Hello and welcome to another edition of “Friday Hot Takes” paid for in full by the Florida Republican Party credit card which I accidentally grabbed (repeatedly) instead of my personal debit card. There was another GOP debate this past Tuesday which means nearly every Republican running for President said something that was hilariously untrue. Let’s go to the highlights…

GOP DEBATE “FLUBS AND FUNNY NUMBERS.” The Associated Press reports that “the fourth debate of the 2016 Republican presidential campaign was thick on economic policy — and with that came a variety of flubs and funny numbers.”

“Ben Carson botched the economic effect of minimum wage increases. Jeb Bush again pitched a dubious target for economic growth. Marco Rubio, in a tale about plumbers and philosophers, undersold the value of a college education…

…And Ted Cruz showed just how hard it can be to name government agencies when, just like Rick Perry four years ago in a famously misbegotten moment in a GOP debate, he messed up the list of departments he would close as president.”

It’s almost as if each candidate purposely tried to one up each other in an effort to see who could get away with the most ridiculous statement of the night. Thanks all!

AP Fact Check: In Republican debate, flubs and funny numbers

BuzzFeed: Marco Rubio Avoided The Tough Immigration Fight On A Fox Debate Again

Washington Post: Sorry, Marco Rubio. Philosophy majors actually make way more than welders

Huffington Post: Ted Cruz Has His Own Oops Moment

BuzzFeed: What Was This Ben Carson Answer On Foreign Policy?

Huffington Post: Carly Fiorina Said She Didn’t Meet Vladimir Putin In A Green Room — But She Did

Washington Post: Donald Trump complains about the only woman on stage interrupting? Very bad idea.

New Republic: The GOP Debate: Republicans Have No Answer to the Key 2016 Question

Politifact: Ben Carson said raising the minimum wage will increase joblessness

GOP FIELD: NO MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE. Huffington Post reports “In the first question of Tuesday night’s GOP debate, moderator Neil Cavuto asked Donald Trump if he was sympathetic to workers around the country who were demanding that the federal wage floor be more than doubled.

“I can’t be, Neil,” Trump responded…In explaining his aversion to a minimum wage hike, Trump asserted that “our wages are too high.”

But it wasn’t just Trump.

“Asked for his own take on the issue, Ben Carson said it would be misguided to raise the minimum wage…The last candidate to chime in on the minimum wage was Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who wasn’t asked specifically about the issue, but volunteered his views…‘In the 21st century, it’s a disaster… If you raise the minimum wage you’re going to make people more expensive than a machine.’”

We look forward to one of the 15 Republicans running for President campaigning in the general against a minimum wage increase!

GOP PANIC AS IMMIGRATION FIGHT “BOILS OVER.” It’s always terrifying for Washington DC Republican operatives when their candidates talk policy. The New York Times reports “A long-simmering debate over immigration in the Republican presidential contest boiled over on Thursday, as Senator Ted Cruz accused his colleague, Senator Marco Rubio, of ‘trying to jam this amnesty down the American people’s throats.’”

TRUMP FORCES RUBIO’S HAND ON IMMIGRATION. The Washington Post asks if Marco Rubio will “ever stop atoning for his apostasy in having supported an overhaul of America’s broken immigration system? Or is he so politically pliable and ideologically biddable that he will say anything, and take any stance, to shield himself from the ugly nativism Donald Trump has tapped among Republican primary voters?”


We’re willing to bet this is only the beginning of a nasty immigration fight in the Republican primary that will lead to more stuff like this that will alienate Hispanic voters and help Democrats.

BRING BACK MITT! The immigration fight has GOP strategists rightfully fearing the worst as they look nervously at the prospect of Donald Trump or Ben Carson actually winning the nomination. Naturally Republican strategists have a solution to this nightmare: a two time loser.

