Tag Archives: Ben Carson

CNN Debate: Ted Cruz hammers Marco Rubio over support for amnesty and Libya disaster

The last GOP primary debate of 2015
The last GOP primary debate of 2015

Wow. If you missed tonight’s two CNN debates, you missed two great debates. Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash show very little if any liberal bias, and the most biased moderator was actually the moderate RINO Hugh Hewitt. Substance, substance, substance.

Let’s look at the two biggest clashes of the night, both between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Cruz vs Rubio on amnesty and border security

The Washington Examiner was the most interesting exchange of the night between Cruz and Rubio, about Rubio’s past support for amnesty.

Excerpt:

Ted Cruz continued his fight with Marco Rubio over immigration and the Florida senator’s initial support of the Gang of Eight bill, which died in 2013.

The Texas senator told CNN’s Dana Bash that “border security is national security.”

“He has attempted to muddy the waters,” Cruz said of Rubio. “But I think that anyone who watched the battle that we had. … There was a time for choosing, as Reagan put it, where there was a battle over amnesty, and some chose to stand with Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer and support a massive amnesty plan. Others chose to stand with Jeff Sessions and Steve King and the American people and secure the border.”

Cruz then pivoted to tie the immigration issue to national security, arguing that the proposed immigration plan in 2013 had inadequate vetting, including the lack of mandated background checks for those entering the country.

“This issue is directly connected to what we’ve been talking about because he front line with ISIS isn’t just in Iraq and Syria, it’s in Kennedy Airport and the Rio Grande,” Cruz said. “Border security is national security, and one of the most troubling aspects of the Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight bill is it gave President Obama blanket authority to admit refugees, including Syrian refugees, without mandating any background checks whatsoever. Now we have seen what happened in San Bernardino when you are letting people in and the FBI can’t vet them, it puts American citizens at risk.

“I tell you if i’m elected president, we will secure the border. We will triple the border patrol,” Cruz said. “We will build a wall that works and I’ll get Donald Trump to pay for it.”

I have the video clip (7 minutes):

You can hear Fiorina trying to jump in there, and I think she hurt herself quite a bit in the debate with her frequent interruptions. Yes, she is well-informed on foreign policy, but no, interruptions did not make her look presidential.

Now, Rubio did try to attack Cruz, claiming that he supported amnesty, and Cruz said that it was false. Who is right?

According to Andrew C. McCarthy in National Review, Cruz is right, and Rubio is lying:

Cruz has cast himself as the Republican field’s most consistent voice against “amnesty” for illegal aliens. Yet Rubio, with an assist from former Senator Rick Santorum, claims that Cruz has actually advocated granting legal status to illegal aliens.

Taken out of context, the charge seems colorable. But under the circumstances as they actually occurred, the proposal Cruz made was a case of intelligent legislating designed to expose the fraudulence of the pro-amnesty position. It was, in this way, reminiscent of smart legislating by Rubio (and, for that matter, by Cruz) that highlighted the folly of President Obama’s Iran deal.

He explains the whole story in the article, and concludes:

Cruz’s objective was to illustrate the fraudulence of the “out of the shadows” blather. Obviously, if the Gang of Eight had been sincere, a grant of limited legal status would have accomplished their purported humanitarian objective. But Cruz knew the Left would bitterly object, revealing that the true “comprehensive immigration reform” agenda was to mint new Democratic voters.

Indeed, Cruz made clear in proposing his amendment that the Gang of Eight would betray millions of legal immigrants who sought U.S. citizenship properly and that it therefore undermined the rule of law. And as the amnesty-friendly Huffington Post reported at the time, the point of Cruz’s amendment was to “take away one of [the Gang of Eight bill’s] central purposes: giving a pathway to citizenship to 11 million undocumented immigrants.”

It is thus remarkable to find Rubio, of all people, depicting Cruz as an amnesty supporter because of Cruz’s attempt to expose the Democratic agenda that Rubio, whether out of naïveté or opportunism, was then promoting.

The troubling thing is that Rubio is lying about this in televised ads, which I think justifies my decision to drop him off my list of acceptable candidates for me. He is conservative on many other things, but when you take his liberal policies and add it to these lies about Cruz, he should not be elected President.

