-all Florida, which votes Tuesday. — Celeste Katz

3. Rubio promised not to bankrupt his mother.

Given the chance to clarify his position on entitlement programs, Rubio made clear that he’s not in favor of anything that would bankrupt his mother.

“There are about 3 million seniors in Florida, with Social Security and Medicare. One of them is my mother, who happens to be here today. I’m against any changes to Social Security that are bad for my mother.”

Still, Rubio argued, the long-term fiscal health of the country required entitlement reforms for younger Americans, including gradually increasing the retirement age to 70. — Luke Brinker

4. Rubio and Cruz finally bothered to start attacking Trump.

With everything at stake, Rubio took aim at the frontrunner during a segment on how to keep Social Security solvent.

“You are talking about [saving money by cutting] waste, fraud and abuse,” Rubio said. “An independent bipartisan organization, the committee for a responsible federal budget, says improper payments like you are talking about, that would only save about $3 billion — but it would take $150 billion to make Social Security solvent.”


U.S. Politics

The 5 most memorable zingers of the GOP debate

Fox News

Video Link


Thursday night’s debate in Detroit kicked off with a coarse discussion of Donald Trump’s anatomy, and while moderators attempted to keep the focus on policy, the zingers kept flying all night. Here’s a look at the most notable insults and exchanges of the evening:

1. The size of Trump’s hands

“I have to say this, he hit my hands,” Trump said of Marco Rubio. “Nobody has ever hit my hands. I’ve never heard of this one. Look at those hands. Are they small hands?”

Knowingly, Trump continued, “And he referred to my hands if they’re small, something else must be small. I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee you.”

2. “Little Marco…”

Trump referred to Rubio repeatedly, and condescendingly, as “little Marco.”

“Don’t worry about it little Marco, I will” answer a question, Trump said, when Rubio pushed for a response.

“Let’s hear, big Donald,” Rubio said.

“Don’t worry about it, little Marco,” Trump shot back.

“Gentlemen… Gentlemen, you have got to do better than this,” moderator Chris Wallace implored.

3. …And “Lyin’ Ted.”

Cruz pressed Trump to authorize the New York Times to release an off-the-record tape in which he discussed his immigration views, and reportedly took on a more moderate tone in private. The suggestion did not go over well.

“If you didn’t tell them that, the tapes will prove you innocent,” Cruz said.

“You’re the lying guy up here,” Trump responded. “I’ve given my answer, lyin’ Ted,” he continued.

4. Ted Cruz, yogi?

Trump interrupted Cruz as he defended an op-ed that he wrote several years ago in support of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts — and Cruz responded with soothing noises.

“Breathe, breathe, breathe,” he said.

“I am, Ted,” Trump replied.

“You can do it. You can breathe. I know it’s hard. I know it’s hard,” Cruz continued.

Rubio interjected, “When they’re done with the yoga, can I answer a question?”

“I really hope we don’t see yoga on this stage,” Cruz snarked.

Jabbing Trump, who earlier cited the need for flexibility when explaining past policy flip-flops, Rubio continued, “He’s very flexible, so you never know.”

5. Cruz repeatedly shushes Trump

At another point in the debate, Trump sought to interject as Cruz described some of Trump’s past business missteps.

“Donald, learn not to interrupt,” Cruz said. “It’s not complicated. Count to ten, Donald. Count to ten.”


U.S. Politics

Watch Fox News’ Megyn Kelly Grill Donald Trump On Trump University


“Let’s see what happens in court.”

Fox News host Megyn Kelly may as well have been on the debate stage at Thursday’s Republican presidential debate in Detroit, because she wiped the floor with real estate mogul Donald Trump over a 2004 business venture that has recently come under scrutiny.

The unaccredited Trump University took an estimated $40 million from some 7,000 students, and some are now suing Trump for fraud in two California class-actionlawsuits, along with a separate case being pursued by New York’s attorney general.

Trump’s opponents have used the controversy to attack him on the campaign trail. Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Thursday cited it to accuse Trump of being a “fraud” and a “con artist” who is “playing the American people for suckers.”

Kelly put Trump in the hot seat over the venture, pointedly grilling him over facts of the case and flashing on the television screen key claims from plaintiffs alleging wrongdoing.

“They found victims of con artists sing the praises of their victimizers until they realize they have been fleeced,” Kelly said.

Trump, however, brushed aside the questioning.

“Let’s see what happens in court,” Trump responded. “This is a civil case. Very easy to settle. 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, okay?”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) jumped in, accusing Trump of running a scam.

