2016 Republican Presidential Debate: Reagan Library Edition - Live Blogs & Updates - ABCNews

2016 Republican Presidential Debate: Reagan Library Edition

ABC News' live blog of the Republican presidential debate - the second debate of the 2016 election cycle. Eleven candidates are slated to be on stage for the main debate at 8 p.m. Eastern tonight at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library hosted by CNN. The four bottom-tier candidates will be in an undercard debate at 6 p.m. Eastern.

According to Facebook, here are the top social moments and top candidates of the second Republican presidential debate that were mentioned. 

Top Social Moments of the debate on Facebook:

1. Carly Fiorina responds to Donald Trumps comments on her appearance

2. Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, and Chris Christie debate the merits of their business track-records

3. Donald Trump criticizes Rand Paul's appearance. 

Top candidates discussed on Facebook during the debate:

1. Donald Trump

2. Carly Fiorina

3. Ben Carson

4. Jeb Bush

5. Ted Cruz

That's a wrap! 

So far, the top three mentioned candidates on Twitter during this debate:

1. Donald Trump

2. Carly Fiorina

3. Jeb Bush

The top 11 candidates have taken the stage for the prime-time debate. 


ABC's JORDYN PHELPS and RICK KLEIN: An unlikely guest at tonight’s GOP debate: The chair of the Democratic Party.

ABC News caught up with DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz ahead of tonight’s debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California – a location which Wasserman Schultz said is ripe with irony.

“He had a very different outlook and philosophy than today’s Republican Party, so I think the irony of this crop of candidates comparing themselves to him is truly striking,” Wasserman Schultz told ABC News’ Rick Klein.

Wasserman Schultz pointed to Reagan’s legacy in granting amnesty to immigrants and negotiating with countries with which the US was not friendly as contrasts with today’s crop of candidates.

But when it comes to contrasting the current GOP candidates with each other – and specifically frontrunner Donald Trump -- Wasserman Schultz came up short in identifying differences.

“I don’t think there’s much of any distinction between any of those folks who are up there,” she said when asked what distinctions she sees between Trump and the rest of the field. “What I’ve watched over the last few weeks in the summer of Trump is the other 15 candidates who are remaining are doing everything they can to out Trump him, and you clearly don’t out-Trump Trump.

As one of the token Democrats in the audience tonight, Wasserman Schultz said she’s looking forward to letting the debate unravel as it will.

“Letting this debate play out on it’s own and taking a step back and just watching the gaping horror of the American people react to it, I think they’re doing us a favor,” she said. “They can’t debate enough.

DJ-ing with some Van Halen en route to Reagan Library.
by Governor Chris Christie via Instagram

Here's former New York governor George Pataki's pre-debate ritual before he took the stage in the 6 p.m. debate --

It's game day at the Reagan Library. The pre-debate ritual continues today in Simi Valley.
Click to view Facebook VideoGeorge E. Patakiat 3:17 PM

From our partners at FIVETHIRTYEIGHT - a chart of the number of tweets or retweets by Trump attacking other GOP candidates and vice versa. Check out their live coverage of the GOP debate: http://53eig.ht/1KgVJ25

Credit: FiveThirtyEight 

Jim Gilmore was not invited to the undercard debate because he could not manage an average of 1 percent in at least three national polls between now and mid-July. However, he has been live tweeting during the debate. 


ABC's MARYALICE PARKS: It may be Republican debate night, but this afternoon about 100 Democrats gathered outside of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, to protest their party's handling of debates this election cycle.

The group included Gov. Martin O'Malley's campaign manager and some senior campaign staff. O'Malley has been calling for more debates and an end to the so-called "exclusivity clause." His campaign was ready today with posters and signs.

O'Malley's campaign manager Dave Hamrick told ABC News he thinks the DNC will cave, saying all of this pressure and disagreement is not "sustainable."

A chart of where each GOP candidate falls in the conservative spectrum from our partners at FIVETHIRTYEIGHT.  Check out their live coverage of the GOP debate: http://53eig.ht/1KgVJ25

Credit: FiveThirtyEight 

6 p.m. debate featuring Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum and George Pataki is underway.


