The GOP #KidsTable Debate in 16 Tweets

From “Ronald Raven” to the largely empty arena.

Republican presidential candidates from left, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, and George Pataki take the stage for a pre-debate forum at the Quicken Loans Arena, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. Seven of the candidates have not qualified for the prime time debate.Andrew Harnik/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Fox News raised hackles when it announced the selection criteria for the first GOP presidential candidate debate: only the top-10, based on an average of selected national polls, would be allowed into the primetime debate. Rick Santorum called it “preposterous,” but Fox had a solution. It would put on a pre-debate debate a couple hours before the main event, featuring the candidates that weren’t quite fit for prime time. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but at least they’d get a chance to air their views. But it was quickly clear that these were second-tier candidates, at least based on the way moderators Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer framed the early questions:

The B-team feel was also reinforced by a largely-empty Quicken Loans Arena:

But that’s not to say the candidates didn’t say interesting things. There were flubs:

And a sleepy Sen. Lindsey Graham saying some rather interesting things about women’s rights:

But maybe that paid off?

Rick Santorum also had some interesting things to say, although not in the way he probably wanted:

The question the candidates had the most difficulty with was providing a two-word description of Hillary Clinton:

But Carly Fiorina emerged the clear winner:

She might have been the only one to really move the needle, as most of the candidates will likely continue to poll in the low single digits:

Glad that’s overwith, or…

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest