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The 8 Toughest Questions Posed by Fox News to the GOP Candidates

The 8 Toughest Questions Posed by Fox News to the GOP Candidates
Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly, and Brett Baier, start the first official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign in Cleveland, Ohio, August 6, 2015. (Aaron Josefczyk/Reuters)

By    |   Friday, 07 August 2015 10:41 AM

Pointed and tough questions from Fox News moderators at Thursday night’s Republican presidential candidate debate surprised many listeners, and some candidates as well.

Donald Trump blasted Fox News for its “not nice” and “inappropriate” questions on Friday, while some media companies expressed surprise at the conservative news organization’s hard-edged tactics.

“The triumvirate of Fox News anchors who ran the two-hour event — Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly, and Bret Baier — seemed to have one mission above all else in questioning the 10 would-be presidents they faced across the stage at Quicken Loans Arena: Make them squirm,” wrote The New York Times.

Here are eight of the toughest questions put to the candidates on Thursday, taken from a CBS News transcript of the debate:

1. Dr. Ben Carson
"You are a successful neurosurgeon, but you admit that you have had to study up on foreign policy, saying there's a lot to learn. Your critics say that your inexperience shows. You've suggested that the Baltic States are not a part of NATO, just months ago you were unfamiliar with the major political parties and government in Israel, and domestically, you thought Alan Greenspan had been treasury secretary instead of federal reserve chair.

Aren't these basic mistakes, and don't they raise legitimate questions about whether you are ready to be president?"

2. Sen. Marco Rubio
"When Jeb Bush announced his candidacy for presidency, he said this: ‘There's no passing off responsibility when you're a governor, no blending into the legislative crowd.’ Could you please address Governor Bush across the stage here, and explain to him why you, someone who has never held executive office, are better prepared to be president than he is, a man who you say did a great job running your state of Florida for eight years."

3. Donald Trump:
"Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don't use a politician's filter. However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women. You've called women you don't like ‘fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.’"

When Trump responded, "Only Rosie O’Donnell, " Kelly added, "For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell. Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks. You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees. Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president, and how will you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who was likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?"

4. Gov. Scott Walker
"You've consistently said that you want to make abortion illegal even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. You recently signed an abortion law in Wisconsin that does have an exception for the mother's life, but you're on the record as having objected to it. Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion, and with 83 percent of the American public in favor of a life exception, are you too out of the mainstream on this issue to win the general election?"

5. Gov. John Kasich
"The subject of gay marriage and religious liberty. Governor Kasich, if you had a son or daughter who was gay or lesbian, how would you explain to them your opposition to same-sex marriage?"

6. Gov. Jeb Bush
"Governor Bush, for days on end in this campaign, you struggled to answer a question about whether knowing what we know now we would've invaded Iraq, and ISIS, of course, is now thriving there. You finally said, ‘No.’ To the families of those who died in that war who say they liberated and deposed a ruthless dictator, how do you look at them now and say that your brother's war was a mistake?"

7. Sen. Rand Paul
"You recently blamed the rise of ISIS on Republican hawks. You later said that that statement, you could have said it better. But, the statement went on, and you said, quote, ‘Everything they've talked about in foreign policy, they've been wrong for the last 20 years.’ Why are you so quick to blame your own party?"

8. Donald Trump
"Mr. Trump, I'll give you 30 seconds — I'll give you 30 seconds to answer my question, which was, what evidence do you have, specific evidence that the Mexican government is sending criminals across the border? Thirty seconds."

And the answers:

1. Carson: "Well, I could take issue with — with all of those things, but we don't have time. But I will say, we have a debate here tonight, and we will have an opportunity to explore those areas, and I'm looking very much forward to demonstrating that, in fact, the thing that is probably most important is having a brain, and to be able to figure things out and learn things very rapidly.

"So, you know, experience comes from a large number of different arenas, and America became a great nation early on not because it was flooded with politicians, but because it was flooded with people who understood the value of personal responsibility, hard work, creativity, innovation, and that's what will get us on the right track now, as well."

2. Rubio: "Well, thank you for the question, Chris, and it's great to be here tonight. Let me begin by saying this: I'm not new to the political process; I was making a contribution as the speaker of the third largest and most diverse state in the country well before I even got into the Senate.

"I would add to that that this election cannot be a resume competition. It's important to be qualified, but if this election is a resume competition, then Hillary Clinton's gonna be the next president, because she's been in office and in government longer than anybody else running here tonight.

"Here's what this election better be about: This election better be about the future, not the past. It better be about the issues our nation and the world is facing today, not simply the issues we once faced.

