Tag Archives: gop debate

GOP Debate: Trump Calls on Republican Party to ‘Be Smart and Unify’

While previous GOP debates have been highlighted by insults and crude comments from Donald Trump, Thursday’s debate proved to be a more subdued event as the frontrunner called for unity within the Republican Party.

In his opening statement, Trump noted the record turnout of voters thus far in the GOP primaries, calling it one of the “biggest political events anywhere in the world.”

[pull_quote_center]One of the biggest political events anywhere in the world is happening right now with the Republican Party. Millions and millions of people are going out to the polls and they’re voting. They’re voting out of enthusiasm. They’re voting out of love. Some of these people, frankly, have never voted before—50 years old, 60 years old, 70 years old—never voted before.[/pull_quote_center]

Trump claimed that voters are turning to the Republican Party, and he said he thinks the Republican establishment “should embrace what’s happening.”

[pull_quote_center]We’re taking people from the Democrat Party. We’re taking people as independents, and they’re all coming out and the whole world is talking about it. It’s very exciting. I think, frankly, the Republican establishment, or whatever you want to call it, should embrace what’s happening. We’re having millions of extra people join. We are going to beat the Democrats. We are going to beat Hillary or whoever it may be. And we’re going to beat them soundly.[/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: Reality Check: Why Donald Trump’s South Carolina Win was a Historic Defeat of Neocons]

According to reports from the Washington Times, Republican voter turnout broke records in New Hampshire with “nearly 285,000 voters to the polls, which was 15 percent more than in 2012, and just shy of the all-time record of 287,000 voters that Democrats drew in their marquee 2008 battle.” and in South Carolina, with “more than 737,000 votes,” which is “more than 20 percent higher than 2012.” Trump was declared the winner in both states.

Following Super Tuesday on March 1, the Washington Post reported that over “1 million more people have voted in Republican primaries than Democratic ones” and that Democratic turnout has fallen since the last contested nomination in 2008, while it has risen for Republicans since 2012.

[RELATED: GOP Establishment Reportedly Considering Contested Convention to Counter Trump Win]

Although there have been reports of GOP elites preparing for a contested convention if Trump does not receive the 1,237 delegates needed to qualify for the Republican nomination, Trump said at Thursday’s debate that he thinks the GOP should seize the opportunity to “embrace millions of people” he is bringing to the Republican Party.

[pull_quote_center]The Republican Party has a great chance to embrace millions of people that it’s never known before. They’re coming by the millions. We should seize that opportunity. These are great people. These are fantastic people. These are people that love our country. These are people that want to see America be great again.[/pull_quote_center]

“So I just say embrace these millions of people that now for the first time ever love the Republican Party,” Trump concluded. “And unify. Be smart and unify.”

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GOP Candidates Call Snowden a ‘Traitor,’ U.S. Has Yet to Charge Him with Treason

While the remaining GOP candidates have spoken out against National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, calling him a “traitor,” the United States government has yet to formally charge him with treason.

Federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint against the former NSA contractor in June 2013, after he leaked a collection of mass surveillance documents which revealed to the public that the NSA was collecting the phone records of American citizens.

The complaint stated that Snowden is facing a charge of “theft of government property,” along with charges of “unauthorized communication of national defense information” and “willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person,” which were both brought under the Espionage Act of 1917.

However, Snowden is not facing charges of treason. Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution definestreason” as:

[pull_quote_center]Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.[/pull_quote_center]

The Washington Post noted that under this definition, the U.S. government would have to “demonstrate that Snowden was actively trying to provide aid and comfort to a specific entity, such as al-Qaeda, with which the U.S. is at war,” and it would have to find two witnesses who “observed Snowden leaking the information.” 

Despite the fact that Snowden is not facing treason charges, the remaining GOP candidates have openly called him a “traitor.”

During the GOP Debate hosted by Fox News Thursday night, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was asked why he did not immediately condemn Snowden when the documents were leaked in 2013.

You were open to the possibility that Edward Snowden had performed a considerable public service, you said back then, in revealing certain aspects of the NSA procedures,” Fox News host Bret Bair said. “Many of your colleagues in the Senate, including Senator Rubio, called him a traitor. It took you until January of this year to call him a traitor and say he should be tried for treason.Why the change of heart? And why did it take you so long?”

Cruz insisted that when the leaks were first reported, it was unclear whether Snowden had committed treason, and he said that since then it has become clear that Snowden’s leaks provided “aid and comfort to the enemies of America,” by making it “easier for terrorists to avoid detection.”

[pull_quote_center]When the news first broke of the United States government engaging in massive surveillance on American citizens, that was a very troubling development, and it’s why the United States Congress acted to correct it. Now, at the same time, I said in that initial statement that if the evidence indicated that Edward Snowden violated the law, he should be prosecuted for violating the law. And, indeed, since then, the evidence is clear that not only does Snowden violate the law, but it appears he committed treason. Treason is defined under the Constitution as giving aid and comfort to the enemies of America, and what Snowden did made it easier for terrorists to avoid detection.[/pull_quote_center]

Business mogul Donald Trump chimed in and said Snowden was a “spy and we should get him back,” insisting that because Russia granted asylum to Snowden, it shows a lack of respect for the U.S. This follows previous comments in July 2013 when Trump called Snowden a “terrible traitor,” and alluded to the idea that he should be killed.

During a campaign forum in August 2015, Ohio Gov. John Kasich called Snowden a “traitor” for releasing classified information.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has called Snowden a “traitor” on multiple occasions, claiming in Nov. 2013 that the “intelligence programs” used by the NSA were necessary, and should not be deterred by the “conspiracy theories sparked by Edward Snowden.” 

“We must respond to the valid concerns of Americans, who are alarmed by reports regarding their civil liberties,” Rubio said. “But we must also distinguish these reasonable concerns from conspiracy theories sparked by Edward Snowden. This man is a traitor who has sought assistance and refuge from some of the world’s most notorious violators of liberty and human rights.”

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GOP Candidates Sell FBI’s Talking Points, Ignore Apple’s Concerns

The remaining five GOP presidential candidates participated in a debate hosted by CNN and Telemundo Thursday night, and they were questioned on their positions regarding the current conflict between Apple and the FBI.

Apple CEO Tim Cook brought the issue to light last week when he released a letter notifying customers that the FBI was ordering Apple to “build a backdoor” into the iPhone in order to retrieve information from the iPhone used by one of the suspects in the San Bernardino shooting.

While the FBI claimed the “backdoor” would only be used on the one iPhone in question, Cook raised several concerns, noting that the FBI’s request “has implications far beyond the legal case at hand” due to the fact that once “a way to bypass the code is revealed, the encryption can be defeated by anyone with that knowledge.” 

[RELATED: Apple Rejects Government Order to Create ‘Backdoor’ for iPhone]  

CNN host Wolf Blitzer brought up the topic during the debate, claiming that the FBI “wants Apple to unlock the phone used by that San Bernardino terrorist to prevent future attacks,” but that Apple has refused because “it would compromise the security of all of its customers.” 

Dana Bash, CNN’s chief political correspondent, turned to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, noting that he initially said that “Apple isn’t necessarily wrong to refuse the court order.”

Rubio said that because the FBI made it “very clear” that the “only thing they are asking of Apple is that Apple allow them to use their own systems in the FBI to try to guess the password of the San Bernardino killer,” his position has changed, and he is now in favor of the FBI’s request.

[pull_quote_center]Apple initially came out saying, ‘We’re being ordered to create a back door to an encryption device.’ That is not accurate. The only thing they’re being asked to do, and the FBI made this very clear about 48 hours ago, is allow us to disable the self- destruct mode that’s in the Apple phone so that we can try to guess using our own systems what the password of this killer was. And I think they should comply with that.[/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: Facebook, Twitter Among Companies Supporting Apple in Fight Against FBI]

Bash then turned to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and she asked him if he agrees with Cook who said that creating a backdoor for the iPhone “would be bad for America.”

Cruz cited similar points to Rubio’s, claiming that the FBI is not looking for the “backdoor” Cook mentioned, but is instead looking into the phone of a single terrorist, and because of that he believes “Apple doesn’t have a right to defy a valid court order in a terrorism investigation.”

[pull_quote_center]Apple should be forced to comply with this court order. Why? Because under the Fourth Amendment, a search and seizure is reasonable if it has judicial authorization and probable cause. In this instance, the order is not to put a back door in everyone’s cell phone. If that was the order, that order would be problematic because it would compromise security and safety for everyone.[/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: Bill Gates Sides with FBI, Downplays Order to Create ‘Backdoor’ for iPhone]

When asked the same question, neurosurgeon Ben Carson gave a similar response, claiming that he expects “Apple to comply with the court order,” and if the company doesn’t, he believes it would encourage “chaos in our system.”

[pull_quote_center]I think allowing terrorists to get away with things is bad for America. We have a Constitution. We have a Fourth Amendment. It guards us against illegal and unreasonable search and seizure. But we have mechanisms in place with the judicial system that will allow us to gain material that is necessary to benefit the nation as a whole or the community as a whole. And that’s why we have FISA courts and things of that nature. [/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: FBI Ordered Password Reset on San Bernardino Shooting Suspect’s iPhone]

Ohio Gov. John Kasich asked to add his input on the topic, and he said he blames the public fight between Apple and the FBI on the Obama administration, claiming that if he were president, they would be solving problems “instead of fighting on the front page of the newspaper.”

[pull_quote_center]The president of the United States should be convening a meeting, should have convened a meeting with Apple and our security forces. And then you know what you do when you’re the president? You lock the door and you say you’re not coming out until you reach an agreement that both gives the security people what they need and protects the rights of Americans.[/pull_quote_center]

While business mogul Donald Trump was not asked about the issue during Thursday’s debate, he made his position clear last week during a campaign rally when he said Americans should boycott Apple until the company agrees to “give that information” to the FBI.

“Apple ought to give the security for that phone,” Trump said. “What I think you ought to do is boycott Apple until such a time as they give that security number. How do you like that? I just thought of it. Boycott Apple.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: Why McAfee Says FBI Really Wants To End Encryption, Not Hack Just One iPhone]

During a recent Reality Check segment, Ben Swann interviewed John McAfee, a cybersecurity expert and the creator of McAfee security software, who offered to hack the San Bernardino shooting suspect’s phone for free.

McAfee said that if the FBI is being honest about their intentions to only retrieve information from the single phone, he and his team of hackers have offered to hack the suspect’s phone, and have said that they could do it in less than three weeks.

Reality Check: McAfee Claims FBI Wants To End All Encryption,…

Reality Check: McAfee Claims FBI Wants To End All Encryption, Not Just Hack One iPhone

Posted by Ben Swann on Tuesday, February 23, 2016


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Poll: Who Do You Think Won the 2/25/16 CNN Debate?

GOP Candidates Voice Support for Waterboarding, Increasing Guantanamo Detainees

Seven of the remaining GOP candidates participated in a debate hosted by ABC News in Manchester, New Hampshire on Saturday, and when asked about waterboarding and other methods of torture used by the CIA, several candidates voiced their support.

The topic came up when moderator David Muir noted a comment Texas Sen. Ted Cruz made in Dec. 2014, when discussing the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the forms of torture used by the CIA on suspected terrorists after 9/11.

Muir noted that at the time Cruz said, “Torture is wrong, unambiguously, period. Civilized nations do not engage in torture,” and then Muir asked if Cruz would classify waterboarding as torture.

Cruz said that “under the definition of torture,” waterboarding would be classified as “enhanced interrogation,” due to the fact that it is not “excruciating pain that is equivalent to losing organs and system.”

[pull_quote_center]Well, under the definition of torture, no, it’s not. Under the law, torture is excruciating pain that is equivalent to losing organs and systems, so under the definition of torture, it is not. It is enhanced interrogation, it is vigorous interrogation, but it does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture.[/pull_quote_center]

When asked if he would bring back waterboarding as president, Cruz said he would not bring it back “in any sort of widespread use,” but that if it were necessary to “prevent a city from facing an imminent terrorist attack,” he would “use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe.”

[pull_quote_center]I would not bring it back in any sort of widespread use. And indeed, I joined with Senator McCain in legislation that would prohibit line officers from employing it because I think bad things happen when enhanced interrogation is employed at lower levels. But when it comes to keeping this country safe, the commander in chief has inherent constitutional authority to keep this country safe. And so, if it were necessary to, say, prevent a city from facing an imminent terrorist attack, you can rest assured that as commander in chief, I would use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe.[/pull_quote_center]

Muir then turned to business mogul Donald Trump, who voiced his support for bringing back waterboarding in Nov. 2015 when he said, “I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they do to us.”

Trump shared a similar sentiment at the debate and said he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” because in the Middle East, “we have people chopping the heads off Christians, we have people chopping the heads off many other people.”

[pull_quote_center]We have things that we have never seen before— as a group, we have never seen before, what’s happening right now. The medieval times— I mean, we studied medieval times— not since medieval times have people seen what’s going on. I would bring back waterboarding and I’d bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.[/pull_quote_center]

While former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he wouldn’t bring waterboarding back, he also said he believes the United States needs to expand its “intelligence capabilities,” and he said he believes closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay would be a “complete disaster.”

[pull_quote_center]Congress has changed the laws, and I think where we stand is the appropriate place. But what we need to do is to make sure that we expand our intelligence capabilities. The idea that we’re going to solve this fight with predator drones, killing people somehow is more acceptable than capturing them, securing the information. This is why closing Guantanamo is a complete disaster.[/pull_quote_center]

When asked if he believes waterboarding is torture, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he that when people “talk about interrogating terrorists” they acts as if “this is some sort of law enforcement function,” when instead it is “anti-terrorism.”

[pull_quote_center]When people talk about interrogating terrorists, they’re acting like this is some sort of law enforcement function. Law enforcement is about gathering evidence to take someone to trial, and convict them. Anti-terrorism is about finding out information to prevent a future attack so the same tactics do not apply.[/pull_quote_center]

Rubio also said he believes they should not be discussing “in a widespread way the exact tactics that we’re going to use,” because that could allow “terrorist(s) to know to practice how to evade us,” and he went on to criticize the release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

[pull_quote_center]Here’s the bigger problem with all this, we’re not interrogating anybody right now. Guantanamo’s being emptied by this president. We should be putting people into Guantanamo, not emptying it out, and we shouldn’t be releasing these killers who are rejoining the battlefield against the United States.[/pull_quote_center]

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Fox GOP Debate Attracts Better Ratings Than Trump Event, Previous Republican Debate

Thursday night’s Fox News/Google GOP Debate attracted better ratings than candidate Donald Trump’s counter-event and the previous Jan. 14 Republican presidential debate on Fox Business that featured the billionaire real estate investor and reality TV star.

Donald Trump, upset over a sarcastically-toned Fox News press release, opted not to participate in last night’s debate and instead hosted his own fundraiser for veterans in Des Moines, Iowa. Portions of Trump’s event appeared on MSNBC and CNN, as well as on many online streaming platforms.

Prior to the debate, Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski had predicted that the Fox News event without the celebrity candidate would only be seen by “1 or 2 million people.

[RELATED: Trump to Skip Fox News GOP Debate Amid Megyn Kelly Feud]

According to CNN Money, the main stage portion of Thursday night’s debate on Fox News drew in 12.5 million viewers. The previous Republican presidential debate on Fox Business attracted 11 million viewers. MSNBC and CNN reported a combined 2.7 million person viewership during Trump’s fundraiser for veterans.

Though last night’s debate beat out the previous contest, it was the second-lowest rated GOP debate of the 2016 campaign season.

U.S. Senator from Kentucky and GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul was absent from the Jan. 14 Fox Business debate due to a boycott inspired by the network’s decision to push him from the debate’s main stage to its undercard. Sen. Paul did however participate in Thursday night’s Fox News debate after a surge in Iowa polling caused him to qualify for its main stage.

[RELATED: Reality Check: Is the Media and RNC Clowning Trump?]

Though the stats on how many viewers live-streamed the events online are unavailable, Google search records show that those who searched for “debate live stream” outnumbered searchers looking for “Trump live stream” by 170 percent.

CBS News notes that Donald Trump said that his event raised $6 million for veterans, including $1 million that he donated himself.

Fox News and Fox Business executive vice president of ad sales Paul Rittenberg told The Wall Street Journal that the network did not lose money over Trump’s withdrawal from Thursday’s debate.

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Poll: Who Do You Think Won The Fox News GOP Debate?

Where to Watch Donald Trump’s ‘Counter-Debate’ Thursday Night

Amid a feud with Fox News, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump announced that he will skip Thursday night’s GOP Debate, hosted by the network, and instead he will host a fundraiser for veterans in Des Moines, Iowa.

Trump’s “Special Event for Veterans” is scheduled for 9 p.m. EDT Thursday, the same time as the main debate, and Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told CNNMoney “All networks will be present and have the opportunity to carry live.”

[RELATED: Donald Trump To Skip Fox News Debate Amid Megyn Kelly Feud]

CBS announced that it will be streaming Trump’s event live online Thursday, and C-Span announced on Twitter that it will have full coverage of the event.


While a CNN spokesperson said the network would only carry the fundraiser as a live news event if it has “news value,” the cable news channel One America News will cover the event in its entirety.

OAN channel president Charles Herring told CNN Money that the channel has “positioned a satellite transmission truck at the event for multiple camera, broadcast quality live coverage,” and they are “getting flooded with inquiries” from viewers, indicating that, “Clearly, there is high demand for tonight’s event.”

GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have announced that they will also be attending Trump’s event after participating in Fox’s “undercard debate” earlier in the evening.

[POLL: Do You Support Donald Trump’s Decision To Boycott The Upcoming GOP Debate?]

National Review Publishes ‘Against Trump’ Issue, Loses Debate Sponsorship

The editors of the conservative magazine National Review released an issue Thursday night, titled “Against Trump,” which led to the publication losing its sponsorship of the GOP debates and ending its partnership with the Republican National Committee.

The issue called real estate mogul and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump “a menace to American conservatism” whose politics are those of “an averagely well-informed businessman,” and who is “by all outward indications, the most poll-obsessed politician in all of American history.”

[pull_quote_center]Some conservatives have made it their business to make excuses for Trump and duly get pats on the head from him. Count us out. Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.[/pull_quote_center]

The editors concluded that Trump is “not deserving of conservative support in the caucuses and primaries,” calling him a “philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.”

The issue criticized Trump’s tendency to change positions on policies, noting that while immigration is one of the issues he has been the most vocal about, he previously criticized Mitt Romney for having a crazy policy of self-deportation,” which he referred to as “maniacal,” and the reason why Romney lost the vote of “everybody who is inspired to come into this country.”

In response, Trump took to Twitter, calling the National Review a “failing publication that has lost its way,” and claiming that “very few people read the National Review because it only knows how to criticize, but not how to lead.”



Less than two hours after the issue went live online, NR publisher Jack Fowler released a blog post titled “Houston, we have a problem” in which he wrote that the publication would no longer be sponsoring the upcoming GOP debate on Feb. 25 in Houston, Texas.

Fowler said the editors “expected this was coming,” and he called it a “Small price to pay for speaking the truth about The Donald.”

RNC spokesman Sean Spicer confirmed that National Review has been “disinvited” from the upcoming GOP debate, and said it was on account of the fact that “a debate moderator can’t have a predisposition.” 

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GOP Debate: Without Rand Paul Present, Chris Christie’s Assad Comments Go Unchallenged

During the sixth GOP presidential debate of the 2016 election on Thursday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was asked about the importance of toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Governor Christie, how important is it to remove Assad from power and how would you do it?” Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo asked, noting that former GOP candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham has said that the U.S. will find “Arab support” for its coalition against ISIS if Assad is removed.

“You’re not going to have peace in Syria with Assad in charge. You’re simply not,” Christie replied. “And so Senator Graham is right about this.”

Christie criticized President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s approach, saying that Obama initially said, “If Assad uses chemical weapons against his people, that we’re going to attack.”

“He used chemical weapons, he’s killed, now, over a quarter of a million of his own people, and this president has done nothing,” Christie said. “In fact, he’s done worse than nothing.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: GOP Candidates Completely Wrong on Origin of ISIS in Latest Debate]

Christie went on to claim that Obama has used Russian President Vladimir Putin to “negotiate getting those chemical weapons back from Assad,” and as a result he said that the Russians and the Iranians are working together, “not to fight ISIS, but to prop up Assad.”

“The fact of the matter is that we are not going to have peace – we are not going to have peace in Syria,” Christie said. “We’re not going to be able to rebuild it unless we put a no-fly zone there, make it safe for those folks so we don’t have to be talking about Syrian refugees anymore.”

While Christie’s comments about Assad in Syria are nothing new, there was a noticeable difference in the fact that not one of the candidates on stage challenged his rhetoric.

[RELATED: GOP Debate: Rand Paul Warns of Consequences of Regime Change in Syria]

During the fifth GOP debate on Dec. 15, Christie claimed that ISIS is created and formed because of the abuse that Assad and his Iranian sponsors have rained down on the Sunnis in Syria.” 

He was challenged by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who argued that had Assad been bombed when he used chemical weapons two years ago, ISIS would be in charge of all of Syria now.”

“There are still people—the majority on the stage, they want to topple Assad,” Paul said. “And then there will be chaos, and I think ISIS will then be in charge of Syria.”

Paul also responded to Christie’s calls for a “no-fly zone” over Syria during the Dec. debate, saying, “Well, I think if you’re in favor of World War III, you have your candidate.”

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Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina Cut From Fox’s Main GOP Debate

Fox News released its lineup for Thursday’s GOP debate on Monday night, announcing that the stage will hold seven candidates, cutting Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina from the lineup.

In preparation for the primetime debate, which will air at 9 p.m. ET, Fox Business Network reportedly selected its lineup based off of the top six candidates in the five most recent national polls, as well as any candidates polling in the top five in either Iowa or New Hampshire.

The main stage will feature the smallest GOP lineup thus far, and will include real estate mogul Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

As a consolation, Paul and Fiorina have been invited to participate in the “undercard” debate, which airs at 6 p.m. ET Thursday. The other GOP candidates participating in the debate are former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

Paul told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that because he has been excluded from the main stage, he plans to boycott the debate altogether. “I won’t participate in anything that’s not first tier because we have a first tier campaign,” he explained.

Paul then told the Washington Post that he has resulted to “take the debate to Iowa and New Hampshire” instead.

“I think they’ve made a mistake,” Paul said. “I’m not willing to accept a designation as a minor campaign. We’ve raised $25 million. We’ve gotten on the ballot on every state. It’s kind of ridiculous to arbitrarily rate the campaigns based on national polling.”

Fiorina faced off on the undercard stage during the first GOP debate, and was then moved to the main stage after CNN amended its rules for the lineup.

Responding to the news on Monday night, Fiorina told CBS Radio Boston’s Dan Rea Show that according to the poll used by Fox News, she should be qualified, but that she will still debate “anyone, anytime, anywhere.”

“Well, you know, these polls are all over the map,” Fiorina said. “In the Fox News poll, I’m in sixth place, which would qualify me, but hey, I’ll debate anyone, anytime, anywhere. I’ll be in South Carolina and what I know is that polls don’t win elections, voters do.”

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GOP Debate: Rand Paul Warns of Consequences of Regime Change in Syria

The fifth GOP debate of the 2016 presidential election was hosted by CNN on Tuesday, and it highlighted the candidates’ positions on foreign policy, terrorism and national security.

When asked if he still believes the hawks in the GOP are responsible for the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he thinks “if you believe in regime change, you’re mistaken.”

Paul said that after the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Qatar “put 600 tons of weapons” into the war against Bashar al-Assad in Syria in 2013, it created a safe space. “We had people coming to our Foreign Relations Committee and saying, ‘Oh, we need to arm the allies of Al Qaeda,'” Paul said. “They are still saying this. It is a crazy notion.”

[pull_quote_center]This is the biggest debate we should be having tonight: Is regime change a good idea; has it been a good idea? There are still people—the majority on the stage—they want to topple Assad. And then there will be chaos, and I think ISIS will then be in charge of Syria.[/pull_quote_center]

[RELATED: Truth In Media: the Origin of ISIS]

CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) to chime in on the subject, and while Rubio called for a broader coalition to strengthen the fight against ISIS, he also claimed Assad is one of the main reasons ISIS exists.

[pull_quote_center]Assad is one of the main reasons why ISIS even exists to begin with. Assad is a puppet of Iran. And he has been so brutal toward the Sunni within Syria that he created the space that led to the people of Syria themselves to stand up and try to overthrow him.[/pull_quote_center]

Rubio said the fact that President Obama “led from behind” meant that there were “no alternative groups left to fight ISIS,” and that “led to the chaos which allowed ISIS to come in and take advantage of that situation and grow more powerful.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: Proof U.S. Government Wanted ISIS to Emerge in Syria]

When asked if he thought overthrowing Saddam Hussein was a good idea, Paul said although he thinks regime change is a bad idea, it doesn’t mean “Hussein was necessarily a good idea.”

[pull_quote_center]What we have to decide is whether or not regime change is a good idea. It’s what the neoconservatives have wanted. It’s what the vast majority of those on the stage want. They still want regime change. They want it in Syria. They wanted it in Iraq. They want it in Libya. It has not worked.[/pull_quote_center]

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Trump Says He May Boycott Next Debate if CNN Doesn’t Give Him $5 Million

By Thomas A. Hawk USA Today reported late Monday that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump proposed demanding $5 million from CNN or he would not participate in the next debate during a campaign stop in Macon, Georgia.

Trump says CNN hasn’t treated him properly even though his celebrity has been responsible for increased viewership on the network. He cited CNN’s last debate in September, which brought in an audience of 23 million people.

“’CNN had 23 million people. It was the biggest show in the history of CNN,’ Trump said. And the billionaire businessman is reopening negotiations over whether he will lend his star power to the debate the network is hosting Dec. 15,” USA Today reports.

[pull_quote_center]“How about I tell CNN that I’m not gonna do the next debate?” Trump asked the crowd.

“I won’t do the debate unless they pay me $5 million, all of which money goes to the Wounded Warriors or to vets,” Trump said, following a segue into how people who are “really, really, really smart like I am,” don’t need teleprompters.

Trump was particularly stung by what he felt was unfair coverage of his closed-door meeting with African-American ministers earlier Monday.[/pull_quote_center]

Though he said he didn’t want to point fingers at any specific pundits, he did name drop one big one:

“Guys like Karl Rove. He spends hundreds of millions of dollars on campaigns, he wins nothing. There are some people that are losers,” he said.

The purpose of these debates is supposed to give voters an opportunity to learn about the candidates and where they stand on important issues, but many of them have been far from that.

Regardless of what you think of this, Trump sees what these debates have become — ratings-driven entertainment, and he is an entertainer.

If Trump moved forward with this demand, he would likely be widely criticized for it. However, to maximize its audience, can CNN come out right now and say it wouldn’t pay it? Who would blink first?

CNN is scheduled to host the next GOP primary debate on Tuesday, December 15.


This article was republished with permission of IVN.

LOTFI: Dear Neocons, Rand Paul Is Right On Military Spending

During the recent Fox Business News – Wall Street Journal Republican Primary debate, United States senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had what was probably one of the most meaningful exchanges so far in the race to decide the party’s nominee for president.

Paul and Rubio traded jabs over military spending, an issue that has divided many in the Republican party, and there’s little consensus on who won the exchange. That being said, the neoconservatives like Rubio are wrong when it comes to military spending and it’s time the Republican party, as a whole, realize it.

Let’s be clear about something. When Paul says you’re not a serious conservative if you’re willing to spend another $1 trillion, on loan from China, on the Department of Defense (DOD), he says so because the DOD is rife with fraud and waste.

For example, the DOD spent $2 million dollars for every one Syrian rebel they trained. Guess what? The majority of them never showed up to fight on our behalf after being trained. That’s right, $2 million to train one person that never showed up. The DOD also spent $43 million to build one single gas station in Afghanistan, which will never be used. If that wasn’t enough, Congress recently pushed $436 million on weapons that military experts explicitly said are not needed.

Yes, managing our military is one of the few roles the federal government performs today with actual constitutional authority to do so, but does that mean they should continue to receive blank checks?

The DOD clearly has money to flush down the toilet, and the American taxpayers are ultimately responsible for that money.

How is it that conservatives trust no wing of government to operate efficiently, but believe the DOD is infallible? If you’re serious about cutting the deficit and tackling our national debt, then understand this simple fact—government, by design, creates waste. The DOD isn’t exempt from this fact.

Neocons need to stop pretending defense spending is untouchable in order to pacify the multi-billion dollar defense contractors that lobby them for tax-dollars that are not needed to secure our well-being. Even the United States Army agrees.

You’re either serious and principled about cutting waste, or you’re not. And when you’re not, liberal Democrats then get to say, “Well, you spent money we didn’t have on this, so we want more welfare.” The same goes for the Constitution. When Republicans ignore the 4th Amendment and push the NSA, Democrats get to ignore the 10th Amendment and push the EPA. In Washington, I think they call this “bipartisanship.”

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GOP Debate: Rand Paul Fact Checks Donald Trump On TPP

During the fourth GOP debate of the 2016 election, Donald Trump talked at length about how China could take advantage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and in response, Rand Paul pointed out that China is not part of the deal.

Gerard Baker, the editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, and a moderator during Tuesday night’s debate, asked Trump about his opposition to the TPP.

“The U.S. just concluded an international trade agreement with 11 countries in the Pacific. You’ve said that you’d rather have no deal, than sign the one that’s on the table,” Baker said.

“It’s a horrible deal,” Trump interjected.

“Most economists say that trade is boosted growth, and every single post war president has supported the expansion of international trade, including the last three republican presidents,” Baker continued. “Why would you reverse more than 50 years of U.S. trade policy?”

“The TPP is horrible deal,” Trump replied. “It is a deal that is going to lead to nothing but trouble. It’s a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone. It’s 5,600 pages long, so complex that nobody’s read it. It’s like Obamacare; nobody ever read it. They passed it; nobody read it. And look at mess we have right now. And it will be repealed.”

Trump continued to speak on his opposition to the deal, noting that he still loves trade. “I’m a free trader, 100 percent,” he said. “But we need smart people making the deals, and we don’t have smart people making the deals.”

Baker responded, and said that Trump was correct about the fact that 5,000 pages of the deal were published. “Are there particular parts of the deal that you think were badly negotiated,” Baker asked.

[quote_center]“Well, the currency manipulation they don’t discuss in the agreement, which is a disaster,” Trump responded. “If you look at the way China and India and almost everybody takes advantage of the United States – China in particular, because they’re so good.”[/quote_center]

Trump listed China as the “number-one abuser of this country,” ad said that the biggest way it takes advantage of the U.S. is through currency manipulation. “It’s not even discussed in the almost 6,000-page agreement,” Trump said. “It’s not even discussed.”

Rand Paul interjected, and noted that despite Trump’s opposition to China, the country actually is not a part of the trade deal.

[quote_center]“Hey, Gerard, you know, we might want to point out China is not part of this deal,” Paul said[/quote_center].

Baker questioned how, if the deal is not ratified by the U.S. Senate, it might “actually give China an opportunity to grow its economic leadership, which it’s been seeking to do and if the U.S. is unable to take part in this trade deal with these countries in Asia, China will take the lead?”

“There is an argument that China doesn’t like the deal, because in us doing the deal we will be trading with competitors,” Paul replied. “You’re exactly right.”

[Cast Your Vote: Who do You think Won the Fox Business Main Stage Debate?]

Fox Business Drops Huckabee, Christie from Main Stage in Upcoming GOP Debate

Fox Business Network has announced the lineup for its televised, Wall Street Journal co-hosted Nov. 10 Republican presidential debate at the Milwaukee Theater in Milwaukee, Wis.

In a departure from previous GOP debates, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee did not qualify for prime-time,” noted Fox Business. “Instead the 9 p.m. EST roster will feature real estate mogul Donald Trump; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; former HP (HPQ) CEO Carly Fiorina; Ohio Gov. John Kasich; and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

The network’s junior varsity debate will begin at 7 p.m. EST and will feature Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, and former New York Gov. George Pataki fell short of the polling required to qualify for the debate’s second stage and will be excluded from the event entirely.

[RELATED: Ad for Fox Business GOP Debate Blasts CNBC’s Debate Questions]

A Jeb Bush tweet, seen below, criticized Fox Business for excluding Lindsey Graham.

Christie and Huckabee tweeted responses to the news of their demotion to the network’s second stage.

MSNBC pointed out that Trump said that it would be “fair” for Fox Business to include Huckabee and Christie on the main stage.


According to The Hill, an adviser to former New York Gov. Pataki said that he is not dropping out of the race and will be appearing at campaign events in New Hampshire later this week.

Fox Business Network’s 7 p.m. undercard debate will last one hour and will be moderated by Fox Business anchors Sandra Smith and Trish Regan and Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau Chief Gerald Seib. The 9 p.m. prime time contest will run for two hours and will be moderated by Fox Business anchors Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo and Wall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker.

A midnight, post-debate episode of Stossel is set to feature a studio audience that will give what Fox Business characterizes as the “libertarian” reaction to the debate.

For more election coverage, click here.

GOP Candidates Condemn Mainstream Media, CNBC Moderators During Debate

During the third GOP presidential debate hosted by CNBC on Wednesday, candidates criticized both the moderators and the mainstream media as a whole.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) criticized the mainstream media when CNBC’s Carl Quintanilla noted an article from the Sun Sentinel that said “Rubio should resign, not rip us off.”

“When they say Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job, when they say you act like you hate your job- do you?” Quintanilla questioned.

“Let me say, I read that editorial today with a great amusement,” Rubio replied. “It’s actually evidence of the bias that exists in the American media today.”

“Well, do you hate your job?” Quintanilla asked.

“Let me answer your question on the Sun Sentinel editorial today,” Rubio replied. “Back in 2004, one of my predecessors to the Senate by the name of Bob Graham, a Democrat, ran for president missing over 30 percent of his votes. I don’t recall them calling for his resignation.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: Should Marco Rubio Be Fired For Terrible Voting Record?]

Rubio also said while that in 2004, “John Kerry ran for president missing close to 60 to 70 percent of his votes,” the Sun Sentinel didn’t call for his resignation, and instead it endorsed him. “In 2008, Barack Obama missed 60 or 70 percent of his votes, and the same newspaper endorsed him again,” Rubio said. “So this is another example of the double standard that exists in this country between the mainstream media and the conservative movement.

Later on in the debate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) said that “the questions that have been asked so far in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.”

Cruz’s declaration was met with applause from the crowd in Boulder, Colorado, and he continued.

[pull_quote_center]This is not a cage match. You look at the questions: ‘Donald Trump, are you a comic-book villain?’ ‘Ben Carson, can you do math?’ ‘John Kasich, will you insult two people over here?’ ‘Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign?’ ‘Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen?’ How about talking about the substantive issues the people care about?[/pull_quote_center]

Quintanilla tried to interject, saying, “Do we get credit?” and Cruz continued to speak.

“Carl, I’m not finished yet,” Cruz said. “The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every fawning question from the media was, “Which of you is more handsome and why?”

[RELATED: How Would You Rate the CNBC Debate Moderators’ Performance?]

Cruz noted that “the questions that are being asked shouldn’t be trying to get people to tear into each other, it should be what are your substantive positions.”

When speaking to Donald Trump, CNBC’s Becky Quick said, “You have been very critical of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook who has wanted to increase the number of these H1Bs,” or non-immigrant visas in the U.S.

“I was not at all critical of him. I was not at all,” Trump replied. “In fact, frankly, he’s complaining about the fact that we’re losing some of the most talented people. They go to Harvard. They go to Yale. They go to Princeton. They come from another country and they’re immediately sent out. I am all in favor of keeping these talented people here so they can go to work in Silicon Valley.”

“So I have nothing at all critical of him,” Trump concluded.

“Where did I read this and come up with this that you were…” Quick said.

“Probably, I don’t know—you people write the stuff,” Trump replied. “I don’t know where you…”

Trump was cut off by a mixture of laughter and applause from the audience.

“Very good people are making very bad decisions right now,” Trump stated. “And if anything comes out of this whole thing with some of these nasty and ridiculous questions, I will tell you, you better get rid of the SuperPacs because they causing a big problem with this country, not only in dishonesty and what’s going on, but also in a lot of bad decisions that have been made for the benefit of lobbyists and special interests.”

Quick returned to Trump’s stance on Zuckerberg and H1Bs. “You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio,” she said. “I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator because he was in favor of the H1B.”

“I never said that. I never said that,” Trump replied.

When failing to find a citation to back up the comment, Quick said, “My apologies. I’m sorry.”

“Since I’ve been mentioned, can I respond?” Rubio interjected.

“Yes, you can,” Quick said.

Rubio replied, noting that despite rival Hillary Clinton’s revelations during last week’s hearing on the 2012 terrorist attack on a U.S. embassy in Benghazi, Libya, the mainstream media was “going around saying it was the greatest week” in Clinton’s campaign.

[pull_quote_center]I know the Democrats have the ultimate SuperPac. It’s called the mainstream media…and I’ll tell you why. Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent e-mails to her family saying, ‘Hey, this attack at Benghazi was caused by Al Qaida-like elements.’ She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video. And yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.[/pull_quote_center]

For more election coverage, click here.

CNBC Releases Criteria for Inclusion in Oct. 28 GOP Presidential Debate

CNBC released the candidates’ criteria on Wednesday for its upcoming televised October 28 Republican presidential debate, the third of the 2016 election season. The contest, titled “Your Money, Your Vote: The Presidential Debate on the Economy,” will feature Chuck Todd from NBC’s Meet the Press as a moderator and is set to take place at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo.

Though initial reports suggested that CNBC might forego having a second-tier debate for candidates who fail to qualify for the main stage, the news network has confirmed that it will indeed offer an undercard round, which will begin at 6:00 p.m. EST. CNBC’s prime time debate will kick off afterwards at 8:00 p.m. EST.

CNBC wrote in an announcement on the debate’s criteria, “National polls will be used to determine a candidate’s eligibility and placement on the stage. To be eligible to appear in either segment, a candidate must have at least 1% in any one of the methodologically sound and recognized national polls conducted by: NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and Bloomberg, released between September 17, 2015 and October 21, 2015.

The announcement continued, “To appear in the 8pm debate a candidate must have an average of 3% among these polls. The polls will be averaged and will be rounded up to 3% for any candidate with a standing of 2.5% or higher. Candidates who average below that will be invited to the 6pm debate.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

NBC News pointed out as an example that “based only on this week’s NBC News/WSJ poll,” “Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Chris Christiewould qualify for the main stage, “Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal” would only qualify for the second-tier stage, and “Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore” would fail to qualify for either round.

CBS News’ Reena Flores wrote, “The CNBC criteria could also spell danger for one Republican contender teetering on the edge of the first tier debate stage: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Paul’s current poll numbers average at 2.8 percent — enough to round up to 3 percent and secure a spot in the primetime debate. But two new polls at 2 percent would be all it takes to shove Paul into CNBC’s earlier debate.

[RELATED: Reality Check: Can The Republican Party Kick Donald Trump Out Of The Debates?]

Senator Rand Paul’s presidential campaign sounded an optimistic tone about the criteria in comments to Breibart, noting that Paul’s current polling results are on pace to qualify him for inclusion on the debate’s main stage.

We are pleased that Senator Rand Paul will be on the main stage in Colorado. We look forward to seeing him present a clear vision for liberty later this month,” said Paul campaign communications director Sergio Gor.

For more election coverage, click here.

CNBC Silent So Far on Criteria for Next GOP Debate, Host Says ‘Goal’ to Shrink Stage

CNBC has yet to clarify the candidates’ criteria for inclusion in its upcoming economy-focused Republican presidential debate on October 28 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo. However, debate moderator Chuck Todd, who is reportedly involved in determining the debate’s criteria, made some comments on ESPN radio last week that seem to imply that CNBC is designing its criteria to include fewer candidates than were featured in the previous debates on CNN and Fox News.

Let’s just say the goal is to create a threshold that candidates have to meet to qualify for the stage rather than committing to putting 10 candidates on the stage. And I don’t think we should commit to more than 10-candidate debates. You have to be viable. So now we’re in debate three it’s time to show viability and only the viable ones survive,” said Todd.

He added, “You can do it a couple different ways. I don’t believe in setting a set number. I think maybe you come up with ‘oh are you at 5 percent or more in Iowa or New Hampshire’ you can create a sort of floor, no more 4-percenters get in, no more 3-percenters get in.

Politico anonymously cited comments by a senior adviser to a Republican presidential candidate who reportedly said, “Insiders in Washington want to limit the debates because they want their two favorites, Bush and Rubio, to take on Donald Trump. They’re whispering in [RNC Chairman] Reince Priebus’s ear that, ‘The stage is too big, make it smaller.’

The possibility that CNBC and the RNC will cut the number of candidates allowed on the Republican Party debate stage is causing what Politico called a “wave of anxiety” among the campaigns of low-polling Republican candidates.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: If GOP Debate Stage Can Fit 11, Let Third Parties In General Election Debates]

RNC chief strategist Sean Spicer said following the CNN debate that he does not think that the CNBC debate will have a separate junior varsity contest for candidates that fail to qualify for the main stage.

Breitbart notes that 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has called on CNBC to announce the debate’s criteria “as soon as possible.

I would want them to release [the criteria] as soon as possible actually, so that if there is any protest there is time to deal with it. It could be the strategy is – wait until the very last minute to release them, there won’t be anytime for protesting, just move on with it – I suspect there may be something to that, I don’t know,” said Carson. He also theorized that CNBC may not be releasing the criteria because “they don’t know what the criteria should be, which is kind of unfair.

[RELATED: Petition: A Joint Town Hall with Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders]

Curt Anderson, a chief strategist to Bobby Jindal’s campaign who believes that the RNC and CNBC are planning to shrink the debate stage to manipulate the 2016 Republican presidential primary, told Breitbart, “[The RNC] is at odds, I think, with the voters by the way who are [thinking] like ‘I want to look at all these candidates and evaluate them.’ What the [RNC’s donors] really want, I think, boils down to Jeb versus Trump, because they like Jeb and have invested in him and think they can get rid of Trump if they get all this riff-raff [candidates] out of the way. My attitude is: Who asked you? I don’t care what they want, and I think they’re having too big of an impact on this whole thing.

People who run real campaigns should be allowed to debate, and the national party shouldn’t be in the business of making the choice of who the nominee is,” said Anderson, who also raised questions about the level of influence that mainstream media outlets and establishment political parties, who can choose the participants of presidential debates by tinkering with their criteria, have over America’s electoral system.

An August Ben Swann Reality Check on CBS46 Atlanta called attention to the fact that the RNC has significant leverage that it can use to manipulate the participants in Republican presidential primary debates and that all taxpayers, including independent voters, are forced to fund the major two parties’ primaries. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


For more election coverage, click here.

Rand Paul Surpasses Trump and Fiorina, Wins Michigan Straw Poll

GOP Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) won the straw poll at the Mackinac Island Republican Leadership Conference in Michigan on Saturday, surpassing current GOP frontrunners in the polls such as Carly Fiorina and Donald Trump.

Paul received 22 percent in the poll, and he was followed by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina with 15 percent, Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 13.8 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) with 13 percent, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 9.7 percent, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) with 8 percent, and billionaire mogul Donald Trump with 6 percent.

The Detroit News, which released the results of the poll, noted that in addition to winning the 2015 straw poll consisting of 785 ballots, Paul also won the conference’s straw poll in 2013.

The Detroit Free Press noted that while some officials with other campaigns “complained the Paul campaign made a concerted effort to bring people to the island to register for the conference so they could vote in the straw poll,” Paul’s national political director, John Yob, insisted that’s “what organizational contests are all about,” and predicted that “Rand Paul is going to over-perform in organizational contests around the country.”

“This is an organization test that indicates that Paul will over-perform in other organizational contests such as Iowa, Nevada, Minnesota and other caucus states that come before the March 8 Michigan primary,” Yob said.

[RELATED: First Official Poll Shows Rand Paul Lost Debate By Landslide]

Paul’s victory in the poll comes days after a defeat in polls following the second GOP debate on Wednesday. According to the first official poll released after the debate, 2 percent viewed Paul as the debate winner, putting him far behind Trump, who received 21 percent support, and Fiorina, who won with 33 percent.

According to the results from the Michigan straw poll, Paul surpassed both Trump, who has consistently been the GOP frontrunner since he announced he was running in June, and Fiorina, whose poll numbers rose drastically after her performance in the recent debate.

For more election coverage, click here.