Key takeaways from Republican Presidential Debate at CU Boulder

Ellie Mulder

BOULDER — During the two halves of the third Republican Presidential Debate held in Boulder at Coors Events Center, candidates discussed economic issues and students attended watch parties. The debate was titled “Your Money, Your Vote.”

The first debate included the four lowest-polling candidates: Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, George Pataki and Lindsey Graham. The second debate, which ran for twice as long as the first, featured 10 candidates: John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie and Rand Paul.


Video by Ellie Mulder.

During the second debate, Fiorina spoke for the longest amount of time at 10 minutes and 32 seconds, with Rubio following closely behind with 10 minutes and 10 seconds, according to NPR.

Although the debates occurred on a university campus, candidates focused on topics such as income inequality, the debt ceiling and media criticism, and student debt and higher education tuition were only briefly mentioned.

Fiorina said that student debt is one of many topics related to “crony capitalism,” which she defined as “what happens when the government gets so big and so powerful that only the big and the powerful can handle it.”

“The student loan problem has been created by the government,” Fiorina said.

Bush and Kasich agreed that the federal government should leave the issue of student loans and debt to state governments.

We don’t need the federal government to be involved, because when they do, we create a $1.2 trillion debt,” Bush said.

Kasich talked about working off student debt through public service, and said he believes universities should not receive money “unless a student graduates or completes a course.”


Rubio, however, advocated for vocational schools as he responded to a question about American jobs being allocated to immigrants.

“I do not understand, why did we stop doing vocational schooling in America? People that can work with their hands, people that you can train to do this work while they’re still in high school, so they can graduate, ready to go work,” Rubio said. “The best way to close this gap is to modernize higher education so Americans have the skills for those jobs.”

Despite it being a debate focused on economics, several candidates took time to criticize the debate format and the moderators’ questions.

“The questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media,” Cruz said. “This is not a cage match, and you look at the questions: Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have you numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues people care about?”

Video courtesy of CNBC’s “Your Money, Your Vote: The Republican Presidential Debate.”

Christie echoed similar frustration in response to a question about how fantasy sports should be regulated.

“Are we really talking about getting the government involved in fantasy football? Wait a second — we have $19 trillion in debt, we have people out of work, we have ISIS and Al Qaeda attacking us, and we’re talking about fantasy football? Can we stop?”

After two hours on stage, the second half of the debate wrapped up, and many journalists and critics said Marco Rubio won.

Several CU students who attended a watch party hosted by the CU student government, however, said there was no clear winner.

“There was people that were worse than other people, but I didn’t think that anyone was a lot better than anyone else,” said Lucas Larson, a computer science student.

Before the debates began, thousands of students, community members and visitors protested on campus and outside the Coors Events Center.

Collegian News Editor Ellie Mulder can be reached at or via Twitter @LEmarie.