Cruz, Rubio shine in final GOP debate of 2015

Posted at 12:00 PM, Dec 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-22 11:50:44-05

GOP faces off in final debate of 2015 (whew!)

CNN held the final GOP debate for 2015 and it was a much improved production from their first one with more substantive questions and great dialogue from the candidates.

If there were any winners, it was again Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio with Sen. Rand Paul close behind. They appeared the most presidential, knew their stuff and created great distinctions among themselves on what philosophy they feel is best to lead the country.

There were some great conversations on the immigration crisis, the refugee problem, national security and how best to combat these while keeping in line with constitutional principles.

Some of the candidates finally stopped playing nice. Rubio’s strategy for the night seemed to be to take swipes at Cruz, something his campaign had already started doing in ads. Paul’s strategy seemed to be to target Rubio to show how he’s been a hypocrite in the senate while Christie took swipes at everyone in congress; though he seems to irkPaul by those comments the most (loving his eye rolls and expressions from previous debates).

Paul also had a strong opening statement and remained strong throughout, drawing distinction between the conservatives and the more center Republicans as the libertarian, especially on the issues of defeating terrorism while not trampling upon rights.

Paul did get more applause then he has had in past debates but it sounded like he brought his own isolated cheering squad, they were a little obnoxious and it seemed a little desperate.

After a lot of the fighting between Cruz, Rubio and Paul, both Christie and Fiorina took the opportunity to show how they are above the in-fighting in Congress and that you don’t have the opportunity to quibble over bill wording when you are the executive in the midst of a crisis; immediate action is required.

Trump and Bush continued their Oscar/Felix routine, which is entertaining, but both seemed to just repeat their mantras that they have all along, without adding any depth or anything new to their platforms.

Ben Carson, still a front-runner, early on complained that he was getting less time than the other candidates, yet had nothing much to say when he was given the floor.

Fiorina, on the other hand, also was largely ignored, yet when given the chance, she came off as authoritative, calm and strong. She had a great statement on how the private sphere could help the federal government track terrorists.

Many candidates seemed ready with prepared one- liners, which came off well. Surprisingly enough, Jeb had two, armed and ready to call Trump a “chaos candidate” and that he can’t “insult [his] way to the presidency.” 

Fiorina had a good one, saying, “If you want something talked about, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” While of course that makes women cheer, it does seem a little hypocritical, as she attacks Hillary Clinton for using her gender as a reason alone to deserve the presidency.

It was a relief that the moderators did not let Kasich butt in on everyone’s turn this time; not that he didn’t try, but CNN didn’t let him get away with it. Kasich did poorly with his time otherwise. In his opening statement, he explained how his daughter doesn’t like politics because of the bickering, and then he continued the bickering and talking over people. Fail.

Though the claws are starting to come out, Trump and Cruz do not lay hands on each other; could there be a partnership in the works there or just a smart strategy? Time will tell.

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Hogan to campaign for his buddy Christie in NH

Governor Larry Hogan will campaign for his buddy and political ally, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, this weekend in New Hampshire. The presidential candidate has supported Hogan since his campaign and the two have much in common with historical gubernatorial wins in deep blue states.

According to the Washington Post, Hogan will join Christie at a campaign event at a sports bar and then a town hall meeting. Christie has made several visits to Maryland for Hogan, including campaigning and introducing him at his inauguration. Christie also traveled to Annapolis in July for Hogan to formally announce his endorsement. Since Hogan announced his cancer diagnosis in June, of which he’s now in remission, Christie has sported a lime green band in support (it was spotted during this week’s GOP debate in Las Vegas, see it here at :55.)

While popular with Republicans and holding his own on the debate stages, Christie hasn’t been able to get ahead in the presidential pack so far.

Power Player of the Week: Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis

While the outcome of a mistrial for the first officer tried in the Freddie Gray case frustrated those on both sides, there has fortunately only been non-violent protests so far. Earlier this week, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis spoke to the public several times urging for there to be calm regardless of the decision that would come down.

Davis has appeared to be working hard to preempt riot –like activity by calling for peace, reaching out to the community and supporting his officers. Davis and the Mayor held a presser on Tuesday at Mondawmin Mall, one of the hot spots during the April riots. They also both addressed the media once the mistrial announcement came down. Baltimore City Police also released a letter penned by Davis to the department this week:

“Our reaction, then, must fervently resist the low expectations some have of the Baltimore Police Department. We serve because we know so many good and decent Baltimoreans need us to stand in between theme and crime, disorder and chaos. We protect because we know evil thrives when criminals feel they can act with impunity. We take the ideals of service and protection seriously, and reject the notion that any particular circumstances or moment can sully our unconditional dedication to our police department, our profession and our City.”