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Donald Trump Goes On A War Path During First GOP Debate, As Rivals Fight For Attention

August 7, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Donald Trump Goes On A War Path During First GOP Debate, As Rivals Fight For Attention

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CLEVELAND (AP) — A combative Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman-turned-presidential candidate, jolted the first Republican debate of the 2016 campaign by warning he might run as an independent if denied the GOP nomination. His startling declaration left his onstage rivals scrambling to compete for attention the rest of the night.

Asked in the debate’s opening minutes whether he could rule out a third-party run, Trump declared Thursday night, “I will not make the pledge at this time.” He also refused to apologize for making crude comments about women, defended his changing policy positions and tangled with the debate moderators.

While Trump was characteristically bombastic, most of the contenders standing alongside him clamored for their piece of the spotlight without engaging him directly. They quarreled over immigration, terrorism and gay marriage, each casting himself as the strongest to take on Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. They also assailed President Barack Obama and his nuclear deal with Iran.

The closest former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a favorite of the party’s moderate, establishment wing, came to tangling with Trump was a gentle critique of the businessman’s over-the-top rhetoric.

“Mr. Trump’s language is divisive,” Bush said. “We’re not going to win by doing what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do every day — dividing the country.”

On immigration, one of the main topics of the night, Bush defended his call for a path to legal status for some of the people living in the U.S. illegally, an unpopular position among some Republican voters who equate legal status with amnesty.

“The great majority of people coming here have no other option,” Bush said.

Trump in particular has pushed the issue of immigration throughout the summer, drawing criticism for saying Mexican immigrants are rapists. He said Thursday that he had been told that by border patrol agents, and he took credit for immigration being an issue in the campaign.

“If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration,” he said, despite the fact that immigration has been a hot-button issue in presidential campaigns for years.

Trump’s blunt style was in line with the approach he’s taken to his campaign throughout the summer, appealing to voters frustrated with career politicians and perplexing his rivals. He entered the first debate leading the polls in a field filled with governors and senators.

Trump was still on the offensive in every sense of the word, hours after the GOP debate ended.

He lambasted Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly and analyst Frank Luntz, saving his most pointed attacks of the night for the media personalities.

“Wow, @megynkelly really bombed tonight. People are going wild on twitter! Funny to watch,” Trump tweeted.

Minutes later, Trump fired another 140-character assassination.

“I really enjoyed the debate tonight even though the @FoxNews trio, especially @megynkelly, was not very good or professional!” Trump wrote.

“Wow, @megynkelly really bombed tonight. People are going wild on twitter! Funny to watch,” Trump tweeted.

Minutes later, Trump fired another 140-character assassination.

“I really enjoyed the debate tonight even though the @FoxNews trio, especially @megynkelly, was not very good or professional!” Trump wrote.

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Bret Baier opened the debate with a question that put Trump on the spot: “Who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican Party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person?”

Empowered by several post-debate polls which showed he won by a wide margin, Trump shared comments from several fans on his Twitter account, including one that called Kelly a “bimbo.”

The clown prince of the debate targeted Frank Luntz for his most angry Twitter smackdowns.

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Luntz, who led a Fox focus group breakdown of the debate that wasn’t keen on Trump, was also skewered by the real estate mogul.

“@FrankLuntz is a low class slob who came to my office looking for consulting work and I had zero interest. Now he picks anti-Trump panels!” Trump wrote.

“@FrankLuntz, your so-called ‘focus groups’ are a total joke. Don’t come to my office looking for business again. You are a clown!” Trump tweeted.

It was part of an hour-long barrage of Trump dispatches that began after 3 a.m.

 

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