Republican debate as it happened: GOP candidates descend on California for second presidential debate

A welcome sign is seen before the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, United States, September 16, 2015.REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
  • The "undercard" debate featuring the following candidates-- Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal and George Pataki--has wrapped up. Analyst on CNN and data from Google Trends reveals Lindsey Graham is the winner of the earlier debate.
  • The main debate, which starts at 8pm EST, will feature the remaining 11 candidates: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Scott Walker, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee.
  • Only 15 candidates, of the 16 candidates, will participate in the second GOP debate after former Texas Governor Rick Perry became the first candidate to end his White House bid. Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore did so poorly in the polls he did not qualify for either debate.
  • For those who want to catch the debate online, CNN will make the entire debate available for free at

Minutes after the wrap up of the main debate, analyst and Twitter appear to agree that Carly Fiorina came out on top. According to Google Trends, Donald Trump, Fiorina and Jeb Bush were the top three searched candidates during the debate.

After five hours of two debates, the second Republican debate has concluded.

Rubio and Christie debate both climate change and the measures Democrats hope to pass to reduce pollution. Christie goes as far as to say that climate change is a "left wing" idea.

The conversation quickly moved from the 2nd Amendment to Social Security. Trump says he would be willing to opt out of Social Security.

Moderators now are asking a question from social media: "Would you enforce the federal laws against marijuana in places like Colorado where it's legal?"

Paul says he believes in the 10th Amendment and that the federal government should not interfere with the state's right to decide whether marijuana is legal or not.

The war in Iraq and Jeb Bush's older brother, former President George W Bush's, is now a hot topic. Trump and Paul voice their opposition to the war and said the world is a less safe place because of it. Bush and Rubio, however, that President Bush should not be blamed for the current situation in the Middle East.

Marco Rubio calls Donald Trump on failing to know enough about foreign policy, saying the next president needs to know from "day one" how to keep the US safe. Trump responds by attacking Rubio's record on voting in the Senate.

Taxes is up next: Huckabee suggests eliminating taxing those who "produce." Meanwhile, Ben Carson discusses his plan of bringing in tithing, or a one/tenth tax. Surprising to many, Trump advocates taxing high earners more.

For a refresher on the 14th Amendment, which is discussed in the debate on birthright citizenship.

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Talk turns to immigration. Trump argues that undocumented immigrants should be deported, the US borders should be strengthened and immigrants should learn English. Rubio, who has worked for comprehensive immigration reform, says the border should be secured but largely disagrees with Trump's plans.

After claiming he would take care of women and respect women if elected, Trump is called out for his comments on Carly Fiorina's face in his interview with Rolling Stone. Fiorina says that she believes "women all over the country" understood what Trump meant in his comments.

As the predominately male candidates on stage discuss defunding Planned Parenthood, and potentially shutting down the government, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton tweets:

While many of the candidates go after President Obama about failing to interfere in Syria, Rand Paul argues that bombing Syria may have made it easier for Isis to gain control of Damascus. Meanwhile, Ted Cruz discusses Iran and its attitudes against Israel and the US.

Like the first debate, Carly Fiorina is showing voters she is incredibly well versed in the issues. When discussing the issue of Russia presence in Syria. Fiorina outlines her foreign policy, saying, "Russia is a bad actor. But Vladimir Putin is someone we should not talk to."

Republican U.S. presidential candidates (L-R), U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, former New York Governor George Pataki, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, U.S. Senator Rand Paul, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, former CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Governor John Kasich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pose at the start of the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, United States, September 16, 2015.REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

John Kasich gets applause after he calls out CNN moderators and his fellow candidates on stage for not talking about the issues and instead taking part in the back and forth.

Like the first debate, the first questions in the main event turn to GOP front-runner Donald Trump. Female candidate Carly Fiorina does not take the bate and says she trust the American voters to do the right thing. In his response, Trump calls out Rand Paul.

Paul says that Trump cannot be trusted with his finger on the nuclear codes. Trump's response:

Democratic candidate, Bernie Sanders, may not be on stage with the 11 GOP candidates but he has joined the debate via Twitter. As the candidates introduce themselves, Sanders tweets the following:

The main event of tonight's debates are now beginning. Eleven candidates have joined the stage: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Scott Walker, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee.

