Who Won the Fox Republican Debate? Recap & Analysis

donald trump republican primary fox news debate

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker listens as real estate tycoon Donald Trump speaks during the prime time Republican presidential debate on August 6, 2015, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Getty)

August 6’s Fox News debate presented the first time the top 10 candidates for the Republican Party’s nomination for the 2016 presidential election appeared on the same stage at the same time. While some rose to the occasion and raised their profiles, others faltered.

Here are the takeaways from this highly anticipated event:

From the 5 PM EDT ‘Undercard’ Forum:

  • Before Her “Undercard” Appearance, Fiorina Announced that She Pulling No Punches.
    In an exclusive with Breitbart.com, former Hewlett-Packard executive and current Republican nominee candidate Carly Fiorina let it be known that she intends to use her “undercard” appearance to “pull no punches” against the Democrats or her fellow candidates.

    “It wasn’t always this way, but we have come to a place now where the Democrat platform is indistinguishable from socialism. That’s why they have an avowed socialist running second place in their primary right now — they are a party of extremes,” Fiorina argued, referring to Sen. Bernie Sanders — who is running second to Hilary Clinton in Democratic polling — and the DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was unable to distinguish between socialism and the Democratic platform on nation television.

    “We better throw every punch we can… that’s what I’m going to do, tonight, everyday,” Fiorina vowed. “It’s what you see me doing. I hope that’s why Breitbart readers appreciate me. I’m not going to falter. I’m not going to pull a punch, I’m going to throw a punch – it’s what we need to do.”

    For the most part, Twitter followers believed that she succeeded:

  • The “Undercard” Forum Started off Slow with Some Pointed Punches.
    Speaking in front on a nearly-empty audience, the 7 “undercard” candidates dealt with questions about their relevance and their ability to win. Some made strong impressions on Twitter:


  • Despite Not Being on the Stage, Trump Made it into the Conversation in the “Undercard.”

    Carly Fiorina goes after Donald Trump at Fox News GOP debate.2015-08-06T21:24:08Z

    Some of the loudest, most pointed responses from the candidates came in response to being asked what do they think of Donald Trump’s lead in the Republican nomination race. A common criticism — arising originally from Fiorina — is the notion that, prior to the 2016 primary race, Trump was a Hilary Clinton supporter and personal friend. While this was more an attack on Hilary Clinton than Trump, it made impressions on Twitter:

  • Lindsay Graham’s “Rambling” Answers Seem Off-Putting Too Many.
    Graham’s responses — in which, at one point, he actually said “elect me” and, after comparing himself to Hilary Clinton after she remarked that she was broke after leaving the White House that she was broke, said “I’ll show you what it means to be broke — have put off many Twitter users:

  • All of the Candidates Universally Threatened Defunding Planned Parenthood.
    In a question directed to George Pataki, who is pro-abortion, the candidates were asked if the Planned Parenthood videos — which were proven to be inaccurate — changed their opinions regarding the government’s role in funding abortion. Pataki stated that he doesn’t support late-term abortions and would ban the use of government funding for abortion activities. This ban was agreed upon by all of the asked candidates.

    From Twitter:


From the 9 PM EDT ‘Prime-Time’ Debate:

  • Trump Behaved Himself, for the Most Part.
    Despite the fact that Megyn Kelley and Chris Wallace lobbed Donald Trump a number of low-balls, including asking about his business bankruptcies, his alleged mistreatment of woman and his refusal to commit only to running as a Republican, there were no significant outbursts from him. This may be in part because no candidates choose to question Trump directly — even Jeb Bush when asked to confront Trump’s statement on Mexican immigrants, Bush avoided a direct confrontation.

    However, this didn’t stop the candidates from taking side swipes at the poll leader. “I talked about Donald Trump from the standpoint of being an individual who is using his celebrity rather than his conservatism,” said Rick Perry from the “undercard” forum. “How can you run for the Republican nomination and be for single-payer health care?”

  • But, it was Still the Trump Show.
    From snipes at Rosie O’Donnell and disagreements with hosts Megyn Kelley and Chris Wallace to rolling the entire dais in anger with his refusal to not run as an independent — which could potentially lock the Republicans out of the general elections should he run — Trump was the center of the show.

    For example, when asked to explain some of his businesses that has went bankrupt, Trump took the opportunity to blame his financial problem on the New Jersey economy and on Chris Christie by proxy. “I had the good sense to leave Atlantic City, which by the way, Caesars just went bankrupt,” Trump said. “Chris can tell you.”

  • Bush Failed to Impress.
    After a poor week on the campaign trail — where he gave Hilary Clinton an opportunity to attack him by stumbling over his speaking points about defunding Planned Parenthood, saying “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues,”Bush gave a lackluster performance at the debate, failing to differentiate himself significantly from the pack. This may have given Scott Walker the opening he need to be the top non-Trump choice for the nomination.

    For example, when given a chance by the hosts to directly attack Trump over his statements about Mexican immigrants — which Bush, whose wife is Mexican, took high offense to — Bush took the high road, failing to give viewers a chance to see his passion and contempt for Trump’s views.

    “We need to be much more strategic on how we deal with border enforcement, border security,” Bush said, stating he does not support amnesty for the undocumented immigrants already in the country. “We need to eliminate the sanctuary cities in this country. It is ridiculous and tragic that people are dying because of the fact that local governments are not following the law.”

  • The General Consensus Is That the Hosts Did a Good Job.


  • Notable Quotes From the Debate:
    • Jeb Bush regarding “dynasty” candidates: “I’m my own man; I have govern effectively.”
    • Donald Trump on if he would run as an independent: ” If i am the candidate, I can promise not to run as an independent.” Trump was the only candidate to raise his hand when all of the candidates were asked if any of them would not promise to run as an independent if they do not win the Republican nomination.
    • Ben Carson on his lack of political qualifications: “the best thing to have is a brain.”
    • Trump on his treatment of women: “I don’t have time for political correctness and this country don’t have time for it, either.”</li?
    • Mike Huckabee on convincing moderates and independents on the need for an amendment outlawing gay marriage: “It’s time to recognize that the Supreme Court is not the Supreme Being and stop tearing up lives like parts from a Buick.”
    • Trump, when asked by the hosts to respond to Jeb Bush — who took umbrage to Trump’s allegations — about his statement that the Mexican government is knowingly sending criminals across the border: “If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about immigration.”
    • Carson on if he would allow waterboarding if he was president: “How we get the information we need is our business and we shouldn’t be broadcasting our business.” carson continued to say that there are no “politically correct” wars and that commanders should have access to the tools they need to do the job.
    • Carson on the possibility of facing Hilary Clinton in the general election: “Hilary Clinton counts on the fact that people are uninformed … taking advantage of useful idiots, while I just happen to believe that people are not stupid.”
    • Rand Paul and Chris Christie arguing over the NSA and the Bill of Rights:
    • Megyn Kelley asking Trump when exactly he became a Republican:
    • Huckabee on the decision to allow transgendered people into the military: “The military is not a social experiment. The purpose of the military is to kill people and break things.”
    • Huckabee on the Iran deal: “Ronald Reagan said, ‘trust but verify.’ President Obama is trust but vilify. He trusts our enemies and vilifies everyone who disagrees with him.”
    • Kasich on if one of his children came out as gay: “Because you know what, God gives me unconditional love – I’m going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me.”
    • Chris Christie on gay marriage:
    • Carson on race:
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