A Meaningful Exchange Actually Happened Between Marco Rubio And Rand Paul At The GOP Debate

An unusual feat!

Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.) debated tax credits and military spending at Tuesday's Republican debate, shaking up what is called a "debate" but usually turns into isolated questions asked of the candidates with little engagement between them.

Rubio was asked by Fox Business moderator Gerard Baker whether his proposed expansion of child tax credits, which the Tax Foundation estimates would cost as much as $ 170 billion a year, would risk "adding another expensive entitlement program to an already overburdened federal budget."

The Florida senator's answer was that "the most important institution in society is the family," so government should help families cope with child care costs. But he had a bit of a slip.

"The most important job I'm ever going to have, the most important job anyone in this room will ever have is the job of being a parent," he said. "Not the job of being president or the job of being a senator or the job of being a congressman, the most important job any of us will ever do is the job of being president."

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Paul then interjected, calling Rubio's proposed child care credit "a welfare transfer payment."

"We have to decide what is conservative and what isn't conservative," Paul said. "Add [the child care credit] to Marco's plan for a trillion dollars in new military spending and you get something that looks to me, not very conservative."

Rubio's response was that it's unfair for the federal tax code to allow citizens to write off the costs of investments in equipment or their business, without equivalent write-offs for child care.

Paul also asked how it's conservative to add a trillion dollars in military expenditures.

"You can't be conservative if you're going to keep promoting programs you're not going to pay for," he argued.

"I know that Rand is a committed isolationist; I'm not," Rubio said in response.

Paul suggested that Rubio was "liberal on military spending" and argued thatU.S. military spending dwarfs that of the rest of the world.

See the latest updates on the GOP debate here.

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