GOP Debate IV, which took place Tuesday night at the Milwaukee Theater in Wisconsin, was dripping with gravitas. From its misty-lensed opening montage (featuring mandatory Ronald Reagan b-roll), to moderator Neil Cavuto's closing remarks, "It's not about us, it's about them [the candidates]," the entire spectacle was about Fox contrasting itself with CNBC, whose disastrous handling of the third GOP debate sparked a mutiny by the candidates not just against that network, but against the RNC itself.
And all credit to Fox and its sith lord Roger Ailes, there were moments Tuesday evening's program resembled a spirited exchange of ideas, instead of the grotesque sideshow we've come to know in recent months — but only a few! There were still enough batshit lines to locate the viewer in our present context. Here were our favorites.
1. "Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders than philosophers." -Marco Rubio on vocational education
2. "I don't have to hear from this man." -Donald Trump on John Kasich
3. "You should let Jeb speak." - Donald Trump to John Kasich
4. "Thank you, Donald, for letting me speak at the debate. That's really nice of you. What a generous man you are." -Jeb Bush to Donald Trump
5. "It took the telephone 75 years to reach 100 million users. It took Candy Crush one year to reach 100 million users." -Marco Rubio
6. "My mom is here, so I don't think we should be pushing any grannies off any cliffs." -Ted Cruz on Medicare
7. "The secret sauce of America is innovation and entrepreneurship." -Carly Fiorina
8. "There are more words in the IRS code than in the Bible." -Ted Cruz
9. "Five major agencies I would eliminate: the IRS, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, uh, the Department of Commerce and HUD." -Ted Cruz
10. "Hey Gerard, we might want to point out that China is not part of this deal." -Rand Paul to moderator Gerard Baker, after Donald Trump's China-heavy answer on the Trans Pacific Partnership
11. "In order to make them look like losers, we have to destroy their caliphate." -Ben Carson on ISIS
12. "They blew up — hold it — they blew up — wait a minute — they blew up a Russian airplane." -Donald Trump fending off an interruption from Jeb Bush
13. "We shoulda given the oil, we shoulda given big chunks to the people that lost their arms, their legs, and their families and their sons and daughters." -Donald Trump on wounded warriors
14. "That's like playing Monopoly or something — that's not how the real world works." -Bush responding to Donald Trump's foreign policy plans
15. "I got to know him very well because we were both on 60 Minutes. We were stablemates, we did well that night." -Donald Trump on appearing on TV with Vladimir Putin. (They were on the same episode, just different continents.)
16. "I have met him as well — not in a green room for a show, but in a private meeting." -Carly Fiorina on meeting Putin, not in a green room for a show — a green room for a speaking engagement.
17. "I've never met Vladimir Putin, but I know enough to know he is a gangster. He is basically an organized crime figure." -Marco Rubio
18. "Why does she keep interrupting everyone?" - Donald Trump on Carly Fiorina
19. "We shouldn't have another financial crisis." - Jeb Bush
20. "I was in Washington, Iowa, about three months ago, talking about how bad Washington, D.C., is — it was, get the, kind of the… anyway." - Jeb Bush attempting, and abandoning, a joke
21. "I'll tell you about Wall Street — there's too much greed!" - John Kasich, former Lehman Brothers executive
22. "This is how socialism starts, ladies and gentlemen." -Carly Fiorina on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
23. "Dwight Eisenhower moved a million and a half illegal immigrants out of this country." -Donald Trump, on a program that was called "Operation Wetback"