We Watched the GOP Debate So You Didn’t Have To. Here Are All the Ridiculous Things That Were Said.

A crib sheet on Thursday evening’s exhibition for everyone too busy (or too terrified) to watch

Darlena Cunha

The top 10 presidential hopefuls from the Republican party faced off yesterday at Cleveland's Quicken Loans arena. (REUTERS)

Last night, the first Repub­li­can debates took place. Like any good Amer­i­can, I stocked up on wine, turned on Twit­ter and set­tled in to watch three gov­er­nors, two for­mer gov­er­nors, three sen­a­tors, a busi­ness­man and a neu­ro­sur­geon tell me why they should be my Com­man­der in Chief.

Walker: I may have failed in my promises to my states, but that’s just because I aim high.

Fox tele­vised the event, and the mod­er­a­tors were Chris Wal­lace, Meg­yn Kel­ly and Bret Baier’s tan.

For those of you who couldn’t watch it, because you were busy, because you’re one of the many Amer­i­cans who don’t have or can’t afford cable (not Repub­li­cans’ tar­get audi­ence) or because you care about your men­tal health, I took notes.

The debate start­ed out with a bang, as Don­ald Trump bucked tra­di­tion right out of the gate. They asked for a show of hands for the can­di­dates who would promise to sup­port the win­ner of the pri­maries if they lost and not run against them. Trump was like, nope.

The mod­er­a­tors feigned sur­prise, and those at home were all, Of course he’s run­ning no mat­ter what. If he had to have vot­ers carve his name into squash and send it via car­ri­er pigeon, he would.”

But where do these men — for­mer Flori­da Gov. Jeb Bush, Wis­con­sin Gov. Scott Walk­er, for­mer Arkansas Gov. Mike Huck­abee, New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Flori­da Sen. Mar­co Rubio, Ken­tucky Sen. Rand Paul, neu­ro­sur­geon Ben Car­son, and Don­ald Trump, for those of you who like a lot of names all in a row — fall on the impor­tant issues fac­ing our nation?

Let’s see.

**Ques­tions and answers have been para­phrased for clarity**

Kel­ly: Okay, every­one, what makes you qual­i­fied to be president?

Car­son: I have a brain. I also oper­ate on them.

Rubio: I don’t like the ques­tion. The most impor­tant job in the nation should not be a resume competition.

Bush: I am not my dad or my broth­er. I’m run­ning with my heart. Also, some peo­ple once called me Veto Corleone.

Cruz (lying through his teeth): I should be pres­i­dent because I tell the truth.

Christie: I upgrad­ed New Jer­sey from sew­er pit back to armpit. (No talk of any bridges).

Kel­ly: The Don­ald, are women people?

Trump: No. Also Rosie O’Donnell lol, and you’re mean, Meg­yn Kel­ly. You’re fired. Crap, wrong show.

Kel­ly: Walk­er, would you rather let a moth­er die than have an abortion?

Walk­er: Well, I’m pro-life so, yes. (Not sure he under­stands what life means. Or maybe women aren’t alive.)

Huck­abee: We have sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence that a fetus is a per­son and there­fore women are mur­der­ers. (No cita­tion given.)

Kel­ly: Kasich, you expand­ed Med­ic­aid, even though Fox hates that. Why?

Kasich: I might actu­al­ly care about the longterm out­come of peo­ple strug­gling. And for my fel­low Repub­li­cans, also, REAGAN.


Bush: There should be a path to earned legal sta­tus. (Yay!) Also, I wrote a book on this. (Yay?)

Trump: I invent­ed ille­gal immi­gra­tion. You’re wel­come. We shall build an enor­mous wall with a beau­ti­ful door to fix it. You’re welcome. 

Rubio: God, Trump, you are so ridicu­lous. We don’t need a wall. We need a FENCE.

Walk­er: I changed my mind about help­ing immi­grants earn legal sta­tus because Tea Party.

Cruz: I have nev­er sup­port­ed the notion that immi­grants are people.


Christie: The only way to keep Amer­i­ca safe is to give me all your phone records.

Paul: Respect­ful­ly, Christie, FOURTH AMENDMENT.

Christie: But how are we—

Paul: AMEND­MENT. I said good day, sir.

Christie: But EVERY­ONE could be a terrorist!

Paul: You hugged Barack Oba­ma. End scene.

