Well, if you told me you were drowning
I would not lend a hand
I’ve seen your face before my friend
But I don’t know if you know who I am
Well, I was there and I saw what you did
I saw it with my own two eyes
So you can wipe off that grin,
I know where you’ve been
It’s all been a pack of lies
That is about the sum of last night’s five and a half hour, two tiered GOP presidential debate on CNN moderated by Jake Tapper. Aside from the sniping about records as governors, senators and CEOs, America got an earful of chest thumping war mongering , fantasy and lies about everything from Planned Parenthood to vaccines, tried and untried bad ideas on the economy and taxes, and only one question about climate change. None of it was challenged by any of the candidates or the moderator. This was a marathon exercise in performance art by a bunch of scary, mindless individuals on an ego trip to be the most powerful politician in the world.
FactChecking the CNN Republican Debate
The candidates flubbed claims on vaccines, immigration, Hillary Clinton and more.
The Republican presidential candidates met for their second debate on Sept. 16, this one hosted by CNN at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California. We found they strayed from the facts on numerous issues, including:
Donald Trump told a story linking vaccination to autism, but there’s no evidence that recommended vaccines cause autism. And Sen. Rand Paul suggested that it would be safer to spread out recommended vaccines, but there’s no evidence of that, either.
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Trump donated to his gubernatorial campaign to get him to change his mind on casino gambling in Florida. But Trump denied he ever wanted to bring casino gambling to the state. A former lobbyist says he did.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said that Hillary Clinton was “under investigation by the FBI” because she “destroyed government records.” Not true. She had the authority to delete personal emails.
Trump said that “illegal immigration” cost “more than $200 billion a year.” We couldn’t find any support for that. Actually, it could cost taxpayers $137 billion or more to deport the 11 million immigrants in the country illegally, as Trump proposes.
Trump again wrongly said that Mexico doesn’t have a birthright citizenship policy like the United States. It does.
Carly Fiorina said that the Planned Parenthood videos released by an anti-abortion group showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” But that scene isn’t in any of the videos.
Fiorina repeated familiar boasts about her time at Hewlett-Packard, saying the size of the company “doubled,” without mentioning that was due to a merger with Compaq, and she cherry-picked other statistics.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said that U.S. policies to combat climate change would “do absolutely nothing.” The U.S. acting alone would have a small effect on rising temperatures and sea levels, and experts say U.S. leadership on the issue would prompt other nations to act.
In the “happy hour” debate, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham glossed over the accompanying tax increases when he said only that Ronald Reagan and then-House Speaker Tip O’Neill “found a way to save Social Security from bankruptcy by adjusting the age of retirement from 65 to 67.”
Facts Go on Trial at Second Republican Debate
Bt Charles Pierce, Esquire Politics
How much of this bullshit is going to go unchallenged?
Ben Carson still wants to change the tax code to a 10 percent biblical tithe. Rand Paul wants a 14 percent flat rate. Mike Huckabee wants the Fair Tax. Only Donald Trump stuck up for a progressive income tax, which Carson called “socialist” as Teddy Roosevelt went to 78 rpm under the sod. The most nauseating moment came when Scott Walker deflected a question on the minimum wage by emphasizing all he’s done for higher education in Wisconsin. Which raised a problem with this whole format. Jake Tapper did a good job playing one candidate off another, and using their own words to do it. But there was a lot of high-quality bullshit being slung around up there that went completely unchallenged. Walker’s paean to higher education was one example. The phony Planned Parenthood videos were treated as gospel. Nobody got called on anything except on what they’d said about someone else. (Hugh Hewitt was next to useless, bringing a touch of evening drive radio to an event that was starved for gravitas anyway, but we expected that.) There simply isn’t a single new idea on the economy here. There are only bad ideas that nobody’s tried yet.
Jake Tapper & co. did their best to avoid the pitfalls of the Fox News debate. Only problem? They whiffed badly
Tapper’s line of questioning left much to be desired. Time and again, the candidates were asked explicitly to argue with each other-“Tell him why he’s wrong” was a common refrain-rather than forced to mount a thorough defense of their own views. The emphasis on letting the candidates pin each other down meant that multiple whoppers went by unchallenged, with Carly Fiorina’s entirely made-up horror stories about Planned Parenthood being a notable example.
The strategy also turned the proceedings into a bit of a chaotic mess. At the Fox debate, the moderators made clear that not all the candidates would get to answer every question. Tapper not only let everybody weigh in on everything, he also gave everyone a chance to reply to every mention of their name, meaning that huge chunks of time were taken up with bickering and point-scoring. The candidates took to whining “Jaaaaaaake!” like bad Marlon Brando impersonators as they pleaded with Tapper for time. More often than not, Tapper gave in. He shouldn’t have.
And the biggest lie of all, from the “smarter” brother.
No, Jeb: George W. Bush Did Not Keep Us Safe
By Amanda Marcotte, Talking Points Memo
In a bit of ugly sparring over who did or did not support the Iraq War, Jeb Bush, in a moment of pique, jumped in with, “You know what? As it relates to my brother, there is one thing I know for sure, he kept us safe.”
The audience, comprised of Republican primary voters went nuts, and so Bush doubled down on his claim that having 3,000 citizens die from a terrorist attack — the largest in American history — “kept us safe.”
“You remember the rubble? You remember the firefighter with his arms around it?,” he railed. “He sent a clear signal that the United States would be strong and fight Islamic terrorism and he did keep us safe.”
Liberals on Twitter, including myself, sternly disagreed that safety was maintained if you’re standing on a pile of rubble where, just hours before, one of the largest office buildings in the world had stood. In the grander scheme of things, it’s also hard to really buy the idea that safety was best secured by using this terrible terrorist attack as a pretense to start an irrelevant war in Iraq that diverted resources from actually fighting terrorism. Not to say, it’s questionable that anyone is kept safe by the fallout from that war, which led to the deaths of almost half a million people and stoked instability and resentment against the United States.