ABC’s MERIDITH MCGRAW: “We are told not that was not Nancy Reagan,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said live on the air ahead of tonight’s debate.

He was acknowledging a case of mistaken identity. The network had accidentally identified a well-dressed older woman sitting front row as former First Lady Nancy Reagan. Turns out, it wasn’t her.

Even Ari Fleisher, former White House Press Secretary, thought he saw the former First Lady.

The mistake was quickly picked up by viewers watching who noticed the elderly woman wasn’t wearing the former First Lady’s signature color red, and wasn’t accompanied by Secret Service detail.

On Monday the Los Angeles Times reported that the 94-year-old Mrs. Reagan was unlikely to make an appearance at the debate. 


ABC’s CANDACE SMITH: As the Republican presidential debate inches closer, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush prepped, not with notecards, but with the help of a higher power.

Continuing the tradition Bush started last year, he attended noon mass at nearby St. Jude’s Catholic Church with his wife Columba and youngest son, Jeb Jr.

“ I prayed to my creator to be strong,” Bush told ABC News.  

In a few hours, Bush will have the opportunity to try and regain his footing in a race that has been slipping away from him. The one-time frontrunner, he now trails Donald Trump and Ben Carson in national polls. 

He says that the debate location itself-- the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library -- will actually give him strength today. Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, of course, served as Reagan's Vice-President.

When asked if Reagan would be on his mind tonight, Bush said that he would.

"He's my hero,” Bush said. "The fact that it's at the library is really inspiring to me.

Early this morning, Bush and and his son went for an early-morning hike to exercise away any pre-debate jitters.


ABC’s RICK KLEIN: The most common refrain among campaign operatives in advance of the debate: Does it really have to be about Trump?

The truth is that it does, and they know that it does. To the extent that these are predictable affairs, it’s reasonable to expect a feistier debate, not so much about Trump as it is about who will stand up to Trump.

But another intriguing storyline with be the candidate who plays for the sidebar. Several aides to rival campaigns have cited Ben Carson’s surprise breakout in the last debate as a template – and evidence that you can “win” even a debate in this environment without just mixing it up with Trump.

One aide to a campaign with this longer-game strategy laughed when I asked about campaign strategy, pointing out that these are dynamic and hard-to-game-plan events: “Everyone watches too many ‘West Wing’ reruns!”

BEHIND THE SCENES: Governor Walker hanging out at the Reagan Ranch prepping for tonight's #GOPdebate. #Walker16 #cnndebate
by Scott Walker via Instagram


ABC’s JESSICA HOPPER and JOSH HASKELL: Sen. Rand Paul arrived at a shooting range in Simi Valley this morning. Wearing blue jeans and Ray Ban sunglasses, Paul shot two rifles and a pistol.  Paul elected to shoot a rifle first because he said his neck was bothering him.  He also asked for ear muffs towards the end. After examining his target, some of which were labeled "IRS Tax Code," Paul talked to reporters. He laughed when asked if shooting was helping him relax ahead of the debate. He said he has only shot around 10 times in his life but enjoys it. 

He used the word combat several times to describe tonight's GOP debate and discussed his plan to take down GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, saying that ultimately people would get past Trump's celebrity and that it is important to expose Trump for who he is.

“He's recently come to join the Republican Party and he's trying to come to join as a conservative but I think there's a great deal of evidence pointing in the opposite direction that he's really not a conservative and so I think we will have that debate,” said Paul, who has repeatedly called Trump a fake conservative.

Paul went on to argue, "Ultimately the issues will be a problem for Trump when people get beyond the celebrity. I do think that his attack on Fiorina probably started to wake people up. I think Governor Perry leaving the race started to wake people up that my goodness, a governor of a large Republican state is leaving, but we're keeping a reality TV Star who really shows no evidence of really being serious about anything."

The Kentucky Senator was asked about Gov. Chris Christie, who he fought with during the first Republican debate.

"We're all in and I'm ready for combat,” Paul answered.


