By Mark Young, SouthFloridaReporter.com Managing Editor, Aug 7, 2015 – Following is an extensive look at last nights GOP presidential debate by several of Florida’s political experts:
By Peter Schorsch (Peter@FloridaPolitics.com; @SaintPetersBlog) with Phil Ammann (Phil@FloridaPolitics.com; @PhilAmmann) and Ryan Ray (Ryan@FloridaPolitics.com @RyanRay_Fla). – A combative Donald Trump jolted the first Republican debate of the 2016 campaign by warning he might run as an independent if denied the GOP nomination. His startling declaration left his onstage rivals scrambling to compete for attention the rest of the night.
Asked in the debate’s opening minutes whether he could rule out a third-party run, Trump declared Thursday night, “I will not make the pledge at this time.” He also refused to apologize for making crude comments about women, defended his changing policy positions and tangled with the debate moderators.
While Trump was characteristically bombastic, most of the contenders standing alongside him clamored for their piece of the spotlight without engaging him directly. They quarreled over immigration, terrorism and gay marriage, each casting himself as the strongest to take on Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton. They also assailed President Barack Obama and his nuclear deal with Iran.