"This country is facing an economy that has been radically transformed. You know, the largest retailer in the country and the world today, Amazon, doesn't even own a single store? And these changes have been disruptive. They have changed people's lives. The jobs that once sustained our middle class, they either don't pay enough or they are gone, and we need someone that understands that as our nominee.

"If I'm our nominee, how is Hillary Clinton gonna lecture me about living paycheck to paycheck? I was raised paycheck to paycheck. How is she — how is she gonna lecture me — how is she gonna lecture me about student loans? I owed over $100,000 just four years ago. If I'm our nominee, we will be the party of the future."

3. Trump: "I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. I've been challenged by so many people, and I don't frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don't win anymore. We lose to China. We lose to Mexico both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody.

"And frankly, what I say, and oftentimes it's fun, it's kidding. We have a good time. What I say is what I say. And honestly Megyn, if you don't like it, I'm sorry. I've been very nice to you, although I could probably maybe not be, based on the way you have treated me. But I wouldn't do that.

"But you know what, we — we need strength, we need energy, we need quickness and we need brain in this country to turn it around. That, I can tell you right now."

4. Walker: "Well, I'm pro-life, I've always been pro-life, and I've got a position that I think is consistent with many Americans out there in that I believe that that is an unborn child that's in need of protection out there, and I've said many a time that that unborn child can be protected, and there are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother. That's been consistently proven. Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has a radical position in terms of support for Planned Parenthood, I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out, I've got a position that's in line with everyday America."

5. Kasich
: Well, look, I'm an old-fashioned person here, and I happen to believe in traditional marriage. But I've also said the court has ruled . . . and I said we'll accept it. And guess what, I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay. Because somebody doesn't think the way I do, doesn't mean that I can't care about them or can't love them. So if one of my daughters happened to be that, of course I would love them and I would accept them. Because you know what? That's what we're taught when we have strong faith.

"So the issues like that, issues like that are planted to divide us. I think the simple fact of the matter is, and this is where I would agree with Jeb, and I've been saying it all along, we need to give everybody a chance, treat everybody with respect, and let them share in this great American dream that we have, Megyn. So, look, I'm going to love my daughters, I'm going to love them no matter what they do. Because, you know what, God gives me unconditional love. I'm going to give it to my family and my friends and the people around me."

6. Bush: "Knowing what we know now, with faulty intelligence, and not having security be the first priority when — when we invaded, it was a mistake. I wouldn't have gone in. However, for the people that did lose their lives, and the families that suffer because of it — I know this full well because as governor of the state of Florida, I called every one of them; every one of them that I could find to tell them that I was praying for them, that I cared about them, and it was really hard to do. And, every one of them said that their child did not die in vain, or their wife, of their husband did not die in vain.

"So, why it was difficult for me to do it was based on that. Here's the lesson that we should take from this, which relates to this whole subject, Barack Obama became president, and he abandoned Iraq. He left, and when he left Al Qaida was done for. ISIS was created because of the void that we left, and that void now exists as a caliphate the size of Indiana. To honor the people that died, we need to — we need to — stop the — Iran agreement, for sure, because the Iranian mullahs have their blood on their hands, and we need to take out ISIS with every tool at our disposal."

7. Paul: "First of all, only ISIS is responsible for the terrorism. Only ISIS is responsible for the depravity. But, we do have to examine, how are we going to defeat ISIS? I've got a proposal. I'm the leading voice in America for not arming the allies of ISIS. I've been fighting amidst a lot of opposition from both Hillary Clinton, as well as some Republicans who wanted to send arms to the allies of ISIS. ISIS rides around in a billion dollars worth of U.S. Humvees. It's a disgrace. We've got to stop — we shouldn't fund our enemies, for goodness sakes. So, we didn't create ISIS — ISIS created themselves, but we will stop them, and one of the ways we stop them is by not funding them, and not arming them."

8. Trump
: "Border Patrol, I was at the border last week. Border Patrol, people that I deal with, that I talk to, they say this is what's happening. Because our leaders are stupid. Our politicians are stupid. And the Mexican government is much smarter, much sharper, much more cunning. And they send the bad ones over because they don't want to pay for them. They don't want to take care of them.

"Why should they when the stupid leaders of the United States will do it for them? And that's what is happening whether you like it or not."

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Pointed and tough questions from Fox News moderators at Thursday night’s Republican presidential candidate debate surprised many listeners, and some candidates as well.
toughest, questions, gop, candidates, fox
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2015-41-07
Friday, 07 August 2015 10:41 AM
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