Follow live: Prime-time GOP debate including Ted Cruz, Donald Trump

The eyes of the political world will be on the first 2016 Republican presidential debate in Cleveland, beginning at 8 p.m. on Fox News.

The finishing touches are made to the stage for the Republican presidential debate at The Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015, in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first debate of the 2016 presidential campaign season.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The finishing touches are made to the stage for the Republican presidential debate at The Quicken Loans Arena August 6, 2015, in Cleveland, Ohio. This is the first debate of the 2016 presidential campaign season. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The prime-time debate is limited to the 10 candidates faring the best in an average of recent national polls. They are real estate mogul and reality TV star Donald Trump; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

They will be questioned by Fox News anchors Chris Wallace, Megyn Kelly and Bret Baier.

 

Updated 10:11 p.m.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush played it safe Thursday night and may have appeared the most presidential even if he offered no memorable moments in the Donald Trump-dominated debate of the top candidates for the GOP nomination for president.

Seeking to be the third Bush president, the son of George H.W. Bush, brother of George W. Bush (and father of Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush) avoided pitfalls and delivered a simple message. He told a lively audience in a Cleveland arena that he wants to unite America with a hopeful and optimistic message.

Other candidates — including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — struggled to be remembered. Neurosurgeon Ben Carson even joked about his dearth of camera time.

He later earned applause by talking about forces in the world who want to divide Americans.

“We shouldn’t let them do it,” Carson said.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky tried to leave an impression by sparing with Trump and talking about eliminating aid to America’s enemies and sparring with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie over domestic spying.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich took a risk when he was asked about what he would do if his son or daughter was gay. He announced that he recently attended a gay wedding and, of course, he would unconditionally love his children — gay or straight. He seemed pleased with his answer as he smiled after his words. The Ohio audience cheered.

Cruz earned applause for his talk about his deep Christian faith. He also had some tough talk on radical Islam.

He said he rejected the notion that the nation needs to make sure young men in the Middle East are not susceptible to Islamic State recruiting.

If you sign up, he said: “You are signing your death warrant.”

But for all the serious efforts of the candidates chasing Trump in the polls, the night likely will be remembered for the reality TV star’s involvement.

The debate began with predicable showmanship by the famous businessman. With his trademark squint, Trump started the night by refusing to say he wouldn’t run as an independent if he loses the nomination.

Trump maintained the limelight as he made jokes about his much publicized feud with actress Rosie O’Donnell after Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly asked him about disparaging remarks he has made about women. Trump ultimately answered the question by saying he rejects political correctness.

When Trump spoke a bit later, he took credit for bringing the issues of immigration and border security to the Republican race.

He also doubled down on earlier comments that the Mexican government was sending criminals to the U.S., saying that people he knows have told him about the influx of people, citing a recent half-day trip to Laredo.

Mexican government officials are cunning, Trump said.

“They send the bad ones over” because they know that “stupid leaders” in the U.S. will take care of them.

Later, The Trump Show continued when a moderator asked about his political donations to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, The Donald replied simply: “I give to everybody.”

Some of the other candidates on the stage took his money, and others joked that they would be happy to accept a check from him now.

Trump explained that it made strategic sense to give broadly.

“When I need something from them, ” he said, “they are there for me.”

Trump was later asked about his businesses having filed for bankruptcy four times.

He seemed to take offense to the question and noted that it was his businesses that filed for the protection that left his creditors unpaid, and it was not a personal bankruptcy.

“I have used the laws of the country,” Trump said, to benefit him, his family and his employees.

 

Updated 8:12 p.m.

Donald Trump responding to a question about disparaging comments he made about women: “I frankly don’t have time for total political correctness.”

Updated 8:17 p.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz said in the debate that if voters want someone who will get in bed with special interests, then they should look elsewhere. Leaders need to honor their commitments, he said.

Updated 8:34 p.m.

The debate of the top 1- candidates for the GOP nomination of the presidency began with predicable showmanship by billionaire businessman Donald Trump. With his trademark squint, Trump was the only candidate to refuse to say he wouldn’t run as an independent if he loses the nomination.

Trump maintained the limelight as he made jokes about his much publicized feud with access Rosie O’Donnell after Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly asked him about disparaging remarks he has made about women.

Some serious discussion sneaked into the Trump show, too.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said if voters want someone who will get in bed with special interests, then:  “I ain’t your guy.”

Leaders need to honor their commitments, he said.

U.S. Rand Paul of Kentucky talked about the Islamic State and the need to stop sending money and equipment to the radical Islamists’ allies.

Then, the tone changed when Trump spoke again and took credit for bringing the issues of immigration and border security to the Republican race.

He also doubled down on earlier comments that the Mexican government was sending criminals to the U.S., saying that people he knows have told him that, citing a recent half-day trip to Laredo.

Mexican government officials are cunning, Trump said.

“They send the bad ones over” because they know that “stupid leaders” in the U.S. will take care of them.

Updated 8:51 p.m.

On radical Islam, Cruz called said he didn’t believe the rhetoric he has heard about how to fight the Islamic State.  He said he never believed that America needs to change the conditions on the ground to make sure young men are not susceptible to ISIS recruiting.

If you sign up, he said: “You are signing your death warrant.”

Updated 8:54 p.m.

The Trump Show continued.

When asked about his political donations to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, The Donald replied simply: “I give to everybody.”

Some of the other candidates took his money, and others joked that they would be happy to accept a check from him now.

Trump explained that it made strategic sense to give broadly.

“When I need something from them, ” he said, “they are there for me.”

Updated 9:20 p.m.

Trump was asked about his businesses having filed for bankruptcy four times.

He seemed to take offense to the question and noted that it was his businesses that filed for the protection that left his creditors unpaid, and it was not a personal bankruptcy.

“I have used the laws of the country,” Trump said, to benefit him, his family and his employees.

He has been celebrated for his business acumen, Trump said.

 

 

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