Live Blog: Fox Iowa GOP Debate sans the Strump

CNN-Republican-Debate-by-DonkeyHotey-with-FlickrCan the 2016 primaries get any more odd?  Tonight’s the final Republican debate prior to the Iowa Caucuses next Monday.   Frontrunner Donald Trump will be holding an alternative event that will be attended by other candidates Mike “the Huckster” Huckabee and Rick “the frothy” Santorum.  The event will benefit Veterans by sending money to a nonprofit that’s notorious for not spending its money on Veterans. It’s not sure who the Fox Debate will benefit although bets seem to be on Cruz or Rubio.  Rand Paul figured out how to get on the main stage. Whine.

Republican presidential candidates will square off Thursday evening at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. The debate is the final one before next Monday’s Iowa caucuses, and is especially notable for being the first one in which Donald Trump is not present.
Both the undercard and primetime debates will air on Fox News, with a different set of moderators for each. The earlier event, which begins at 7 p.m. ET, will be hosted by America’s Newsroom anchors Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer, and will feature four candidates: Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Jim Gilmore.

The primetime event will begin at 9 p.m. ET, and will be moderated by Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace, and Bret Baier. Participating in the big event are Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rand Paul. Frontrunner Donald Trump qualified for the event but declined to participate because of his ongoing feud with Fox News.

Cruz is chomping at the bit to go one on one with the Strump and has even set up a venue.  Trump’s campaign manager has said there’s no point to debating some one that may not even be eligible to be President.  (Ouch)

Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said on Thursday that his candidate would be “happy” to debate Ted Cruz once the Texas senator gets a federal judge to rule him eligible to run for president.

“Once you’ve gotten that ruling from the federal judge and you’re the last man standing in this presidential contest next to Donald Trump, we’ll be happy to have a debate with you one-on-one, anywhere you want, because that’s the way the system works,” Lewandowski said. “But, as it stands right now, we don’t even know if Ted Cruz is legally eligible to run for president of the United States.”

Trump and his supporters have argued that Cruz, who was born in Canada to a U.S. citizen, is not natural born and therefore ineligible to run for president under the Constitution.

Cruz challenged Trump to debate him one-on-one after Trump announced that he would not be attending the Fox News Republican presidential debate Thursday night because of objections to the presence of anchor Megyn Kelly and a statement Fox issued in response to his complaints.

“What this is, is a publicity stunt by Senator Cruz who is continuing to fall in the polls in the state of Iowa,” Lewandowski told Boston radio host Jeff Kuhner, before unleashing a slew of attacks at Cruz, arguing that he had used “dark money donors” through his super PAC to offer a donation to charity if Trump agreed to the debate.

Pundits are discussing the internecine battles apparent in the Republican Party since Trump has obviously challenged Roger Ailes Kingmaker status and placed the state of union bingoparty itself in a pretty weird place. Priebus was on MSNBC earlier on the weekday MTP explaining that the party really had nothing to do with the debates other than setting up the venues and times even though it had earlier removed media outlets for participating.  This group is not Bob Dole’s Republicans, for sure.

Trump’s rivals view the debate as a chance to get their own messages across without having to compete with Trump’s bomb-throwing rhetoric.

“It gives us more time at the microphone and more time to talk about answers to substantive issues that Iowa voters are demanding right now,” said David Kochel, a senior adviser to Republican candidate Jeb Bush.

“It is undeniable that what he’s doing is denying his opponents a large audience as they make their final arguments to Iowa voters,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a Republican strategist who advised the party’s 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney.

While it might be tempting for Trump’s rivals to use the debate to criticize him aggressively, some Republican analysts are cautioning against a scorched-earth approach.

“It’s delicate for the candidates because you have to pull back from attacking a man who is not there,” said Ari Fleischer, who was White House press secretary for President George W. Bush. “It will be OK to make a passing reference or two, the fact that he’s not there. But if you try to beat him up, it won’t play well because he’s not there to defend himself.”

Campaigning on Wednesday in West Des Moines, Cruz mocked Trump for skipping the debate, calling him a “fragile soul.” He renewed his offer to Trump to debate him one-on-one.

Interestingly enough,  sending Money to Trump’s Veteran’s fundraiser means sending money to Trump’s personal Foundation.

