The Dec. 15 GOP debate invited nine candidates to the prime time debate focusing on national security; a timely debate after the shooting in San Bernardino. Although front-runner Donald Trump reportedly leads in polls, the leading moments came from two sparring senators.
Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) went head-to-head over the collecting of metadata on American citizens.
Sen. Rubio supports Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act that allows the government to collect metadata from any American citizen for purposes of national security, while Sen. Cruz is a firm supporter of the USA Freedom Act which ends bulk collection and government overreach. The bulk collection of data stopped days before the mass shooting in San Bernardino.
“The terrorist that attacked us in San Bernardino was an American citizen. I bet you we wish we would’ve had access to five years of his records,” Rubio said.
But along with 66 other Senators and eventually signed by President Obama, Ted Cruz voted for the Freedom Act and in-effect ended bulk collection of metadata.
“It ended the federal government’s bulk collection of phone metadata of millions of law-abiding citizens,” Cruz said at the GOP debate in Las vegas.
This security argument transitioned into immigration.
Rubio believing the federal government should provide a path to citizenship after proof of functioning reform, but Cruz countered with, “I have never supported legalization and I do not intend to support legalization.”
The immigration debate moment was recognized in Google Trends, with immigration being the top search for Rubio and second for Cruz, illustrating the topic mimicking the viewers searches during the DOP debate.
These two candidates racked up the most time speaking, beating GOP leader Donald Trump.