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7 key takeaways from Thursday’s Republican debate

After Jeb Bush dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination, there were only five candidates on stage at the tenth GOP debate, moderated by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Donald Trump was repeatedly attacked by runner-ups Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, while Ben Carson and John Kasich struggled to stay in the spotlight as questions were aimed at their competitors.

In the end, many analysts agreed that Rubio took a clear lead over the other candidates during the night.


Here are seven other things we learned from Thursday’s debate:

  1. Rubio firmly said that deportation is not the immediate solution to immigration. He said he would first “secure the border” before deporting anybody. He said he would deal with those who “overstay” on their work visas, and he would cancel the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order on his first day in office.

    Rubio also said he would establish a system of tracking who enters and exits the country before deporting illegal immigrants.

  2. Trump said he no longer eats Oreos because the Nabisco Corporation has moved a plant to Mexico. He also defended his plan to build a wall on the Mexican border, again saying that our southern neighbor would pay for it, even after former Mexican President Vicente Fox said, “I not going to pay for that f*cking wall.
  3. Rubio endorsed a “refundable tax credit” for healthcare after attacking the Affordable Healthcare Act, which he said is bad for jobs. All candidates were against Obamacare, with Rubio arguing that he would replace it with “something substantially better.” Trump and Carson both said that while they would repeal the act, they would keep the pre-existing condition clause in their healthcare replacement.

    Kasich said he would “damp down the rising costs of healthcare” with financial rewards given to doctors who are able to provide above-average quality of medical care.

  4. Kasich called for “reasonable” regulatory reform, reasonable tax cuts and cited his own state of Ohio, where he is governor, as an example of how his plans would work if elected.

    Trump said he would make America a “dynamic economy” by cutting the Department of Education, the Common Core program, the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies. He said he would cut so many programs, “your heads will spin.” 

  5. We learned Rubio plans to release the rest of his tax records this weekend, Cruz plans to release the last few years of his records soon and Trump does not plan to release his tax records until after he has stopped being audited. However, he also said his business has been audited for 12 years, which could mean his records will not become public knowledge for some time.

    Carson called for the IRS to be shut down due to dishonesty.

  6. On North Korea, Kasich called for a regime change. He said he would love to remove Kim Jong Un to create better stability and that China has the ability to force a regime change. Carson said he would deal with North Korea by working with Japan and South Korea to establish a “more robust naval presence” in the area.

    Trump said if former Libyan leader Myamar Gaddaffi and former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein were still alive and in power, there would be less of a terrorist presence in the area. 

  7. Rubio said that, if elected, he would order Apple to work with the FBI to find out the password to the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone. He said Apple was treating it as a way to promote their brand, and that national security should take precedence over the company’s desire to prevent encryption backdoors. 

Collegian Assistant News Editor Erik Petrovich can be reached at or via Twitter @EAPetrovich.

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