Sorry to keep harping on this, but I remain shocked there’s been almost no discussion of the budget deal. Paul announced he’d filibuster it, but never mentioned it again. Cruz and Kasich denounced it without going into detail. Nobody else had to say a word. Amazing.
Quick gives Huck another shot on Medicare, and repeats his Cures idea.
Wondering if Jeb panicking about his lack of impact in this debate, because he begs for more time to boast about entitlement reform.
Harwood asks Trump about how he can avoid entitlement cuts; Trump does his usual number of transforming the entire economy.
Jeb follows up with means-testing pitch. Uses “incent” as a verb.
Guess I was wrong about this thing wrapping up.
Kasich boasts about health care spending going down in Ohio.
Back to Paul, who says rising retirement age and means-testing unavoidable.
Harwood finally gets around to asking Carson about his Medicare/Medicaid/HSA plan; Carson says it’s just an “option.” Probably defending it too much after finessing it.
Christie follows up but instead of going after Carson’s “idea,” attacks HRC.
Harwood tries to get Christie to criticize Carson, but he turns it into attack on free stuff from Democrats.
Rubio piles on with how wonderful the field is and how bad the Democrats are; predicts (accurately) they’ll be criticized for entitlement “reform” ideas; reminds audience that today’s old folks will be grandfathered.
Fiorina demands more time (Harwood points out candidates demanded limited debate time), then touts really, really dumb zero-based budgeting “idea.”
Okay, finally, the closing statements.
Paul: I want small government (no kidding!). But then attacks budget deal, promises filibuster.
Christie: He’s fed up with big government! What a shocker! He’s also deadly serious.
Cruz: Does his usual “I’ve risen up for you” number. First mention of Planned Parenthood of the whole night. Doesn’t mention budget deal.
Fiorina: Secretary to CEO! HRC’s worst nightmare!
Carson: Thanks rivals for not “falling into traps.” Works in one more attack on “political correctness.”
Trump: Takes credit with Carson for limiting the debate, metaphor for “making American again.”
Rubio: Son of a bartender! American dream! Sorry, I’m really getting tired of this. Trump’s right, limiting this debate was important.
Jeb: Proven record, change the culture in Washington as in Tallahassee.
Huck: Does pitch for sincerity of the field.
Kasich: Seems to want us to meet our neighbors.
That’s it! And don’t forget to hate on government in your prayers tonight!