Cruz vs Rubio on the Obama-Clinton invasion of Libya

And here is is Cruz attacking Rubio on his support for the Obama administration’s interventions in Libya:

I supported a boots-on-the-ground invasion and occupation of Syria to remove Assad when he crossed the red line. But Libya was a huge mistake that did more harm than good, and Rubio should not have supported the Obama-Clinton plan to invade Libya. I like projecting American military power and punishing evil, but not in Libya and not in Egypt. I disagree with Cruz on Syria, as he did not want to topple Assad. That would have been a huge win for us against Iran, which is the real power behind Syria – and Hezbollah, too. But that’s a minor disagreement compared to the foul-up in Libya.

Cruz vs Rubio on defense spending

I could not find the video clip for Rubio’s charge that Cruz did not vote for some defense spending bills, but this piece by Stephen Hayes in the Weekly Standard has more details about it. Those charges are damaging, but it turns out that Cruz is innocent of Rubio’s charges. First of all, both Cruz and Rubio voted against those bills, according to Yahoo News. Lindsay, who I often link to on this blog, is a huge Cruz supporter, and she found an article in the Washington Free Beacon that clears Cruz of the charge of being an isolationist:

Rubio said that Cruz’s votes against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would defund programs vital to the security of the U.S. and its allies. Cruz was one of only two senators, along with libertarian Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), to oppose that defense bill in October.

“Three times he voted against the National Defense Authorization Act, which is a bill that funds the troops. It also, by the way, funds Iron Dome and other important programs,” Rubio said, referring to Israel’s air defense platform, which is supported with financial aid from the U.S.

Cruz responded that he opposed the NDAA to fulfill a campaign promise about indefinite detention.

“I voted against the National Defense Authorization Act because when I campaigned in Texas, I told voters in Texas that I would oppose the federal government having the authority to detain U.S. citizens permanently with no due process,” Cruz said.

Rubio responded that individuals who wage war against the U.S. forfeit the constitutional protections of civilians.

“If you’re an American citizen and you decide to join up with ISIS, we’re not going to read you your Miranda rights. You’re going to be treated as an enemy combatant—a member of an army attacking this country,” Rubio said.

While the candidates feuded over civil liberties, both expressed willingness to project power abroad.

“Radical Islamic terrorism will face no more determined foe than I will be,” Cruz said.

“We are the most powerful nation in the world. We need to begin to act like it again,” Rubio said.

However, Cruz introduced an amendment to the NDAA defense spending bill to remove the part about indefinite detention, so that he could go ahead and vote for the rest of the bill:

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), both of whom are running for president, have joined up with other senators to introduce an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), currently before the Senate, that would ban indefinite detention of U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, without being charged or given a trial, unless authorized by Congress.

Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also put their names on the provision.

“The Constitution does not allow President Obama, or any President, to apprehend an American citizen, arrested on U.S. soil, and detain these citizens indefinitely without a trial,” Cruz said in a statement. “While we must vigorously protect national security by pursuing violent terrorists and preventing acts of terror, we must also ensure our most basic rights as American citizens are protected.”

The amendment had bi-partisan support, but it did not pass – that’s why Cruz voted against the bill. At least he tried to fix it so that he could vote for it while respecting the wishes of his constituents. I thought he came across as informed and hawkish in the debate on Tuesday night, which works for me, although I am all for the Patriot Act and collection of bulk data.

So it turns out that Cruz’s attitude towards Rubio’s dishonest attacks was warranted, and it falls to me to do the investigating that shows who was right and who was wrong. Cruz comes out of the debate squeaky clean, and Rubio comes out looking dirty.

Ted Cruz wins Fox Business #GOPDebate, Fiorina and Rubio outperform

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Texas Senator Ted Cruz

I think Cruz did the best, Rubio did well enough to take second place, and Fiorina was much improved, especially on foreign policy, where she gave a clear explanation of the doctrine of peace through strength. She did third best, but had the strongest moment of the debate when she schooled everyone on foreign policy. She really knows foreign policy cold.

Red State does a good job of providing unbiased opinion, here is their assessment:

The Winners

1. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) – While Cruz hit his talking points and made some great statements, like Jeb, he did not stand out. This isn’t as big a problem for him as it is the others, because he has a natural base of conservative voters that will turn out for him no matter what. Bush doesn’t have that, and that’s why he’s free-falling at his point. Cruz coming out swinging against the agriculture lobby could very well be his testing the water for corn subsidy talk in Iowa.

2. Carly Fiorina – Carly showed why she should not be counted out yet. She speaks like a caring grandmother, and she has to be the calmest neoconservative I’ve ever seen on a stage speaking about the Middle East. She spoke calmly and coolly on every issue that came her way, and some issues that didn’t. She cannot yet be counted out.

3. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)  – Rubio did not hurt himself tonight by any stretch of the imagination. He let Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) ruffle his feathers a little bit, but I think he overall hit his notes correctly. He is clearly courting the warhawks of the Republican Party right now. He hit on his family background only once, focusing instead on global affairs and fighting back against Paul.

They thought Carson and Trump did OK, and Kasich, Paul and Bush “lost”. I think that Carson and Paul did OK, but Trump and Bush underperformed, and Kasich did the worst of all. Trump just has no ability in foreign policy, Bush is too liberal on immigration. Kasich is a big government liberal across the board.

Over at the more establishment Weekly Standard, Jonathan Last – who is a bit wild – said this:

Ted Cruz: If you were forced to pick a winner, it would probably be Cruz. He picked the right fights—with Kasich and Paul. He gave a dynamite explanation of how illegal immigration impacts wage growth and was generally impressive. With each passing debate he looks more like a finalist.

Marco Rubio: This performance wasn’t as strong as his last. Rubio started out talking vocational training and the nexus of family stability, virtue, and economic growth—basically the Santorum 2012 playbook.

Carly Fiorina: She probably had the single strongest moment of the night in her blistering, detailed, canny riff on how she would approach Putin. If she’s going to get a third-look from voters, tonight might prompt it.

Ted Cruz attacks Hillary Clinton’s failed policies:

Ted Cruz says no to bank bailouts, yes to FDIC reimbursing depositors:

Jeb Bush vs Ted Cruz on illegal immigration and LEGAL immigration:

Marco Rubio on the importance of strong families:

Marco Rubio vs Rand Paul on tax credits for families and defense spending:

Carly Fiorina on Putin and foreign policy:

Carly Fiorina on American entrepreneurship:

Ben Carson on the minimum wage:

Finally, there is the latest episode of the Weekly Standard podcast, which is my favorite political podcast, the one you should subscribe to if you subscribe to any. Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, thought that it was a good night for Ted Cruz. I agree.

I also love the Ben Shapiro podcast from the Daily Wire, and I am updating the post now to point to a new episode – episode 24. Shapiro agrees with me: Christie AND Jindal won the undercard debate, and Cruz did the best in the main event.

I spend the night reading and re-tweeting on Twitter – sorry to everyone for the huge number of tweets. What was striking to me was the juvenile nature of the Democrat tweets. Many of them came from professional comedians or Hollywood celebrities… but others came from liberal politicians, and even people from liberal think tanks. Yet not ONE tweet from the left was anything of substance. It was all just dismissive mocking. Literally. Not one serious tweet. It’s not surprising that they are so supportive of a clueless clown who added $10 trillion dollars to the national debt, and point that achievement as a great success. Oh well, that’s why we have elections. I would be happy with any of Jindal, Cruz or Rubio right now. I would even take Fiorina in a pinch.

One final thing. Fox Business put on the fairest and most engaging debate yet. They set the standard for everyone else, and made CNBC look like incompetent college students. Every debate should run this smoothly – the moderators just disappeared, and they let the candidates talk to America, and talk to each other. I learned a lot about the candidate’s views, and nothing at all about the moderator’s views.

Leftist POLITICO lies in order to smear black conservative Ben Carson

Pediatric surgeon Ben Carson
Pediatric surgeon Ben Carson

Well, we all knew that Politico was on the far-left. This time, they decided to smear black conservative Ben Carson.

Ben Shapiro explains how they did it:

The story began with Politico, which ran with the audacious headline, “Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship.” Even I was taken in by the headline – after all, that’s a pretty bold claim!

Politico began thusly:

Ben Carson’s campaign on Friday admitted, in a response to an inquiry from POLITICO, that a central point in his inspirational personal story was fabricated: his application and acceptance into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The key word here is “fabricated.” Did the Carson campaign admit any such thing? Absolutely not. The facts reported by Politico don’t even support this interpretation of the Carson campaign’s response. According to Politico, Carson said in his 1992 memoir Gifted Hands that he was offered a “full scholarship” to West Point after dining with General William Westmoreland in 1969. Here’s the relevant passage from Carson’s autobiography:

At the end of my twelfth grade I marched at the head of the Memorial Day parade. I felt so proud, my chest bursting with ribbons and braids of every kind. To make it more wonderful, We had important visitors that day. Two soldiers who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor in Viet Nam were present. More exciting to me, General William Westmoreland (very prominent in the Viet Nam war) attended with an impressive entourage. Afterward, Sgt. Hunt introduced me to General Westmoreland, and I had dinner with him and the Congressional Medal winners. Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point. I didn’t refuse the scholarship outright, but I let them know that a military career wasn’t where I saw myself going.

