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Best Tweets Of The Miami Republican Debate

Republican debate

Last night, Florida hosted the penultimate Republican primary debate. We have had a lot of these!


Last night, Florida hosted the penultimate Republican primary debate. We have had a lot of these!

As ever, Twitter was at the ready. After the escalating insanity of the last few debates, many wondered: what would tonight’s contest bring? Cruel nicknames? Anatomical humor? Fisticuffs?

None of that came to pass. Instead, Jake Tapper and the CNN moderators presided over the most sedate, policy-centered debate in ages.

They began the night talking about trade. John Kasich endorsed free trade, within reason.

Donald Trump maintained his prior position of being both for and against outsourcing and free trade with the developing world.

Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz remained in the free trade camp, while cracking down on companies that abuse the visa system.

With no brawl breaking out, the moderators shifted the conversation to immigration. Surely, that would get the fur flying, right?

Kasich reminded viewers of the value of legal immigration.

Trump told of his long experience with the visa system, which he also said was bad, somehow.

They moved on to a polite, if confused, segment on Common Core.

Cruz took it a step further.

On entitlement reform, there was again calm discussion of detailed plans. Rubio described his plan to gradually raise the retirement age while protecting current retirees’ benefits.

Kasich argued for a less drastic approach.

Trump had a three-part plan to fix Social Security:

Part 1: Winning.

Part 2: Waste, fraud and abuse.

Part 3: Did I mention winning?

Up to that point, everyone still kept things calm and mostly rational, they way we wish they had from the beginning.

On foreign policy, however, the exchanges finally heated up. Returning to trade and tariffs, Cruz pointed out the problem in Trump’s protectionism.

Tapper gave Trump the chance to take back an earlier comment that “Islam hates us.” Nope.

Rubio defended Muslim Americans and our Muslim allies abroad, while noting that as much fun as off-the-cuff commentary is, the words of a President carry great weight around the world.

Trump was questioned on his call for torture and the death of terrorists’ families.

The debate continued in that vein, and the foreign affairs facts were flying.

Cruz called for a more reasoned foreign policy than Trump offered.

Trump responded by reminding the crowd that he was the best friend to Israel. The best!

Kasich’s position on peace in the Middle East? It’s probably not going to happen.

Trump disagreed with Kasich, and with earlier versions of his own positions, calling for thousands of U.S. troops against ISIS.

Then the talk turned to Cuba, an important issue for the Miami crowd. Would Trump restore normal relations with the socialist island nation?

Rubio was ready for this one. He demanded that Cuba make some actual reforms before being embraced by the United States, and compared them unfavorably to Burma.

Trump’s retort? DEALS!

Cruz questioned Trump’s praise for foreign dictators.

Kasich reiterated the traditional American position on dictators: they’re bad.

Shifting to violence closer to home, Tapper asked why Trump’s rallies bring the ruckus.

But Tapper, and the other candidates, stopped short of asking Trump about violence perpetrated by his own employee.

After a dispute over delegate math and their respective chances of winning, the evening drew to a close.

Not everything said was brilliant, but the tone was somewhat elevated and the candidates kept it PG-rated. For that, they deserve at least some praise.