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Nikki draws flak from DeSantis, Ramaswamy but Christie goes for the jugular of Trump

Alabama, Dec 7, 2023
Nikki Haley, the most powerful rival and second runner to ex-President Donald Trump in the polls, came under heavy flak in the 4th GOP sponsored presidential debate at the University of Alabama here. It was the most crucial debate as voters get to choose their candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire in less than 40 days.

The smallest debate of the three so far, the Tuscaloosa one in Alabama University literally saw knives out for Haley amid her continued rise in the primary polls. Haley and DeSantis took the center stage as they vied for a distant second place spot to Trump remains the polling front-runner.

The debate, the smallest yet, featured former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

On the side-lines of the stage, Christie took on Trump, while Ramaswamy took on everyone else with Trumpian type theatrics, media reports said.

Here are five takeaways from the latest Republican debate.

Haley takes the brunt of attacks: Haley, who has scored high in past debates, according to polling, was the main target of the attacks on Wednesday night. From the very beginning, Ramaswamy and DeSantis took on the former ambassador for her stance on China, social media, transgender rights and more.

“She caves any time the left comes after her,” DeSantis said as he slammed her record. “Any time the media comes after her.”

Haley responded: “I love all of the attention fellas.” One opponent on stage, however, took a moment to defend her from Ramaswamy’s personal digs at her foreign policy chops. And that was former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

While most were afraid to take on Trump or attack Trump or dodged questions, Chris Christie stood his ground to attack Trump upfront and said he was unfit to be the president in 2024.

And while defending Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, who as attorney general followed up on the cases after the 9/11 attacks, said: “He (Ramaswamy) has insulted Nikki Haley’s basic intelligence. Not her positions, her basic intelligence”.

Christie said, “Look, if you want to disagree on issues that are fine. Nikki and I disagree on some issues. I’ve known her for 12 years … and while we disagree about some issues and we disagree about who should be president of the US, what we don’t disagree on is this is a smart, accomplished woman. You should stop insulting her.”

Ramaswamy attacked Nikki Haley for being on the board of Boeing in her home state and alleged she was corrupt doing favours for the plane manufacturing company.

After being governor of South Carolina and UN Ambassador she should not have served the interest of the private sector by being on the board of a corporation. Ramaswamy said while also debunking the Biden administration’s spending on climate change technologies. .

There is no law in the US that forbids a politician from joining the board of a private sector company after demitting a public office or a government post. Nikki said she did nothing wrong and said Boeing helped her home state by generating more jobs and that she did withdraw from the company when any controversial issue arose.

DeSantis defends record as campaign stagnates: The first question on the credentials and electability factor to be President in 2024 went to DeSantis and it was about electability. Moderator Megyn Kelly asked him for his response to voters who, according to the poll numbers that show his support has flatlined in second place, seem to be telling him: “Not no, but not now.”

Like he did throughout much of the night, DeSantis made the case that he’s got a list of conservative wins as governor compared with Trump’s past defeats, media reports said.

“So we have a great idea in America that the voters actually make these decisions, not pundits or pollsters,” he responded. “I’m sick of hearing about these polls, ’cause I remember those polls in November of 2022.

They said there was going to be a big red wave. It was going to be monumental, and that crashed and burned. The one place it didn’t crash and burn was in the state of Florida.”

“They weren’t predicting that I would win the way I did, and I won the greatest Republican victory in the history of the state of Florida,” he said.,

Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the others were participating in the NewsNation Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the University of Alabama Moody Music Hall on Dec. 6, 2023 in Tuscaloosa.

Christie takes on Trump: ‘An angry, bitter man’: Moderators frequently posed their Trump-related questions to Christie, who has built his campaign on attacking the former president, unlike the other candidates.

Some of his sharpest comments came when asked about Trump’s “dictator” comments to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday night. Christie said the remarks were “completely predictable” and called Trump an “an angry, bitter man.”

“So do I think he was kidding when he said he was a dictator? All you have to do is look at the history, and that’s why failing to speak out against him, making excuses for him, pretending that somehow he’s a victim — empowers him,” Christie said.

