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Scene from the GOP debate (left) in New Hampshire, and (right) Laura Ingraham delivers a stem-winder at the Republican National Convention.

Manchester, New Hampshire > 2/07/16 This debate will forever be remembered by those who care as Chris Christie’s finest hour in an otherwise desultory campaign. The New Jersey governor and former federal prosecutor was relentless in attempting to expose Marco Rubio as someone who delivers a great speech but never made a consequential decision as a U.S. senator. “Marco, the thing is this,” Christie said at the ABC debate at St. Anselm’s College. “When you’re president of the United States, when you’re a governor of a state, the memorized 30-second speech where you talk about how great America is at the end of it doesn’t solve one problem for one person,” Christie said. Christie also slammed Rubio’s poor attendance record in the Senate. “That’s not leadership, that’s truancy,” Christie sneered. Rubio countered by blasting Christie for having been forced to leave the campaign trail to deal with a major snowstorm that hit New Jersey. And then he went back into talking about how Barack Obama “knows exactly what he’s doing.” “There it is. There it is. The memorized 25-second speech. There it is, everybody,” Christie charged. It was labeled at the time as a defining moment for Rubio, and not a good one. But the Florida senator ultimately stayed in the race longer than Christie did before ultimately bowing out after being trounced by Trump after the Florida primary in March.

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LAURA INGRAHAM SPEECH AT THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION > Cleveland, Ohio > 7/20/16 The RNC had been a relatively low-key event for the first two nights, but the darling of conservative talk radio blew off the roof of the Quicken Loans Arena during her 8 p.m. speech on Wednesday. It was classic red meat, and the crowd ate it up. Speaking of the Democratic nominee, Ingraham said with expert timing, “She believes that there’s a government solution to every problem. No, Hillary, you’re the problem! She chastised Republicans with the #NeverTrump movement.

“Even you boys with wounded feelings and bruised egos, and we love you, but you must honor your pledge to support Donald Trump now. Tonight! Tonight!” And she captured the alienation with the national press felt strongly by Trump supporters. “To my friends in the press, hello! You all know why in your heart Donald Trump won the Republican nomination. You know it. You know why he won it, because he dared to call out the phony, the frauds, and the corruption that has gone unexposed and uncovered for too long. “Do your job!”

TED CRUZ GETTING JEERED AT THE RNC > 7/20/16 The way the Republican primary campaign season unfolded, the only candidate who appeared to have a chance of knocking out Trump was Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. The two became bitter rivals, with Trump at one point accusing Cruz’s father of being involved in the assassination of President Kennedy. The two met in Washington D.C. in early July to announce Cruz would be getting a speaking spot at the RNC, but no official endorsement was attached to that statement. Still, most thought that’s what Cruz would do when he took his spot on the primetime stage on the Wednesday night of the convention. But that’s not what happened. After bashing Hillary Clinton and celebrating the Brexit vote by the UK to exit from the European Union for over 20 minutes, it then became clear Cruz wasn’t going to be endorsing the GOP nominee. “Please don’t stay home in November,” Cruz said. “Stand and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket who you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.” And then the boos began crashing down on him. “I appreciate the enthusiasm of the New York delegation,” Cruz said, trying to shake off the humiliation. Of course, all was forgotten a few months later, and as this story went to press, Cruz was said to be in the mix as a possible Trump appointee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

PHOTOS: Via PBS.com (top) and joemygod.com (bottom)

GOP DEBATE ON ABC

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INFLUENCE Magazine — Winter 2016  

The people, professionals and lifestyle of Florida politics

INFLUENCE Magazine — Winter 2016  

The people, professionals and lifestyle of Florida politics