Credit: marcorubio16/Snapchat 
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio chats with CNN Anchor Jake Tapper, who is moderating tonight's debate. Credit: marcorubio16/Snapchat  
Sen. Rubio tours Air Force One in the Reagan Presidential Library. Credit: marcorubio16/Snapchat 
Credit: marcorubio16/Snapchat  
Sen. Lindsey Graham tours the debate stage. Graham will be participating in the 6 p.m. ET debate. Credit: lindseygrahamsc/Snapchat 
Standing at his podium on stage, Gov. Scott Walker does a walk-through ahead of tonight's debate. Credit: govscottwalker/Snapchat
Gov. Chris Christie's podium on the debate stage. Credit: christie.2016/Snapchat

Sen. Marco Rubio says hello to fellow GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and his wife Janet. Credit: marcorubio16/Snapchat 

1 of 8


ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ reports: Meanwhile, what’s Hillary Clinton's campaign up to tonight?

Hosting house parties!

The Clinton campaign has organized over 100 “Women for Hillary” GOP debate-night watch parties in roughly 20 cities across the country for women supporters a and volunteers to watch the debate. 

According to the campaign, “while the Republican candidates bend over backwards to offer extreme, out-of-touch and out-of-date positions, women supporters will discuss Hillary’s record as a champion of women and girls.” 

In addition, the campaign has launched a Pinterest page — “Organizing 101: House Parties for Hillary” — with instructions on how you (aka “everyday Americans”) can host one, too. 

Here are some of the cities hosting a "Hillary for America" GOP Debate Watch Party tonight: 

Boca Raton, FL

Austin, TX

Charleston, SC

Minneapolis, MN

Washington, D.C.

Chicago, IL

Denver, CO

Kansas City, MO

Biloxi, MS

Memphis, TN

Vienna, WV

Columbia, SC

Chantilly, VA

Detroit, MI

Lubbock, TX

Portland, OR

Tuscaloosa, AL

Myrtle Beach, SC

Bailey, CO


ABC’s MEREDITH MCGRAW: Is Scott Walker’s campaign holding a going out of business sale?

That’s what Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Holly Shulman asked on Twitter today after the Walker campaign advertised 40 percent off all merchandise in its online store for one day only.

Among the items for sale: Red, white and blue bumper stickers (two for $10), limited edition signed rally placards ($75), and “Walker for President” embroidered fleece pullovers that retail for $65.00. As the website notes, “All proceeds are invested in our campaign to elect Scott Walker for President in 2016.”

Walker had been riding high in the polls both nationally and in Iowa, but as Donald Trump took more of the spotlight this summer, Walker’s support has crumpled. Recent national polls put him in the low single digits. Tonight, Walker takes the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in an effort to win back some of that early support.

But Walker, who is viewed as the Midwestern foil to Trump’s gilded, showy style, isn’t closing shop yet. Despite canceling campaign events in Michigan and California next week, he will continue to campaign throughout Iowa and South Carolina.

And Walker’s campaign isn’t the only trying to move some merchandise in honor of tonight’s debate. Ted Cruz is offering his supporters 20 percent off items in his campaign store like camo print hats. 


ABC’s CANDACE SMITH: The Jeb Bush campaign laid out some goals for the former Florida governor going into tonight’s debate.

1. Sell the proven conservative record 

2. Demonstrate he has a plan to reform a broken Washington 

3. Offer hopeful and optimistic message 

4. Distinguish from Trump in those categories 

According to the campaign, as he did before the last debate, Bush has held debate and policy briefings with staff and advisers over the past several weeks. The sessions have focused on a range of domestic and foreign policy issues.  

Jeb is focused on delivering a message that will resonate with voters over the long haul, one that focuses on substance over style.

Bush has outlined a series of substantive policy proposals that will comprise the beginning of his agenda as President, including plans to overhaul the U.S. tax code and lower rates; secure our borders; reform the Veterans Administration; take on Washington special interests through lobbying reform, procurement reform and civil service reform; and strengthening cybersecurity.

Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement