2016 Election, Elections, NewsEdge

GOP Scorecard: How the candidates fared in the first debate



CLEVELAND (AP) — On a crowded debate stage, 10 Republican candidates for president sought breakout moments and tried to avoid missteps that could sink their White House hopes at this early stage.

Here’s a look at how they fared during the first Republican debate of the 2016 campaign.


Unquestioned star of the show. Set the tone for the raucous two-hour debate by declining to pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee if he’s not the pick. Provided few concrete answers to the policy questions posed during the debate.


Used his time to try to introduce himself and his record in Florida to a nationwide audience. Turned boos about his immigration position, which would offer those in the country illegally a path to legal status, into cheers by shifting focus to economic growth.


A quiet figure early, stood out late while discussing his faith and talking tough on policy toward Iran and the Islamic State. Won applause by jabbing at Clinton, saying Russia and China “know more about Hillary Clinton’s email server than do the members of the United States Congress.”


Held firm on the party’s right flank, especially on social issues. His call for recognizing unborn fetuses as persons with full rights ignited applause from the audience.


Used humor to make his mark, quipping at one point that he wasn’t sure whether he was going to get to talk again. Conceded his lack of foreign policy credentials, but appealed for the votes of those eager to get new voices in the political arena.


Sharp on illegal immigration. Took on his own party’s leadership, slamming the ” Washington cartel” that supports “amnesty” for those living in the U.S. illegally. But the accomplished college debater lacked a breakout moment.


Energetic and confident. Rejected idea the campaign is a “resume competition.” Aggressively pushed idea the GOP nominee must be focused on the future, using his standard line that the “the economy we live in today is dramatically different from the one we had five years ago.”


An aggressor from the start. He was the first candidate to take on Trump after the real estate mogul raised the prospect of a third-party candidacy. His fiery exchange with Chris Christie over government surveillance programs will resonate well with his libertarian supporters.


Aggressive, but kept his notoriously hot temper in check. He picked his spots, including a robust defense of New Jersey’s economy. Showed flickers of why he was heavily courted by Republicans for a run in 2012.


Buoyed by a home-state crowd. Lifted his national profile by selling an optimistic vision for the country. Defended decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio and earned a rousing round of applause of saying that while he opposes gay marriage, he would support his children if they were gay.

Pace contributed to this report from Washington.

Follow Thomas Beaumont and Julie Pace on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/tombeaumont and http://twitter.com/jpacedc

  • jerry1944

    I will stick with T Cruz and Trump my second choice But knowing the gop i will have to vote 3rd party again

    • Mike N

      I agree with Cruz. Trump has too much of a liberal past to qualify as a true conservative. Voting for a 3rd party will guarantee a democrat win. It may make a point, but at a huge cost.

      • jerry1944

        That is pretty much up to the gop . the way i think I no longer hole ,my nose and vote for the lesser of 2 evils If the gop want to lose and be like the dems then why should i vote for them After all the Rep party has said they dont want conservatives are Tea Party ppl with them Well if they run there mod as they have the past 2 time i want be and i will vote 3rd party just as they have made me do the past 2 pres election Both bonehead and mitch are more like dems than conservative and the other up there picked them as there leaders Does that tell me something

        • Mike N

          I share your feelings; however our country can’t survive another 4 years of a democrat. By voting for a 3rd party candidate you are making a valid statement, but it is it worth the destruction of what little Obama is leaving of our Republic. I guarantee you that we will no longer have a Republic with 4 more years of another socialist. A vote for a 3rd party is equivalent to a vote for the democrat nominee. I hope you reconsider.

          • Allen

            Can the country survive 4 more years of a “republican” like Jeb? He might slow down the bus careening toward the cliff but he isn’t going to change direction. So if we get to the crash now or later what is the difference?

          • Mike N

            I would much rather have Jeb Bush than Hillary or Bernie Sanders. I also hate to choose from the best of the worse, but that is better than doing something that will elect someone that will destroy our Republic. Hopefully we won’t have a Bush Clinton choice.

          • Allen

            Again, what is the essential difference between Hillary, Bernie and Jeb? They all believe in the power of government (and coercion) to solve problems. Jeb merely believes he and his family should be in charge of the government as it does its damage. Going down the same road just at a slower speed isn’t going to change the destination. You say you want to save the Republic but how is Jeb going to do that when he’s just a low rent socialist as opposed to the higher rent Hillary and Bernie?

            You want to save the Republic? Let Hillary and Bernie do to it what Gorbachev did to the USSR. Let it reach its fatal crisis and have it all come tumbling down and be ready to pick up the pieces.

          • Mike N

            There is a big difference between any Republican and a democrat. If nothing else the selection of Judges, but there are many other reasons. Jeb leans toward the middle. The dems are all far left. Obamacare is an example.

          • Allen

            Who gave us the largest entitlement program since the Great Society? That would be George W. Bush and Medicare Part D. Who appointed John Roberts? Anthony Kennedy?

            You are talking about the lesser of two evils but know that you are still voting for evil. Maybe not as concentrated but evil nonetheless.

            Establishment GOPers use this “It could be worse” argument to great effect for themselves. It doesn’t do a damn thing for the country though since they are driving in the same direction just a bit slower. We are still going over the cliff and there is a non-zero chance it will be like the Great Depression and Hoover again . . . conservatives are “in charge” when the SHTF and we’re banished to the political wilderness for a generation.

          • HOT FROG

            Just don’t vote please!

          • Mike N

            A no vote is no different than a vote for a 3rd party. It is a vote not going to a Republican candidate. Make every effort to nominate a good conservative candidate, but vote for the nominee unless you want another democrat..

          • HOT FROG

            Vote in a RINO will just drag this bullshit on. I’m perpairing for war.

  • John Edward Blake

    Liked Dr.Ben Carson and Gov.Scott Walker

    • HOT FROG

      Walker is pro illegal.

  • Obtruder

    Jeb Bush is a progressive through and through.

    I will never vote for Jeb Bush under any circumstance

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