bicester village ugg Lower tier presidential candidates clash in the undercard debate
The bottom tier of the Republican presidential field sparred in the undercard debate on Wednesday evening as they tried to break out and move up the ranks.
The debate on Wednesday marked the second time the dark horses in the race debated as a preliminary to the top candidates clashing later in the night. Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a strong performance in that first undercard debate which helped propel her into the the upper ranks of the GOP field. Fiorina wasn’t the only candidate from that first debate who was not on stage on Wednesday. Former Gov. Rick Perry, R Texas, pulled out of the race at the end of last week and former Gov. Jim Gilmore, R Va., did not qualify for Wednesday’s debate. Sen. Bobby Jindal, R La., former Gov. Sen. Rick Santorum, R Pa.
The four Republican hopefuls offered quick introductions and laid out some of the themes to their campaigns. Santorum highlighted his record on social issues while Jindal threw a few jabs at Trump and Bush andGraham focused on foreign policy.
Jindal was asked about his criticism of businessman DonaldTrump, currently leading the field,and the Louisiana governor defended his attacks.
“Let’s stop treating Donald Trump as a Republican,” Jindal said. “He believes in Donald Trump.” Jindal called for backing a Republican with “proven conservative principles” and went after Trump as “a narcissist who only believes in himself.”
Santorum said it was fine to attack candidates’ principles but insisted personal attacks were out of bounds. “I believe personal attacks only help one person: Hillary Clinton,” Santorum said.
Asked about his attacks on Trump, Graham turned to foreign affairs, calling for more troops in Iraq and Syria to defeat Islamic State (IS) terrorism. “If you’re not ready to do these things, you’re not ready to be president,” Graham said.
Questioned about his pledge to back the Republican nominee while refusing to back Trump, Pataki ripped the businessman’s record in Atlantic City and noted the first questions all involved that candidate.
“Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican nominee,
” Pataki said, adding he planned to back the Republican nominee.
Graham was asked whetherhis political experience was holding back his campaign but he turned the question into foreign affairs and who should lead the military.
“We’ve had one novice as commander in chief, let’s not replace one novice with another,” Graham said.
The debate turned to immigration. Santorum insisted several of the Republican candidates backed “amnesty” and said Graham and Jindal were in that crowd.
“We need to secure the border, period,” Jindal fired back. “I’m not for amnesty.”
Pataki said he backed birthright citizenship but called for securing the border and deporting illegals who commit crimes.
Graham defended his support for ending birthright citizenship and noted he had backed that for a decade. Despite being one of the Gang of Eight working for immigration reform, Graham said the government was not going to send 11 million people back but did call for deporting felons and encouraged immigrants to learn English.
Santorum and Graham clashed over comprehensive immigration reform. Graham noted Santorum’s immigration bill went nowhere when he was in the Senate and defended President George W. Bush’s opposition to it.
Turning to Syrian refugees, Jindal said he opposed the idea of letting them in and called for destroying IS and overthrowing the Assad regime.
Graham used the opportunity to rip President Barack Onama’s handling of foreign affairs. “I’m blaming Barack Obama for this mess,” Graham said. “And I want to fix it.”
Keeping on international affairs, Graham insisted “we were in a good spot in Iraq” and “Barack Obama wasted it all.” Graham said if IS wasn’t defeated soon, “they’re coming here.”
Santorum said he also backed more troops in the region but not as many as Graham. Jindal also slammed Obama’s handling of Middle East affairs. Pataki noted his experience leading New York state on 9/11 and called for fighting IS terrorism in the Middle East. Jindal and Graham drew contrasts between Islamic terrorist and Christian conservatives. Pataki ripped Rowan County Clerk of Courts Kim Davis for denying same sex marriage in Kentucky despite a federal court order and said he would have fired her.
“There is a place where religion supersedes the rule of law,” Pataki said. “It is Iran. It shouldn’t be the United States.”
Santorum fired back, insisting conservative Christians were being attacked by the federal government.
“People have a fundamental right under the First Amendment .
“We’re going to have a president who defies the Supreme Court?” Pataki demanded. “Then we don’t have the rule of law.”
Santorum insisted the Supreme Court was out of control while Pataki drew a line between elected officials like Davis and individual citizens. Jindal also defended Christianity in the public square. After joking about his poor performance in law school, Graham noted the Supreme Court ruled same sex marriage is the law of the land but said he disagreed with it and would protect religious freedom.
Turning to Supreme Court justices, Jindal ripped past Republican appointees and said he would have a “litmus test” on conservatism. Graham said the stakes were high on the judicial front and the GOP needed to win the election.
“We have to win this election,” Graham said. “The court’s at stake.”
Both Graham and Santorum defended voting for John Roberts as chief justice while Jindal criticized his ruling in favor of President Barack Obama’s federal health care law.
Jindal called for term limits and “part time citizen legislators” and said a Washington outsider was needed. Secretaryof State Hillary Clinton a “national treasure,” Graham said that was in relation to her policies in Africa and demanded to know where she was during the Benghazi attacks. Graham noted Ronald Reagan worked with Democrat Tip O’Neill and said he would work with Democrats while still sticking to his conservative principles.