Governors Dominate Saturday’s GOP Debate

abc_gop_debate_mt_160206The three moderates: Ohio Governor John Kasich, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Florida Governor Jeb Bush dominated the stage during the Republican debate on Saturday night. Hosted by ABC News, this was the last big push for the candidates prior to Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. Also in the lineup: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson. Carly Fiorina did not have enough of a percentage in the polls to participate.

Ted Cruz, winner of the Iowa caucuses had a strong night, with solid answers and details on his plan to turn the country around. Cruz is the evangelicals’ favorite. The three governors, all competing for the same pool of moderate voters, attacked Rubio, Trump, and to some extent, Cruz. Ben Carson, who was seemingly asked just a few questions did not stand out.

Chris Christie hammered Marco Rubio on a number of issues, including his poor voting record and inexperience as a first-time senator. Christie also attacked Rubio’s “canned” statement–which he repeated several times during the night–that despite acting like he doesn’t know what he’s doing, “President Obama knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Rubio, who was considered to have gained momentum after Iowa, was unable to adequately defend himself. He is dogged by his flip-flop on illegal immigration in which proposed a bill, then when it came to a vote, voted against it. Rubio now favors a path to legal residency for illegals.

Ted Cruz was offered an opportunity to attack Donald Trump with the question, “Do you think Donald Trump has the right temperament to be President?” Cruz responded that would be up to the voters to decide. Cruz handled the night very well, answering with great detail about how he would handle North Korea’ missile program. When asked how he would stop illegal immigration, Cruz said he would build a wall, increase border patrol, and deport illegals, noting, “In eight years, Bill Clinton deported 12 million people…and George W. Bush deported 10 million people. Enforcing the law-we can do it. What is missing is the political will.” Cruz reiterated his promise to get rid of the IRS in favor of what he calls a “Simple Flat Tax Plan.”

Trump reiterated he would repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better. He said his plan would have free enterprise competing for healthcare dollars and end “insurance companies getting rich.” Trump was attacked by Bush for his earlier statement, “I love eminent domain,” and his effort to take an elderly woman’s home in order to build limousine parking for one of his casinos. Bush said as Governor, he oversaw a provision in Florida Constitution that would prohibit eminent domain for private use.

There was one interesting question at the end, “Should young women be required to register for Selective Service?” The Obama administration is requiring that all combat positions in every branch of the military be open to females. Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush both said they would require women to register for the draft.

How will New Hampshire vote? Will it be Donald Trump, who held a huge lead going in, or one of the other moderate Republicans? And will the popularity of conservative candidates Rubio, Cruz, and Carson be hurt or helped by Saturday’s debate? Tuesday’s primary could have a huge effect on the momentum for the winner, even though there are 48 more primaries ahead.
Father, we pray for the person of your choice. Impress on believers the best choice and help us to become armed with understanding about the issues. We pray for the success of that person; for their health and well-being and that they would approach the office with humility and dependence on Your leading.

Prov. 29:2 – When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

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