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The Top 5 Biggest Moments From Last Night’s GOP Debate

Wednesday night marked the second GOP presidential debate, held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. Rest assured, the candidates were not afraid to yell at each other about both personal and policy-related issues. During the three-hour-long CNN program, the presidential hopefuls navigated their way through tough questions, ranging from federal support of Planned Parenthood to Secret Service codenames and which woman they would like to see on the $10 bill. Whether you missed the debate or just want to relive it, here are its top 5 moments.

​1. Carly Fiorina told off Trump for his sexist comments

In a Rolling Stone interview, Donald Trump seriously insulted fellow GOP candidate Carly Fiorina. “Look at that face!” Trump said in the article.  “Would anyone vote for that?” Jake Tapper, the debate moderator and CNN’s chief Washington correspondent, decided to make things interesting by asking Trump about that comment. Trump asserted that he meant something else entirely. 

Fiorina was not so quick to forgive. “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said,” Fiorina said, causing the audience to erupt in applause. Trump had no other response than, “I think she has a beautiful face, and she is a beautiful woman.” Carly didn’t seem to buy his answer – can’t say we blame her!

2. Jeb Bush admitted to smoking marijuana

When Tanner brought up the topic of medical marijuana and drug control policy, Jeb Bush took the honest route.

“Forty years ago I smoked marijuana, and I admit. I’m sure that other people might have done it and may not want to say it in front of 25 million people. My mom’s not happy that I just did,” Bush said. The audience laughed, and so did we (we appreciate the honesty, Jeb).


On the more serious side of drug policy, Fiorina also brought up a sad and touching personal story. She is a strong supporter of drug control, and mentioned having lost a son to drug addiction. It was one of the rare moments in the debate where none of the other cadidates interrupted or chimed in. 

3. Donald Trump refused to apologize to Jeb Bush’s wife

Trump’s presidential candidacy became infamous with his controversial comments on immigration. Trump wanted stricter restrictions on immigration, but his outspoken offensive language toward immigrants made his opinions unpopular to many. Among those insulted by Trump was Jeb Bush, whose wife was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. Trump said in July, “If my wife were from Mexico, I think I would have a soft spot for people from Mexico.”

During the debate, Bush brought up the subject, asking Trump for an apology. Although Trump said, “I have to tell you, I hear phenomenal things. I hear your wife is a lovely woman.” When Bush asked once again for an apology, Trump unsurprisingly refused. “I won’t do that because I said nothing wrong, but I do hear she’s a lovely woman.”

4. Planned Parenthood issues and images took center stage

Planned Parenthood is a federally-funded agency that executes abortions, distributes birth control, and provides a knowledge base for woman about safe sex and controlling when they choose to become mothers. However, many of the GOP candidates want to defund, and in some cases shut down, the organization. Governor John Kasich of Ohio asserted that a complete shut down of Planned Parenthood would be unnecessary. However, others — like Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Chris Christie, Fiorina, and Mike Huckabee — said they would shut down the organization. Most of the candidates maintained the typically Republican pro-life view. 

Ted Cruz brought up videos released of Planned Parenthood, which were supposed to show the organization doing many illegal practices. However, the videos were proven to be edited, and therefore unreliable. The talk of pro-life policies began a passionate debate on federal funding of any and all abortions.

5. We can’t forget about Senator Lindsey Graham rocking the “Kid’s Table” debate

Before the main debate of the top 11 GOP presidential candidates, there was an undercard debate of the four lowest polling candidates. This included George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Governor Bobby Jindal and Senator Lindsey Graham. 

Lindsey Graham decided to have some fun with the debate, standing out from his opponents. When asked about the first thing he would do as president, Graham said, “We’re going to drink more.” Graham also went on to call Donald Trump a “cartoon character,” and call out Senator Ted Cruz for wanting to abolish Obamacare (which President Obama would probably veto quickly).

What were your favorite moments from the GOP debate?  

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Bridget Higgins

U Mass Amherst

Bridget is a senior Journalism major focusing on political journalism at UMass Amherst. She interned for the HC editorial team, writes columns for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, and occasionally gets a freelance article or two on sailing published by Ocean Navigator Magazine. When she isn't greeting random puppies on the street, she loves to cook for her friends, perpetuate her coffee addiction, and spend too much time crafting Tweets. She is also an avid fan of chocolate anything and unnecessary pillows. If you want to know more about Bridget, follow her on Instagram - @bridget_higgins - or Twitter - @bridgehiggins