By Maya Rhodan
February 26, 2016

If you were watching the Republican debate Thursday, you might have needed footnotes at times.

At the last debate before the crucial Super Tuesday primaries, the five candidates worked hard to hit each other on past controversies, some of which you may have missed.

TIME sifted through the debate transcript and compiled a guide to some of the news stories referenced by the candidates, either directly or indirectly.


In a nod to the inclusion of Telemundo, a Spanish-language television network, the debate started with a testy debate on immigration reform. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was asked to critique Donald Trump’s immigration plan, which would involve letting “the good ones” stay. In response, Cruz name-dropped the Wall Street Journal.

You know, in the past couple of weeks the Wall Street Journal had a very interesting article about the state of Arizona. Arizona put in very tough laws on illegal immigration, and the result was illegal immigrants fled the state, and what’s happened there—it was a very interesting article.

“The Thorny Economics of Illegal Immigration,” Wall Street Journal, Feb. 9, 2016

Donald Trump has said that as president he will build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and the Mexican government will pay for it. Leaders in the Mexican government—both current and former—have said that’s not going to happen. In response to a recent, expletive-laden statement by President Vicente Fox, Trump had this to say.

It just got 10 feet taller. I saw him make that—I saw him make the statement. I saw him use the word that he used. I can only tell you, if I would have used even half of that word, it would have been national scandal. This guy used a filthy, disgusting word on television, and he should be ashamed of himself, and he should apologize, OK?

“Vicente Fox: “I am not going to pay for that f–king wall,” Fusion, Feb. 25, 2016

Trump’s Legal Troubles

Sen. Marco Rubio called on the audience to fact-check Donald Trump during a testy exchange about hiring foreign workers. Trump’s recent history with hiring was the subject of a New York Times article published on Thursday, but Rubio dug back deeper for this particular jab.

He hired workers from Poland. And he had to pay a million dollars or so in a judgment from. … That’s a fact. People can look it up. I’m sure people are Googling it right now. Look it up. “Trump Polish workers,” you’ll see a million dollars for hiring illegal workers on one of his projects. He did it.

“Trump Says He Didn’t Know He Employed Illegal Aliens,” New York Times, 7/13/1990

“After 15 Years in Court, Workers’ Lawsuit Against Trump Faces Yet Another Delay,” New York Times, 6/14/1998

Cruz piggybacked off of Rubio, who called the embattled Trump University a “fake school,” lambasting Trump over the pending legal case regarding his private, for-profit school.

I want you to think about. … Having the Republican nominee on the stand in court, being cross-examined about whether he committed fraud

“What the Legal Battle Over Trump University Reveals About Its Founder,” TIME, 11/5/2015


Maria Celeste Arraras of Telemundo questioned whether the two Hispanic candidates on Thursday’s stage were missing an opportunity to expand the Republican Party by not making any explicit efforts to appeal to Latino voters, an indirect reference to a scathing audit of the Republican Party’s performance during the 2012 election. Sen. Cruz suggested the depiction of the Hispanic community itself was off:

It is extraordinary that of five people standing on this stage that two of us are the children of Cuban immigrants. It really is the embodiment of the incredible opportunity and promise this nation provides. You know, I would note that a lot of folks in the media have a definition of hispanics that you can only be Hispanic if you’re liberal … you look at the values in the Hispanic community. The values in our community are faith, family, patriotism.

Read the Republican Party’s 2012 audit here.


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