GOP debate loose on facts


In their ongoing campaigns to be viewed as presidential timber, Republican candidates for president on Wednesday looked like little more than Duraflames.

They got their facts wrong again in their latest debate, and front-runner Donald Trump is losing what gravitas he had like a man on Weight Watchers for egomaniacs.

Consider: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said President Obama wants to bring “tens of thousands” of Syrian refugees to the United States. In fact, the president set a target of 10,000.

Trump said Iran was going to “get $150 billion” from the nuclear limit deal with the U.S. and other nations. Not true – $100 billion or so of Iran’s own assets may be unfrozen by the U.S. under the deal, but Iran has to play by the rules.

Carly Fiorina said that she wanted two generals, David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, to come back into service and that they retired early because they told President Obama things he didn’t want to hear. Petraeus resigned as CIA director after an affair was revealed in the media, and McChrystal resigned after he and his aides were quoted in a way that made fun of the president and other government officials – something considerably more serious for military people than telling the president things he doesn’t want to hear. So Fiorina had it wrong.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who has endlessly pronounced the nation on the verge of collapse thanks to President Obama, said America’s allies have lost trust in the U.S. under Obama because of the policy toward Syria, but he had nothing to back it up. A serious candidate has to do better than that.

Rubio also criticized what he claims are cuts in defense funding, but cuts in spending were part of budget sequesters Republicans supported.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got the name of the king of Jordan wrong. But that was one of the smaller gaffes.

GOP candidates embarrass themselves with such mistakes, and they don’t discriminate. Some of the accusations they made about each other were wrong, too.

Getting it wrong as a candidate demonstrates differing levels of incompetence. Getting it wrong as a president can have far more serious consequences.