“You want to know why those poll numbers are where they are? Because folks like these three guys on the stage make it seem like his conduct is acceptable. Let me make it clear.

His conduct is unacceptable,” Christie said. “He’s unfit, and be careful what you’re gonna get if you ever got another Donald Trump term. He’s letting you know … He will only be his own retribution. He doesn’t care for the American people, it’s Donald Trump first,” he said, drawing some boos.

Christie also called out DeSantis for not giving a straight answer when asked if Trump is “mentally fit” for office, accusing DeSantis of being “afraid to answer.”

Ramaswamy keeps up fiery antics: While Ramaswamy’s campaign has faded to the background as his polls remain at 5% nationally, the entrepreneur reprised his role as disruptor on the debate stage.

He was relentless as he went after everyone else. He again called Haley a female “Dick Cheney” and held up a sign that read “Nikki=Corrupt” as he questioned her authenticity.

Christie had enough of the Trumpian style behaviour of Ramaswamy, who tried to ape the ex president to get this attention. , “This is the fourth debate that you would be voted in the first 20 minutes as the most obnoxious blowhard in America,” Christie said as he pointed a finger at Ramaswamy in one of the most heated exchanges of the night. “So shut up for a little while.”

Ramaswamy turned almost hostile when he asked Christie to get off the stage.

Narrow policy differences: Ramaswamy was a lone voice advocating for the US to take a less prominent role in the Israel-Hamas war, calling his approach “pro-American” and “pro-Israel.”

“As your next president, my sole moral duty is to you, the people of this country,” he said. Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he added, “That’s how I’m going to lead.

So I’ll tell Bibi (Netanyahu), , ‘You smoke the terrorists on your southern border, you go ahead, and we’re rooting for you. We’re going to smoke the terrorists on our southern border,’ and that’s how I’m going to lead this country.”

Slight differences were also apparent when it came to immigration and border policies. Haley didn’t endorse Trump’s plan to revive his ban on travel from majority-Muslim countries and said instead there should be a review of countries that have terrorist activity and represent a threat to the US DeSantis hit back, saying he’d go further in imposing limits on immigration to countries “hostile” to America.

The smallest debate of the three so far , the Tuscaloosa one in Alabama University literally saw knives out for Haley amid her continued rise in the primary polls . Haley and DeSantis took the center stage as they vied for a distant second place spot to former President Donald Trump remains the polling front-runner.

The debate, the smallest yet, featured former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

On the side-lines of the stage, Christie took on Trump, while Ramaswamy took on everyone else with Trumpian type theatrics, media reports said.

Here are five takeaways from the latest Republican debate.

Haley takes the brunt of attacks: Haley, who has scored high in past debates, according to polling, was the main target of the attacks on Wednesday night. From the very beginning, Ramaswamy and DeSantis took on the former ambassador for her stance on China, social media, transgender rights and more.

“She caves any time the left comes after her,” DeSantis said as he slammed her record. “Any time the media comes after her.”

Haley responded: “I love all of the attention fellas.” One opponent on stage, however, took a moment to defend her from Ramaswamy’s personal digs at her foreign policy chops.And that was former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

While most were afraid to take on Trump or attack Trump or dodged questions, Chris Christie stood his ground to attack Trump upfront and said he was unfit to be the president in 2024.

And while defending Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, who as attorney general followed up on the cases after the 9/11 attacks, said: “He (Ramaswamy) has insulted Nikki Haley’s basic intelligence. Not her positions, her basic intelligence,”.

Christie said, “Look, if you want to disagree on issues that are fine. Nikki and I disagree on some issues. I’ve known her for 12 years … and while we disagree about some issues and we disagree about who should be president of the United States, what we don’t disagree on is this is a smart, accomplished woman. You should stop insulting her.”

Ramaswamy attacked Nikki Haley for being on the board of Boeing in her home state and alleged she was corrupt doing favours for the plane manufacturing company.

