The 20 Funniest Out-of-Context Quotes from the First Republican Debate

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Last night, FoxNews hosted the first Republican primary debate in Cleveland, featuring a sensible number of candidates.

Just kidding, there were ten of them. And almost immediately, it became awkward—the candidates didn’t walk out on cue, and when they did, they stood in a row like beauty pageant contestants while the audience ogled them. Even the FoxNews hosts couldn’t hid their discomfort; the word “awkward” was uttered about 15 times in two minutes. It was a true political meat market, and at that moment, I knew I was in for a great two hours.

Paste doesn’t cover politics, but we do cover television, so in honor of last night’s biggest TV event, let’s count down the 20 funniest quotes, presented completely out of context, from the ten candidates trying not to ruin their political lives (along with a couple from the hosts). We begin with the hometown hero:

20. Opening Gambits

John Kasich, Governor from Ohio:

“Let’s start off with my father being a mailman.”

19. Necessities

Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon:

“The thing that is probably most important is having a brain.”

18. Troubling Past Lives

Marco Rubio, Senator from Florida:

“I owed over $100,000 just four years ago.”

17. Multiple Nicknames

Jeb Bush, Governor from Florida:

“In Florida they call me Jeb, because I earned it…they call me Veto Corleone.”

16. Legal Interpretations

Chris Wallace, Fox Host:

“Here’s what you said: “They broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love.”

15. Economic Advice

Donald Trump, Businessman:

“If Iran was a stock, you folks should go out and buy it right now.”

14. Decorative Features

Donald Trump, Businessman:

“We need to build a wall…I don’t mind having a big beautiful door in that wall.”

13. Ending the Pro-Lender Propaganda Once and For All

Donald Trump, Businessman:

“First of all, these lenders are not babies. These are total killers. These are not the nice, sweet little people you think. You’re living in a world of make-believe.”

12. America’s Wonderful Diversity

Mike Huckabee, former Governor from Arkansas:

“The money paid at consumption is paid by everybody, including illegals, prostitutes, pimps, drug dealers…”

11. This was Once a Great Country

Chris Christie, Governor from New Jersey:

“Those are the hugs I remember.”

10. What?

Scott Walker, Governor from Wisconsin:

“When you find mush, you push.”

9. Brutal Dystopia

Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas:

”...instead of ripping up their body parts and selling them like they’re parts of a Buick.”

8. Political PDAs

Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky:

“I know you gave him a big hug, and if you want to give him a big hug again, you go right ahead.”

7. Mystical Patriotism

John Kasich, Governor from Ohio:

“America is a miracle country.”

6. Politics Also Applies to Life

Mike Huckabee, former Governor from Arkansas:

“When someone points a gun at your head and loads it, by God, you ought to take them seriously!”

5. Deities, Part One

Megyn Kelly, Fox Commentator:

“You defended your Medicaid expansion by invoking God.”

4. Deities, Part Two

Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon:

“I think God’s a pretty fair guy.”

3. Breaking News

John Kasich, Governor from Ohio:

“Guess what? I just went to a wedding of a friend of mine who happens to be gay.”

2. Getting Down to the Real Issues

Marco Rubio, Senator from Florida:

“The problem is, if El Chapo builds a tunnel under the fence, we need to deal with that too.”

1. True Power

Donald Trump, Businessman:

“I’ll tell you what…with Hillary Clinton, I said ‘be at my wedding,’ and she came to my wedding. You know why? She had no choice.”

And lastly, a bonus that doubled as my favorite quote of the night:


Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky:

“The fourth amendment was what we fought the Revolution over!”