After ducking the final Republican presidential debate heading into next week’s Iowa caucuses, GOP front-runner Donald Trump announced that he would hold his own pro-veterans event during the debate to raise money for veterans. Trump even set up a special website to solicit donations to help veterans.

“Honor their valor,” the website,, states. “Donate now to help our Veterans.”

The website, which is nothing more than a single page with stock photosand a credit card donation form, claims that “100% of your donations will go directly to Veterans needs.”

There’s only one problem: 100% of the money raised on the site goes directly to Donald Trump’s personal non-profit foundation, according to a disclosure listed at the bottom of the page.

“The Donald J Trump Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization,” the disclosure reads. “An email confirmation with a summary of your donation will be sent to the email address provided above.”

Well, alright then.  Guess vets will have to kiss the ring to be considered for the money.

Josh Marshall–while regretting the gender bias in the term–is looking at this as the “bitch slap” theory of politics.  He has a few interesting thoughts on the matter of Trump challenging Ailes.GOP-candidates-debate-by-DonkeyHotey-with-Flickr

But this driving force of Republican politics has only become more salient and central as the GOP has become increasingly dominated by core constituencies animated by anger and resentment that things to which they believe they are entitled are being taken away from them.

Trump doesn’t apologize. He hurts people and they go away. He says things that would kill a political mortal (ban members of an entire religion from entering the country) and yet he doesn’t get hurt. Virtually everything Trump has done over the last six months, whether it’s a policy proposal or personal attack, has driven home this basic point: Trump is strong. He does things other people can’t.

This is why Trump has so shaken up and so dominated the GOP primary cycle, at least thus far. As I’ve said, this kind of dominance symbolism is pervasive in GOP politics. It’s not new with Trump at all. Most successful Republican politicians speak this language. And yet somehow for most it is nonetheless a second language. But it’s Trump’s native language. I still believe it’s rooted in the mix of the hyper-aggressive New York real estate world, his decades of immersion in the city’s febrile tabloid culture and just being, at the most basic level, a bully. Wherever it comes from, he seems to intuitively get that for this constituency and at this moment just demonstrating that he gets his way, always, is all that really matters. Policy details, protecting the candidate through careful press releases and structured media opportunities … none of that matters. Trump doesn’t kiss babies. Babies kiss him. He doesn’t have a billionaire backer; he is a billionaire. Trump doesn’t ask for support. He just tells you that you need to stop being a loser and get on board.

So this debate power play is all of a piece. He can just take the table, flip it over and walk out of the room. It’s all about him.

There is no question that Trump will completely dominate tomorrow night’s debate by his absence. After all, he’s the one in the lead everywhere. If he’s not there, what is there to talk about? The Rubio v Christie stand off? Jeb? Who cares?

It may be two plus hours of people attacking him without him being there to respond – and the moderators themselves out to get him too. But again, it’s still all about him. He can make it all about him by not even being there. He doesn’t kowtow to Fox News or go on retainer with the network during the off-season. He calls the shots. And there is little question in my mind that in one fashion or another you will have two competing TV shows tomorrow night, Trump’s and everybody else’s. And Trump’s will almost certainly be better.

So, grab a beer or a cuppa, a nice comfy sitting situation, and a bag full of nerfballs to throw at the TV.  It’s time to listen to Right Wing Anger and Paranoia.


176 Comments on “Live Blog: Fox Iowa GOP Debate sans the Strump”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Passionate support for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has propelled him into a close race with fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. But some say that support has turned aggressive and abusive online.

    • RalphB says:

      I think this and the use of the AARP and LCV logos without permission in Iowa is going to cause the campaign some problems. They’re beginning to look really dishonest. Even Time has a piece on it.

  2. Fannie says:

    Here I am. Expecting them to preach about white male superiority.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Here we go with the Trump question.

  4. dakinikat says:

    Well, they started off with the Strump Hump.

  5. Fannie says:

    I told you so, it’s all about Preachers/Churches in the 99 counties in Iowa, and his DADDY is here.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    How did Rand Paul get in?

  7. Fannie says:

    There’s the man, who wants to turn retirement to 70 years. Not going to work Bush.

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    Cruz is the most unappetizing candidate on the stage. Oh wait, I forgot about Chris Cristo!