BEN CARSON MUST HATE FRONTUNNER STATUS. How could he not? This week Ben Carson was in the news for trying to convince us he really did stab someone, fabricating a West Point scholarship, a Politifact Pants On Fire, and finally, for profiting from his close ties to a convicted felon. You have to wonder if at some point Carson’s going to find a nice cozy pyramid somewhere and hibernate in a pile of grain until Iowa.

TRUMP LOSES HIS MIND. It appears Trump doesn’t like being knocked from his perch atop the GOP clown car, as yesterday he likened opponent Ben Carson to a “child molestor.” There goes his chance at a Veep slot in a Carson administration.

TRUMP REALLY LOSES HIS MIND. While Trump appears to be one of a few Teflon candidates in the Republican field, we have to think that calling Iowans “stupid” could be the beginning of the end.

MARCO’S MESSY FINANCES. Marco’s courageous weekend news dump of the Florida GOP credit card statements haven’t had the desired effect. Hours before this week’s GOP debate the Miami Herald published a story that said “the statements, which he previously refused to make public, raise more questions about how Rubio used the card, rather than laying them to rest… But a slew of small charges at gas stations and for cheap meals — at a time when Rubio was struggling with his personal finances — suggest Rubio made the most of the ample leeway and little oversight party leaders gave employees and lawmakers to spend the party’s cash.”

OUR TAKE: Many Americans struggle with their finances but they usually don’t have someone else’s credit card to abuse while they’re doing it. Marco Rubio’s penchant for financial irresponsibility and not following the rules was overshadowed by his chronic inability to tell the truth throughout the entire process. With the amount of times Marco Rubio was dishonest regarding his use of the GOP credit card you would think he thought telling the truth was akin to taking a vote in the Senate.

Washington Times: Rubio charged Vegas trip, car repairs, tiling, to Fla. GOP credit card, new statements show

Washington Post: Inside Marco Rubio’s messy American Express statements

NYT: Marco Rubio’s Use of Party Credit Card Reinforces a Picture of Messy Finances

Miami Herald: New questions raised about Marco Rubio’s GOP credit card expenses

Tampa Bay Times: Former Fla GOP Chair: ‘Absolutely’ no personal charges were supposed to be on party credit cards

PRIORITIES RELEASES WEB AD ON TAX FAIRNESS. First reported in the Washington Post, this week Priorities released a new web ad as part of the “Wrong For Us” campaign underscoring Hillary’s opposition to the GOP tax plan that gives massive tax cuts to millionaires and corporations at the expense of middle class families.

WATCH: “The GOP: Wrong For Tax Fairness”

POLL VAULTING. This part of Hot Takes is getting a little repetitive because there isn’t really much to say here other than Hillary Clinton remains the leader on the Democratic side while Donald Trump & Ben Carson are still Jedi Masters of the GOP field. Check back next week and maybe something will have changed. Probably not. Maybe we should change the name of this section.


Bloomberg: Rising Income Inequality Causes Republicans to Shift Rhetoric — But Not Policy

Yahoo: Republican Candidates Attend Rally Where Pastor Advocates “Death Penalty” for Gay People (Jindal & Huckabee assume they can get away w/ this and no one will notice, but c’mon Cruz)

Huffington Post: Marco Rubio Aide Warned Gay Marriage Would Lead To ‘Sin’ And ‘Suffering’

Washington Post: Here’s another way candidates copy Donald Trump: Shameless fibbing

New York Magazine: The Math on Rubionomics Is Way, Way Crazier Than You Think

Politico: Clinton’s emails did not contain highly classified secrets, inquiry finds

New York Times: Bush Allies Threaten Wave of Harsh Attacks on Rubio, an Ex-Mentee

TWEET OF THE WEEK: This week’s tweet of the week goes to Politico’s Eli Stokols who tweeted in response to this week’s GOP debate “The RNC definitely got the powder puff debate they wanted. Wonder if the candidates all got juice boxes after?”

**PRIORITIES DEBUTS VIDEO HOT TAKES** Watch Twitter & Facebook for a special video version of “Friday Hot Takes” later today!

Enjoy the weekend!

Justin Barasky @JustinBarasky |

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