The 30 Funniest Out-of-Context Quotes from the Final GOP Debate of 2015

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CNN aired the final Republican debate of 2015 last night, and the nine candidates on stage were in fine fettle. As with the first and second debates earlier this year, I sat there furiously typing anything that sounded remotely strange, pausing and rewinding the DVR, dedicated, meticulous, and soon exhausted.

(Previously: The 25 best out-of-context quotes from the September debate and the August debate.)

By the time the eight-to-ten-hour debate was over (I didn’t get the exact time), I had compiled about 50 quotes. I’ve now distilled them into a top 30—five more than last time!—and I present them to you now completely out of context. There’s no better place to start than our friendly neighborhood brain doctor:

30. The Kvetch Tactic

Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon:

“First of all, let me just complain a little bit.”


Carly Fiorina, Business Person:

“All of our problems can be solved!”

28. Has Anyone Seen American Pharoah?

Ted Cruz, Senator from Texas:

“All horse thieves are democrats, but not all democrats are horse thieves.”

27. This Will Likely Go on a Hat Soon

Jeb Bush, Governor from Florida:

“He’s a chaos candidate, and he would be a chaos president.”

26. Tell It to Me Like I’m Stupid…and Also Like You’re Stupid

Carly Fiorina, Business Person:

“They must be engaged, and they must be asked. I will ask them. I know them.”

25. Always Give ‘Em Options, Baby

John Kasich, Governor from Ohio:

“Pay me now or pay me a lot more later: This is the direction we need to go!”


Carly Fiorina, business person:

“For heaven’s sake, every parent in America is checking social media!”

23. Russia is a Person

John Kasich, Governor from Ohio:

“Frankly, it’s time we punched the Russians in the nose.”

22. Real Experience You Can Trust

Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon:

“I do a lot of doing.”

21. Hipster Politician was in Before the Mainstream

Donald Trump, Business Person:

“All the sudden, everyone’s saying take the oil. It wasn’t so fashionable to take the oil six months ago. I’ve been saying it for years.”

20. Fatalism

Rand Paul, Senator from Kentucky:

“They’re not going to love us.”

19. Wait, How Many are There?

Carly Fiorina, Business Person:

“I fought my way to the top of corporate America while being called every b-word in the book.”

18. Get Your Own Internet, ISIS!

Donald Trump, Business Person:

“ISIS is using the Internet better than we are using the Internet, and it was our idea…I don’t want them using our Internet.”

17. Unleash the Samurai!

Carly Fiorina, Business Person:

“One of the things I would immediately do is bring back the warrior class.”

16. Weaponizing Names

Donald Trump, Business Person:

“I wish it was always as easy as you, Job. Oh you’re a tough guy, Job, I know. Real tough. You’re real tough, Jeb…You interrupted me, Jeb. Are you going to apologize, Jeb?...I know you’re trying to build up your energy, Jeb, but it’s not working.”

15. I Think He’s Talking About a Toy?

Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon:

“Put him back in his little box where he belongs.”

14. The Real Enemy

Carly Fiorina, Business Person:

“To keep our nation safe, we have to begin by beating Hillary Clinton.”

13. The Love Doctor

Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon:

“You should see the eyes of some of those children when I say to them, ‘we’re going to have to open your head up’....they’re not happy about it, believe me. And they don’t like me very much at that point. Later on, they love me.”

12. Clarifications

Dana Bash, CNN Moderator:

“You call that hogwash. Why is that hogwash?”

11. Inexplicable Outrages

Donald Trump, Businessman

“I just can’t imagine who would be booing.”

10. From the Mouth of Babes

John Kasich, Governor from Ohio:

“This past weekend, a friend asked one of my daughters, do you like politics? And my daughter said, no I don’t…it’s too loud, I don’t like it. And I said to my friend, you know? She’s onto something.”

9. Saving Thanksgiving

Donald Trump, Business Person:

“I would be very, very firm with families.”

8. Odd Penetrations, Part 1

John Kasich, Governor of Ohio:

“We need to be able to penetrate these people!”

7. Odd Penetrations, Part 2

John Kasich, Governor of Ohio:

“We have to give the local authorities the ability to penetrate.”

6. Odd Penetrations, Part 3

Donald Trump, Business Person:

“We should be able to penetrate the Internet.”

5. Phrasing

Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon:

“You have to be able to look at the big picture and understand that it’s actually merciful if you go ahead and finish the job rather than death by a thousand pricks.”

4. Forgiveness

John Kasich, Governor from Ohio

“People have accused me at times of having too big a heart. But that’s okay.”

3. Lookin’ Like a Fool with your Boots on the Ground

Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon:

“This whole concept of boots on the ground, we’ve got a phobia of boots about the ground, if our military experts say we need boots on the ground, we should put boots on the ground and recognize there will be boots on the ground and they’ll be over here and they’ll be their boots.”

2. What?

Ben Carson, Neurosurgeon

“No one is ever better off with dictators, but there comes a time when you’re on an airplane, they always say, ‘in case of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down put yours on first and then administer help to your neighbor.’”

1. Isn’t This What They’ve Been Doing All Along?

Lindsey Graham, Senator from South Carolina:

“The first thing I would do would be make adjustments to reality.”