  9. RalphB says:


  10. Riverbird says:

    I just can’t watch this. I turned it off and will follow the comments here instead.

  11. Fannie says:

    Skip a stitch, was off campaigning, and didn’t even show up to vote.

  12. Pat Johnson says:

    “War, war, war!” So says,Scarlet O’Hara and Marco Rubio.

  13. Pat Johnson says:

    STFU Kasich. He will go on and on.

  14. Fannie says:

    Mittens (Romney) used the same argument that Cruz is using on Obama, and Romney got his assed kicked

  15. Pat Johnson says:

    Cruz thinks he is already POTUS.

  16. bostonboomer says:

    The ranting is really getting to me. Maybe it would have been better with Trump there to provide comic relief.

  17. Fannie says:

    Oh, hell, just turned over to Trump for vets, and the protestors are loud. Looky there, he says, I love protestors…honey, wifey stand up and tell them to go home.

  18. bostonboomer says:

    WTH is Christie talking about? Hillary did what “for her convenience?”

  19. Fannie says:

    How dare you Cruz, stfu

  20. bostonboomer says:

    Wow. Chris Wallace is pissed off.

  21. Fannie says:

    Oh, stop picking on Cruz, he don’t like it.

  22. roofingbird says:

    Rubio is a fan of bombs away, and Rand wants to just kill Daesh.

  23. roofingbird says:

    Domestic terror. Close down bird sanctuarys, that will do it.

    • Fannie says:

      Funny, cause they aren’t talking Oregon, listen they are talking San Bernadino, and Megan is pulling some trick questions. Haaahhhhah

  24. Fannie says:

    I busted my damn gut…….do you see the look on his face when Megan went to Rubio for the answer? That shit was so funny.

  25. roofingbird says:

    I just got on is Rubio getting more play?

  26. roofingbird says:

    Bird sanctuary terrorists should go to GITMO.

  27. roofingbird says:

    Don’t need outside terrorists, they are here and they are us.

  28. roofingbird says:

    My Fairfield police are fine.

  29. roofingbird says:

    Holyland foundation trial? OMG

  30. Fannie says:

    Megan can kill flies with those damn false eyelashes.

  31. roofingbird says:

    I’m eating canned cranberries and sour cream in honor of this TV ulcer.

  32. roofingbird says:

    What is Kasich going to do about the test drilling in his state to see if they can store uranium in the ground? That will help their water, NOT.

  33. Fannie says:

    In regards to Bush, I had thought that veterans were already given the choices for access to healthcare, where ever they wanted to go.

  34. Fannie says:

    Here we go, Christie: eliminate Planned Parenthood completely.

  35. roofingbird says:

    Bush, and P.R. pay us to play.

  36. bostonboomer says:

    Cruz’s rant on Obamacare was epic. He blamed every economic problem on it.

  37. Fannie says:

    Cruz, no government accounts for healthcare……….only PRIVATE accounts.

  38. roofingbird says:

    Rubio no cap and trade. Ok, lets just get rid of fossil fuels altogether.

  39. Fannie says:

    I think I heard 17 people clapping for Rubio.

  40. Riverbird says:

    A friend recommended an article on psychopaths to me earlier today.

    Looking at the candidates on the stage earlier, this quote from the article came to mind. I don’t know about their impulse control but the rest fits.

    “Psychopathy is not easily defined, but most psychologists view it as a
    personality disorder characterized by superficial charm conjoined with
    profound dishonesty, callousness, guiltlessness and poor impulse control.”

  41. Fannie says:

    Rube, Rube, Rube, your definition of under control, is unworkable.

  42. roofingbird says:

    That’s why Rubio is young, you have to do more than one thing at a time. Not hold off on citizenship until you have illegal immigration under control.

  43. roofingbird says:

    Cruz Arghh Jeff Sessions Arghh Yes I have no political will for you.

  44. Fannie says:

    Teddy had that look: lady don’t interrupt me, or I am gonna trump you.

  45. roofingbird says:

    Rand, just called Cruz out.

  46. roofingbird says:

    Ask Limbaugh for the truth!!!!

  47. Fannie says:

    Rube, to Cruz, now you want to trump Trump.