“They signed up. Paid $15,000. You asked for additional money for the course. If they wanted the real secrets of success, they had to pay more money, so they did. You know what they got in the courses? Stuff you can pull off Zillow,” Rubio said, referring to the real estate website. “When they realized what a scam it was, they asked for their money back and refused to give their money back.”

“I gave many people their money back,” Trump responded.

He added: “We will see who’s right at the end of a few years. Almost all of the people, many, many people signed what’s called the report at the end, did you like the course, how did you like it? Almost all of them said it was terrific, okay?”

Watch the exchange above.

Igor Bobic

U.S. Politics

Ben Carson: ‘Can Someone Attack Me Please?’ (VIDEO)


AP Photo / John Locher


“Can someone attack me please?” the retired neurosurgeon asked to laughter from the crowd.

Watch below:


U.S. Politics



Rubio, Cruz Throw Kitchen Sink At Trump… OR: ‘Trump Won Hands Down’… Rivals Too Late?… Donald Angry: Rubio ‘A Choke Artist,’ Cruz ‘A Liar’… Trump: I Can’t Release My Taxes Because I’m In Major IRS Audit…Romney Keeps Hitting… HIGHLIGHTS… LATEST…

U.S. Politics

Jeb Bush and Donald Trump’s Feud Got Even Uglier in the South Carolina Republican Debate

Jeb Bush and Donald Trump's Feud Got Even Uglier in the South Carolina Republican Debate

Source: John Bazemore/AP


GREENVILLE, S.C.  Donald Trump came to the Palmetto State to bury Jeb Bush, not praise him.

The Republican rivals dropped the gloves Saturday in one of the most pyrotechnic presidential debates yet, throwing haymakers over everything from dynastic politics to the 9/11 terror attacks.

Trump arrived with a cushy lead in the polls — and a yen to savage Bush ahead of South Carolina’s Feb. 20 primary, as Mic foreshadowed ahead of the brawl at the ironically named Peace Center.

Jeb Bush and Donald Trump's Feud Got Even Uglier in the South Carolina Republican Debate

Source: John Bazemore/AP

Recent polls suggest Bush isn’t a national-level threat to Trump, who notched a decisive win in Tuesday’s New Hampshire GOP primary.

But Bush, whose frontrunner status evaporated with Trump’s mid-June foray into the contest, has some traction and family history here in South Carolina: The latest poll averages say he’s at just over 11% support.

So Trump and the former Florida governor played hardball over the future of the party and their interpretations of the past — including how former President George W. Bush handled the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

Trump blamed Bush 43 for not preventing the terror strike and lashed out at him for the subsequent “big fat mistake” of the Iraq War. Bush defended his family and slammed Trump’s love of “blood sport.”

It was ugly. It was personal. And it didn’t stop when the debate ended.

Burning Bush: Making the post-broadcast rounds of the spin room, Trump reprised some of his slams against Bush’s brother, who carried the state in 2000, remains popular here and joins the family on the stump in North Charleston on Monday.

But the Manhattan frontrunner also openly said payback is part of why he’s burning Bush.

“He took $20 million of negative ads on me. And I tell people this and I teach people this: When somebody hits you, you hit ’em back,” Trump told the press as his wife, Melania, stood at his side.

“[Bush] doesn’t have a chance. He’s a total lightweight,” Trump said. “But he spent $20 million on negative ads — so yes, I’ll hit him on occasion.”


U.S. Politics

The GOP Candidates Are Shockingly Uninformed About Foreign Policy


Carlos Barria/Reuters


Even without Trump, the Republican field seems clueless on the basics.

Thursday night’s Trump-less debate was less blustery than the Republicans’ previous spectacles, but on foreign policy issues, the Donald’s absence didn’t make it less slight, cynical, or shruggingly uninformed.

Earlier in the week, Robert Gates—a lifelong Republican who has served as secretary of defense and CIA director—said the GOP candidates’ discussion of national security issues “would embarrass a middle schooler.” If Gates tuned in Thursday night, he would have had no cause to revise his assessment.

Sen. Marco Rubio started off by promising that, if—or, rather, when—he’s elected president, “We are going to rebuild our intelligence capabilities, and they’re going to tell us where the terrorists are.” Rubio seems unaware that President Obama has vastly boosted spending on intelligence and that the spy agencies’ No. 1 priority is to find terrorists. But Rubio went further: Under his administration, he said, “If we capture terrorists, they’re going to Guantánamo, and we will find out everything they know.” I think this means that he would bring back torture—a technique that George W. Bush ended in 2006. None of the other candidates, or the questioners, seemed to mind.

