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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Catch up on what you missed in last night’s Republican debate

With the New Hampshire primary only two days away, top Republican presidential candidates went head-to-head on Saturday night for the eighth Republican debate.

The debate included Sen. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Gov. Chris Christie and Gov. John Kasich.

Hosted by ABC News and Independent Journal Review, with questions from WMUR, the debate was moderated by World News Tonight anchor David Muir and ABC Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz.

The evening began with a mixup as the moderators announced the candidates. Carson didn’t hear his name called and stood behind the stage waiting. 

Eventually Christie, Cruz, Rubio and Bush took the stage while Carson, Trump and Kasich waited behind the curtains. Despite three of the candidates missing from the stage, the moderators announced the candidates.

The moderators then specifically told Carson and Trump to join them on stage, only to forget Kasich.

Saturday night’s debate was the revenge of the governors. Christie, of New Jersey, started the mudslinging early by criticizing Rubio.

In last week’s Iowa caucuses, Rubio took third place with 23 percent, while Christie came in with 1.8 percent. But tonight, Christie was ready to prove to the American people he is the right choice for the White House.

Moderators asked if Rubio had the experience to be president, despite being a young, first-term senator. Rubio compared himself to President Barack Obama, saying he has the experience and knowledge. 

Christie, however, accused him of having a 25-second memorized speech.

“You have not been involved in a consequential decision where you had to be held accountable,” Christie said. “You just simply haven’t.”

As the night continued, Trump was asked if his health care plans were closer to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ or Hillary Clinton’s. Trump responded that he is “closer to common sense.” Trump also said that his top priority regarding health care is to ensure everyone is covered.

“A certain number of people will be on the street dying. As a Republican, I don’t want that to happen,” Trump said. “We’re going to help people on the street.”

Among national security issues, moderators asked if waterboarding was considered torture. 

Cruz told the audience that, by definition, waterboarding is not considered torture, but it is “enhanced interrogation.” Cruz said he would not bring waterboarding back in any widespread use.

Trump chimed in saying he would, “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” 

Rubio, on the other hand, cautioned the other candidates for speaking about specific interrogation tactics.

“We should be putting people in Guantanamo, not emptying it out,” Rubio said. “We shouldn’t be releasing these killers who are rejoining the battlefield.”

When immigration became a topic, Cruz said he is “going to build a wall and triple the border patrol.” 

Trump began to laugh. Trump has said numerous times at campaign events that he’d build a wall as well. 

“I’ve got somebody in mind to build it,” Cruz said, referring to Trump.

Allison Childress, a political science junior and UA College Democrats director of voter affairs, watched the Republicans hash it out during the New Hampshire debate.

“What surprised me the most was how poorly Marco Rubio did and how well some of the other fringe candidates did,” Childress said. “I think it’s going to impact how New Hampshire goes for especially Rubio.”

Childress also said she wished the moderators asked more in-depth questions rather than the softball questions she saw.

In a concurring opinion, Rob Egan, a sophomore studying public management and public policy and member of the UA College Republicans, thought that the questions asked could have been more challenging. 

For Egan, the standouts of the night were Kasich, Christie and Bush. Of the three, Egan thought that Kasich shined bright.

“I think he had the most to gain last night and I think he knocked it out of the park,” Egan said.

On the other hand, Egan thinks the losers of last night’s showdown were Carson and Cruz.

“There are a lot of things that I can say about Ted Cruz, some of them wouldn’t be so nice,” Egan said. “I certainly don’t think that he should expect to win in New Hampshire and I don’t think he’s going to. Carson doesn’t know how to forcefully insert himself into a conversation.”

While Egan did see some clear winners and losers and is sure some will soon pull the plug on their campaigns, he thinks that this race will be a tough one to call until the very end.

Stay tuned for more debate coverage this week, when the democratic candidates hash it out on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. 

Follow Amanda Oien on Twitter

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