On Thursday, the top 10 Republican candidates in the race to be come the president of the United States gathered in Cleveland for the first primetime Republican Presidential Primary Debate of the 2016 campaign.
The candidates participating in the two-hour debate were:
>> Real estate mogul Donald Trump
>> Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
>> Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
>> Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee
>> Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson
>> Texas Senator Ted Cruz
>> Florida Senator Marco Rubio
>> Kentucky Senator Rand Paul
>> New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
>> Ohio Governor John Kasich
The debate packed in several punches. In case you missed any of them, here are seven of the buzziest moments from the GOP’s big night.
1) Donald Trump refuses to pledge his allegiance to the Republican Party
Everyone knew that the real estate tycoon known to make controversial comments, would be bombastic during the debate. And Trump did not disappoint. He took centre stage at the debate when he refused to pledge to support the GOP nominee, and said he would run as a third party candidate, drawing a combination of cheers and boos.
His decision was quickly criticised by Senator Rand Paul saying that “he’s used to buying politicians on both sides of the aisle!” Trump responded by noting that he’s “given [Paul] plenty of money.”
2) The immigration debate
"If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration,” Trump said. “This was not a subject that was on anybody’s mind until I brought it up.”
Since his controversial comments about immigration at the launch of his campaign, Trump said there have been “many killings, murders, crime, drugs pouring across the border, our money going out and the drugs coming in. And I said we need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly.”
“I don’t mind having a big, beautiful door in that wall so that people can come into this country legally,” he added. “But we need, Jeb, to build a wall. We need to keep illegals out.”
3) Christie and Paul get in yelling match
Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie got into a yelling match over the issue of government surveillance.
“I want to collect more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans,” said Paul. “I’m proud of standing for the Bill of Rights, and I will continue to,” said Paul.
Christie shot back that Paul’s answer was completely ridicules. “How are you supposed to know,” questions Christie. “When you’re sitting in a subcommittee blowing hot air, then you can say things like that.”
Paul accused Christie of fundamentally misunderstanding the Bill of Rights. “I don’t trust President Obama with our records, I know you gave him a big hug, and if you want to give him a big hug again, go right ahead.”
4) Kasich gets applause for saying he’d love his daughters if they were gay
Ohio Governor took a tone of compassion during the debate. When asked about the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, he said that while he himself was “traditional,” he had recently attended a gay friend’s wedding. And asked how he would explain his position if a children came out to him, he said, “I’m going to love my daughters no matter what they do. Because you know what? God gives me unconditional love.” It drew loud applause in the audience.
5) Trump and his ‘war on women’
“You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals,’” co-moderator Megyn Kelly said. “Only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump interjected, drawing applause. “Thank you.”
That started an extended back and forth in which Trump attacked political correctness and Kelly herself.
“Honestly, Megyn, if you don’t like it, I’m sorry,” he said. “I’ve been very nice to you although I probably could maybe not be based on the way you’ve been to me.”
6) Ben Carson’s tax-church statement
He was all but ignored for the first half hour of the debate. However, on the issue of taxes, Carson said, “I think God’s a pretty fair guy.” Carson said if 10 per cent is good enough for god, it should be more than enough for the government, proposing a flat rate with no loop-holes.
7) Mike Huckabee compares baby parts to car parts
Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took a strong position on pro-life when asked about person-hood. We should “protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they’re parts to a Buick,” said.