Like the first debate, candidates have 1 minute to answer questions and 30 seconds for rebuttals and follow ups. If a candidate is called out, he or she will be given time to answer.

Information from Google Trends reveals interest in Graham spiked during the earlier debate.

Graham is being called the winner of this first minor debate by analyst on CNN.

The four candidates begin closing out the first debate tonight with the following question: "What's the one thing you offer that none of the candidates in the next debate has?"

The candidates discuss shutting down the government to defund Planned Parenthood. Unlike Jindal and Ted Cruz, Graham is against shutting the government down just to defund Planned Parenthood.

Next up is the Iran nuclear deal:

  • Graham says the deal is a mistake and could be dangerous to Israel. Discussed bombing Iran.
  • Pataki talks about rejecting the deal and giving Israel bombs called MOPs (Massive Ordnance Penetrator) to fight against Iran.
  • Santorum calls Iranians apocalyptic. "A nuclear Iran is the end," he says.

Despite not qualifying for either debate, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore has used his Twitter to answer the same questions being asked during this first debate.

On raising taxes: Pataki says he would do away completely with the tax code and rewrite it.

Pataki and Santorum get heated about religious freedom and the role of the Supreme Court. Santorum says he's in favour going against the Supreme Court when he does not agree with the law.

When asked about vigilance and discrimination in regards to Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old in Texas who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, Jindal said Americans do not discriminate based on race. He and Graham bring up the case of Kim Davis, saying Christians are being discriminated against. Pataki says Davis should be fired for not doing her job.

Candidates now discussing the Syrian refugee crisis and the destruction Isis is waging in the Middle East. Graham discusses his support for troops on the ground. "We're gonna kill everyone one of these bastards we can find," he said.

In the debate on immigration between Santorum and Graham, Santorum appears to imply that Hispanics are not Americans. Graham's response: "In my world, Hispanics are Americans."

Up next: immigration and birthright citizenship.

Jindal reiterates that he is not for amnesty for the reported 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US.

Graham and Pataki are on opposite sides of the birthright citizenship issue. While Graham calls for an end of birthright citizenship, Pataki is for keeping it.

Former New York Governor George Pataki calls out CNN moderators for using their first four debate questions on Donald Trump. Pataki said, "Donald Trump is unfit to be President."

A woman walks past a caricature of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump before the start of the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, September 16, 2015.REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

First question goes to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal about Donald Trump and breaking Ronald Reagan's 11th commandment. Jindal responds: We need to stop treating Donald Trump like a Republican.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was then asked, "Is Jindal wrong for attacking his party's front-runner?" Santorum took a more moderate route, saying any attacks to fellow Republicans just help Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The first four candidates are on stage to kick off the first debate. Candidates have 1 minute to answer questions. The four are now introduce themselves as they begin perhaps their biggest fight to stay in the race.

We're moments away from the first "undercard" debate with the last four candidates in the polls. So where exactly do these four candidates stand?

The latest CBS News/New York Times GOP poll revealed:

  • Lindsey Graham: less than 0.5%
  • Rick Santorum: 1%
  • Bobby Jindal: less than 0.5%
  • George Pataki: less than 0.5%

Another candidate, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, did not score high enough to qualify for the second CNN-hosted debate. Gilmore earned did not earn any support in the CBS/NYT poll.

The first "undercard" debate is scheduled to begin at 6pm EST (11pm BST). According to CNN, a poor performance for these candidates, who have polled low and were also part of the "happy hour" debate on 6 August, could signify the end of their White House ambitions.

Katie Packer Gage, deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign, told CNN, "The JV debate is likely the last." She continued, "There will be so little attention to those folks that the networks won't continue it. So this is the last chance for the lesser known candidates to make a move."

The only female Republican candidate, Carly Fiorina, out shined her fellow candidates during the last debate, earning a spot in the main event for the second CNN-hosted debate.

The debates will be moderated by: Jake Tapper, Hugh Hewitt and Dana Bash.

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