The candidates have taken the stage, but tonight it's hard to tell if we're watching a presidential debate or a Taylor Swift music video. The bad blood is brewing and the insults during the first GOP debate have begun. What's most surprising is that Donald Trump didn't throw the first punch.
Thursday's main event features the top 10 Republican candidates in the field: The Donald, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and John Kasich. In many cases, their campaigns leading up to the debate gave every indication that there were some fighting words on the horizon. Arguably (but not really arguably) the most outspoken of the candidates, Trump has said that Bush is "terrible." Meanwhile, Christie has fired back at Trump, saying, "Anybody can do well for a month in this business."
Now that the debate has arrived, the candidates have the opportunity to air out their grievances and take each other on face-to-face — and that's exactly what they've done. After tonight, some of them are probably never, ever, ever getting back together on a ticket. Let's hope, for the sake of their campaigns, that they can shake, shake, shake it off in time for the next debate.
1. Trump "Buys And Sells Politicians" — Rand Paul
Paul took this bait before the debate even going, when Trump suggested he might launch an independent campaign if he doesn't win the nomination. Paul also pointed out that Trump has supported the Clintons in the past.
2. "You Wouldn't Even Be Talking About Immigration If It Weren't For Me" — Donald Trump
It didn't take long for someone to ask Trump about his favorite issue: immigration. Trump quickly fired back (at the moderator? at the media? at the world?) with this "joke's on you" jab.
3. "Our Leaders Are Stupid" — Donald Trump
While on the topic of immigration, Trump implied (read: declared) that Mexican leaders are smarter than American leaders. He argued that the nation's current leaders are too stupid to handle immigration.
4. "When You're Sitting In A Subcommittee Just Blowing Hot Air, Then You Can Say Things Like That" — Chris Christie
Finally, an insult that has nothing to do with The Donald. Christie directed this zinger at Paul when they got into a heated discussion about national security.
5. "You're Having A Hard Time Tonight" — Donald Trump
Aaaaand, we're back to Trump. He directed this jab at Paul when he felt that Paul had misheard him. Stay tuned for more updates in the Trump-Paul saga.
6. "Chris Can Tell You: Every Company In Atlantic City Went Bankrupt" — Donald Trump
Trump boasted about his business success, even in the struggling city of Atlantic City, New Jersey. In the process, he threw New Jersey Governor Christie right under the bus.
7. "I'm The Only One To Take Out Half A Brain, Although You'd Think If You Go To Washington, Someone Would Have Beat Me To It" — Ben Carson
The doctor was in, and he was funny. Carson used his medical experience to differentiate himself from the other candidates and other politicians in his closing statement.
8. "The Last Number Of Months Of His Brother's Administration Were A Catastrophe" — Donald Trump
This was really a three-pronged insult. Trump was talking about none other than candidate Jeb Bush and former President George W. Bush. He went on to say that the catastrophe caused by President Bush led to the election of President Obama, "which you can't be happy about."
Election season is known for its nasty attacks, and candidates are known for their trash-talking, but somehow, this debate seemed sassier than ever. Maybe it's the larger field of candidates or maybe it's that certain candidates are more polarizing than we're used to. Either way, the tension at the first GOP primetime debate couldn't have been more obvious.