The One Issue Rand Paul Will Attack Each GOP Candidate On During The Second Debate
The second Republican primary debate is fast approaching, and it can almost be guaranteed that there's at least one issue that Rand Paul will attack each candidate during Wednesday's CNN debate. During the first debate, Paul helped himself stand out by calling out other candidates — namely Donald Trump and Chris Christie. But in Wednesday's debate, all the gloves are expected to come out.
According to Jake Tapper, the lead moderator for the CNN debate, the questions are designed to pit the candidates against each other, in order to encourage a lively discussion. The format was inspired by Paul's performance in the first debate, notably his heated back and forth with Christie over national security. Add to the mix the fact that Paul has been dropping in the polls and Trump has been rising, and the debate is likely to be a powder keg.
All of the candidates have become a bit more willing to lash out at their opponents, even soft spoken Ben Carson. In addition, Carly Fiorina — who practically destroyed her happy hour debate partners — will likely come out of the gate firing — which will only encourage Paul more. There are a few issues that are likely to set Paul off — some are universal, but some are specific to the individual candidates. Here are our predictions for some upcoming Paul attacks.
Carly Fiorina: Her Time At Hewlett-Packard
Although Paul doesn't seem to have any clear beef with Fiorina, there are probably some hard feelings there — Fiorina almost edged him out of the debate, and while his numbers fall, hers have continued to rise. Fiorina is likely to be the heavyweight in the upcoming debate and might give Paul a run for his money. He's likely to find himself at odds with her and might try to reference her time as CEO of Hewlett-Packard and the thousands of employees who were laid off during her tenure.
Ben Carson: Political Inexperience
Due to his hesitancy to sling mud, and the fact that Carson carries himself so well, the other candidates (except Trump) are unlikely to go after him. But if Paul does set his sights on the retired neurosurgeon, he will probably point out that Carson has no previous political experience, despite the neurosurgeon's high poll numbers.
John Kasich: Kim Davis
When Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was jailed for refusing to grant marriage licenses, Paul, who is a senator from Kentucky, was outraged. Many of the GOP candidates, such as Huckabee and Cruz, voiced support for Davis. But Kasich didn't, instead stating that he felt she should comply with a court order. Paul will likely put Kasich on blast for this and may call into question his beliefs and stance on same-sex marriage.
Ted Cruz: Foreign Policy
Although the two are Tea Party friends, Cruz has made it clear that he is different than Paul in terms of foreign policy. Despite claiming he falls in the middle of the Republican spectrum, Cruz has said he feels that Paul is too soft on foreign policy, specifically in regard to Paul's hesitant approach to foreign intervention. As unlikely as it is, if the two clash, it will likely be over defense.
Scott Walker: The Canadian Wall Gaffe
If Paul gets a question involving immigration, you can almost be positive that he'll manage to diss Trump and Walker at the same time. Paul was quick to make fun of Walker's recent gaffe where he insinuated he would support building a wall between America and Canada, listing Walker's statement next to Trump's plans as some of the "dumb ideas" that have been suggested.
Jeb Bush: The NSA Or Iraq War
Paul likes to insinuate that Bush is confused a lot, which is what he did earlier this summer when he claimed that Bush was unsure of his own position on both the Iraq War and the NSA. This summer, while Paul was fighting against data surveillance aspects of the Patriot Act, he set the NSA up as his sworn enemy. Bush — though he hasn't sung its praises — doesn't share the same hatred of the NSA that Paul does.
Marco Rubio: Foreign Policy
Rubio and Paul don't differ on very many things, but they have served as foils to each other repeatedly on the issue of foreign policy. Although they served together on the Senate Foreign Policy Committee, Paul's libertarian ideals don't exactly mesh with Rubio. Not to mention that Paul has also gone after Rubio's position on the Iraq War before. These issues are unlikely to come out during a debate, as much of Paul's foreign policy ire will likely be taken out on Christie or Bush. But it could happen.
Chris Christie: National Security
As guaranteed as a Trump versus Paul showdown is, a continuation of Christie and Paul's earlier onstage fight is almost as sure to happen. Even before the debate Christie and Paul had a history of not getting along, which was exacerbated on stage in August. Putting the two back behind the podium together will surely end in fireworks — especially if national security is involved.
Donald Trump: Everything
Honestly, there's no way to predict what Trump issue will set Paul off. The two locked eyes at the first primary debate and have been taking shots at each other ever since, dragging everything from their polling numbers to their golf skills into the line of fire. It is absolutely guaranteed that there will be a Trump versus Paul explosion, but there's no way to predict what will light the match.
Mike Huckabee: Nothing
As surprising as it is, it's unlikely that Paul will go after Huckabee. They aren't exactly buddies, but they fall closely enough on issues that a fight between the two is very unlikely. Huckabee is one of the only candidates that Paul hasn't called out. Although Huckabee has had some comments for the senator before, lately they've been getting along. Both were vocal in their support of Davis, and they rarely interact. Maybe Paul doesn't view Huckabee as a threat, or maybe he's just reticent to attack. But I'd be extremely surprised if these two have a showdown.
Given the way the debate is shaping up, even if Paul stayed silent the whole time, it's likely that there will be some heated exchanges between candidates. Paul's aggressive debate style and willingness to call others out will only add to the heightened excitement — and heightened emotion — on the stage Wednesday night.