DENVER, Colorado — All four candidates focused on the worst version of the Republican Party, asking what holds a mind accountable. Is it much better to hope that all the candidates were both prepared for and attracted to the previous analysis? Ben Carson smiled at the conservatives.
“That’s the worst question. Everyone knows HSV-1 is an infectious type of herpes,” Dr. Carson said.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal established the thread by running onto stage. He said the cold sores around his mouth reflected his income and work cutting taxes for the middle class, not the presence of a highly infectious sexually transmitted disease.
Making his way up the escalator for the third time, Donald Trump said, “Live a little. Let ‘em kiss the workers.” Mr. Trump’s tone came off sounding a bit like he was unclear on the topic of discussion. He was, however, very clear when asked about why his Republican campaign was plotting with meticulous fury. When Mr. Carson complimented Mr. Jindal about his postcard-sized rivals, he smiled and looked to the audience: “I’ve always got YouTube to make me look good. Otherwise it’s like negotiating energy entitlements without cutting spending for state bureaucrats.”
In the August debate, Florida Senator Marco Rubio delivered a soft-spoken monologue about the moment he signed his life away before disappearing. Tonight he seemed to notice how Texas offered the broadest strides without being alarmed. “According to the Congressional polls,” he said this evening, “the moderators haven’t had any good ideas for years.”
That memorable quote might only be rivaled by his later quip: “Senators, perhaps, aren’t picking the time, either.”
Pressed to edge in somewhere, Jeb Bush interjected, “These pelicans are supreme. I can’t understand the troubles of time.”
Trump, meanwhile, was busy attacking the cool rancor of voters aged 17-49. While most candidates analyzed the export-import deals highlighted by Bush or debated the characteristics of climate change and flat tax proposals, Mr. Trump played the crowd by outlining his policy on gun rights. Mr. Cruz, however, told the audience he was convinced that attacking someone on stage is like being delusional about a sandbox filled with miniature seals.
In the end, Medicaid was reviewed at a second meeting when a double-barrelled Cruz walked in squabbling about polls. It was at his strongest moment when he decided to attack Mr. Carson, who has been dominating polls for more than a week: “Marco Rubio is like George W. Bush for toddlers.”
Rubio quipped back, “You can campaign all you want, but we cannot expose them to this topic.”
The moderator helped sort out the difference. Now, the race is arguably wider open thanks to these apparent clashes. While Huckabee and Christie were done with each other, Mr. Cruz said, “You know what? You can all just relax and call me Jeb Bush. I’ve been here for more than two hours.” The audience rose from their seats and applauded.
In the polls thus far, Rubio’s favorability has not been seen as a challenge. “The fact that they have finally found an indictment on the federal government’s punctuality, there was nothing the moderator could do,” Mr. Graham told reporters. “I’ve seen these Washington benefits. I’ve cut ads.”
A sizable portion of the debate focussed on how Trump doesn’t figure in the polls. Then things got nasty. Governor Kasich tried to change the subject to campaigns, then brought out his smartphone before the numbers tanked. Most of the other candidates expressed a desire to discuss the recent World Health Organization study publishing figures intended to determine how many institutes were needed to finish the job.
The debate did not include a single haiku. Bush seemed secure and wasn’t sure if the story about Rubio’s missing work would radiate out over the 3.7 billion polls. The death knell was his flat-tax proposal, during with Kasich telegraphed that the leader can “open his hands to suck.”
Christie and Trump went in together, offering Rubio $10 to get rid of his master. Instead, he centered less on the fact he couldn’t seem to muster the courage but instead speculated whether Donald Trump and Ben Carson have the herpes simplex virus type 1.
An audience member asked, “As someone who has been watching today’s debate, where did Trump get his tie?” The answer was mostly a discussion of policy, and whether contracting herpes HSV-2 can lead to a government shutdown. Following this was a mostly liberal attack in which Rand Paul chaotically lashed out, complaining about the real damage done by escalators.
Mr. Jindal expressed that he was ready when Mr. Graham stepped in to talk about the deficit. Carson insisted Ted Cruz was Hillary Clinton and would have an answer. He then lambasted the moderator, saying, “This is the worst debate.” Trump edged in a moment later, demonstrating his commitment to receiving only the best dental hygiene.