After being governor of South Carolina and UN Ambassador she should not have served the interest of the private sector by being on the board of a corporation. Ramaswamy said while also debunking the Biden administration’s spending on climate change technologies. .

There is no law in the US that forbids a politician from joining the board of a private sector company after demitting a public office or a government post. Nikki said she did nothing wrong and said Boeing helped her home state by generating more jobs and that she did withdraw from the company when any controversial issue arose.

DeSantis defends record as campaign stagnates: The first question on the credentials and electability factor to be President in 2024 went to DeSantis and it was about electability. Moderator Megyn Kelly asked him for his response to voters who, according to the poll numbers that show his support has flatlined in second place, seem to be telling him: “Not no, but not now.”

Like he did throughout much of the night, DeSantis made the case that he’s got a list of conservative wins as governor compared with Trump’s past defeats, media reports said.

“So we have a great idea in America that the voters actually make these decisions, not pundits or pollsters,” he responded. “I’m sick of hearing about these polls, ’cause I remember those polls in November of 2022.

They said there was going to be a big red wave. It was going to be monumental, and that crashed and burned. The one place it didn’t crash and burn was in the state of Florida.”

“They weren’t predicting that I would win the way I did, and I won the greatest Republican victory in the history of the state of Florida,” he said.,

Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the others were participating in the NewsNation Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the University of Alabama Moody Music Hall on Dec. 6, 2023 in Tuscaloosa.

Christie takes on Trump: ‘An angry, bitter man’: Moderators frequently posed their Trump-related questions to Christie, who has built his campaign on attacking the former president, unlike the other candidates.

Some of his sharpest comments came when asked about Trump’s “dictator” comments to Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday night. Christie said the remarks were “completely predictable” and called Trump an “an angry, bitter man.”

“So do I think he was kidding when he said he was a dictator? All you have to do is look at the history, and that’s why failing to speak out against him, making excuses for him, pretending that somehow he’s a victim — empowers him,” Christie said.

“You want to know why those poll numbers are where they are? Because folks like these three guys on the stage make it seem like his conduct is acceptable. Let me make it clear.

His conduct is unacceptable,” Christie said. “He’s unfit, and be careful what you’re gonna get if you ever got another Donald Trump term. He’s letting you know …. He will only be his own retribution. He doesn’t care for the American people, it’s Donald Trump first,” he said, drawing some boos.

Christie also called out DeSantis for not giving a straight answer when asked if Trump is “mentally fit” for office, accusing DeSantis of being “afraid to answer.”

Ramaswamy keeps up fiery antics” While Ramaswamy’s campaign has faded to the background as his polls remain at 5% nationally, the entrepreneur reprised his role as disruptor on the debate stage. He was relentless as he went after everyone else. He again called Haley a female “Dick Cheney” and held up a sign that read “Nikki=Corrupt” as he questioned her authenticity.

Christie had enough of the Trumpian style behaviour of Ramaswamy, who tried to ape the ex president to get this attention. , “This is the fourth debate that you would be voted in the first 20 minutes as the most obnoxious blowhard in America,” Christie said as he pointed a finger at Ramaswamy in one of the most heated exchanges of the night. “So shut up for a little while.”

Ramaswamy turned almost hostile when he asked Christie to get off the stage.

Narrow policy differences: Ramaswamy was a lone voice advocating for the U.S. to take a less prominent role in the Israel-Hamas war, calling his approach “pro-American” and “pro-Israel.”

“As your next president, my sole moral duty is to you, the people of this country,” he said. Referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he added, “That’s how I’m going to lead.

So I’ll tell Bibi (Netanyahu), , ‘You smoke the terrorists on your southern border, you go ahead, and we’re rooting for you. We’re going to smoke the terrorists on our southern border,’ and that’s how I’m going to lead this country.”

Slight differences were also apparent when it came to immigration and border policies. Haley didn’t endorse Trump’s plan to revive his ban on travel from majority-Muslim countries and said instead there should be a review of countries that have terrorist activity and represent a threat to the US DeSantis hit back, saying he’d go further in imposing limits on immigration to countries “hostile” to America.(Agency)

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