Sen. Ted Cruz doubled down on his colorful comment from an earlier debate that he would “carpet-bomb” ISIS until the desert sands glowed in the dark—suggesting that the bombs might be atomic. (Gates was addressing this remark when he lambasted his party’s candidates for “making threats and promises that are totally unrealistic, totally unattainable,” adding, “Either they really believe what they’re saying, or they’re cynical and opportunistic, and, in a way, you hope it’s the latter, because God forbid they actually believe some of the things that they’re saying.”)

Cruz also said—obligatory in these settings—that Obama has “dramatically degraded our military,” noting that since the 1990 Gulf War, the number of U.S. planes and ships has diminished by half. Assuming those figures are true, he ignores that the combat power of those planes and ships has dramatically grown. Would Cruz prefer trading today’s military for the one of 25 years ago? That’s the right question, if he’s going to raise the issue. Any general or admiral would choose today’s.

Rubio went further, saying we now have the smallest Army since World War II, the smallest Navy in 100 years, and the smallest Air Force in history. Again, I don’t think any general or admiral would make the trade. The number of ships, planes, and soldiers is not all that counts.

Gov. Chris Christie charged that the National Security Agency reform bill “made the country less safe,” apparently not recognizing that its effect—to remove metadata files from the agency’s headquarters and store them with the phone companies (and allowing the agency to retrieve them with a court order)—was, in fact, suggested by Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director at the time. Alexander assured the members of Obama’s reform commission, as well as many lawmakers on Capitol Hill, that the measure would have negligible effect on counterterrorism.

Jeb Bush said, “We need to arm the Kurds, embed troops with Iraqi soldiers, support Sunni tribes,” and help a “Sunni-led force to take out ISIS.” He seemed unaware that President Obama is doing all of those things, though admittedly, the final and crucial piece—organizing a Sunni-led force—is slow going because some of the Sunni nations fear and loathe one another more than they fear and loathe ISIS. How would any of these candidates better deal with that problem when they apparently don’t know it exists?

Rubio, Bush, and Cruz all said they’d loosen the rules of engagement that supposedly constrain U.S. forces fighting and bombing ISIS. But they didn’t specify how they would do this (except for Cruz with his call for carpet-bombing) or what effect the loosening might have.

Fred Kaplan

Page 2>>>





U.S. Politics

Fox News Slams Trump Campaign’s ‘Terrorizations’ Against Megyn Kelly



“We can’t give into terrorizations toward any of our employees.”

Fox News slammed Donald Trump’s decision to skip Thursday night’s debate in Iowa and accused his campaign manager of “terrorizations” against Megyn Kelly, “The Kelly File” host who will be one of the moderators at the event.

Trump has had an ongoing feud with Kelly since she questioned his sexist attacks against women during a debate in August. Fox News said the war of wordsescalated behind the scenes over the weekend during a call with Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

In a statement released to Politico on Tuesday night, the conservative news network claimed:

“In a call on Saturday with a Fox News executive, Lewandowski stated that Megyn ‘had a rough couple days after that last debate’ and he ‘would hate to have her go through that again.’ Lewandowski was warned not to level any more threats, but he continued to do so.”

“We can’t give into terrorizations toward any of our employees,” the network said.

Fox News said the GOP front-runner for president spent four days lobbying to have Kelly replaced, but they refused to give in to his demands.

“Capitulating to politicians’ ultimatums about a debate moderator violates all journalistic standards,” the network said.

Trump is still welcome to join the debate “but he can’t dictate the moderators or the questions.”

The latest statement is a sharp turn from one released earlier in the day, which took more of a humorous tone. According to The New York Times, Fox News initially said:

“We learned from a secret back channel that the Ayatollah and Putin both intend to treat Donald Trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president — a nefarious source tells us that Trump has his own secret plan to replace the Cabinet with his Twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings.”

Writing on Twitter, Trump dismissed that earlier statement as a “pathetic attempt by @foxnews to try and build up ratings for the #GOPDebate.  Without me they’d have no ratings!”

At the time of this writing, Trump has not yet commented on the latest statement accusing his campaign manager of threatening Kelly.


U.S. Politics

Watch the Moment the Gloves Finally Came Off Between Trump and Cruz at the GOP Debate


During Thursday’s GOP debate, Sen. Ted Cruz was forced to weigh in on his eligibilityto run for president of the United States—a controversy Donald Trump has been vigorously fanning as the Canadian-born senator has risen in the polls.

Cruz’s initial annoyance was palpable, but it was clear he was prepared for the “birther” issue to come up. Throughout the campaign, Cruz has avoided hitting back against Trump. But this was the moment the gloves finally came off.

“The Constitution hasn’t changed,” Cruz said. “But the poll numbers have. And I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are falling.”

Watch the tense exchange below: