Republican debates: Fiorina shines as she hammers Trump
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina clashed with Donald Trump in the second round of Republican debates last night and appears to have come out on top.
Candidates used the three-hour CNN debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, to berate Trump's fitness to lead the United States and to assert their own credentials.
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But in the end there was widespread agreement that it was Fiorina, the only female contender, who made a "significant breakthrough", says The Guardian.
Out of the 11 people on stage, Fiorina "shone as an articulate, forceful outsider who hammered Trump", says the newspaper.
She dismissed him as an "entertainer", saying she had faith in the "common sense and good judgement" of voters, and drew wild applause when she was asked to respond to Trump's disparaging comments about her looks earlier in the week.
Trump told Rolling Stone "Look at that face, would anyone vote for that?" but later insisted he had been talking about her "persona" and not her attractiveness.
Fiorina simply responded: "I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr Trump said."
The real estate mogul tried to backtrack, saying: "I think she's got a beautiful face and I think she's a beautiful woman." To which Fiorina betrayed no amusement.
The BBC's Jon Sopel described it as a "gotcha moment", with Fiorina "stoic and measured" while Trump was "visibly back-pedalling".
Analysis by TheySay of more than one million tweets showed that Trump and Fiorina had the most mentions during the debate. Fiorina had a marginally higher rate of positive messages: 56 per cent positive compared to Trump's 55 per cent.
For the first time since he joined the race, Trump was not the commanding presence on the stage, says the Washington Post.
"Fiorina was the new addition to the main debate stage, after her performance in the undercard debate in Cleveland, and she came with the clear intention of making a memorable impression. She got another applause-meter moment with a ringing statement about Planned Parenthood and sought to project strength and confidence surrounded by ten men in suits and ties."
Trump was "put on the defensive as much as he tried to stay on the offensive", says the newspaper, with others such as Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Texas Senator Ted Cruz also having "a moment" during the debate.
"Trump may continue to dominate the polls," concludes the Washington Post, "but if Wednesday's debate was any indication, he can expect a bumpier ride in the weeks and months ahead."
Republican debates: can anyone out-Trump Trump?
As Republican presidential candidates descend on California for a second round of debates, some party members are wondering if the race might finally shift from circus to substance.
Donald Trump continues to dominate the news coverage, but some believe today's CNN debate – billed as Trump's title fight – might dramatically reshape the race.
"The challenge for the field will be to stand out at all in Trump's reality show," says MSNBC.
In the last television debate in August, Ohio governor John Kasich and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson managed to gain some leverage, but it was nevertheless dubbed The Trump Show. "Will anyone else cut through the noise this time?" asks MSNBC.
The rise of Trump and Carson, two first-time candidates who "prefer broad strokes to policy debates", has left the Republican establishment looking "confused and helpless", says the Washington Post.
Some Republicans are hoping that today's debate will "break the fever – and change the tenor of the race from flashy to substantive", says the newspaper.
If the moderators grill the candidates on elevated topics such as geopolitics and world leaders as promised, the debate will become a "crucial test" for Trump and Carson, and "for the staying power of their campaigns", it adds.
South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, another Republican presidential contender, says that at time when the "world is falling apart" candidates need to offer specific proposals to challenge Barack Obama's foreign policy. "If this isn't the moment to finally get serious, when the hell will it be?" he asks.
Arizona senator John McCain – whose status as war hero was controversially questioned by Trump earlier this year – agreed that it was time to start asking the millionaire mogul some tough questions.
"He's said he wants to deport 11 million people. How do you do that? He hasn't answered that question.
"He said in the Middle East he would go and quote 'take their oil'. I'd like to know how you do that. I think the American people deserve an explanation," he said.
The Guardian predicts that today's debate will be a "thornier affair" than previous years, with "possibly the biggest mouth in the US trading barbs with ten rivals who would very much like to silence him – at least for a few polling cycles".
Donald Trump dominates TV debate – to boos and cheers
Billionaire real estate magnate Donald Trump, whose decision to run for the US presidency no longer seems an irrelevant sideshow, dominated yesterday's first TV debate between the highest-polling Republican hopefuls.
"It was The Trump Show", says Time magazine. The other nine candidates were "bit players" while Trump took centre stage, "all bluster and bravado" and full of his "signature enthusiasm".
But despite Trump's ascendancy – he is the current front-runner – he received plenty of 'boos' from the studio audience during the Fox News event. Never more than for his response to one of the first questions, says CNN.
The contenders were asked to raise a hand if they would NOT pledge to support the eventual Republican candidate. Only Trump put his hand up, seeming to enjoy standing out from the crowd from the outset.
With typical chutzpah, Trump said: "I can totally make that pledge if I am the nominee." He also refused to rule out standing as an independent candidate if he is not chosen by the party.