That’s the entire relevant portion of Carson’s account. He reiterated that account last month in an interview with Charlie Rose, when he said, “I was offered a full scholarship at West Point, got to meet General Westmoreland and go to Congressional Medal of Honor dinners. But decided really my pathway would be medicine.”

Politico followed up on this story. They reported one additional piece of information that seems to conflict with Carson’s story: Carson never applied to West Point, and was never extended admission.

But Carson never said he applied. He said he was extended a full scholarship offer. What’s more, West Point doesn’t offer scholarships: all admission is free contingent on serving in the military afterwards. It thus seems probable that Westmoreland or another military figure tried to recruit Carson, telling him that he wouldn’t have to pay for his education – and that Carson read that as a “full scholarship,” and never applied.

In fact, that’s exactly what Carson’s campaign manager said to Politico in an email:

Dr. Carson was the top ROTC student in the City of Detroit. In that role he was invited to meet General Westmoreland. He believes it was at a banquet. He can’t remember with specificity their brief conversation but it centered around Dr. Carson’s performance as ROTC City Executive Officer. He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors. They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.

But here’s how Politico editorialized: “When presented with this evidence, Carson’s campaign conceded the story was false.”

Just to be clear, that is the part where Politico lied. The Carson campaign never admitted that the story was false.

Shapiro continues:

That’s nonsense. They did no such thing. They provided details that corroborated Carson’s story and explained his loose use of the language. If someone told you that you could go to college for free, you might reasonably conclude that you had been offered a full scholarship to attend that university. But Politico would call you a liar if you used such language to describe the exchange.

Now, some on the right are saying that Carson should be held to a higher standard here than other candidates because he’s running as an “outsider.” But this is a basic case of misinterpreting facts, not an outright lie. Carson served in ROTC. Prominent people wanted him to go to West Point. He wouldn’t have had to pay. He didn’t apply because he didn’t want to go. Those facts are not in dispute. It’s the specific wording over which media have decided to crucify him.

This is a textbook example of a left-wing media hit. Politico would never editorialize about any Democrat who issued such a response to a factual inquiry in this manner. Politico won’t even conclude that Hillary Clinton lied about her attribution of the Benghazi attacks to a YouTube video despite email evidence that she knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack entirely unrelated to a YouTube video.

But for Ben Carson, they’ll make an exception.

Vile.

Shapiro is updating the post as developments occur. For one thing, in the same book (“Gifted Hands”) that Politico cites, Carson explicitly says that he NEVER applied nor was he accepted to West Point:

Washington Post journalist points out that Carson says he never applied to West Point
Washington Post journalist points out that Carson says he never applied to West Point

Politico is accusing Carson of saying that he applied to West Point and was given a full scholarship, but Carson’s own book says that he never applied and therefore was never given a full scholarship. The offer that he is talking about is an informal offer by General Westmoreland, saying that if he applied, then he would be given a full scholarship – because of his grades and other qualifications. Nowhere did Carson ever say that he made a formal application, and received a formal offer of a full scholarship. On the contrary, he makes clear in his book that it was an informal offer over dinner.

Ben notes that Carson’s campaign has responded to the Politico smear via the New York Times:

I don’t remember all the specific details. Because I had done so extraordinarily well you know I was told that someone like me – they could get a scholarship to West Point. But I made it clear I was going to pursue a career in medicine. It was, you know, an informal ‘with a record like yours we could easily get you a scholarship to West Point.’

Exactly.

The Carson campaign is calling the POLITICO story: “an outright lie“. POLITICO needs to retract the story, apologize for their attack on a black conservative, and fire the journalist.

Dennis Prager previously wrote about attacks by the left against Carson, and I blogged about it here.

Prager said:

The left is in full-blown smear-Carson mode. He is, after all, the left’s worst nightmare — a black Republican who is brilliant, kind and widely admired, including by many blacks.

It is a rule of left-wing life that black Republicans must have their names and reputations destroyed. The left knows that if blacks do not vote overwhelmingly Democrat, Democrats cannot win a national election.

Personally, I believe the smear was motivated by a desire to destroy Carson because he is a black conservative. Leftists cannot stand black conservatives. As a non-white conservative, I have often had to face the most vitriolic attacks from Democrats, and in my experience, the hatred is much worse for Republicans who don’t fit their mold. Conservative blacks and conservative women mess up the liberal stereotype of conservatives being exclusively white and male, and so they must be destroyed by any means necessary.