Cruz: I will defeat ISIS in three months with my truth-telling. And dic­ta­tor­ship is pret­ty awe­some. Truth!

Bush: I called every victim’s fam­i­ly I could find and said, sor­ry, bro.”

Car­son: Bring back water­board­ing and don’t tell the Amer­i­can pub­lic about it.


Trump: I give a lot of mon­ey to lib­er­als and every­one does what I want because mon­ey. We’re not friends, guys. It’s been my polit­i­cal ploy all along. Also, did you know I have a lot of mon­ey? (In terms of the top­ic: Against arti­fi­cial lines around states in terms of free-mar­ket, pri­vate insur­ance. For lit­er­al wall around country.) 

Walk­er: Blame Hillary Clinton.


Huck­abee: Stop tax­ing income. Tax con­sump­tion. Tax all peo­ple who need to buy things, no mat­ter how much or lit­tle mon­ey they have.

Car­son: Tithing is the way to go.


Bush: **brags, mys­ti­fy­ing­ly, about Florida’s edu­ca­tion­al system**

Rubio: It’s the feds try­ing to make every­one do what they want.


Kasich: My father was a mailman.

Car­son: The Democ­rats are ruin­ing this country.


Bush: Get rid of Oba­macare and replace it with jobs.

Walk­er: I may have failed in my promis­es to my states, but that’s just because I aim high.

Rubio: Low­er tax­es for all businesses.

Fox News: How about enti­tle­ment reform, guys?

Author of this piece: Enti­tle­ment” reform? That’s not what it’s called. Invalid. Next question.

Huck­abee: Wait! My answer is too good to ignore. Tax the pros­ti­tutes and pimps. And ille­gals. Prob­lem solved.

Fox: Trump, you filed for bank­rupt­cy four times.

Trump: I did not. I used the law four times. The bank­rupt­cy laws. Stop slan­der­ing me.


Walk­er: When I was a kid, I tied a rib­bon around a tree for the hostages in Iran. Let’s not do busi­ness there.

Paul: Rea­gan, Rea­gan, Rea­gan, Rea­gan, strength, Reagan.

Huck­abee: Rea­gan said, trust but ver­i­fy. Oba­ma is all, trust but vil­i­fy. (High five, me. Niiiiiiice.)


Rubio: The con­sti­tu­tion. Also, I believe that every per­son has the right to pro­tec­tion under our laws, whether they have a birth cer­tifi­cate or not.” (Oh, wait.)

Trump: Yeah, I was pro-choice, but then I knew a fetus once and it became a super­star. Now I’m pro-life.


Kasich: I’m old fash­ioned. But I have a friend who’s gay.


Trump: If Iran was a stock, you should buy it.

Cruz: Iran released hostages the day Rea­gan was sworn into office in 1981.

Car­son: We need more planes.

Walk­er: Hillary Clinton’s emails. She is mush. I am steel. What­ev­er you say bounces off me and goes back to — wait, that doesn’t work.

Huck­abee: Let’s kill peo­ple and break things. More than we already do.

Paul: I use pen­cils and paper.

Christie: Fund­ing Israel will solve the problems.


Cruz: My father left when I was 3. I think because he wasn’t reli­gious. When he found Jesus, he came back. 

Kasich: My father was a mail­man. God wants Amer­i­ca to succeed. 

Walk­er: I have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Rubio: God has blessed the Repub­li­can Par­ty and also America. 

Car­son: I am a Black man who doesn’t see color. 


Kasich: I have done many things. Vote for me.

Christie: My dad worked at an ice cream plant. Vote for me.

Paul: I know how to fil­i­buster. I can beat Hillary Clin­ton. Vote for me.

Rubio: My par­ents were born in pover­ty in Cuba. Amer­i­can dream. Vote for me.

Cruz: I will undo every­thing Oba­ma did on day ONE. Vote for me.

Car­son: I still use the term Siamese twins.” Vote for me.

Huck­abee: Hillary Clin­ton sucks. Vote for me.

Walk­er: I own a Harley and love my kids. Vote for me.

Bush: My first name isn’t George. Vote for me.

Trump: Japan has too many cars com­ing into our coun­try. Vote for me.

The win­ner? Hard to say. But it seems clear the los­er was America.

Dar­lena Cun­ha is a for­mer tele­vi­sion pro­duc­er. She has writ­ten for Time, the Wash­ing­ton Post, The Atlantic, the New York Times, McSweeney’s and elsewhere.
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