Houston Debate Falls Short on Terrorism

Although domestic issues such as immigration and the economy have largely dominated the debate conversations during this Republican presidential campaign, the issue of terrorism and how the president of the United States should handle forces like ISIS has been a constant concern for Republican voters and ranks high on the list of issues that influence who voters choose as a presidential candidate.

What’s the Issue Again? 

HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 25

In the recent Republican debate in Houston, candidates discussed the administration’s handling of Libya, exposing various opinions on the matter between Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio. Trump was at risk in this matter due to past interviews showing a divergence with what he was currently telling voters in the debate, a point that Cruz was happily willing to point out while directing voters to his website to see the proof. Trump responded with statements that when read in a transcript later on, made little actual sense and was filled with enthymemes he relied on voters to fill in. When asked for a specific answer, Trump deflected by calling Rubio “a choke artist” and Cruz “a liar”—answer on Israel is still pending.

The Lesser Evil?

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Marco Rubio spoke eloquently on the matter, as per usual, and defended his vote for John Kerry as Sec. of State by saying, “every day John Kerry wasn’t appointed was another day Hillary Clinton was still in charge of the State Department. And she was absolutely horrible.” While the debates do not typically give the time or opportunity to answer these tough questions fully or comprehensively, they still allow voters to see how well candidates handle being asked while surrounded by competitors trying to undermine them. Some handle the rhetorical situation better than others, some rely on deflecting character attacks. Overall, the type of answer seems to matter little to voters who already have their mind set.