Rule number one of Republican debates: Don't answer questions with specifics. Wherever possible, just attack the Democrats and make wild proclamations about what Republicans would do.
Ted Cruz did not disappoint. When asked how he would "destroy ISIS in 90 days," he gave an answer worthy of the best word salad dressing on the planet, with a wild proclamation or two thrown in.
Here's the question:
KELLY: Well, I want to move on, because I have — we’re gonna get to you, governor, but I — I really wanna get to a Facebook questioner. His name is Alex Chalgren, and he has the following question:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: My question is, how would the candidates stop the treacherous actions of ISIS — ISIL and its growing influence in the U.S., if they were to become president?
(END VIDEO CLIP) KELLY: Senator Cruz, I wanna talk to you about this, because many of the Facebook users and — and — the — the folks on Facebook wanted the candidates to speak to ISIS tonight.
You asked the chairman of the joint chiefs a question: “What would it take to destroy ISIS in 90 days?” He told you “IISIS will only be truly destroyed once they are rejected by the populations in which they hide.” And then you accused him of pushing Medicaid for the Iraqis.
How would you destroy ISIS in 90 days?
Step one, according to Ted Cruz: Stand up, wave your hands in the air and shout repeatedly "RADICAL ISLAMIC TERRORISM." There can be no other.
CRUZ: Megyn, we need a commander in chief that speaks the truth. We will not defeat radical Islamic terrorism so long as we have a president unwilling to utter the words, “radical Islamic terrorism”.
Step two, according to Ted Cruz: Marginalize the poverty and need in the Middle East. Sneer at it, even.
When I asked General Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs, what would be required militarily to destroy ISIS, he said there is no military solution. We need to change the conditions on the ground so that young men are not in poverty and susceptible to radicalization. That, with all due respect, is nonsense.↓ Story continues below ↓
It’s the same answer the State Department gave that we need to give them jobs. What we need is a commander in chief that makes — clear, if you join ISIS, if you wage jihad on America, then you are signing your death warrant.
Step three, according to Ted Cruz: Strip sympathetic Americans who join ISIS of their citizenship. There's a slippery slope. But I digress. Here it is, in his own words:
KELLY: You don’t see it as…
KELLY: …an ideological problem — an ideological problem in addition to a military one?
CRUZ: Megyn, of course it’s an ideological problem, that’s one of the reasons I introduce the Expatriate Terrorist Act in the Senate that said if any American travels to the Middle East and joining ISIS, that he or she forfeits their citizenship so they don’t use a passport to come back and wage jihad on Americans.
Step four, according to Ted Cruz: Ridicule the current President about remarks he made at the prayer breakfast.
CRUZ: Yes, it is ideological, and let me contrast President Obama, who at the prayer breakfast, essentially acted as an apologist. He said, “Well, gosh, the crusades, the inquisitions–”
We need a president that shows the courage that Egypt’s President al-Sisi, a Muslim, when he called out the radical Islamic terrorists who are threatening the world.
This answer got one of the highest applause responses of the night, but he never answered the question.