What Happened When the GOP Candidates Had to Name Their Greatest Weaknesses

PHOTO: Donald Trump, center, makes a point as Marco Rubio, left, and Ben Carson look on during the CNBC Republican presidential debate at the University of Colorado, Oct. 28, 2015, in Boulder, Colo.PlayMark J. Terrill/AP Photo
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What’s your greatest weakness?

That was the first question posed to the Republican presidential candidates in CNBC’s GOP debate tonight.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina responded with a full-mouthed smile, noting that “after the last debate I was told I didn't smile enough.”

Republican front-runner Donald Trump said his biggest weakness is that he’s too trusting.

“I think maybe my greatest weakness is that I trust people too much,” Trump said.

The problem with being so trusting, Trump said, is that he also finds it hard to forgive those who violate his trust.

“When they let me down, if they let me down I never forgive,” Trump said. “I find it very, very hard to forgive people that deceived me. So I don't know if you would call that a weakness, but my wife said let up.”

Mike Huckabee was hard-pressed to call up any weaknesses but volunteered his wife to offer a few.

“I don't really have any weaknesses that I can think of. But my wife is down in the front and I’m sure if you would like to talk to her later she can give you more than you will ever be able to take care of,” the former Arkansas governor said.

If he had to name a weakness, Huckabee said, it would be that he tries to live by the rules, something he said Washington does not do.

“I was brought up that way as a kid, play by the rules,” he said. “I tell you the weaknesses in this country there are a lot of people who are sick and tired because Washington does not play by the same rules that the American people have to play by.”

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio similarly found it difficult to name a weakness and instead pivoted to his pre-planned opening statement.

“I’m not sure it's a weakness, but I do believe I share a sense of optimism for America’s future that today's eroding from our country’s future, there is a sense in this country that our best days are behind us,” Rubio said. “That doesn't have to be true.”

Ben Carson said his greatest weakness is that he didn’t think he should be president on his own. It was at the urging of others.

“Probably in terms of applying for the job of president, the weakness would be not really seeing myself in that position until hundreds of thousands of people began to tell me that I needed to do it,” the retired neurosurgeon said.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said his greatest fault is that he’s prone to an excess of passion. “I'm a fighter,” Cruz said. “I am passionate about what I believe.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he didn’t see a whole lot of weakness on tonight’s stage and instead turned the weaknesses to the Democrats.

“I see a socialist, an isolationist and a pessimist,” Christie said of the Democrats. “And for the sake of me, I can't figure out which one is which.”

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was direct in naming his impatience and slipped in an apparent jab at a GOP front-runner, Trump.

"I am by my nature impatient, and this is not an endeavor that rewards that,” Bush said. "You have to be patient and stick with it and all that. But also I can't fake anger. I believe this is still the most extraordinary country on the face of the Earth. And it troubles me that people are rewarded for tearing down our country. It's never been that way in American politics before. I can't do it."