This provoked an outburst from rival Rand Paul: "He buys and sells politicians of all stripes!" fumed the senator. Trump mugged and gurned through Paul's intervention, saying: "Well I've given him plenty of money!" The crowd cheered.
Trump was one of an unusually wide field: Fox had chosen ten men, based on their performance in early national polls. The only woman in the room was Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
The BBC spoke to one audience member who lamented the non-inclusion of female hopeful Carly Fiorina. The former business exec dominated the earlier lower-tier debates but did not poll highly enough to be invited by Fox.
Trump's other headline-grabbing moment was his refusal to back down on misogynistic remarks he has made in the past. Kelly reminded him he has referred to women he doesn't like as "fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals".
After joking he only referred to comedian Rosie O'Donnell that way, he warned Kelly he might not be "nice" to her as well, before decrying political correctness.
Trump had responded to accusations of misogyny by being misogynist, says Rolling Stone, adding archly: "It's always better to show than tell."
Time notes Trump's "bullying" seemed to be "kept in check" last night. He avoided attacking his rivals, instead focusing his ire on the current administration, the "stupid leaders of the United States".
'The Donald' leads the field at the moment, says Time. But his early popularity could well be based on name recognition alone: there is a long way to go between now and election day on November 8 next year.
Trump burns off rivals with double-digit lead
Just a month after Donald Trump threw his hat into the ring for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, he is burning off his rivals with a double-digit lead.
The list of candidates in a crowded field has swollen to 16 but real estate mogul Trump is sitting pretty at the top, according to three recent polls.
"Even the billionaire's biggest admirers could not have predicted the impact he has had on the early stages of the nomination contest," says the Financial Times. "After years of preparation and with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, the race for the GOP nomination has been trumped by a man who calls Mexican immigrants rapists and belittles the war record of John McCain, the long-serving Republican senator who was tortured and held captive in Vietnam for more than five years."
In the latest survey, by Washington Post/ABC News, 24 per cent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents favoured Trump, giving him an 11 per cent lead on the second favourite, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. In third place, was former Florida governor Jeb Bush with 12 per cent. However, the Post notes that the poll was predominantly carried out before Trump's comments about McCain were widely reported.
"Trump's tapping into a segment of angry and frustrated voters," Nathan Gonzales, author of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report, tells the FT. "They're looking beyond his warts and weaknesses – or they just don't care about his warts and weaknesses – to project on to him whatever they want him to be."
Other political commentators say Trump is still considered a long-shot, but his domination of airtime and column inches risks drowning out the other contenders.
South Carolina senator and rival Lindsey Graham has accused Trump of being a "jackass" at a time when a serious debate is needed about the future of the party and the country. "All we're talking about is Donald Trump and everybody he insults," complained Graham.
True to form, Trump responded by calling him an "idiot" and revealing his mobile phone number on television.
In a blistering editorial, the Des Moines Register has called on Trump to apologise to McCain and terminate his "ill-conceived" campaign. "Being electable is not the same as being qualified, and Trump has proven himself not only unfit to hold office, but unfit to stand on the same stage as his Republican opponents," said the newspaper.
Despite concerns that Trump is overshadowing other candidates and potentially damaging the party's ability to win over minority voters, many of the billionaire's rivals have put his surge in the polls down to a summer storm that will blow itself out.
But writing in Huffington Post, MJ Rosenberg says he can't shrug off the possibility that Trump might actually become president as a third-party candidate to Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Immigration is the "perfect" issue to pave his path to the White House, says Rosenberg, describing the supposed influx of immigrants as a metaphor for everything that "angry white America" is furious about.
"Many don't vote because neither the Democrats nor Republicans have ever nominated anyone for president who unambiguously speaks their language," says Rosenberg. "But Trump does."
However, in order to stand a chance of taking on the Democrats in November 2016, Trump will have to fight his way through a hotly contested primary battle.
Donald Trump joins US president race
Donald Trump, the billionaire property magnate and reality TV star, has declared that he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Speaking from Trump Tower in New York, he launched a long tirade against America's healthcare, immigration and foreign policies, before telling his supporters: "I am officially running for president of the United States and we are going to make our country great again."
He promised to be the "greatest jobs president that god ever created" by bringing work and money back from China and Japan.
His announcement comes after Jeb Bush, son of one president and brother to another, formally declared his own bid for the White House.
In a speech in Miami yesterday, the former governor of Florida made efforts to cover the full spectrum of American conservatism, going off-script on immigration and speaking in Spanish to appeal to traditionally liberal Hispanic-Americans.
He spoke of America's bygone glory days, and fired shots at Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, as well as Barack Obama. "The presidency should not be passed on from one liberal to the next," he said.
His speech also attempted to address what the New York Times says is a key concern surrounding his campaign: that he would be no different from the last two Bushes.
"Not a one of us deserves the job by right of resume, party, seniority, family or family narrative," he said. The statement was also interpreted as a jab at Clinton, whose husband Bill served as president from 1993 to 2001.
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