The gloves came off on the debate stage in South Carolina last night as the Republican contenders for the White House slugged it out for the sixth time. As predicted, the main event turned out to feature Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, with the rest of the participants essentially a side show.
Following her remark this week that Americans should resist "the siren call of the angriest voices" in how they treat immigrants, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley confirmed she was talking about Donald Trump. Given the opportunity to respond last night, Trump embraced the allusion: "I'm very angry, because our country is being run horribly – and I will gladly accept the mantle of anger."
Dr. Ben Carson, though, warned that the anger on the stage needed to be directed outward. "If we manage to damage ourselves and we lose the next election and a progressive gets in there and they get two or three Supreme Court picks, this nation is over as we know it."
Ken Blackwell of Family Research Council saw that as the theme of the night. "There were some issues that won the night, and the big issue was the leadership vacuum that the Obama administration represents."
Most of the morning-after talk is about the spat between Trump and Carson. Gary Bauer of American Values says that's not good for the bottom-tier candidates. "I can imagine a three- and perhaps four-man race, but it looks like it's getting down to Trump, Cruz, and [Marco] Rubio."
And he says the question then will be which candidate can best channel the anger of the American people in November.
'New York values'
Sandy Rios, director of governmental affairs at the American Family Association, expects the media – particularly in New York – is going to go on the warpath against Ted Cruz in light of comments the Texas senator made about "New York values" during the debate.
"When it came to the dust-up between Trump and Cruz over the birth issue – [over] whether Cruz is a natural-born citizen or not – I felt Trump did not do well," she offers. "He didn't come out of that exchange very well."
The Christian commentator says by evoking the sacrifices of New York police and fire fighters during 9-11, Trump deftly countered Cruz's attacks on New York City values. But she contends a key point of Cruz's argument is being ignored.
"Donald Trump himself talked about being pro-choice [and has said] I represent New York values," she notes. "So Cruz was actually drawing from Trump's own words. It's just that that's not clear."
And it's not likely to be made clear, says Rios, "because the media – so much of it is New York-centric – is going to destroy Cruz over this and sort of leave out the part that it was Donald Trump who claimed that mantle himself about himself a number of years ago."
Rios predicts few voters outside of New York are going to make an issue of Cruz's comments related to that debate topic.
Editor's Note: The American Family Association is the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.
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A longtime political activist says he has researched the social positions of the two leading Republican presidential candidates – and they're not close.
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Donald Trump was clearly out of his comfort zone last week when he met with nearly 1,000 highly dubious evangelical and Catholic leaders - yet he had the mettle to answer tough questions and demonstrated a sincere willingness to listen and understand both our concerns about him and his past.