  48. Fannie says:

    Hey, I am outside, looking in, and I am the Outlaw Christy from Jersey Whales.

  49. roofingbird says:

    Carson, declare war on the Islamic State.

  50. roofingbird says:

    Bush, celebrate our diversity.

  51. RalphB says:

    All I can say about the debate is, it’s a really good thing that #WeWontBeErased!!!!!

  52. Fannie says:

    Cruz, if you can’t get a single endorsement from a senator, it sounds to me, like you won’t get a fucking thing done.

  53. Fannie says:

    Jesus Christ died for our sins, and Hillary Clinton, I can’t wait to get my claws in her.

  54. Fannie says:

    Oh no, Jersey Whales, the outlaw.

  55. roofingbird says:

    Can Rubio be sued for slander?

  56. roofingbird says:

    It’s gonna be Trump again, except for the 2 new people that will listen to Kasich or Bush, I don’t see any change.

  57. roofingbird says:

    Social, Kasich wants to help the mentally ill, stop ignoring them and the drug addicted.

  58. roofingbird says:

    Oh geez, when will the needs of the bigot be unworthy of public discussion?

  59. roofingbird says:


    If Christians really paid more than 2% of the public need we wouldn’t be arguing over things like Right to Rest.

  60. roofingbird says:

    Life at conception federal and state

  61. roofingbird says:

    Carson want to give weapons to Ukraine and fight Russia. Will we declare war on that one?

  62. roofingbird says:

    I hope I never in my life have to listen to Rubio as President.

  63. roofingbird says:

    Kasich is worried about money from corporations going to Iran and wants to be able to slap sanctions. Stop the other countries from drifting away. That is pretty much what Clinton said.

  64. Fannie says:

    Tell you what, on the first day of office, if Rubio is President, there is going to a run on pens, might even have a “Rubio Ink Crisis”. He’s going to sign more damn bills and repeals than any other president all over the world.

  65. roofingbird says:

    Ok, I can tell you are all numb and dead.

  66. Fannie says:

    Oh, hell, he just lost, blame everything on Hillary, everything, it’s her fault Bill cheated.

  67. Fannie says:

    I’ll end it on this note, Lord set me free.

  68. roofingbird says:

    Tear down the EPA blend wall no subsidies. There goes what remains of holding Iowa lands of production in order to achieve price stability and safe wetlands.

  69. roofingbird says:

    Carson use our natural reserves to send out of country.

  70. RalphB says:

    How about a little picker-upper?

  71. roofingbird says:

    Is the debate over? I can’t find where I am supposed to be.

  72. RalphB says:

    This debate should be a nightmare for the GOP. None of those people are anywhere near a credible candidate for president. Hell they’re not credible city councilmen. Trump may be all they’ve got and he’s a disaster.

    Imagine any of those ass clowns debating Hillary? That should make you laugh out loud.

    • joanelle says:

      I can hear Hill’s laugh now, as whomever gets the GOP nomination tries to answer a question. It may just put her into laughing fits and she might have issues responding because she’ll be laughing so hard. It will be quite the show.

      Seriously, the GOP should give some serious thought to vetting thier candidates somehow so they don’t look so foolish in the future. Not one solid thought for the future has come from this bunch.😕

  73. RalphB says:

    “The Founding Fathers are liberty, and on the freedom, they did the question. I like it. Can it be more? Radishes. Enough said.” – Carson

    Anyone have a gibberish to English translator?

  74. RalphB says:

    One rescued…

  75. Damn. Sorry I missed the show. You all made me laugh, I don’t think that I could have sat through the debate itself. After dealing with the asshole drivers in Atlanta yesterday, makes me realize that is what these gop candidates really are. …those aggressive dickhead asshole drivers you deal with.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I didn’t know she was still alive.

      • RalphB says:

        I don’t care about it. Anyone who takes a cruise put on by The Nation is not someone you should take seriously. Talk about a demographic unfamiliar with everyday American lives, they would be it.

      • Joanelle says:

        with 18 million votes, Hillary did not lose that election – it was given away by the DNC who decided they wanted a black man instead of a woman. Hill set a record with votes and I still don’t know how Pelosi could do that, yes, Madelein there is a special place in hell…

  76. NW Luna says:

    Saved my sanity by reading y’all’s comments!